Red Rock Consulting's Jonathan Rubinsztein talks to ARN
What was your first job?
When I was 19, I set up a textile factory in South Africa called Ruby and started manufacturing clothing. I did that whilst I was at university for about two years. By the end of that I had employed about 35 people in Cape Town. I sold off part of the entity and have no idea what now remains. I left to come to Australia in 1993. In South Africa I completed a Bachelor of Commerce honours, majoring in information systems. I then did an MBA at the Australian Graduate School of Management.
How did you end up in the IT industry?
When I came to Australia, I joined Andersen Consulting [now Accenture]. I also worked with another company called AT Kearney in their strategy consulting group, working around business and IT strategy.
How did you progress to where you are today?
I set up an IT strategy consulting business within an Australian technology company. The company was called Quadriga, and was within the Volante Group. I joined Red Rock as one of its full partners almost nine years ago.
What do you like about your current job?
Our company is very exciting - it's a great bunch of people to work with. The people are very capable and I think the opportunities for growth, both for myself and the company, are significant.
What is the biggest achievement of your career?
My biggest achievement is being involved in the growth of Red Rock from 20 to more than 300 people. Building what is a fantastic culture and business that is successful, while also being a great place to work, is pretty important.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry?
The speed of change is exciting but it can also be confusing. Products and the direction of industries can change so quickly. It's an opportunity but one also has to be pretty careful not to jump onto the latest fad. We have to be very careful about what areas we believe offer longevity, stability and opportunities.
What will be the 'next big thing' in the industry?
There are two areas for us: one is around technology becoming service-orientated architecture (SOA); and business process execution language (BPEL), which is a set of process tools that allow organisations to build and embed technology workflows. There's a lot of opportunity there and a need for the glue to facilitate it. We are seeing business processes becoming more relevant as the engine of the application becomes less relevant. Customers are saying 'we don't care what application our end-to-end process fits, we care about what that end-to-end business process is'.
Oracle is going through its biggest development exercise ever to create what is now a fused set of applications. That
will be released in the next couple of years and have a significant impact on our business. It's very exciting for us.
What is the main focus for your company this year?
We have fairly ambitious growth targets. Some of those opportunities are around our support offering. We provide Oracle applications, technology and database support and that is a pretty significant opportunity where there is lots of growth around people extending, enhancing and upgrading. In the technology space, we have an applied technology architecture group. We are finding many customers are confused around what their architecture should be. We are doing a lot of strategy work helping them figure out what tools they could be using to best deliver what they want to achieve from a business perspective.
What do you do when you are not at work?
I'm happily married and have a four-year old girl called Zara, and a seven-month old baby girl called Yasmin. I spend a lot of time with my family and when possible I try to travel with them. We're all going to Tuscany, Italy, in a couple of weeks, which is very exciting. We have traveled a fair bit and have been to South Africa, Mauritius and Bali. They are normally short trips because I don't have enough leave to take long ones.
What was your favourite destination?
Paris was fantastic and I love Thailand, it is just a great destination and a great place to relax. I love Thai people, culture, food, the beaches and the shopping.
Do you like gadgets?
I'm not an early adopter of gadgets, but I do like them. I recently bought a device called Sonos, which allows me to stream music across my house in different areas and remote control it. It hasn't been installed yet because we are currently building a new house.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I don't think I have ever had a career destination - I never woke up and thought I was going to be a fireman or doctor. But even as a young person, the journey was what was important. To me it's about having fun, respecting the people you work with and feeling like you are making a difference in that role and I do feel that.
What is your biggest ambition?
Workwise, my current ambition is to continue growing the Red Rock business by driving it into new geographic areas and rounding out our offerings in the Oracle space. But we want to maintain growth without losing focus on our customers, as it's all about building a long-term relationship with them.
On a personal side, my biggest ambition is to continue living the happy and exciting life that I have with my family and possibly grow that a bit more.