09 Mar 2021 Spotlight on EY’s Regional Technology Hub
Describe your company and its product.
At EY, we’re all about empowering clients to develop and adopt new solutions they will love, use and value. That means offering insight and best-in-class assurance, tax, consulting, strategy and transactions services that enable our clients to solve tough challenges and seize amazing opportunities. We achieve that through our Regional Technology Hub by marrying client needs with innovative ideas, and cutting-edge technologies, that help companies to transform at speed.
What year did your company start?
EY Canada has been working alongside clients from coast to coast for more than 150 years. Our Regional Technology Hub in Vancouver has been furthering that mission since 2019.
Which city (or cities) are you located?
At EY, we think global and enable local. How? By drawing on the expertise of our people in 150 countries, as well as Canadian teams in Vancouver, Victoria, and 14 other cities nationally.
Describe your company culture in three words.
How do you celebrate company or employee wins?
Our people are our greatest asset. We’ve woven that philosophy right into our culture, and backed it up with peer- and manager-led recognition programs at the local and national level. We also recognize folks through premiere global programs, like our Better Begins With You awards. Encouraging everyone to recognize above-and-beyond success enables our people to lead by example, learn from one another and grow.
What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
Every organization’s needs are unique. We know that tech is critical to operating efficiently, meeting regulatory requirements, mitigating external threats, remaining competitive and achieving bold ambitions. By bringing together our tech capabilities, industry and regulatory knowledge, finance discipline and geographic reach, we help clients meet those challenges head on, transforming at speed even as emerging technologies change the game in real time.
What is your biggest milestone to date?
It’s official: we just celebrated our first year anniversary here at the Regional Technology Hub and that milestone feels huge given we launched just ahead of the global pandemic. Using the right tools, we developed new solutions to help our clients navigate this tumultuous time, and unearth a wealth of insight that’s already fueling the long-term decisions they’ll make next.
What is your biggest challenge?
Meeting demand, which is a good challenge to have. We’re growing incredibly fast and need to foster that growth by continuing to hire exceptional Canadian talent.
What is your motto?
Building a better working world isn’t just our motto; it’s our purpose. We achieve that every day by delivering the kind of world-class technology solutions that generate exceptional customer outcomes and experiences.
How are you making an impact?
We make an impact by putting people—our clients, and their clients—at the heart of everything we do. We focus on powering the human enterprise by delivering tech solutions created by real people, to solve real problems, for real businesses and entrepreneurs. Any time a cutting-edge solution we’ve designed allows a business to run better, innovate faster, or help sooner, we feel like we’ve made a difference.
What is your hope for the future of tech in BC?
From location and funding to top talent and a spirit of entrepreneurship: B.C. has all the right ingredients for a rich future, grounded in tech. I hope that as more tech companies migrate here, we’ll tip the growth scales towards becoming a truly diverse Silicon Valley North, ripe with thriving tech and product companies.
Lightning Round with Sasi Akkiraju, Technology Centre Head
What excites you about your job?
People, people, people. I get excited working closely with clients and our own amazing team to solve problems in ways that make an impact from the get go.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
Focusing on short-term delivery vs. embracing long-term strategy. In the tech industry, it’s a fine line between balancing adoption, value and impact in ways that still drive instant gratification. It’s always critical to plan ahead, and lay the foundation to disrupt.
Wildest thing you ever done?
Other than moving to Vancouver during a pandemic? ?
Hands down: cycling on the highest motorable road in the world, Khardungla pass in the Himalayas!
What are your pet peeves?
Coffee must be hot, and freshly made! Interviews always must be in the morning; never in the afternoon.
Words of wisdom to other tech CEOs or founders?
In today’s tech world, measurement is key. But it’s not just a matter of getting the numbers; you’ve got to get the right numbers and metrics to unleash their full potential.
Favorite city you visited?
I love Thimphu (capital of Bhutan) for its views, and the happy people there.
What is your formula for success?
- Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
- Make quick decisions, and review.
- Measure everything. No exceptions!
Name one book that everyone should read.
Endurance, by Alfred Lansing.
A book described as the benchmark for modern heroism, this telling of the epic journey by Ernest Shackleton to reach the south pole has adventure, drama and plenty of examples of what it means to lead people!
How do you decompress?
Birdwatching and wildlife photography. Let’s one go outdoors and disconnect – an aspect of Vancouver I absolutely love!
Shawshank Redemption, without question.