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April 3, 2011

‘We’re not as well-known as we ought to be’: Q&A with Pam Maynard, Avanade

CBR talks to Pam Maynard, UK General Manager of Accenture-Microsoft JV Avanade about the company's position in the UK market and what its message is to CIOs looking at cloud computing

By Vinod

Though not as high-profile as it probably deserves to be, Avanade, the joint-venture between management consultancy Accenture and global software giant Microsoft, is still powering away – and indeed celebrated its tenth anniversary last year, when we talked to its global CIO. We decided to go back to speak to the firm, in this case with its UK leader, Pam Maynard, to find out what that ten years of operation means in practical terms for the firm and its clients.

Pam Maynard, Avanade

For people who aren’t that familiar with Avanade and what you do, can you give us as it were a ‘view from 30,000 feet’ about how you add value?
Of course. Our repeatable solutions come from the expertise of our thousands of consultants worldwide and thousands of real-world deployments; we have a strong history, with our parent companies providing us with I’d say a very a powerful mix of business, industry, and technology insights for your project. We have a proven history of collaboration, so when we work with a customer we get our best minds together to help solve your business challenges.

What about some facts and figures about your UK presence?
We operate in 26 countries and have about 12,000 staff globally, 250 of which are in the UK. Our client base in this country takes in sectors like the public sector, retail, high-tech, financial services and communications. We’re also, I am glad to say, doing well financially, growing 30% in the last financial year and I’d expect double-digit growth in 2011, too.

Can you tell us about some Avanade clients?
Our UK clients include BT, Tesco, National Rail Enquiries, AstraZeneca and Unilever.

Let’s hear a little bit about a compelling Avanade UK engagement.
Unfortunately I can’t name the customer, but I can tell you it is a major industrial client – a household name. We were able to greatly reduce that company’s ICT overhead by a tremendously successful virtualisation project. In this instance, I can tell you that Avanade’s work came in at 65% compared to the best guess of 40% from a competitor and in terms of day to day business improvement, we’re talking about server build time coming down from two days to two hours.

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I am not sure why you think that’s your ‘best’ story?
It’s a great story in many ways. The customer was already committed to VMware but decided to give Hyper-V a chance – which it more than delivered against expectation, in fact about two to three times in the event. So I’d argue it’s a story about the scalability of Hyper-V – it’s our largest such UK project, without a doubt – as well as one about us delivering real value in terms of significantly reducing infrastructure cost.

What about your role and responsibility in the company?
I have a long history in consulting, starting off with technical consulting at Oracle in fact, though I also had some time building alliances and partnerships at a start-up. I came on board here two and a half years ago and was given the P&L responsibility for leading the UK organisation last September.

Apart from continuing that growth you’ve described, what else do you see as your current objective or mission with Avanade UK?
Patently one of the things I need to do is increase our brand and awareness. But it’s also to work with our customers to help them deal with a very changing technology landscape. So I have a lot of conversations with CIOs, like just last night, about the cloud, about the increasing use of social media, about things like compliance in certain parts of the financial services industry. That all comes under the reach of the idea of customer outreach to me, about talking to the market about what it needs and expects from a company in the position we are in and what we offer.

Maybe we can close with your ‘call to action,’ as it were, to the CBR readership?
I’d say the one thing I really want the CBR CIO reader to take away from this is that transforming IT to take advantage of cloud is becoming a more desirable strategy by the day. But one of the most significant challenges I’d also say to getting there is understanding what to do when – and how to do this while balancing the need to improve IT delivery of those aspects that will inevitably remain in-house.

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