We are the Women in Cloud. We solve problems, see possibilities, and create impact. We are making a difference, from the first day of school to the corner office, and from the farmer’s field to the factory floor. This could be you.
The era of boxy old desktops and MS-DOS holds a certain nostalgia value, even if present-day computer users prefer today’s speed and power. For Annie Yan Guo, it was her first encounter with a 386 CPU machine that sparked her fascination with technology. That high school experience of touching the PC keyboard stoked her passion enough to lead to university studies and a career at the leading edge of computing.
A veteran of nearly two decades in China’s expanding technology industry, Annie leads the Financial Cloud team within Deloitte China’s cloud engineering practise. It’s a busy role, as more and more of the country’s finance departments—often in large, traditional enterprises—dip their toes into the waters of cloud migration.
It’s a complex challenge to tackle modernisation of old on-premise architecture, but it’s one she relishes. “In our market, many of our solutions have to deal with a very large number of different systems,” she says. “Our cloud solutions are able to integrate with various systems, which is very important to our clients.”
Annie’s workload is especially full, thanks partly to government regulation requiring all businesses to do away with paper billing and switch to digital invoicing. Her team helps clients migrate their data from legacy systems onto cloud solutions to facilitate the digitalisation. Generally, her team tackles everything from business needs assessment to cloud migration through to the operation of cloud services.
She says many large companies in China, including banks, are extremely cautious about data security and tend to deploy only private cloud solutions, although more institutions are opening up to working with public cloud providers—which as, Annie points out, are at the leading edge of cybersecurity. As the move to cloud broadens, more organisations are also entering the realm of software-as-a service (SaaS) on the cloud.
“Cloud is very flexible. We can use it to help clients do new things, work in different ways and create efficiencies. This is what I find very interesting. The technology landscape has become more complex and clients demand more agility and scalability,“ she says.
Annie’s experience regarding the representation of women in technology is different from her peers in many other parts of the world. In her university classes, nearly half were women. And of the approximately 200 people on Deloitte China’s cloud engineering practice, she says the majority are women. Not all of them are on the engineering side; many work in business analysis, an important component of delivering the most effective solutions to clients. Annie proudly says she is treated equally as a woman in her field, both by clients and colleagues.
Annie came to Deloitte in 2020 with a successful track record in consulting and the SaaS industry, including being one of the first engineers in the Chinese market to deliver the solutions of one of the big global public cloud providers. Noting that Deloitte China recruits many university graduates each year, she’s keen to see new generations of female cloud professionals among them. Hers are most definitely impressive footsteps in which to follow.