On the lighter side of things we ask Rob Stummer, APAC CEO at SYSPRO, what makes him tick.
- What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
My most memorable achievements are always centred around helping others succeed and feeling a sense of worth and accomplishment. It’s always a great feeling when I know that I’ve done something difficult and worthwhile under significant pressure, to ultimately succeed. I’ve always found myself in leadership roles facing turnaround situations, where resilience, true collaboration and highly strategic decisions have a major impact on the positive outcome. I’ve managed to successfully scale and grow a number of businesses which I’m extremely proud of.
- What first made you think of a career in technology?
I’ve always been intrigued by how technology is connected to progress and innovation. I completed my Master’s Degree in Information Technology at the beginning of the Internet revolution and it struck me very quickly how it had enormous power to change thoughts and contemplations in the real world. If technology is controlled adequately, it can ultimately transpire into something useful for society and for the greater advancement of human life. Since completing my thesis on ‘The impact of Technology Innovation on business‘, I have never looked back and have since witnessed first-hand how it has brought extravagance and advantage to the life of normal individuals. Every day is an exciting day when you work in the technology industry.
- What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
My management philosophy is based on accountability, loyalty and trust. Setting a clear vision, creating a strategy with purpose and then connecting people through collaboration, engagement and open communication is what I believe drives success. I understand the importance of aligning strategy, leadership and culture to deliver sustainable results for all stakeholders. My number one priority is to foster and drive a strong culture, where everyone in the business is proud of what we stand for, coupled with the contribution we are making to the broader community.
- What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
Hyper-automation is a topic that is raised with many of our customers right now. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are now being used to simplify operations (not just tasks) in ways that are far more impactful than conventional automation capabilities. These new technologies ultimately make processes and operations run on their own. Hyper-automation involves a combination of tools to help simulate aspects of where the person is engaged in a job. It takes work management to another stage, as hyper-automation understands the range of tasks that can be automated, what’s required to put this into action and how individual elements of the activity should work together to achieve the desired outcome. Whether it’s by managing contracts or fixing IT failings, hyper-automation frees up valuable time for people across the organisation, enabling them to focus on other business-critical tasks.
- How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
To unwind, I like to be in the great outdoors as much as I can, preferably on the beach, and even in winter. When I spend time in nature, it naturally calms me and gives me a feeling of inner peace. It’s always a bonus if the sun is shining for a dose of vitamin D as well because I find that sunshine is an excellent mood booster for me. Having a round of golf used to always de-stress me as well, however my game is deteriorating at a rapid rate and no doubt helping contribute to the grey hair starting to creep in.
- What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
To start with, I am a big advocate that today, all companies are tech companies; and all CEOs are tech CEOs. The technology path you choose now will determine your company’s financial success. Every business, in every industry, is increasingly turning to technology-based innovation to disrupt the competitive status quo. New technologies, including AI and cloud, will open up almost limitless possibilities for transforming business processes by lowering prediction and computation costs. Lifting and shifting applications to the cloud is the major area of current investment in our industry. Migrating to the cloud reduces data storage and computation costs and it is also critical to decouple data from old legacy infrastructure. The strongest leaders in our industry see the cloud not simply as a data centre, but as a catalyst for innovation across silos and businesses.
- What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in the APAC?
Organisations throughout Asia Pacific are steadily moving business-critical data and workloads to cloud ERP systems, such as SYSPRO. As evidenced by the current COVID-19 crisis, real-time reporting about supply, demand and operations is absolutely critical for manufacturers. Given that ERP systems are the ‘backbone’ for manufacturers, based on the size and complexity of their global supply chains, these businesses need to ensure that the ERP system implemented has the capability to give senior management the correct (real-time) data and information to assist them to anticipate other challenges they may face, to avoid costly delays or disruptions to their operations. One of the biggest challenges of doing business in APAC is the diversity and complexity of all of the countries in the region. Given the diversity of data protection and privacy laws in the Asia-Pacific region and the consequences from violating such laws, companies must always consider developing a strategy to manage data risks.
- 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?
My role was originally to head up the Australasian region for SYSPRO as the CEO. Within nine months of commencing, my role was expanded to head up the entire APAC region as CEO. This involved the realignment of the business to ensure that it was on track with global priorities and goals. Over the next 12 months, I will look at how the businesses can continue to create operational efficiencies and thereby establish new structures for growth across the APAC region. APAC is a dynamic market to operate in as it has some of the most advanced manufacturing systems in the world. Ultimately our customers and partners are central to the success of our business and they will remain key to my operational realignment priorities and therefore SYSPRO’s ongoing success.Click below to share this article