Introducing Roy Ikink, Managing Director and Lead Accenture Cloud First, the Netherlands

Recently, Roy Ikink was appointed as the lead of Accenture Cloud First in the Netherlands. For the father of three, it’s a dream come true. “Leading this practice gives me the chance to combine the two jobs that I have been doing over the past 17 years and love most: advising clients about technology, and managing large transformation projects for those clients.” 

“I studied applied physics at the University of Twente. I didn’t have a clear idea about what career I wanted to pursue after graduation; I simply liked physics and figured I’d enjoy studying it. When I was approached by one of Accenture’s recruiters shortly after completing my degree, I went into the conversation with an open mind. I knew that some of the people who had studied with me worked at Accenture and really enjoyed it there. I decided to take the plunge, accept the job offer and just see where it would take me.” 

“If you told me back then that I would still be working for the company today, and have made it to a managing director position, I would never have believed you. And yet here I am, 17 years later, still thoroughly enjoying my job. I have never really done any long-term career planning. I have broad interests and my main strengths (according to the StrengthsFinder test) are ‘Strategic’, ‘Achiever’, ‘Activator’, and ‘Communicate’. I’ve always had the luxury of working with great leaders who have given me the freedom and responsibility to use these strengths. This gave me the opportunity to learn along the way and grow into my current role.” 

“Working on complex challenges for clients is the part of my job that I love most. I find it very fulfilling to work with a talented team – one that draws on the abilities of both our internal staff and those of the client – to move towards clear goals. I enjoy setting out a good strategy that details the project approach, governance and roadmap, and then giving everything we’ve got to execute it successfully. That feeling of reaching a goal still gives me the most satisfaction. I will never forget a speech that one of my clients made at the start of a complex project. He said it’s very important to finish the project on time, within budget and the expected scope. But he also encouraged everyone to see the process as a learning journey and to enjoy the ride as well. Although there's nothing better than successfully achieving a goal, over the years, I've learned to enjoy the ride too.” 

Accenture Cloud First: novelty, excitement and huge potential for change

“I was appointed as the lead of Accenture Cloud First in the Netherlands this past March. Accenture Cloud First integrates the company’s wide-ranging cloud expertise to help clients across every industry accelerate their digital transformation and realize greater value at speed and scale by rapidly becoming ‘cloud first’ businesses. It enables organizations to look at their processes differently, and reimagine every aspect of their business. Not only do ‘cloud first’ businesses run more efficiently and cost-effectively, but they also operate more sustainably. There are still so many new cloud services and capabilities out there that we could be, and will be, leveraging to help organizations further. Essentially, Accenture Cloud First aims to bring together the worlds of digital technology, infrastructure and transformation.”

“For me personally, the chance to lead this field of work is an absolute highlight. I love the novelty of Accenture Cloud First and how it’s facilitating a massive change for companies and society – it’s really exciting to play a part in achieving that change. The two pursuits I’ve enjoyed the most over the past 17 years – running large transformation projects and advising companies about technology – have finally come together. It’s also fantastic to be able to do this work with such a talented and diverse team. This group is a great reflection of the scope of Accenture Cloud First, as it brings together so many different skills and perspectives, and covers so many domains – from advice to execution, technology to people, data and artificial intelligence to workforce transformation, and everything in between. It’s really a team of teams and a culture of cultures, so to speak. Diversity is one of our biggest strengths. Not just in my team, but in the entire organization.”

Taking the wheel to achieve work-life balance

“I met my partner, Elise, during an Accenture management training session – we’d both recently been promoted. She left Accenture to join Shell a little over a year ago. Our children, Thijmen, Silvijn and Noortje-Sophie, are eight, six and two years old respectively. It can be quite demanding for the two of us to hold down full-time jobs while also parenting three kids, but we manage just fine. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance has always come quite naturally to me. I make the decision to take control over how much time I spend on work, versus with my family. Sure, I’ve worked long hours from time to time over the past years, but I have also always made sure to respect my own boundaries. I open my laptop at night if it’s necessary, or if there’s something I really want to work on. Similarly, if I feel like going for a run at midday, I’ll do that just as easily. Or I’ll take one of the kids to their hockey match and watch the game without feeling guilty. In that sense, the move to remote working this past year was a blessing in disguise: being able to have breakfast and dinner with my family every day has been a real gift.” 

“As a father, I also tend to act on gut instincts a lot. Like my own father, I can be very strict, but I’m extremely proud of my children. Elise and I divide the domestic chores between us equally (although the reality is that she is better at prioritizing than I am). My happiest moments are when we’re all together on a Saturday morning and everyone is merrily doing their own thing. Total harmony in the house, with a newspaper and a cup of coffee. Going for walks together is one of our favorite things to do – especially now with the COVID situation, of course. We love spending time in nature, and our kids are more relaxed after a two-hour stroll, too.” 

“Sustainability plays an important role in our household. Elise is the one who brought sustainable practices into our home, but they were enthusiastically embraced by all of us. For us, prioritizing sustainability goes beyond banning plastics wherever we can, to, having solar panels and a green roof, and recycling as much as possible. I often overhear Thijmen asking other parents at hockey games why they came by car, when they could have just as easily cycled there. It makes me proud to see my children so aware of an issue that is so tremendously important.” 

What I do

I help companies to accelerate their digital transformation by assisting them with complex IT and cloud projects 

A day in my life

I most enjoy the days I get to engage with clients about real problems. Internal meetings are not my favorite – they don’t give me half as much energy as I get from a session with a client, spent unraveling a problem and working towards a possible solution. My best days are those when I feel like we’re truly adding value and making an impact 

Advice to fellow and future colleagues

Shape your own path, surround yourself with people who are better than you and try to keep your outlook positive and light-hearted. We sometimes make things a bit too heavy and complex 

Roy Ikink (1979)

Studied: MSc Applied Physics, University of Twente (2003)

Started working at Accenture: February 2004

Relationship status: Living with Elise; father to Thijmen (8), Silvijn (6) and Noortje-Sophie (nearly 3)

Loves: Good food, hugging my children and project launches (go-lives) 

Gets annoyed by: Slow people and processes 

Favorite food: Sushi, pancakes and Elise’s steak bavette

On my nightstand: My iPad, phone and Apple Watch. And a large pile of books that I really hope I’ll grant myself the time and peace to read one day

Listens to: Racoon, Acda en De Munnik, and German Schlager music 

Last purchase: A new bed (and it really helped with my back pain)

Would like to sit next to in the plane: No one, really. I probably wouldn’t start a conversation anyway. I’d prefer to read a book or some magazines on my iPad 

Life-changing event: My dad’s illness. After being hospitalized several times and ending up in a coma, he underwent a double-lung transplant eight years ago. This was followed by six beautiful years that he and my mother called their “spare time”. Then one of his lungs became infected. He sadly passed away last year, aged 66. I wish he had the opportunity to spend more time with my mom and his grandchildren

The best lesson life has taught me: It’s a terrible cliché, but there is so much truth in it: Try to enjoy every day as much as you can, as life really can be over before you know it (and that frightens me)

What I learned recently: That diversity is extremely valuable, but people should stop looking at it as just a gender issue. Diversity goes far beyond that

Most beautiful place on earth: Home

Hobbies/passions: Running, skiing and enjoying quality time with my family

What my colleagues don’t know about me: That I spend most car rides listening to (and singing along to) German Schlager music

Life motto: ‘Act normal, as that’s crazy enough’