30,000 professionals strong: Avanade hits milestone
- Posted on August 10, 2017
- Estimated reading time 5 minutes
In the last 17 years, Avanade has grown from a start-up to a technology powerhouse with global reach with 30,000 employees. To mark this milestone, two employees sat down for a conversation about Avanade then and now:
Linh Nguyen is Avanade employee #1. He joined the company when it was still little more than a dream in its founders' eyes. Originally an "engineer type" whose team developed Avanade Connected Methods, ACA.net and other Avanade mainstay technologies, today he is a sales executive, leading the U.S. Gulf Coast territory and working with oil and gas companies.
Kim Tang joined Avanade in May 2017 as a member of the UK Change Enablement team.
Kim: Seventeen years is a long time today to stay at one company. What made you stay?
Linh: Our people, the folks we bring in, like yourself. We constantly get the best. Our people are passionate, they're full of energy. I tell my wife, "I don't know why they call it work. To me, it really isn't." I also am passionate about the chance we have every day to make a difference. Even when I was growing with the company, every day I got to make decisions, large or small, that impact our people, our clients, our partners. Every day I try to make the right decisions as best I can. It is something I am passionate about.
Kim: You must have seen a number of changes in leadership and how things are run. Has there ever been a period when you didn't agree with the way things were going? How did you handle that?
Linh: I am the kind of person who looks at a glass as half full. I focus on two very important things: take care of our clients and our people. At the end of the day, it is about packaging the best of Avanade to bring to our clients. By focusing on our clients and people, I am able to not get frustrated.
Kim: What has changed the most over time?
Linh: Of course, in the beginning, we had a very start-up culture. We had a lot of passion. Our strategy and vision hasn't changed that much. Our mission can change. Probably the biggest change is in some of our business systems. As we have continued to evolve, we are becoming more like Accenture.
Kim: How do we keep our separate identity? That is why I joined the company.
Linh: It is all about recruiting and bringing in people who are passionate and who value innovation. Then it is up to each of us to say, 'We are Avanade.'
Linh: Now it is my turn. I still do a lot of recruiting. I am interested: what made you join Avanade?
Kim: I had mostly worked for competitors in a similar role. Every now and again, you encounter people who talk about other consultancies. I heard a lot about Avanade, and everyone had a lot of good things to say about it. So I had a positive impression about what it would be like to join a company that is seen as reputable and does well on projects.
So when I saw an opportunity on LinkedIn, I sent in an application – and the recruitment process solidified my impressions. I was really impressed how personable and how excited the people I interviewed with were about having someone new on board. They spoke very highly of their team and their projects. To me it is important to see how companies treat their prospective employees. The recruitment process indicated how well I would be treated if I joined.
Linh: What is your impression now that you have been here for 2 or 3 months?
Kim: The organizations I worked with previously were smaller. Your colleagues felt like family. So I was a bit worried about moving to a bigger workplace. Would it feel more corporate? I knew I was moving to a different cultural environment. However, after my first day in the office I realized everyone was friendly and very approachable. I definitely still think my original impressions are true.
Linh: People ask me how long I will stay at Avanade. I tell them I will be here until they name a conference room in Seattle after me! Do you see yourself staying for a few years? Do you see this as a landing spot – or a stepping stone?
Kim: I took on my previous roles as learning experiences. I think everyone moves around a lot more these days. But now I see this as somewhere I can grow my career. There is so much opportunity. Within my Talent Community, there is an opportunity to grow as our team grows. There may be opportunities in other TCs, perhaps even moving abroad. This is definitely somewhere I see myself staying for a long time.
Linh: Have you had a chance to meet U.K. GM Darren Hardman?
Kim: Yes! I met him even before I joined the company. We did a 5K run in Battersea Park and he joined us.
Linh: Don't be fooled! He is not as young as he looks!
Kim: Do you think you would join Avanade today?
Linh: Most definitely. I started my career as a technical person. I never thought of myself as a sales guy, however I kind of grew into that role. I found that working with clients is a passion of mine. We work with all the best clients. I believe in the Microsoft platform and what it can do for our clients.