Sensis Technology Services Manager, Gemma Harding, was recently interviewed by a recruiting company for their ‘Women in Technology’ series of profiles.
The article appeared across select digital channels, including LinkedIn. Here’s what Gemma had to say about her role and what she likes about working in this area of technology.
What is your current role and how long have you been in it?
I am the Technical Services Manager for Enterprise Technology Services at Sensis. I have been in this role for just over one year. Prior to this I was the Infrastructure Services Manager.
What did you first study at University?
At high school my passion was science, but my talent was in IT. I studied a Bachelor of Information Systems and Bachelor of Science at Melbourne University. From here I followed a career in IT (and I won’t lie, it was because the money was MUCH better!). IT has always been integral to my studies, regardless of the subject material. Attending lectures online really supported my lifestyle and goals.
What’s the best thing about working in the infrastructure space?
Infrastructure continues to evolve which makes it exciting. Historically, infrastructure has been the foundation – the platform to develop and provide applications and services. The infrastructure team plays a large role in all IT projects and my skill set is transportable across a broad range of projects and industry sectors, including telecommunications, marketing, advertising, healthcare and education.
Infrastructure today is a very different game. Cloud computing has changed everything. While there is still some demand for traditional infrastructure projects it is now about the integration of traditional on-premise, customer-owned infrastructure to hosted services. I am lucky to have been part of this shift; it has created a lot of opportunity.
What’s the most significant change in Infrastructure today?
Cloud computing – it has completely redefined the role of infrastructure in business today. The conversation has shifted from “what hardware do we need to buy”, to “who can provide this service, how do we integrate with this service, and what processes do we need to change to enable it”.
This change in mindset is allowing organisations to focus on their core business instead of being great at building and managing their email environment. The role of the infrastructure expert is more than building hardware; it’s educating and driving this change within an organisation.
If you could have any job in the technology and digital space, what would it be and why?
To be honest I’m not chasing a job title, or particular employer to add to my resume. For me, it is important to work for an organisation whose values align with my personal values.
I want to work for an organisation that supports and promotes diversity, rewards innovation, practises transparency and has a real commitment and passion for looking after their customers. I certainly feel that is the case at Sensis.
During my career at Sensis I’ve had support and mentoring which has enabled me to progress from a Network Design Engineer to my current role as Technical Services Manager. I enjoy roles where I can be part of organisational transformation and driving change in IT so it’s a very exciting time to be part of the team.
The appetite to change how we do things has driven some really great IT infrastructure initiatives, primarily around consolidation, virtualisation and shift to cloud hosted services.
What are the biggest challenges faced by technology business leaders?
I see three challenges for technology business leaders:
- Cloud computing is fuelling a rapid rate of change in IT. The challenge is to keep up to date with those opportunities, understand how it complements your business objectives and how you integrate cloud computing with your existing IT investments (without adding complexity).
- Engagement with stakeholders at all levels of the organisation. The technology leader needs to understand and anticipate changes in business direction to be able to provide IT services which meet changing objectives. Their focus needs to be much broader than the IT department alone.
- Providing thought leadership to drive innovation while optimising IT investments and controlling growth and cost through scalability. It’s a tough balancing act.