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Get To Know: Avi Raichel, CIO of Zerto

Get To Know: Avi Raichel, CIO of Zerto

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

Throughout my career, I have been lucky to participate and lead a number of major IT projects. I really cannot select a specific one as being the most memorable. Each presented different challenges and I enjoyed working with so many people along the way. I have yet to reach the ‘looking back’ stage of my life, so I would like to think the biggest achievement is yet to come. However, being named Zerto’s CIO was a very exciting moment for me and I’m sure that working with the team to build a world of uninterrupted business will be an unforgettable journey.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

At school, I liked coding a lot. I later became an accountant and during these years I gained valuable business experience, I missed the feeling you get from creating something from scratch. So I made the career change and became a developer. It has been almost 20 years since then and I have never regretted that change for a second.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

I believe in shooting for the stars. I love crafting a vision for how IT will enable Zerto to grow and achieve our business goals and then building a strong team that can deliver on this vision. I enjoy coaching my team to look at everything we do from a business perspective – what difficulty are we solving? How are we saving money, increasing productivity and engagement, or delivering business outcomes?

What do you think will emerge as the technology trend of 2018 and why?

New technologies are redefining the playing field at a pace that we have never seen before. I think artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and IoT have huge potential to disrupt and transform how we do things in many areas. It is not about how ‘cool’ the technology is, rather what type of impact it can have on the business side.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

Most organisations are using cloud and advanced analytics to fuel their digital transformation. For these enterprises, IT is becoming a significant part of the business. While this is great, it does create more exposure to cyber risks. To prepare for these risks, all these organisations are dramatically increasing their investment in cyber security and not only in stronger defence. Building detection and response capabilities is just as important. I think IT resilience is a critical capability needed for digital transformation, protecting the business from disruptions, while enabling proactive changes.

How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office?

As our jobs are demanding and challenging, it is very important to unwind and recharge. I am a die-hard sports fan. I never miss a game of my favourite team – the Buffalo Bills. I am also a season ticket holder for our local football team, Maccabi Tel-Aviv and I enjoy going to games with my son. If there is no game on, I will probably read a science fiction book or listen to some heavy metal.

If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?

I truly have no regrets about my career path. I enjoyed all the roles I filled and learned a lot in each one – from developer, to a team leader, project manager, Director and VP of applications. Now, as Zerto CIO, I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had in my job and I’m sure the best is yet to come.

What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Europe?

I think the challenges of implementing new technologies are mostly global, but for sure GDPR will have a huge impact in Europe. It is critical for organisations to know where they keep their data and have the ability to move it around to ensure compliance. Therefore, data mobility will become another very important muscle for IT to develop.

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?

IT is all about business results. From the day I joined Zerto, we did not look at IT as an overhead and cost centre, but rather an investment to drive business transformation. Whether it is about helping the company to sell more, improving productivity, changing processes to achieve operational excellence, or elevating customer and employee experience, IT is the engine driving these changes. I think this will continue and any remaining borders between IT and business teams will disappear.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?

It is all about driving transformation, so not only do you need to be open to things always changing, you need to love it! Always try to move the goal posts. Constantly evaluate how things are currently done and look for ways for technology to disrupt and improve. And remember, it is not only about technology and business processes. The people who utilise these are just as important, so invest in getting these people ready for the coming changes.

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