You never know what you are capable of until you try it

Joris Callaert (27), joined Accenture in 2018 as a Business and Integration Architecture Analyst and has since been promoted to Specialist. “I’m a bit of an entrepreneur and I like bringing people together. That’s also what I do at Accenture. Besides working with stakeholders on projects, I drive internal initiatives, such as the Accenture Podium, a platform for people to share personal and professional stories with colleagues.”

As a member of the SAP supply chain team, your role is similar to that of a translator, don’t you think?

You could describe it that way. I’m responsible for talking to clients, learning about how their processes work and how we can improve them in SAP. Before making a proposal, we first need to understand their current ways of working, configurations and setups. That’s where my role is similar to a translator. You need to speak both languages: practical and technical. We translate business needs into IT functionalities and specifications and make sure that in the end the system meets the expectations of the client.

Can you give us an example of a nice project you’re working on?

We’re currently transforming the ‘old’ system of a client into a new SAP system. This is challenging work, because the two systems have very different languages and especially methodologies. We have to find a balance between the two. This means looking at and understanding elements such as master data, orders, invoices… from different perspectives. Another fun project I recently did was creating an interface to automate the invoicing flow in SAP. These types of projects typically involve managing a lot of different stakeholders who must agree and understand the full process. Of course, this is challenging, but at the same time it’s fun to bring all these people together.

Any international ambitions?

Actually, I’m really looking forward to going to Sweden and meeting colleagues working on an international project I’m involved in. It will be my first experience of working abroad and with a very multi-cultural team.

What inspires you in your daily work?

I really enjoy the many internal projects at Accenture. We are given lots of opportunities to take initiative in areas that interest us. For example, I’m driving the Accenture Podium initiative, which provides a platform for colleagues to share their stories in an engaging way. During 30-minute sessions, people can tell a personal or professional story. It’s amazing what you learn! In terms of our clients, it’s the gratitude and trust they show in us that gives me energy. Being able to explain a new solution or show how the issues they are currently facing will be resolved, and then seeing the client’s relief really energizes me.

What convinced you to work for Accenture?

I was contacted by someone on LinkedIn while I was still studying. At that stage, I hadn’t thought much about what I would do after university. But it was a very nice conversation, and it didn't feel too ‘work’ related. I’m still happy with my choice. I have freedom to explore new areas of interest and everyone is very approachable. Of course, we all have different levels and roles, but you don’t feel it.

What do you think is the biggest myth about Accenture?

I initially thought that being a consultant meant you had to go to clients and tell them what to do! I was fresh from university and thought who am I to tell experienced people what to do? But in the end, this is absolutely not the case. We don’t tell our clients what to do; we help them to improve by working together, giving advice and making suggestions on how to overcome the challenges they are facing while bringing them the combined knowledge and experience of Accenture to create tailored solutions. This often results in changing their way of working.

How do you see yourself as a changemaker?

Last summer, we could choose a book from a list of 10 titles recommended by our leadership team. I chose ‘Think Again’ by Adam Grant, which is all about rethinking and questioning your opinions and traditional ways of doing things. That’s what I want to do. Traditions are nice, but we have to be open to different perspectives and flexible enough to change. Our clients face the same challenge. They want to keep doing things the way they have always been done, for the obvious reason that it feels safe and comfortable. Our role is to help them see that change can be positive and help them to improve.

How would you describe your next new colleague?

My ideal colleague should be open, able to speak up, and eager to learn new things. Someone who is ready to receive and give honest feedback and takes time to have genuine conversations and build trust.

What’s your life motto?

You never know what you are capable of until you try it”. At school I was not the sporty type, but at university I started running and participated in running events. That was something I never thought I’d be able to do. At high school I wrote and self-published a book. During lockdown, I began painting, sculpting… My friends always joke about my many ‘talents’. But in my opinion, I’m no more talented than they are. I’m just not afraid to learn new skills or dive into new topics. I live by this in my professional and personal life. If I fail, at least I’ve tried and if I succeed, I’ve gained a new skill.

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