Interview: Accenture, Security Excellence Awards finalist

'Our focus is on delivering tangible value at speed and scale'

clock • 5 min read
Abidemi Ogunbowale-Thomas, Managing Director, Accenture
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Abidemi Ogunbowale-Thomas, Managing Director, Accenture

As the frequency and sophistication of cyber threats continue to increase, cybersecurity is becoming a top priority for governments, organisations, and individuals alike.

Computing's Security Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate the best in cybersecurity innovation and excellence.

This year's winners will be announced at a live awards ceremony on Thursday, 2nd May in London.

Accenture, one of those finalists, has reached the shortlist for two categories: DevSecOpsAward and Security Project of the Year.

We caught up with Abidemi Ogunbowale-Thomas, managing director at Accenture, to ask him more about their main achievements in the last 12 months and what makes his company different from other companies.

Ogunbowale-Thomas is a disruptive-thinking MD and a tech imagineer with 20+ years' industry experience. He is known for being a technical, creative and entrepreneurial culture-maker and for his approach on making businesses more "human by design". In his role as CTO for Accenture Next Gen Engineering, he is responsible for tech, training, building capabilities and service offerings. As a proactive ally and mentor for DEI, Abidemi is a sponsor for several DEI programmes within Accenture such as Mobolise and was featured on the EMpower Global Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List 2020.

Computing: Please provide some background on your company for our readers.  What makes you different from other companies?

Abidemi Ogunbowale-Thomas: Accenture is a leading global professional services company due to our unique combination of talent, innovation, and industry expertise. With approximately 743,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, we help businesses, governments, and organisations build their digital core, optimise operations, accelerate revenue growth, and enhance citizen services. Our focus is on delivering tangible value at speed and scale. Today, we have more than 60,000 trained DevOps practitioners globally and were named as a Leader in Gartner's inaugural Magic Quadrant for Custom Software Development Services. Our DevOps capabilities enable organisations to accelerate their digital transformation by integrating development and operations processes. With a focus on automation, collaboration, and continuous delivery, we help clients achieve faster time-to-market, improved quality, and increased efficiency in software development and deployment.

What one company achievement in the last 12 months are you most proud of?

AOT: At the end of last year, we launched our new UK-based end-to-end product engineering team known as Accenture Next Gen Engineering. The idea was to bring together some of our most talented people, with similar skillsets but part of three different teams, into one new group. Having cross-functional skillsets – including design, engineering, delivery, cloud and platform – within one team has enabled us to bring to life our clients' visions much quicker than before. During the last 12 months alone, we've enabled a cosmetics brand translate a loose idea for using GenAI into an MVP within four months, as well as building an innovative new product for a household brand which was generating revenue within seven months.

Why are events like the Security Excellence Awards important to the IT industry?

AOT: We're thrilled to have been shortlisted three times this year. These events hold immense significance in the tech industry and play a vital role in helping both celebrate and promote innovation and excellence within the sector. The awards serve as a benchmark and inspire us all to constantly improve, uphold the highest standards, and ultimately deliver more value to clients. The Security Excellence Awards are highly competitive and one of the industry's most recognised, so while winning an award would be an honour, the nominations alone showcase our unwavering commitment to fostering a world-class DevSecOps culture. For us, security isn't just a practice; it's a deeply ingrained philosophy and mindset.

What have been the biggest challenges of 2024 so far and how have you overcome them?

AOT: Accenture's Global Disruption Index revealed a 200% rise in volatility during the past five years, necessitating a new approach for organisations to navigate uncertainty. To overcome these challenges, we're helping clients embrace what we call Total Enterprise Reinvention – leveraging technology and new ways of working to continually adapt all aspects of a business and deliver 360 degree value. By adopting a digital-first mindset and embracing technologies like GenAI, organisations can then drive innovation, optimise operations, and achieve sustainable growth. Accenture is on the same journey. While we've been using GenAI long before its language-based abilities became well-known, we're investing $3 billion over the next three years into data and AI to ensure we're at the forefront to be able to help our clients implement the tech safely and responsibly.

Additionally, following our acquisition of Udacity, we're committing to invest another $1 billion over three years in our AI-powered platform, LearnVantage, to help our clients become talent creators and upskill their workforce, and the industry to close the cloud computing, cybersecurity, and AI skills gap. Strong DevSecOps practices have become even more essential to ensure the security and integrity of applications built with AI-generated code.

What do you see as the main opportunities for the IT industry in the coming year? How do you plan to capitalise on those opportunities?

AOT: Outside of AI and Platform Engineering, a key opportunity lies in improving the developer experience (DevEx) and leveraging technology to drive growth and innovation. DevEx isn't a new trend, but it's critical to tackling some of the challenges faced with software delivery. Organisations must acknowledge the importance of enhancing DevEx by focusing on organisational structure, culture, career models, developer journeys, and developer platforms. At the end of the day, a developer force with greater motivation and sense of ownership leads to better engagement with security and to more desirable business outcomes such as decreased risk and cost to serve, and increased speed to market and customer satisfaction.

Additionally, one key focus is empowering clients to improve on value realisation. Accenture Next Gen Engineering, including head of platform, Dean Godfree are pushing boundaries through strategic partnerships to drive the associated opportunity of AIOps, which will allow clients to reinvent the power of observability, metrics, and logs into an innovation engine of continuous improvement.

Security Excellence Awards will take place on Thursday, 2nd May in London. Click here to view the shortlist and here to book your table.

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