On the lighter side of things, we ask Greg Eyre, VP ANZ, Blue Prism, about what makes him tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
I’ve made the mistake of not saying ‘apart from my wedding day’ before, so apart from that, it has to be closing a deal which no one in my team thought was even possible, let alone achievable. Bringing something like that in fills you with so much confidence, you’re able to do it again and again. The challenges and the people you work with each time are always different in so many ways and that’s what makes it so much fun.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
The excitement of it all. Having grown up in a country that did not have television at the time and listening to the radio for entertainment, the prospect of working with ‘computers’ seemed wonderous – I just didn’t know what they were! Now I love what I do for two reasons; helping businesses and people (what pacific islander doesn’t?), and the innovation and creativity that comes with working in a constantly changing industry.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
The challenge with bringing out the best in people is getting them to recognize their own capabilities in themselves. So, I like letting the team come up with their ideas that they make their own. The fun for me is in creating an environment that allows us to do it as one team and provide the framework for logic to just fall into place – and then execute upon. I find an individual’s hidden talents will reveal themselves when they believe in a vision that they own. For me it’s about creating the freedom for them to realize that (pun intended).
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
The hot talking point there is no definitive answer to is: ‘What does the future of work look like?’ It’s such a broad question. While I’ve come across a number of perspectives on the topic, a recent presentation from IBM contained the most tangible I’ve heard so far: ‘a blend between people and technology that’s so transparent we take them for granted, so much so that we don’t even realize or care for the difference’. It’s happening already and we don’t even realize it. It’s a fascinating and very thought-provoking topic.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
I watch rugby, cook up something big – preferably a pasta or something with a Mediterranean influence and goes with a nice white or red from New Zealand. I also love golf. But I don’t play it to unwind. Golf is purely a game of the mind. It’s amazing what you can make the ball do just by telling yourself you can do it – and unfortunately it just never does for me so it can be the opposite of relaxing.
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?
Being a chef and being successful at it. I used to be one and it’s a most rewarding and highly stressful career. I’d do it again (if my wife would let me) as nothing beats the satisfaction of producing eight perfect meals from scratch which clients adore and come back time and again for. To this day, if I bump into one of my old team they’ll always ask; ‘Boss when are we going to do it again?’
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Making the Intelligence in AI a reality. AI has been around for quite some time now and it’s certainly still evolving but Blue Prism (as well as a number of AI vendors we work with) are making tremendous strides. Within my organization, we’re laser focused on further innovating our product suite, people and marketing towards this common goal – making AI solutions smarter and even more intelligent. We’ve got great people on the case.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in APAC?
The accelerating acceleration in the change that’s happening all around us. Keeping up with change is no longer the challenge – it’s recognizing the pace of acceleration, realizing where it’s happening and then trying to identify where it’s going to happen or impact next across the entire PESTE spectrum. A classic example in my industry over the past three years, just in APAC, I’ve seen an evolution (and rapid adoption) from process automation and case management to robotic process automation, then almost immediately into intelligent process automation and now AI – with the market already moving to the next evolution. Just recognizing that this is happening and being able to share my perspective on that is what I find makes what I do fun.
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 changes have primarily been around adjusting our business model and framework to respond and adapt to pace of change referenced above – and how we can help with accelerating that change for our clients. A cultural shift in mindset, as individuals and as a business, doesn’t happen overnight. However, if we can show our clients the way to most effectively blend technology with commercial reality to achieve proven ROI then there is tremendous opportunity. We’re seeing this with AI. Our clients now get it and want to apply it – so watch this space.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?
Leadership really comes down to followers. It’s been said before, but your people really are your biggest assets. My advice would be; exercise humility, focus on how you execute, stay true to your cause and look after your team. Secondly, there are commercial realities that surround your success – leverage your people to understand what that is and they will execute with a passion that can only result in success for everyone. Finally, you will have to make some hard decisions. Make them considered decisions then make them with confidence.