CIO Spotlight: Harry Moseley, Zoom Video Communications, Inc.

CIO Spotlight: Harry Moseley, Zoom Video Communications, Inc.

Name: Harry Moseley

Company: Zoom Video Communications, Inc.

Job title: CIO

Time in current role: Since March 2018

Location: Scarsdale, New York

Harry D. Moseley brings to Zoom a blend of transformational leadership, disruptive innovation, and corporate growth strategies. As the former CIO & Managing Director for KPMG, Harry was responsible for technology and innovation to support the firm's competitive growth. Over five years he identified and replaced legacy technology to dramatically improve productivity, security, and reliability. Harry has been inducted into CIO Magazine's Hall of Fame, recognized as one of the world's top 100 CIOs by Computerworld, and honored by Irish Magazine as one of its Annual Wall Street 50.

What was your first job? My first job was working in my father's factory (he used to make beds). I would pull a rope with a magnet on the end across the floor, picking up nails the employees had dropped while making wooden bed frames - I was about 10 years old. 

Did you always want to work in IT? No, in fact, I always wanted to be a structural engineer. I started my career as an assistant site engineer and moved to being a junior engineer for a consulting company. I decided to transition into technology as I did not like the idea of the many professional engineering exams I would need to take, and of being at the whim of an architect. Ironically, I gave up being an engineer because architects can just change their minds and do not have to think of the engineering consequences, and now my daughter is an architect and my younger son will be an architect too!

What was your education? Do you hold any certifications? What are they? I attended Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and received a BA/BAI degree in Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering.

Explain your career path. Did you take any detours? If so, discuss. My career path did include a few detours. After graduating college, my first job was as an assistant site engineer for British Steel, helping to build a foundry in Maryport, England. Six months later, I moved to Colchester, east of London, to be a junior engineer for a construction consulting firm, and six months after that I moved to London and started my career in technology. Six months into the technology job I was promoted from production release assistant to junior developer and then another six months later transferred to New York, where I have been ever since. Eighteen months later I quit my job and started my own software company.

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organization in the coming year?

As it relates to company operations: We are using a variety of tools which have enabled Zoom to get where we are today. As we continue to grow, I believe we will need to invest in more sophisticated solutions that do more than help manage the business. Instead, we will need solutions that help predict the business, proactively guide our people, and identify opportunities to work with prospects and clients. Much of our capability today provides us with information, but we are required to interpret what it means and what actions we should take. The future is about software doing that, leveraging intelligent automation, natural language processing, and predictive analytics to support proactive efforts that allow us to continue to innovate and provide a fantastic experience to our employees and clients.

As it relates to the company's product: As an industry, we are only scratching the surface on RPA, AI, AR, VR, ML, NLP and other capabilities that are collectively AI. We live in a connected world; things are moving exponentially faster all the time and the ability we will have tomorrow exceeds the ability we had yesterday. The future is becoming more amazing every day.

What are the CEO's top priorities for you in the coming year? How do you plan to support the business with IT? Future-proofing Zoom is a core responsibility of mine, and that encompasses many of the points described in the question regarding our initiatives for the coming year. Other priorities include achieving excellence in tech and, in parallel, maintaining the culture that our CEO has established. Maintaining that balance will be interesting, as we want to be the best in every dimension, but also want to preserve our culture and our flexibility.

Does the conventional CIO role include responsibilities it should not hold? Should the role have additional responsibilities it does not currently include? That is a great question and I have several thoughts on it:

There is an ongoing debate about where IT security should reside/report. There is the belief that it should not be part of the CIO role, as that is a little like having "the fox in the hen house." However, there is also the thinking that if the CIO is going to be held accountable in the event of a breach, the CIO might as well own the CISO function too. Whilst I like the former for a variety of reasons I believe the latter is more realistic.

Facilities has in many instances been a peer to IT, however given the impact of facilities on IT -- or IT's impact on facilities -- one could argue that these clearly belong together. Specifically, I think these two functions will become more closely linked as we look into the workforce of the future, the remote worker, and trends such as office hoteling and different workplace environments.

The role of the CIO is expanding to encompass responsibilities that, until now, had been the purview of other executives. The emergence of the CIOO (Chief Information and Operations Officer, CIO+COO) is super intriguing. I think this is the real future, as it centralizes all the processes involved in a company's operations, empowering a single organization to implement technological change. With a CIOO in place, there is no need for digital transformation, as a centralized role ensures that processes are digitized (which is the intersection of business and technology) from the get go! There have already been a number of articles talking to the point of how the role of the CDO is akin to the CIO, furthermore, a recent research article points to CIOs make the Chief Digital Officer obsolete.

Are you leading a digital transformation? If so, does it emphasize customer experience and revenue growth or operational efficiency? If both, how do you balance the two? Since we are a tech company that has been digital from the start, we do not require a digital transformation. That being said, as noted above in question five, we have an opportunity in front of us to change it up and get more from tech as the company grows and scales out globally.

