We caught up with Chris Miller, Regional Director, UK and Ireland at RSA Security to find out what makes him tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
There have been so many memorable moments since I started in the IT industry in the 80s. While my leadership roles at RSA, Dell and CA Technologies are certainly in my highlights, my most memorable achievements have come from being able to help make a difference for others. In 2015, I was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Technology from Loughborough University for my contribution towards IT education and the UK IT industry overall. In 2018, I became an ambassador for HRH Prince of Wales for Industrial Cadets, a benchmark accreditation developed by the charity, Engineering Development Trust, which maps STEM-related activities for young learners against a skills and competency framework. I will always remember our discussion and just how sincerely interested Prince Charles is in furthering STEM education and industry opportunities for our next generation.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
In 1980, I was one of a very small number of A-Level students at my school who studied Computer Science. I’ve always had an analytical mind, and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the brave new world of technology. During this same period, I also did some part-time work, helping to ‘computerise’ an accountant’s business; that was the moment I realised technology and automation can dramatically improve business efficiency and potentially drive more business growth.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
I have always believed in the importance of helping others achieve their full potential. Nothing makes me prouder than seeing people I coached achieve outstanding results. To use a football analogy, I have always seen my role as ‘goal assist’ – I want my team members to score the goal and want to help them make that happen. We are united together by the team badge we wear on the front of our shirts – team RSA. Every team member has a unique position to play, and my role is either pure coach or occasional goal assist – but never the goal scorer.
What do you think will emerge as the technology trend of 2020 and why?
Obviously, the unplanned and unexpected shift towards remote working and the implications on collaboration have been huge this year. At RSA, in particular, we were front and centre helping businesses to ensure secure access for their employees during that unprecedented time. In the more recent months, we have seen a significant increase in cyberattacks and fraud. The COVID-19 pandemic has emboldened cybercriminals to be even more creative in their approach and exploit the vulnerable. I unfortunately believe this trend will continue, and companies like RSA will remain extremely busy and focused helping business protect their customers.
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
Analytics, AI and Machine Learning will continue to remain major areas of investment, as most technologies are now heavily reliant on them. Behavioural biometrics are also a good investment, as they become more essential in the fight to combat fraud.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside of the office?
While I like music, play guitar, keeping fit and trail walking, my biggest passion is photography. I have always enjoyed travel photography and Photoshop post-production – something easy to combine with our holiday travels. In the last couple of years, my wife and I founded a dog photography business where we enjoy capturing lasting memories of dogs just being themselves. Nothing gives us more pleasure than seeing a client’s reaction to the images from our day together.
If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?
Nothing. Although there are a couple of roles across my long career that did not work out as I had expected, the people I met and the experience I gained still helped shape me. I enjoy forming new relationships with customers, partners and team members – and many of these go back decades, even though we may have only worked together for a short period.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in Europe?
Some organisations in specific regions in Europe are more restricted in their ability to accept new technologies. Regulatory compliance often becomes the business driver that ensures a decision and change occurs.
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?
RSA has just become an independent company again – in our 38th year. I have helped unite the UK and Ireland teams and achieved growth under Dell, and I am now looking forward to enhancing the end to end customer and partner experiences even further as an independent business.
What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain C-level position in your industry?
Focus on building long-term working relationships and making a difference to those that you meet. Your network of business associates will become more valuable as you gain experience and progress in business.