What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
Building and leaving a legacy behind at Axis, not simply because of securing large orders and deals, but through building the organisation and laying a foundation of success within the EMEA region. In my time as Regional Director, we have established trusted relationships with partners and customers and as a result my team has been able to unlock extensive growth potential in the region. Beyond the business, a personal triumph for me has been ensuring I get that delicate work-life balance right and take time for my family and my children.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
I have always been interested in technology, the constant development and innovation is what originally attracted me to this industry. I originally started in the telecommunications field and then got drawn to the security industry. It is such a dynamic and innovative market where change is your constant – I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
I try and be as open, transparent and approachable as possible, taking time out to meet with staff at all levels of the Axis organisation. I believe that by asking people questions, prodding them on their ideas and asking them ‘why’ they believe certain things, or “why” they see things in a certain way, can give a unique all-encompassing view of the business. As someone who likes to mentor people, I think this approach goes a long way towards enabling and empowering people to think beyond the box. I am also someone who likes to delegate tasks and in doing so, I am growing an individual’s skillset.
Something very important to me is involving my team in the decision-making process and to strive to build an open platform for discussion where I can involve every staff member and when we reach consensus, knowing that everyone has been part of the process. When you get this right, team members are far more supportive of ideas when it comes to implementing strategy and plans.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
The big touch points right now are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Big Data. While there is a lot of hype around these technologies, as a business we have to look at the reality versus hype and identify where we can implement these today and how we should be gearing ourselves to implement them in the future. You have to take a step back from the ‘excitement’ as executing and implementing new technologies can be difficult when they are still in a ‘hype’ cycle. That said, as innovators, Axis is always looking at how new technology will positively impact the solutions we provide our customers.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
I enjoy a nice glass of wine and I love sports, movies and exercise. I always feel that the best ideas come to you when you are taking time out to relax. My family is exceptionally important to me and I enjoy spending time with them, which is why I place such emphasis on a work-life balance.
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?
I have a deep love for sustainability matters, including conservation of our planet and the climate issues facing us today. In addition, one of my passions is looking for ways to better conquer the waste management crisis facing our planet. I would love to get more involved with CSR activities that drive awareness and support the fight in tackling these issues.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Analytics is really the next step in the development of advancing chip sets in our business. At Axis, we are always looking to optimise the usage of the infrastructure already in place, and one way that this will really come to fruition is by making the cameras and the software solutions managing them more intelligent.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Africa?
Africa is an exceptionally innovative region, however there are still some markets where there is a dearth of quality infrastructure and some lack the fibre speeds that are the catalysts needed for innovation. These challenges make technology expensive as in some instances you can’t leverage a legacy environment to build a solution. That said, I have seen some of the most creative concepts come out of the continent, as challenges often breed creativity and as Africans are eager to compete on a global stage, they are constantly looking at different ways of doing things to achieve their goals.
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?
The technology market in general is facing challenges and as a result there is a fair amount of uncertainty which then shrinks the available investment. Remember, a stable industry and environment breeds growth, and while the market is in a bit of flux, we are also facing myriad political and economic challenges across many regions. This makes it difficult for businesses to make decisions about their future and to invest in a market.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?
Build a network of contacts with influential people and do not be afraid of approaching people at a higher level than you and having a discussion with them. I also suggest you listen to leaders in your field and ask them the tough questions you have. On a personal level, you must be open to advice and constructive criticism. Ask the people in your networks for guidance and use the experience you glean to grow yourself. Remember, it is also important to have a network of peers outside of your work environment that you can tap into.