CIO Spotlight: Mark Angle, OneStream Software

What roles or skills are you finding (or anticipate to be) the most difficult to fill? “We’ve had a difficult time filling specialty roles such as ServiceNow developer. It has helped tremendously to expand out openness to 100% remote employees...”

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OneStream Software

Name: Mark Angle

Company: OneStream Software

Job title: CIO

Date started current role: December 2019

Location: Rochester, Michigan

Joining OneStream Software in 2016, Mark Angle has over 20 years of experience spanning almost every area of information technology and services. Since joining the team at OneStream, Angle has taken Information Services from its infancy to an organisation capable of supporting a fast-growing volume of customers and employees. Angle ’s passions lie at the intersection of technology, science, and nature, but he gets his in-office adrenaline rush leading collaboration discussions or presenting to a customers.

What was your first job? Like many kids, I went through various part-time jobs in the early years including cutting lawns, fast food, construction, and even stagehand. My first professional job was in tech support working for the arena that housed the Detroit Pistons.

Did you always want to work in IT? Not at all. I wanted to be a singer for most of my youth. At some point, I came to my senses and decided that performing was probably not the most stable idea and found a knack for all things technical.

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? I followed a very non-traditional (and indecisive) education path of electronics training part time in high school, obtaining a commercial pilot’s license in college, and completing a program to be a certified data centre professional in college. In addition, I have earned smaller certifications over the years from being a Boardroom Certified Qualified Technology Expert (Digital Directors Network), to ITIL and AIX, to even soldering skills.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. I have slowly worked my way from the bottom up over many years. I haven’t taken any detours; however, I came very close to moving to Alaska with my wife in my 20s and flying bush planes for a living!

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organisation in the coming year? OneStream is exploding in growth. My department is busy implementing almost every leading system on the market. We are focused most, however, on continuing to sharpen a cutting-edge security posture both internally and for our customers.

What are the CEO's top priorities for you in the coming year? How do you plan to support the business with IT? Our top priorities are Product/Market development, customer success, operational improvements, cybersecurity, and diversity & leadership. IT plays a critical role most of these initiatives. As a high growth company that’s become big enough to have all the components and processes of enterprise class organisation, we are focused on quickly implementing and integrating major software suites in every area of the business. The key for us is to prioritise and coordinate the efforts across the business as efforts overlap and compete. 

Does the conventional CIO role include responsibilities it should not hold? Should the role have additional responsibilities it does not currently include? I would honestly say I do not have a conventional CIO role. It is one of part of the responsibilities I hold in addition to customer hosting/operations, cybersecurity, and customer support. I think the responsibilities for most CIOs are fine. The problem is the recognition of how tightly integrated the role is these days into almost every aspect of the business.

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? Because we are a software company, we are naturally and natively digital. That said, the office of the CIO here at OneStream is focused on both ends of the equation making efforts to optimise our operational efficiencies while also using things like cybersecurity, compliance framework certification/authorisation, and contract friction reduction to enhance revenue growth.

Describe the maturity of your digital business. For example, do you have KPIs to quantify the value of IT? I would describe us as increasingly mature. There’s always room to improve, but we have been very fast to put in place OKRs for every department company wide. In IT we have countless metrics that are monitored and KPIs identified for every area.  

What does good culture fit look like in your organisation? How do you cultivate it? OneStream has always had a motto of “Work Hard Play Hard” and we cultivate a culture of inclusive opportunity. In a company growing this fast, there are enormous opportunities available, but you have to work hard for them. We seek out individuals who are ready to pick up the ball and run with it. We make no secret of the fact that it’s a lot of hard work, but the flip side is that it’s extremely rewarding in many ways.

What roles or skills are you finding (or anticipate to be) the most difficult to fill? Security is always a tough place to fill roles. We have found really great people, but it takes a long time to find them. We’ve also had a difficult time filling specialty roles such as ServiceNow developer. It has helped tremendously to expand out openness to 100% remote employees, but that does have its communication/collaboration downsides as well.

What's the best career advice you ever received? The best advice I ever received was to just move ahead and make stuff happen. While there are obvious reasons to need permission in some instances, often it’s going to be better if you just take the lead and move on something.

Do you have a succession plan? If so, discuss the importance of and challenges with training up high-performing staff. Yes, I’ve made sure that each of the areas that I’m over have strong leaders that I mentor to make sure they can stand on their own if I’m not here. While I do a lot, there’s nothing that couldn’t be done without me. I’m just able to condense much more into a tighter timeline because of my experience and knowledge.

What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? IT leaders have to be generalists. Good IT leaders know a little bit about everything under them but would be hard pressed to efficiently sit down and do any one job. The tech world moves to fast. You cannot keep up with every area. On the other hand, an IT leader who knows little to nothing about the areas of technology will ultimately not be successful as they will not be respected or efficient if they can’t understand what their team is trying to do.

What has been your greatest career achievement? So far, my highest achievement was to have made it to a C-level role in an extremely successful software company. Every step of the way, I try to make sure I am the best at that particular role, and this is no different. However, I will not stop here. I intend to have a CEO role eventually.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? I am grateful for where I am, but if I could go back, I would have embedded myself in the Silicon Valley start-up culture in the late 90s and ridden that wave up and down as far as I could have. I would not have the same perspective that I have now, but I would have loved that path.

What are you reading now? I always have too many things I’m reading. Currently it’s Corporate Governance A Global Perspective, Airplane Ownership Volume 1, Sapiens A Graphic History, and The DevOps Handbook.

Most people don't know that I… Never intended to be in the technical word and wanted instead to be a musician recording and touring.

In my spare time, I like to…Fly aircraft and hit the trails on anything from snowmobiles to dirt bikes to UTVs.

Ask me to do anything but… Keep my mouth shut and follow orders.