CIO at arnord mardix – CIO Interview Series
Scott Findlater at Anord Mardix shares with The CIO circle his journey as a CIO and the skills he think future leaders will need to thrive.
Hi Scott, can you please provide a little introduction about yourself
I work for Anord Mardix who have over 100 years of global engineering excellence who:
- have over 1,200 employees across multiple manufacturing facilities in Ireland, the UK, North America and Asia.
- are the world’s leading electrical engineering and manufacturing organization, with facilities around the globe ensuring critical power supply to a myriad of industries, from financial institutions to data centres.
- who pride themselves on bringing together the sector’s best people, processes and products.
As a Chief Information Officer (CIO) I am tasked with driving change, system transformation and business model innovation in supporting our company goals. I am primarily based in our UK premises.
Scott, what has your journey to your position been like? What path have you taken?
I actually started out in Psychology, specializing in Dementia care and drug rehabilitation. As part of that role I was performing a lot of data analysis and started writing macros. It came down to a decision to start my Psychology PhD or change career to a computer science based role.
I successfully secured a Management Information Systems Analyst role and went back to University part time to complete a MSc Computer Science.
Having led the technical delivery of a number of Bespoke Enterprise Systems; Payment solutions for utility bills & mobile phones, A veterinary patient management system and multiple e-commerce solutions, across various .NET architectures, I was becoming more interested in Commercials, business strategy and management than coding.
I took the leap towards Software Development Manager and haven’t written a line of code for around 10 years now!
Has it always been your vision to reach the position you’re at? Was your current role part of your vision to become a tech leader?
I have always strived to achieve the C-Suite and the transformational CIO role is such a fantastic role; still technology based however, it is far wider reaching in being able to contribute to process & business change, leadership & people management, whilst ensuring a systems focus on contributing towards Company goals as a whole.
The Psychology background has really helped me challenge the why within technology, to challenge the box and think right outside it at times.
A common mantra is “I can’t believe we are the first to want to do this, you can do it”. Turns out sometimes we are! However, IT teams love a wild challenge.
Have you had a role model or mentor that has helped you on your journey?
I am a real believer in continual learning and have been lucky enough to meet a number of people along the way who have a similar ethos and happily shared their knowledge.
When I first started out in tech in the Management Information Systems Analyst role; Richard Carr. Taught me Governance first and the importance of flexibility in processes.
Pabs Purewall. Taught me the importance of decimal place perfection & attention to detail in coding, alongside the importance of being able to scrutinse your own work.
When I moved into a Tech Support role; Alan Robinson. Taught me the importance remaining calm under intense live support pressure, flexibility in processes again, and to always work out the full solution on paper before executing it.
Throughout my coding times; Marco Craveiro. Has challenged my architecture’s as we have endeavored to remain purists.
Now in the C-Suite; James Peacock, CEO, and Wayne Lewis, COO, continue to challenge and inspire our working relationship.
How do you see the role of the technology leader evolving over the next 5 years?
With automation tools being available to citizens, the opportunities are infinite however, the potential for off-system shadow IT is terrifying. Tech leaders will need to have robust processes & environments in place to ensure the infinite positives are achieved.
The need to take a holistic business overview has never been more pertinent. As leader’s we must become organically ‘in tune’ with our employees, ensuring that their welfare is paramount. COVID has shone a light on this area and as remote working is now becoming the norm, particularly in the tech arena, we must ensure the health and welfare of all employees.
Agile on steroids. The ability for robustly flexible processes & systems. The pace of change will become faster & faster, expectations are becoming quicker & quicker, the tech leader must be able to robustly deliver change at a pace that continues to grow, without loads more overhead!
What skills do you think leaders of the future will need in order to thrive?
It’s all about inclusion. The work from home stigma is vanishing, the work from anywhere will move towards the norm. Embrace talent from where ever or whomever they are. This level of diversity will inevitably bring cultural & distance challenges, however break those down and imagine all the different problem solving approaches that will be brought together, working towards the greater good of the business. If a Leader can promote & cultivate this deep in the company culture, wow!
How do you keep current with new skills, technologies and personal development at Arnord Mardix?
In technology I have always believed in continual improvement and adopt this approach with continual learning. I prefer reading articles & white papers rather than books for keeping up to date with technology and trends. Rather than large conferences, I prefer smaller roundtables, where more interactions can occur with greater learning and sharing opportunities with peers.
What do you see as the next leap in technology that will impact Arnord Maridx or your industry in particular?
I could talk about AI, automation, digital twins but I actually think Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG), will and should be the largest impact driver of technology change.
As we all have to build towards a zero-carbon future, the next 10 years is going to represent one of the biggest industrial challenges of our time. There is nothing like critical necessity to drive innovation and change.
The beauty of an ESG centric route to change is wellness should be baked in.
If you were mentoring a leader of the future, what advice or guidance would you give to help them on their way?
Listen, truly listen, truly be part of the conversation. We have 2 ears and 1 mouth!
You need to be interested in the whole. The more knowledge you share, the more you empower your team, the more your career will progress.
Don’t overthink. The past is the past, learn from it, don’t dwell on it. The future is the future, you can’t control it all, don’t suffer anxiety over something that has not happened yet. Embrace the present, listen to it, and be prepared that journeys will change.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
For people to accept that asking for help is not a weakness.
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself“
Imagine a working environment where mistakes were only ever made once!
If you would like to gain more perspective from Tech Leaders and CIOs you can read some of our other intereviews here.
A big thank you to Scott Findlater from Anord Mardix for sharing his journey to date.
If you would like to gain more perspective from Tech Leaders and CIOs you can read some of our other interviews here.