Today’s post was written by Stephen Cutchins CIO and accessibility lead at Accenture.
Diversity at Accenture is a source of strength; the wealth of different perspectives and skillsets that our employees bring to the table keeps us leading in our field. Achieving more as a company starts with addressing the needs of every single employee in our workforce. I am passionate about accessibility. I grew up with two cousins with disabilities and it shaped my outlook on the whole idea of inclusion in the workplace. Accessible technology is about one thing—fitting the tools to the humans who use them—and I’m fortunate to work with a company that shares my vision. I wanted to create an accessibility practice at Accenture, and to that end, I started as the first employee in the CIO’s Center for Excellence, where we look at finding the right tools for an inclusive workplace. And when it comes to business tools, we see Microsoft as a leader in inclusive technology and a great partner, a perfect match for our goals to put technology to work empowering every one of our employees. In fact, we now take it for granted that the experiences within Microsoft 365 are going to work well for our employees.
As a human-centric company, our workplace initiatives are designed to bring the conversation about accessibility to the forefront, encouraging an open dialogue about how we can support employees’ needs in the workplace. Accenture runs on Office 365 productivity services that include a wealth of built-in accessibility features. The Microsoft approach of “accessibility by design” matches our philosophy that accessibility is not an add-on or an afterthought, but an inherent part of the technology we use to communicate and collaborate as an organization.
The ability to collaborate effectively with your colleagues to get work done is the baseline of any productive organization. A lot of credit goes to accessibility features in Office 365 ProPlus applications—such as Skype for Business, Word, and Outlook—for helping us tap into the incredible resources in our company. Daily Skype voice and video calls become transformative when people who are blind or motor-disabled can participate by using JAWS screen reader for Windows or voice dictation software. Even minor changes can have an enormous impact. I was excited to see that when Microsoft moved the Accessibility Checker front and center in Word, near the spell check, it raised awareness of both the feature itself and the need to use it. We are all of different abilities, and learning to consider the full range of situations across the disability spectrum means employees will use the tools at hand for better communication and collaboration with everyone.
It gives me enormous satisfaction that our inclusive workplace, with Microsoft technologies, engages our employees to do their best work and to help them realize their true potential and grow as human beings. Everyone benefits.
Read the case study to learn more about how Accenture is empowering its workforce with the intuitive accessibility tools built into Windows 10 and Office 365.