Angela Abbot is a tenured employee of Fujitsu, a top 10 global IT service provider, who has a robust understanding of the evolving role of technology and the impact of digital transformation on today’s enterprises.
She joined Fujitsu as a Technical Solution Architect some 16 years ago, and since then Angela has worked across several technology stacks and has developed a deep understanding of hybrid IT service desks and modern workplace environments. Prior to her current role, Angela ran part of Fujitsu’s European portfolio, with a focus on building automation and leveraging data-driven insights within Fujitsu’s go-to-market offerings. “I think a lot of what’s prepared me today is having that good understanding across our technology or business verticals,” says Angela.
At the beginning of 2022, Angela began a new role as Program Lead Architect for Fujitsu’s project called the Intelligent Automation Program. The project’s goal is to drive internal service improvements across the organization with automation, AI, and machine learning. The impact of this project also extends beyond Fujitsu’s internal operations. “As we transform our own services, we’re able to use and consume those tools and technologies into a core integral part of our service, that then becomes an extension into how we can help our customers transform their businesses and services to their consumers,” says Angela.
If someone had told Angela back in university that she would pursue a career in technology, she may not have believed them. “I left university with a degree in geology. Very different sector than what I’m currently in,” she says. “When I left university, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life.” Angela’s love for problem solving and helping people eventually made it clear that technology was the perfect fit. “Somebody introduced me to tools and technology, [and] from there it was simple deciding to go toward engineering… I just sort of fell into the tech game,” she explains.
After university, Angela completed a diploma in PC Engineering, finishing top of her class, and was recruited as an engineer to an American software company. Despite the challenges of being the only woman in the IT department, Angela’s passion for delivering good service and developing her skillset helped her persevere and excel. She eventually moved to the United Kingdom, where she ran support departments and managed cloud, data center, and desktop teams. Angela’s resolve to help and inspire others with technology continues to motivate her to this day, and she cites her technology expertise, leadership experience and passion for technology as major contributors that led her to her current Fujitsu role.
Throughout her career, Angela also established several relationships with mentors who have helped her understand emerging technologies and concepts. “Three of the mentors I leaned on over the last 10 years, whether this is pure coincidence or not, have been women in AI or women in tech. They have all given me something different,” she says. These mentors, which include a senior leader at Fujitsu, a professional coach for senior women in IT, and her current manager, have helped shape how she works and manages teams, as well as provided insight on how to collaborate seamlessly with global groups, despite cultural differences.
Shaping the Technology Landscape of the Present and Future
As someone with a long career in technology, Angela says she continues to be drawn to the evolving nature of the field. “It’s always exciting and challenging. Tech evolves so fast,” she notes. At Fujitsu, Angela is excited to see how technology will continue to transform its service delivery operations: “We are now moving away from being a services company that used to just deploy a lot of people to deliver services to now technology is shifting the way we deliver services, allowing us to rapidly adopt and adapt market changes.”
Angela also understands that some people fear that AI will take jobs from humans. However, she points out how the attrition of jobs from humans to technology is not a new phenomenon. “We’ve had it in factory environments before, where we moved away naturally from people manufacturing every bit of a car manually to more and more machine involvement,” Angela points out. “This freed up the workforce to then focus on more valuable activities and it’s also allowing our workforce to focus on new emerging technology.”
Compared with years previous, however, Angela says peoples’ attitudes towards AI and automation have started to shift, especially as organizations have grown reliant on technology to support remote and hybrid work. At Fujitsu in particular, Angela describes how the role of technology has changed the way the company operates. “We’re moving away from thinking [of] technology as just being a component that delivers a service and more towards thinking about how technology can enable the services that we deliver to customers,” she explains. “We’re moving away from repetitive mundane tasks and focusing on the upscaling of our staff.”
Angela is excited to see how Fujitsu will continue to leverage technology in areas such as medicine and pharmaceuticals, specifically for genome sequencing, pattern recognition and genetic cancer treatments. In the future, she also hopes AI will help humanity reach its climate change goals for sustainability.
Angela also hopes persistent bias towards women in STEM will evolve as well. “There is still a little bit of unconscious bias and I do think that’s up to women who come into STEM to challenge it,” she says. “We need to make sure that people are empowered, to make sure that they feel comfortable in challenging the status quo.”
That said, Angela already sees increased representation in STEM, especially as more industries invest in technology. Nowadays, the opportunities for technology are endless — for example, it can drive medical advancements, support sustainability initiatives, and help to reduce CO2 emissions. Given the wide-ranging applications for technology, Angela believes STEM careers have become more appealing to a more diverse group than ever before. “I do see a big shift in women recognizing that there’s more to AI and tech than there was 10 or 15 years ago when we were living in a far more male dominated tech world,” she says.
Angela is a woman in AI who has overcome unconscious bias to excel in the technology field and has thus accumulated invaluable insight for women currently pursuing STEM careers. She encourages women to not be afraid and to challenge unconscious biases toward women, and says the time is now to get involved in the field. “You don’t have to be a programmer or rocket scientist to start your career in STEM,” she explains. “If you look at where I came in from, as a desktop support engineer, it opened a multitude of doors and enabled an expansive career path for me.”
Finally, Angela reminds women that regardless of their position in a company, their voice matters. As she states: “People should have the freedom to be able to voice those ideas and know that their contributions are equally important.”