Everyone has great ideas, but the concept that an idea without execution is just an idea was the best piece of advice Versent’s CTO Tim Hope received.
Hope started his IT journey after landing an engineering role with a small asset management company that exposed to him across customers, software development and infrastructure support.
After spending 10 years with National Australia Bank across various technical roles, Hope moved into the technology consulting space within Versent.
What was your first job?
I would love to say my first job was with technology, but it took me to my early 20s to start in technology. In my early days, I had many jobs from paper runs, gardening and labouring, to the occasional warehouse work, as well as many days working in the local supermarkets.
How did you get started in the IT industry and progress to where you are today?
I started to work in the IT industry after I settled on which path to take at university. For a long time, it was pretty much a 50/50 split decision between a business degree or an engineering degree. During university, I took some software engineering contracts then ended up working full time at a small asset management company. Looking back, it was a great role that had me working directly with the customers, as well as covering off both the software development and infrastructure support for the business.
At this point, I was living in New Zealand and there was little ability to grow into a larger organisation so I decided the best path was to go back to university and take the opportunity to move to Melbourne. I landed a part-time software engineering role, while I studied, and spent the year applying for graduate programs. I was offered a place in the graduate program at the National Australia Bank (NAB) in their global markets team. This enabled me to start to better understand an enterprise environment. It was also an introduction to enterprise requirements.
I spent much of my time at NAB working on web technologies across projects and operations progressing to an infrastructure architecture role. From here I moved away from the markets areas and jumped over to the retail space.
At the same time I moved from an architecture into a strategic role to ensure the retail digital systems were adapting to the changing technology landscape. During my time in the retail bank, we introduced public cloud, DevOps as well as started to microservice-enable the transactional sites. This was very new for an enterprise environment at the time.
After 10 years at NAB, I jumped into the technology consulting space, using the knowledge and transformation that we had taken NAB through to directly helping customers. This took my depth of experience from being focused in the financial services and insurance space to having greater breath across other sectors. I found moving to consulting was a fantastic change and allowed me to grow faster than I could in a large enterprise.
In more recent years, I have been running Versent's Sydney region as its general manager, where it has tripled in size in the last few years and continues to support a larger customer base and larger transformation projects. I am now transitioning to the services CTO role.
What are some of your plans for Versent in the coming months?
We have been focused on providing services to our customers around how to get into the cloud with security, cost efficiency and compliance baked in, while ensuring it is established on a DevOps foundation. This approach enables our customers to unlock the full value of the cloud.
We are working to take the learnings from some of our major modernisation engagements and build stronger awareness of our ability to modernise the application landscape with cloud in the market. This will enable us to support our customers on their full end-to-end journey to the cloud.
What has been your biggest business mistake, and the lessons you've learnt from that experience?
When I first came to Australia, I was applying for a lot of part-time roles to support myself through university. I landed an interview and went along for it.
Throughout the interview, I thought the questions being asked of me were strange as they were related to research strategies, moving universities and full time hours; questions which did not make any sense to me. I answered them as best I could. As I walked out, I noticed the jobs listing on the door and realised that I had just interviewed for the wrong role.
When I think back about this incident and the numerous business meetings I have been in, the lesson I’ve learnt is that it’s important to ensure you take the time to set the scene and ask the questions that are probably on everyone's mind. It saves a lot of time and enables everyone to progress more quickly when everybody is on the same page.
What are some of your ambitions - personally and professionally?
Professionally, I strive to build and establish strong foundations and trust with my team and partners to enable us to accelerate capability and produce leading edge offerings. My current goal is to build a strong presales team armed with strong technology modernisation knowledge and offerings.
Personally, I have three young daughters and want to ensure they get a solid start as well as attracting them to a STEM based career path!
What has been the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Everyone has great ideas, but an idea without execution is just an idea.