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Human Resources

Typical 24: Keith Tilley, Executive Vice President, EMEA and APAC, Sungard Availability Services

IDG Connect is looking to speak to IT, business and marketing professionals across the spectrum to discover more about their very different, typical working days…

keith-tilley  Name: Keith Tilley

  Job title: Executive Vice President, EMEA and APAC

  Company: Sungard Availability Services

  Location: London, UK

  Years’ experience: 35

 

 

1.      What time do you reach the office each day?

 

I work in a global role so it varies day-to-day, but on a normal day in the UK I’m an early bird so typically 7:30am, any other day it’s whenever I’m at the airport.

 

 

2.      Is your job varied?

 

Certainly! I could be meeting a customer to discuss potential IT solutions on one day and then sitting working on a product roadmap with employees the next – no day is the same! I enjoy working collaboratively and I think I do my best work when meeting as many people as possible.

3.      Is your job creative?

I think the very nature of the business of technology is creative. As business demands change so do the IT requirements and you have to be able to adapt quickly in order to give the customers what they want. There is no sense in resting on your legacy; I firmly believe that a business is only as good as what it does today.

 

 

4.      What do you spend the majority of your time doing?

 

Most of my time is spent ensuring that not only does everyone understand Sungard Availability Service’s vision and mission, but that we’re delivering on it as well. This applies to customers as well as employees, we want them to know exactly what they can expect when partnering with us.

 

 

5.      Do you personalise your desk?  

 

My desk is home to various pieces of memorabilia including a menu signed by The Who’s guitarist Pete Townsend, a miniature guitar sign by Bryan May, family photos and a jar of Tilley’s hard-boiled sweets (no relation, unfortunately!).

 

 

6.      Would you describe yourself as creative?

 

Yes, I like to create things and I’m a total gadget freak - which I guess is natural for someone in the technology business. Most of all I enjoy creating new ways for people to communicate and collaborate – something that is essential in today’s dispersed and mobile workforce.  

 

 

7.      Do you have any quirky daily rituals?

 

I’m not sure it would be considered quirky, but I like to ease into the day with a coffee and some music. I set my iPod to shuffle and just enjoy whatever comes up, this morning it was Bruce Springsteen – you can’t beat the Boss! Occasionally I’ll start the day with a blast from my daughter’s playlist, although I’m not sure I find nursery rhymes as good a wakeup call as rock and roll!

 

 

8.      Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?

 

Most of my role needs close involvement with colleagues. Running both the European and APAC aspects of the business would be an impossible task for just one man so collaboration is vital and I really do rely on my teams. I also believe that it is essential for a company offering customer-led managed service solutions to have a culture of teamwork in order to give customers the highest level of service.

 

 

9.      How many hours on average do you work a day?

 

At least 12 hours a day, usually from 7:30am to 7:30pm. Of course it varies depending on travel time. It’s hard work but I consider myself very lucky to be doing a job that I really enjoy.

 

 

10.   Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?

 

I’m yet to meet someone who wants to receive more emails! I spend far too much time on them, but we collectively need to ensure they don’t replace face to face conversations.

 

When it comes to taking calls I am fortunate that I have a very good assistant to help me prioritise the most important ones and decide which can be picked up at a later date. It’s possibly one of the biggest perks of my position!

 

And, in terms of meetings I probably have an average of two per day. I generally look forward to these – I find that spending time with colleagues and customers is enormously productive and vital when it comes to making decisions about the organisation.

 

 

11.   Do you use social media much for work?

 

I have a twitter account but it isn’t what you’d call ‘active’ – follow me at @Tilley1Kieth and I’ll have more reason to be vocal!! Social media is a great tool with huge potential and there is no denying that it will have a starring role in business communications in the future. 

 

 

12.   What do you enjoy most about your work?

 

The variety of it – I’ve worked with Sungard Availability Services for over 35 years and in that time I’ve seen huge industry shifts. The problems that I’m asked to solve change on a day to day basis and I’ve learnt that no two organisations are ever the same. It’s also been fascinating watching the way we work change, from paper and envelopes to predominantly smart devices.

 

 

13.   What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?

 

I love listening to music in the office but I’m really not too fussy on what it is - blues, soul or rock and roll one minute, and then it could switch to my daughter’s playlist including One Direction or Taylor Swift. Sometimes a bit embarrassing in the office environment!

 

 

14.   What do you do for lunch?

 

I’d love to take time out and enjoy a relaxing lunch break but if truth be told the time is generally spent on the run or having meeting with customers.

  

 

15.   Do you socialise with work colleagues?

 

Yes of course. We spend a lot of time in our jobs and work in close proximity to our colleagues, often for many years, so it’s important that you have a relationship that doesn’t just centre around work.

 

 

16.   Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?

 

Absolutely, we all have to start at the bottom of the ladder. I think my number one would be no longer having to work shifts. I also enjoy having someone to help manage my diary, filtering my emails and booking my travel – it’s something of an understatement to say that it saves me some time.

 

 

17.   What is your last task of your day?

 

To check my emails - having a global job role means I have to accommodate numerous different time zones and have to adapt an always-on mentality.

 

 

18.   How do you like to relax after work?

 

Nothing is more relaxing that spending time with my family.  

 

 

19.   Do you keep checking email through the evening?

 

Downtime is really important, we need to be able to refresh and my view is that people should not be expected check email on a 24/7 basis.

 

It’s easier said than done though, and in my role it sometime can’t be avoided.

 

 

20.   Do you take work projects home with you?

 

Yes, I think everyone in my position does. You can’t avoid it but you can balance it.

 

 

21.   What would you say to your 20-year old self?

 

Always do your best and treat people with the respect you expect to be treated. Remember that everyone you meet is better at something than you are.

 

 

22.   If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?

 

Lead guitarist for The Who.

 

 

23.   What device did you use to answer these questions?

 

A Lenovo laptop.

 

 

24.   Do you use your own personal device for work?

 

No, we use work-supplied devices. While mobile working has long been a part of our IT strategy there is still something to be said for keeping a balance between work and home life.

 

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