by Rebecca Merrett

Former Salmat Digital CIO steps into new MD role

Jun 05, 20143 mins

Paul Russell has taken on a new role as managing director of off-shore software development provider SoftwareSeni.

Russell was previously executive general manager, technology and delivery (a divisional CIO role) at Salmat Digital. Prior to that, he was CIO at Fairfax Digital, and head of technology for Digital Media at Network Ten.

SoftwareSeni was established in mid-2013 and Russell said he wanted the opportunity to grow the business. The company combines on-shore product design and project management with its off-shore development team, which is based in the Indonesian university town of Yogyakarta.

“I’ve been managing development for a very long time now, and it’s obviously a development company. But to run the company and to see it grow from strength to strength, that’s really why I’m there. My remit is to take it to the next stage; to really drive the growth of the business,” he said.

He added that the off-shoring business is gaining a lot of traction at the moment and saw an opportunity to “do it better”.

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His plans to grow SoftwareSeni’s business by being a co-founder for startups in Australia and Indonesia. Startups and small businesses that work on tight resource budgets are target clients for SoftwareSeni.

“We are already being approached by startups in Australia looking for a sound technology partner to act as a co-founder,” Russell said. “We are also building a start-up capability in the Indonesian market.”

Russell’s advice for CIOs looking to transition into a top role, such as CEO or MD, is to expose themselves to other parts of the business and broaden their role.

“A lot of CIOs that I’ve seen, their roles often start to get broader, where they start to run shared services or other parts of the business,” he said.

“CIOs really need to understand the business and the commercial side of the business. If they only speak technology on the board or management team, then that doesn’t necessarily help.

“What they need to do is articulate the value of the technology team and the way it can benefit the business in either driving competitive advantage or otherwise.”

CIOs also need to be more ‘outward looking’ to see how other businesses or even industries are moving forward, come up with new ideas or tap into new opportunities on how to drive growth, he said.