Accenture has built its reputation on optimizing systems in large businesses, and things are no different now.
The pandemic has seen many professionals shifting to remote work, and it has acted as a catalyst for businesses large and small to bring their services online. This means having to rethink strategies more than ever before. Of course, the larger the business, the more herculean that task becomes.
Enter Dr. Isi Idemudia.
Dr. Isi has been working as an Amazon Web Services (AWS) enterprise solutions architect with Accenture for the better part of three years, and her primary focus has been migrating on-site workloads to the AWS Cloud for Fortune 500s. After over a decade in IT, she has managed to do some pretty remarkable things.
The mother of two girls, Dr. Isi started her career as an Oracle database engineer in Nigeria before earning her Ph.D. and starting at Accenture in 2018 after relocating to the United States. She has since built systems, created solutions and taught over 1,000 girls how to code.
And even if she makes it look easy, it’s been anything but. The international bestselling author of “Out of Africa and into the Cloud: Girls Can Code Too” has made it her mission to inspire young women to overcome their fears and break into technology. And really, there is no better time than now.
We sat down with Dr. Isi and learned a little bit more about why cloud systems are the present, and why everyone — businesses, governments and individuals alike — should really be moving over to the cloud.
This interview has been condensed, rearranged and edited for clarity.
AfroTech: Let’s talk about cloud computing. Why is it so important, and why do you believe it’s a skill more people need to be engaged in?
Dr. Isi: Now more than ever, where people are advised by global standards and guidelines to keep six feet away from each other, having any form of cloud skill is a MUST. We no longer have the luxury of managing workloads on premises where people need to go physically to turn on/off servers or perform any routine maintenance, et cetera. Companies, both large and startup level, are all running to the cloud for business continuity in order to remain relevant and competitive.
AfroTech: What has your experience been like working with AWS Cloud? What have you learned so far?
Dr. Isi: My experience has been magical. I work alongside companies that I had only heard of on Forbes! Being at Accenture brings me closer to great companies and brands, and it’s kinda cool. I have enjoyed every bit of working as an AWS cloud architect. Every day is a new challenge, and I love challenges. I live for them. I have learned that companies just want to be better, do better and deliver better products and services. The value Accenture delivers while working with these great companies makes it worthwhile.
AfroTech: What are some impactful projects you’ve worked on at Accenture?
Dr. Isi: One of the more impactful projects for me was when the client came to us with a challenge of poor visibility into their environment, especially because it was a multi-cloud setup. As the lead manageability architect, I was able to design a centralized monitoring dashboard. It used to take days for the client to discover if something went wrong […] but with the setup I designed and built, the client could identify the root problem within seconds. This reduced the debugging time from 1 to 2 days to less than 60 seconds.
AfroTech: What gaps do you see as it relates to diversity in cloud computing? How can the industry benefit from more diversity?
Dr. Isi: Women naturally have a peculiar ability to multitask. The ever-changing nature of technology requires more personalities with such attributes. It’s a huge benefit for any company or project team to have women on the team because there are a lot of moving parts all the time that need to be seamlessly coordinated.
AfroTech: What are you and/or Accenture doing to help close the diversity gaps?
Dr. Isi: The “Women in Cloud” project within the Accenture AWS Business Group is an initiative primarily focused on getting more girls and women into the cloud. On this initiative, I lead the community engagement aspect of things, where we are focused on engaging women and young girls within our communities across North America. We have partnered with Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, Women Who Code — all organizations that are focused on spreading the gospel of cloud to females through boot camps, workshops, seminars, fireside chats and more.
We also have a team focused on encouraging more women to become AWS Certified within Accenture and a recruitment focus on women with cloud certifications.
AfroTech: Can you discuss Accenture’s commitment to cloud? How will it help lead cloud careers into the future?
Dr. Isi: Accenture announced the launch of our “Cloud First” initiative in September 2020, with a $3 billion investment to accelerate our clients’ move to cloud and digital transformation. This is to show our commitment to the cloud industry because we believe cloud is a key enabler for every other technology.
The “Cloud First” initiative is a model designed for rapid migration to the cloud and realization of value for clients and their stakeholders. Additionally, this will create so many jobs. We currently have over 100,000 Accenture cloud professionals […] with new jobs across all the interconnected fields, from edge computing to data and security. There is so much demand for cloud across industries, from retail to public services to healthcare.
AfroTech: Can you tell me about the inspiration behind your book “Out of Africa and Into the Cloud”?
Dr. Isi: In October 2019, Accenture published a blog post about me titled “Out of Africa & Into the Cloud.” I must say, the feedback I got from that blog post was my “Aha!” moment. People actually sent me messages saying that if I wrote a book, they would buy it. And I took them up on it.
We were in the middle of a pandemic in 2020, and I couldn’t engage physically with as many female students as I used to. I thought to myself, “You know what, this is the best time to publish my book, so I can impact women across the globe without being physically with them!”
I wrote and published my book in four months. Within a few days, I became a bestselling author in five categories.
AfroTech: As a Black woman in tech, have you faced any challenges as you’ve built your career?
Dr. Isi: Yes, many challenges, but I am not perturbed by them. I remember going into one of the classrooms to teach a Python coding class, and the principal of the school told me they were not expecting me but one Dr. Isi. And I smiled and said, “I am she.”
And for any young Black techies hoping to build a career in tech, I say: “Let’s smash it!” I came all the way from Africa, where I had to share one computer with 150 students during my undergraduate degree. If I can make it, you can.
This editorial is written in partnership with Accenture. Learn more about Accenture and explore opportunities to join the team.