Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 25 - Page 82

GET TO KNOW is a huge trend that has started to take off in 2019 and will continue to be relevant well into 2020. What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry? Organisations are starting to realise that putting the right infrastructure in place is the first step in making their Digital Transformation projects a success. With that in mind, many businesses are increasingly investing in both physical and virtual networking solutions that help them lay the foundations to change their operations and processes in the future. Security, AI and cloud-based solutions are in particularly high demand, as well as any other flexible solutions that can scale alongside a business. With most organisations being in the process of undergoing some form of Digital Transformation, I believe advanced network infrastructure and solutions will continue to be a major area of investment in the near future. How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office? I love watching sports of any kind, particularly when either my kids or my favourite football team, Liverpool FC, are involved. This isn’t necessarily always the most relaxing way to unwind but it is definitely exciting and helps take my mind off things. “ A POSITIVE, CURIOUS AND OPEN MINDSET ARE ESSENTIAL FOR ANYONE THAT ASPIRES TO BECOME A SENIOR LEADER WITHIN THEIR ORGANISATION. If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be? I would have become involved in data networking earlier. I started my career in FMCG and moved into voice later on, but the networking industry is still the most exciting I’ve seen to date. What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Europe? I think the differences between European markets and regions such as North America tend to be overstated. Both are characterised by forward-thinking businesses looking to integrate new solutions that will drive value for their organisations. Within EMEA, we do have different drivers that create fantastic diversity. I would describe Western Europe as an innovation-driven economy. With less natural resources and mature markets, this region needs to innovate against other low-cost economies driving a huge focus on Digital Transformation. When you look at some of the other markets like Russia, Turkey and the Middle East, you can see pockets of innovation where they are applying the very latest technology to completely greenfield sites like Smart Cities. This range makes it one of the most vibrant markets to work in. What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months? One of the reasons it’s so exciting to work for a forward-thinking company like Extreme is that we as an organisation are constantly innovating in order to support our customers in the best way possible. A great example of this is our recent acquisition of Aerohive. Bringing in new cloud capabilities as well as new talent has really expanded what we can offer our customers. It’s been rewarding to see Extreme’s offering mature with the development of cloud, security and eSports-specific solutions in the last year and I am incredibly excited about what lies ahead for Extreme. What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry? Fundamentally, the networking sector and, more broadly, the IT industry aren’t too different from most other industries. To progress within an organisation and obtain a C-level position, many years of hard work, a deep understanding of current and future customer needs, as well as extensive knowledge about the trends defining our industry today, are required. A willingness to learn and the ability to creatively overcome challenges are also hugely beneficial. Finally, a positive, curious and open mindset are essential for anyone that aspires to become a senior leader within their organisation. n 82 INTELLIGENTCIO