Message from the CEO
by William Mzimba
Chief Executive of Accenture in South Africa
and Chairman of Accenture sub-Saharan Africa
Our country, our continent, our world is going through an important transition. Digital technology is rapidly making the impossible possible. Brands, more than ever, have the customer and their experience at the heart of their strategies
Every business leader needs to face the prospect of transformation or risk disruption.
While traditional business fundamentals still apply, leaders of today and tomorrow need to truly understand the power of digital. To succeed in this fast-changing world, innovation is needed. Risk-taking is a prerequisite – as is the preparation and foresight to manage risks. To grow in this environment, it’s important to be curious, to be confident, and to be adaptable.
This can be daunting for business leaders, but it does offer opportunity. A new approach to business also means there are opportunities for graduates in almost every field imaginable, ranging from digital marketing specialists and data scientists to business strategists.
At Accenture, for example, we look for talented people with deep skills and knowledge: people who can find unique yet sound ways to help our clients to become high-performance businesses.Our reason for being is to change the way the world lives and works, by leveraging technology in the most efficient way.
This is why I joined Accenture and why I remain driven to help our workforce and our clients to achieve transformative change.
I learnt at a young age that one needs to develop certain goals, use these as an anchor, and define one’s destiny based on that. I wanted to help my community. As I grew older, this goal became more defined. I knew that I wanted to be responsible for a huge company that created employment.
I had a plan, and calibrated my dream in tranches of three to five years. While my original goal was to remain an entrepreneur, I soon learnt the importance of intrapreneurship – having an owner-mindset within a corporation – an approach which certainly contributed to my success at Accenture.
My advice to you, leaders and shapers of the future, is to stay anchored in your goals, but to remain relevant and innovative. Innovation is a key motivator for Accenture.
We challenge ourselves to consistently improve our client, community and employee offering as pioneers of innovation.
This is just one of the reasons we were named a leading employer in South Africa for the seventh consecutive year by the Top Employers Institute. As you build your careers, enjoy the journey of self-discovery.
Acknowledge that while entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are vital for success, so too are collaboration and interdependence. Give more to others than you give to yourself; be humble, be accessible, and be resilient. Also, have a purpose that is larger than your job. To help fulfil my purpose, I chair a non-profit organisation called FoodForward SA.
We use sophisticated supply chain systems to collect surplus food from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, and redistribute it to hungry people daily.
This is just one project that illustrates the need for an innovation revolution. Emerging technologies, such as the use of big data and nanotechnology, have the potential to significantly affect our economy and our communities. Even digital technology that many may take for granted – internet access, social networks, online education – is changing lives.
Recent research by Accenture has found that digital fluency is helping today’s workers better manage their time, work in a more flexible manner, and become more productive. While men and women alike are liberated by access to information and flexible ways of working, giving women access to digital technology can help level the playing field.
My advice to you, leaders and shapers of the future, is to stay anchored in your goals, but to remain relevant and innovative.Innovation is a key motivator
If governments and businesses can double the pace at which women become frequent users of technology, we could reach gender equality in the workplace by 2040 in developed nations and by 2060 in developing nations. This doesn’t seem fast enough, does it? My hope is that this moves much quicker in South Africa.
While we can’t ignore the very real challenges facing our economy and our youth, we do live in incredibly exciting times.
We have amazing opportunities to shape the changing world. Accenture offers a promising and varied career for the brightest young minds, and there are innumerable opportunities for ambitious graduates to build successful careers by serving and finding solutions for clients in over 40 industries worldwide.
If you want to develop world-class skills, and use your thinking and problem-solving abilities for change within public and private sectors, we want to hear from you.