Interview with Edge Women of the Year Finalist. Nitu Kaushal – Managing Director, Cloud First Intelligent Edge Business at Accenture
In the lead-up to Edge Computing World, we’re taking some time to speak to this year’s finalists for The Edge Women of the Year Award.
Today we’re talking to Nitu Kaushal – Managing Director, Cloud First Intelligent Edge Business at Accenture
- How do you see the edge market developing over the next few years?
The edge market is still fairly new, I see it how M2M/IOT was 10 years ago; New and emerging. However, Gartner quotes ‘75% of workloads will either be created or processed at the edge by 2025’ which is a huge and rapid changing arena. Also 2025 is not far away. This big change will be influenced by a few changing forces;
(1) IoT and devices. With more assets being connected, more data than ever is being processed and to drive action led results in real time requires smarter ways to process data at the source of data creation.
(2) 5G. 5G is being rolled out and the telco community has been working hard to integrate compute and storage into the 5G core network to create ‘network edge’ solutions. This now addresses all moving connected assets over 100s kms. As these network edges become available, assets which can move (like cars) will become intelligent devices easily communicating with road infrastructure, other cars and any other connected asset.
(3) AI. Automation and needs for faster turn arounds in break fix environments has already changed the manufacturing industry. Now with the need to take this to the next level and integrate ‘local AI’ into retail shop floors for improved consumer buying experiences, pharmaceutical labs for image processing, smart grids for distributed energy generation and consumption, stadiums for AR integrated fan experiences are just some examples of changing areas over the next 10 years.
However today, for the regular enterprise it’s still not a technology they are aware of, so as a technology leader, I feel we also have to educate the market and share the art of the possible.
- How does diversity benefit the edge environment?
For me this is really simple. It’s not really to do with any specific technology, Edge, 5G, IoT or AI, but our clients are diverse, we are diverse, so everything we do to support our client needs, propose solutions, architect them, build solutions, develop software and support our clients thereafter, must all come from a diversity at the core. This way we build in different perspectives, thought processes and freedom for our teams to speak up.
- Tell us one lesson you’ve learned that’s unique to being a female leader in the Edge space.
Seeing as Edge is a new emerging market, I see this area to amplify the lack of gender diversity within it’s domain. I see it as my personal responsibly to help shape up this market, drive a gender balance across the board and give both men and women the confidence to work in such a new, complex, distributed high tech field. If we can get it right from the beginning, we will then be able to attract, retain and promote talent within this area. Once Edge hits mainstream, it will be part of every cloud solution, an area we will all need to know about and therefore a brilliant opportunity for us to help shape the talent force of the future.
- What advice would you give to other women entering the edge space?
I would say if you like what new technology can do for people’s lives, businesses and the environment, then Edge is the place for you. People with an entrepreneurship/intraprenurship mentally will do very well here. It will for sure be complex as the ecosystem matures and providers make decisions on their edge products, offerings or services but building these partnerships early positions you carefully to build some of the world’s best first of a kind solutions!
- What are some ways in which you have helped to support and lift other women in the space up?
Technology and supporting gender diversity are key passions of mine. I have been lucky to have been the co chair of the women’s community at both HPE and London Business School, a sponsor of our Accent on Gender group at Accenture, mentor and sponsor of the ‘Rebus Change the Board’ programme run by Odgers Berndston, catalyst for a series of STEM initiatives and support a variety of VCs in the tech start up world, all positions I leverage to promote female talent into technology.
It’s enabled me to expand my network, promote people who are ready for their next move and help female founders raise funds for their next round of investment needs (building business plans and testing out pitches).
It’s not just about women for me, there are brilliant male leaders in my working groups who are keen to support a wider gender balance whom I enable to drive a more balanced and bias free way of working.
A big recognition goes to inspiring female leaders and manbassadors who have shown me how a bit of help can go a long way for our people.