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CIO Spotlight: Alastair Pooley, Snow Software

One of the key challenges Pooley sees for CIOs is transitioning from holding the purse strings on technology spending to taking on the role of consultant and influencer.

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Alastair Pooley was appointed CIO of Snow Software in January of this year, taking responsibility for global IT strategy and implementation. Prior to his role at Snow, Pooley spent five years at multinational security company Sophos, where he was vice president responsible for global IT infrastructure, providing service to 3,300 staff globally and live services to over 100 million endpoints. Here, he shares his career path and offers advice for aspiring CIOs. 

What was your first job? My first job was building computers from scratch in a local IT firm during the early 90s when we still had to assemble the components. While I was at university, I also wrote a book on how to play the computer game "Elite." It was a dream holiday job to be paid to play a computer game all summer.

Did you always want to work in IT? I was always interested in computers during my teenage years, but it wasn't until I was at university studying physics that I thought about it as a career. Back then, we would all gather together to network computers so that we could play LAN games of Doom or Descent. It wasn't easy getting the computers to talk to each other at that point and, ultimately, as I found it interesting, I decided to pursue it as a career.

Tell us about your career path. I've been very lucky – no detours. My first job out of university at the ISP really caught my interest. From there, I was involved in an offshoot that became a separate company — Messagelabs — which was acquired by Symantec in 2008. I chose to stay with the managed services/ISP business until it sold Claranet in 2012, at which point I moved on to Sophos and helped grow the business, working on building its first SaaS service and running large-scale infrastructure. I joined Snow at the beginning of February 2018 and am delighted to be getting started in this new role.

What business or technology initiatives will be most significant in driving IT investments in your organization in the coming year? At Snow, we believe that Software Asset Management (SAM) has relevance beyond the traditional SAM manager as IT spending moves from the IT office into the business. Gartner predicts that by 2020 large enterprises with a digital focus will see business unit IT increase to 50 percent of enterprise IT spending.  As a result, we have committed to investing in making the data from the platform relevant and useful to more users within our customers — that’s a key initiative for us this year.

We are also investing in the public cloud, as I’m a firm believer in reaping the benefit of the flexibility and agility it offers. We'll also be looking to reduce friction in our core business processes: we’ve got some integration work to do between our systems to make them more efficient, so that the data moves more easily.

What are the CEO's top priorities for you in the coming year? How do you plan to support the business with IT? This coming year, I've got three main priorities:

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