Creating a rocking culture that inspires people, attracts top talent and strikes the fine balance of work and life are aspects anchored into Veritas Technologies Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) managing director Pete Murray's frame of business culture.
With more than 30 years of industry experience, Murray is passionate about amplifying value and giving back to the IT sector, and also bringing his band, Moonshine Special, back together for charity events.
What was your first job?
My first ever job was when I was 14, delivering the local newspaper around my neighbourhood. I was able to expand this role to delivering pamphlets and flyers and soon realised that a lot of the houses I delivered papers to needed their lawn mowed, so one of the pamphlets I delivered was my own. I soon stopped delivering papers and mowed lawns most weekends.
How did you get started in the IT industry and progress to where you are today?
I majored in management science and information systems under a bachelor of commerce, where I learned about business processes, automating and sharing information between them. One day, I attended a guest lecture by Adon Kumar from Unisys, who had just acquired a fourth-generation language called ‘Link’ that was going to change the way COBOL was being written. I was immediately hooked and have never looked back.
Since then, I’ve been in the industry for more than 30 years, including stints at Pure Storage and Dimension Data (now NTT Ltd). One of my greatest strengths coming into the MD role at Veritas is that I come from a systems integration background and understand the client: the channel.
What are some of your plans for Veritas in the coming months?
The pandemic has changed the way that businesses across Australia are using and storing data, leaving many IT managers in need of a radical shake up of their protection infrastructures. Coming into Veritas, I immediately saw how we can not only help them to meet their challenges but also to realise new opportunities with their data. My key focus can be broken into three pillars.
The first is to make sure that our people love working here. My number one priority is creating a culture of employee satisfaction that in turn, increases our average tenure. We’ve just devoted a whole bunch of work-life balance and charity fundraising-programs to make sure we’re creating a sense of workplace culture, including a Step Challenge that is raising funds for Taronga Conservation Society whilst getting our people away from video calls, out into the fresh air and a bit fitter than they were.
My second area of focus is ensuring that our audience understands the complete value proposition of Veritas. This includes introducing potential clients to our integrated solution and showing existing ones how they can get the most out of services to create ultimate impact to their business.
Finally, my third priority is to grow the business year on year, across key solution pillars, for the next three years.
What has been your biggest business mistake, and the lessons you've learnt from that experience?
I don’t think there’s a decision where I’d say ‘oh, I’ve got that 100 per cent wrong or right’. There’s always an opportunity to learn from things. I had a health episode whilst I was at work about 10 years ago that saw me rushed to hospital with my EA beside me in the ambulance, trying to get my wife on the phone. That totally changed my perspective on work-life balance and the need to put your people before everything.
When I was at Dimension Data, we received an award for being the best professional services firm in NSW from Hewitt, which reflects many years of hard work. The entire team created a rocking culture that inspired people to do more, attracted top talent and got the balance of work and life right. I have taken forward a people anchored business ethic ever since.
What are some of your ambitions - personally and professionally?
I'm very passionate about the IT industry giving back to the community in some way, shape or form. My vision for Veritas is to be an active player in the Australian IT community, whether it be through our business giving its time, thought or physical capability. The value that the IT community provides and delivers to causes often goes unseen, and I’m committed to changing that perception.
Personally, I want to get the band back together (I play in a band called Moonshine Special) and start playing for charities again for free at their gala events, because this means normality has largely returned to society.
What has been the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Richard Branson once said, “look after your people, and they will look after your clients”, and it’s something I try to live by every day. I truly believe that when an organisation's collective culture works together to achieve its vision (and individual goals), it is an unstoppable force.
Since the pandemic, my leadership style has not changed: the traits of transparency, vision setting, and tearing down the barriers that inhibit success remain strong. I try to be a leader that enables my guiding principle of ‘Ockham’s razor’ – that the simplest explanation is often the best one – and the priority principles of the client, people, proposition and fiscal.