On the lighter side of things, we ask David Hope, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan at ForgeRock, what makes him tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
My most memorable achievement has been building, working and winning with great teams. Whether it’s been signing up the largest customer in the region, successfully launching new solutions, or even entering into new markets, all of these achievements and more have only been possible through the hard work of passionate, can-do teams.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
I’ve had the opportunity to explore various industries, from physical commodity trading, distribution and manufacturing. While working across these industries, I saw the important role that technology plays in underpinning business success. This led me to have greater interest and excitement about technology and its capabilities. Finding that drive meant I was able to land an Asia-based role at IBM, where I was able to see first-hand the incredible things that can be achieved with technology.
Since my first technology role at IBM, I continued to explore my interest in various businesses and functions before my current role as SVP for APJ at ForgeRock. I joined ForgeRock at an exciting time. As a growing company in the digital identity space, I felt that ForgeRock was able to offer new experiences in an innovative industry.
Working at ForgeRock has taught me so much more about the importance of technology. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with our incredible team, customers and partners.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
Over the years I’ve learnt that leadership is about building great teams. A major part of this is fostering environments that celebrate open communication and trust, facilitating your team to do its best work.
My personal ethos revolves around the concept that you can never ‘over-communicate’. Continuing to build connections through conversation means that teams flow efficiently and a business can run smoothly.
It’s also important to surround yourself with people who are great leaders themselves. By hiring people who can, in turn, build strong and customer-centric teams, the cycle continues and a business can perform at its best.
What do you think are the current hot technology talking points?
In the cybersecurity and digital identity management spaces, the growth of global digitization, driven in part by the impact of the global pandemic, has underpinned significant technology talking points.
We’re seeing an uptake in the demand for strategic solutions to help combat the increasing global phishing and ransomware attacks that are becoming more and more prevalent. Identity solutions play a critical role in this fight. We are also seeing an increasing interest in Identity-as-a-Service. Customers are also searching for flexibility of deployment options and in some cases, hybrid deployments.
Another big trend in the identity management space is the rise of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning-led solutions, which are becoming more important to help businesses across all industries round out their strategic identity solution options to meet changing customer needs.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
In my day-to-day life, I try to find the right balance in everything I do. I’m a big runner, and I try to run daily – this is often where I do my best thinking. In my spare time, I’m also a passionate rugby referee and am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to referee games all over the world, which has taught me a great deal about how to handle pressure.
Aside from sports, I am an avid art collector, and have a particular focus and interest in Indonesian art. When dealing with stress and pressure, making sure I pursue my passions helps keep me engaged and energized, which in turn keeps me focused on my goals.
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?
While there have definitely been times I’ve made mistakes, personally I wouldn’t go back and change anything. Every decision I’ve made in the past has led to some incredible experiences. My career has led me all over the world and I’ve been lucky enough to work in Australia, the Philippines, Japan and Singapore. These experiences have given me the opportunity and privilege of meeting, working with and befriending some incredible people around the globe.
Working at ForgeRock both pre-and post-IPO (ForgeRock went public in September 2021) has been a really incredible experience, and has motivated me to continue to build teams and help our customers grow across Asia-Pacific and Japan.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
In the Identity Access and Management (IAM) industry, the biggest investment would have to be in providing end-to-end and cloud-based solutions to meet changing cross-sector customer needs. There is a significant investment in not only building out functionality for both internal and external IAM needs, but also in developing the flexibility of solutions to give customers more elastic deployment options.
These solutions are being developed to provide a larger offering of hybrid cloud deployment options or cloud options that ensure data sovereignty needs are met in specific jurisdictions.
At ForgeRock, this has manifested in a couple of ways. Early on, ForgeRock took the strategic decision to offer one code for different deployment options, meaning customers can run ForgeRock in different cloud environments, and working in partnership with Google Cloud for the provision of Identity Cloud solutions has allowed us to offer these flexible options.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in APAC?
It’s difficult to pin down just one or a few challenges for the whole APJ region. The APJ region’s diversity reflects a mix of mature and growing economies, each of which comes with nuances and different challenges and needs. The region is also well known as a hotbed when it comes to implementing and experimenting with new technologies to gain a competitive advantage. In this regard, the APJ region is incredibly forward-thinking, and can often be first adopters of new technology.
When it comes to implementing new technologies successfully, the key is patience, cultural alignment, partnership with customers and an unrelenting focus on successful outcomes. Demonstrating the clear business impact of new technologies in a way that addresses country-specific issues can help ease any concerns and build excitement.
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?
I see two key trends:
• The battle for talent is as fierce as ever, and talent recruitment and retention is critical to successful leadership. With the rise of technology companies quickly outstripping the amount of talent available, particularly in cybersecurity, I expect to see this challenge grow within the next 12 months.
• The demand for Identity and Access Management solutions is rapidly increasing in line with global digitalization. To this point, the importance of easy-to-use solutions for consumers is becoming more visible and much more C-level driven as they look to implement these services.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?
Gain as much diverse experience as you can and look to build teams that you are constantly learning from. It’s also important to remember that career advancement is not about titles, how loud you can shout, or how high you can jump, it’s about how you treat people. Happy customers are only possible if you have happy employees, and building a nurturing culture is central to that.
It’s also important to live and breathe this culture. This includes getting your hands dirty and taking a laser-focused approach to every detail. A great leader can also never over-communicate.Click below to share this article