CIO Spotlight: Jonathan Victor, Insurity

What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? "Do what you love."

Name: Jonathan Victor

Company: Insurity

Job title: CIO

Date started current role: October 2017

Location: Montreal, Canada

Jonathan Victor is the Chief Information Officer of Insurity. He oversees all of Insurity's SaaS implementations and manages the build, run, and evolution of the company's cloud platforms. He came to Insurity as part of the company's acquisition of Oceanwide, where he began in 2005, and assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer in 2014. Before Oceanwide, Victor worked as a consultant at Accenture.

What was your first job? Teaching skiing.

Did you always want to work in IT? Yes, I always loved working with technology.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? Bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) and Finance.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. I started out as an IT consultant with Andersen Consulting in their Communications & Hi-Tech practice, before it became Accenture. From there, I was then hired by Oceanwide as their director of project management and later specialised in SaaS and cloud and became the chief operating officer. When Insurity acquired the company, I became its chief information officer.

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organisation in the coming year? Digital transformation continues to drive improved collaboration and communication across our business. Property & casualty insurance has always been a highly fragmented, multi-touch industry, and leveraging cloud computing and automation technology to streamline and better connect all the different processes and individuals involved in the processes has been the focus for a while now. This is especially important as we grow the business both in a focused organic manner and by way of acquisitions.

What are the CEO's top priorities for you in the coming year? How do you plan to support the business with IT? Support M&A and continuing to grow our SaaS business. As CIO, I also own our Corporate IT and IT Business Operations where my top priority is to drive digital transformation to support our business units as they evolve.

Does the conventional CIO role include responsibilities it should not hold? Should the role have additional responsibilities it does not currently include? Given my background as a COO and expertise in running SaaS and cloud, I have been fortunate to expand the scope of my role as CIO to cover these areas and be externally facing in the process. We have also discussed the concept of combining IT, Business Operations, and Facilities under the CIO umbrella to better focus on the workplace at Insurity. These are both areas that are atypical for a CIO.

Are you leading a digital transformation? If so, does it emphasise customer experience and revenue growth or operational efficiency? If both, how do you balance the two? Yes. Customer experience and operational efficiency are the primary focuses from a business operations perspective. That said, our sales and marketing teams view certain digital transformation initiatives as being critical to revenue growth. We continuously evaluate business needs in relation to the ROI on specific transformation investments to determine which to select and where to spend the organisations' collective time.

Describe the maturity of your digital business. For example, do you have KPIs to quantify the value of IT? We have leveraged a best-in-class IT capability maturity model and currently assess our IT maturity as mid-range, Level 3 out of 5. We have several initiatives currently in play which we believe will enable Insurity to advance its digital maturity beyond Level 3 and expand our KPI set in the process.

What does good culture fit look like in your organisation? How do you cultivate it? Cultural fit at Insurity is critical given the pace and complexity of our business. Our values are well defined and our people are evaluated against them. We cultivate our corporate values by ensuring they are infused into everything we do from interacting with clients, to recruiting and celebrating our successes. Our values are: Be Awesome, Celebrate Together, Own It, Do the Right Thing, Move Mountains.

What roles or skills are you finding (or anticipate to be) the most difficult to fill? Information security analysts and cloud architects.

What's the best career advice you ever received? You must manage your own professional development and career progression. You can't rely on managers or HR to do it for you. I have learned to use the annual review and goal planning process to continually review my career progression and plan for what comes next.

Do you have a succession plan? If so, discuss the importance of and challenges with training up high-performing staff. Having a succession plan was a lesson I learned early in my Andresen Consulting days. I'm always looking to staff my teams with experts and leaders who can operate independently and allow me to focus on and bring value to other areas of the business.

What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? Do what you love. Lead by example with your team and peers. Be a ‘Learn it All', to quote Satya Nadella.

What has been your greatest career achievement? My team's successfully implementing Oceanwide's new Enterprise Disaster Recovery architecture and migrating our SaaS offering from running in our current primary hosting facility to our new primary hosting location completely without me! I missed the entire cut over as I had to have emergency knee surgery due to a football injury.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? Earlier in my career I contemplated both getting my MBA and moving from Montreal to take on new career opportunities. I have always wondered how things would have turned out if I would have pursued either of those opportunities.

What are you reading now? The President is Missing. Bill Clinton & James Patterson.

Most people don't know that I… have jumped out of a helicopter! (with a parachute of course)

In my spare time, I like to…Spend time with family, play sports (ski, baseball, tennis, football, etc..), learn about new technology.

Ask me to do anything but… Go shopping in an actual store (as opposed to online!)