Describe the maturity of your digital business. For example, do you have KPIs to quantify the value of IT? Given that we are a tech company, the question is not really applicable. Having said that, KPI's, metrics and measures are mandatory in every business irrespective of the industry, if you cannot (do not) measure something, then you cannot manage it. That was the case 20 years ago, and it is the same today. Measuring success and failure is a key to a company's success, irrespective of the business, the size, the scale and the industry. This applies to all enterprises, including not-for-profits. Even more critical than measurement and metrics is interpreting the data -- what does it mean, what actions should we take, what should we start doing, stop doing, continue to do...all critical irrespective of the business/industry.

What does good culture fit look like in your organization? How do you cultivate it? At Zoom, great culture is people knowing that their opinions count, knowing that they can speak openly and freely, and knowing that they will always be treated with dignity and respect. It is also knowing that you can take a risk, try something new that is unproven and if it fails that is not a bad thing, it is good, it is a learning experience.

Great culture is hard to create.  It is determined by the tone right from the top and is practiced all the way through a company. This is not an individual person's responsibility, it is collectively the responsibility of all the people in the company.

Cultivating, maintaining, and improving culture is hard. On the one hand, it needs to be natural, in other words, not a deliberate action or effort. On the other hand, if we do not have the necessary processes in place, then there is a risk it can be lost, it can become diluted over time, and it can become something that is said and not practiced.

What roles or skills are you finding (or anticipate to be) the most difficult to fill? Clearly, security roles are the single hardest to recruit for. These resources are in high demand, are hard to identify and are consequently hard to recruit. The other resources are people with vision and the energy/passion to execute...the notion of relentless pursuit of excellence.

What's the best career advice you ever received? That's easy: never, ever go to you superior with a problem unless you have a solution.

Do you have a succession plan? If so, discuss the importance of and challenges with training up high-performing staff. Yes. I am working on one for sure. A succession plan is something we should always be thinking about for various reasons, the most important being that of giving people an opportunity. As a young manager I recall being told, "Harry, the easiest way to get more responsibility is by having a great succession plan and delivering contributions every day. Why? If you do not have a successor, then it will be hard for you to take on a new role."

Training is super important. As senior leaders, CIOs are clearly accomplished, but that does not necessarily mean we do everything really well. There is always an opportunity to improve your skills and learn new skills and concepts. I was trained that every day you need to learn something new, or it is a waste of a day. I believe that is true all the way up the management chain. One needs to always be listening and learning, being humble at your core is a recipe for success.

The challenge is that most people need to understand and acknowledge that they can be better, since the need to improve can be seen by some as a sign of weakness. The other challenge, of course, is overcoming the objection that there is too much to do, and there is not enough time for training.

What advice would you give to aspiring IT leaders? Be passionate. Have time for people always, and on any topic. Break bread and meet new people in your company every day. You do not have to know all the answers-- even if you do. Measure twice and cut once. Hiring people is hard; determine their culture and fit at the door, if neither culture nor fit is right, then their skills and capabilities do not matter. You can teach skills, but you cannot teach culture and chemistry.

What has been your greatest career achievement? Seamless/frictionless has been a career theme for me...I called it "single click." In 1998, I literally drew a design on a napkin to create a client intelligence platform that provided "a single click" to internal/external structured/unstructured data for investment banking clients. Other achievements were the ability to enter trades in a "Google" like box and have it flow through to settlement and clearing systems across heterogeneous operating systems, or, the automation of capital calls, distributions, tax reporting and statements, or digital pitching to clients with simplicity and ease of use.

Looking back with 20:20 hindsight, what would you have done differently? In hindsight: I should have monetized a messaging platform I built with a team in the late 80's, and the client intelligence platform we built in the late 90's.

I should have been more courageous when thinking about doing a startup, again (I did one in 1981), and I should have more consistently followed my gut; when I did not, things went off the rails. All this aside, I am very happy with my career and very humbled by the opportunities I have been privileged with. I have done a lot, have great stories, have helped numerous people be incredibly successful, and am very proud of what various teams accomplished under my guidance and leadership.

What are you reading now? Fiction. I have read various business books over time, and want to read a few more. However, I need to do things that take my mind off work, as it is a preoccupation and I fundamentally believe we can do our jobs better when we are more relaxed. That being said, a trusted friend recently suggested I read "No Room for Small Dreams" by Shimon Peres.

Most people don't know that I… I love to kite surf but I am not good at it because it is really, really hard and I am terrified of water.

In my spare time, I like to…Cook, ride my bike, do yoga, watch movies, fly my stunt kites and do things with my family.

Ask me to do anything but… Jump out of plane at 10,000 feet.


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