CIO Spotlight: Carter Busse, Workato

What roles or skills are you finding (or anticipate to be) the most difficult to fill? “The roles that I’m finding the most difficult to fill are data roles (including data leaders) and business analysts. Data is such an integral part of what our company does.”

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What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? Don’t keep yourself and your team in a silo. That means not being afraid to let go of a bit of control and let people without technical backgrounds in the business add ideas for improved IT processes.

Just because someone isn’t officially an IT professional doesn’t mean they don’t have good ideas for how systems work and how they can be automated to be more efficient. Keep an open mind and appeal to everyone.

What has been your greatest career achievement? My greatest career achievement has been my work as an early employee at Salesforce. I was one of the first hires, and I remained there for 10 years. I successfully built a team and the entire IT infrastructure along with it.  This was a very special, unique time in my career that I’m very proud of. It was the basis for all of my IT work to date.

That achievement directly impacted another key career achievement —  the digital transformation of MobileIron. When I went on to work at MobileIron, I applied many of the foundational lessons from my role at Salesforce. At the time, MobileIron wanted me to be the Senior Director of Business Operations. This role embraced the idea that IT was not just about keeping the lights on, but was go-to-market focused as well. This allowed me to take the bull by the horns and reprocess the entire operation by turning archaic business processes into automated business processes. Successfully achieving this was a big achievement that I am still proud of today.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? Looking back, I would have been more bold for my team at Salesforce. We worked very hard but didn’t promote ourselves within the organisation enough. Keeping your head down and working hard is important, but ensuring visibility and asking for help when you need it is important too. If I could go back and do it differently, I would have been a better leader for my people, by having done more to promote the work we did, and would have asked for help when we needed it.

What are you reading now? Play Bigger by Al Ramadan. It’s about how you take a small idea and work to make it bigger and more impactful. The book focuses on defining and developing new market categories. I’m also currently reading Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. This book goes into the ins and outs of how to create a story and uses Star Wars as an analogy for storytelling.

Most people don't know that I… did many Ironman, Half-Ironman, and cycling races pre-children. I rarely talk about it but it is the basis of much of my hard working ethos. Today, I coach my children’s sports, which some people know about and for some it’s a surprise when they find out. I try to be as transparent as possible with my colleagues.

In my spare time, I like to…Spend time with family.

Ask me to do anything but… To jump in a cold lake. I grew up in Chicago, but I really do not like jumping in cold water.

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