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Doing business with Keir Garrett of Microsoft New Zealand

Doing business with Keir Garrett of Microsoft New Zealand

The Dynamics Lead for Microsoft New Zealand talks about breaking barriers and other lessons learned from more than two decades of working in ICT.

Name: Keir Garrett

Title: Dynamics Lead, Microsoft New Zealand

Twitter handle: @KeirSGarrett

How long have you been in your current role? 16 months

What business technology issue is your organisation focusing on?

Within the Dynamics business we remain focused on reinventing productivity and business process for the modern enterprise through a strong synergy linking three pillars Cloud Platform – (Azure), Productivity (Office 365) and Business Apps (Dynamics).

We continue to deliver solutions that are mobile, trusted, natural, intelligent and collaborative, empowering individuals to achieve more in their business roles, and allowing organisations to realise greater success.

Above all, we remain committed to our strategic prioritisation of business processes that drive customer engagement.

What are your interests away from work?

Multisport adventure racing, ultra-marathons and trail running. I also love cooking and entertaining.

What are you reading at the moment?

I have a few books on the go, depending on my mood and energy levels.

Running Past Midnight by Molly Sheridan – A friend’s book on her experiences on ultra-marathon races around the world

Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil – All about the time to come when humans transcend biology – an interesting and slow read !!!

Thrive by Ariana Huffington – An all-round inspiring woman!

Read more: ‘The best CIOs will be the CEOs of tomorrow’

It’s kind of a funny one. My dad always told me people judge you on your shoes, so I always try to wear good shoes.

However, the best advice I try to follow is: “Have the courage of your convictions”, which I understand to mean that as long as you believe in something and it doesn’t physically or morally impact others then you should not be afraid to give it a go.

I also believe today we are in a new world, the barriers to entry are being broken down no matter your gender, race or religion.

Individuals are far more assertive and recognise they can stand up in their own right and forge their way through sheer hard work, confidence and capability. I definitely impart that approach to my children (five teenage girls). Unfortunately, there will always be prejudices and bias but organisations and individuals are far better equipped to mitigate the impact of this.

We talk a lot more about innovation, agility, business strategy growth and alignment, whereas 15 years ago we were far more obsessed with P&L, balance sheets, reporting and the state of the economy.

Keir Garrett, Microsoft NZ

Professionally, who do you admire most?

Dr Jacob Bronowski, who died in 1974. He wrote the Ascent of Man, it would seem that Singularity picks up where he let off. This man was a genius a mathematician, biologist and a historian of science.

Having said that, I have led an interesting life and met many people along the way, read many books, listened to many a speech all have left an impression that I can draw on as needed.

Read more: How I became a CIO: Jason Millett and Kevin Angland share their journey

How long have you been working in IT? Over 20 years.

If you weren't working in IT, what would you be doing?

Keeping my dad’s advice in mind, I expect I would be a shoemaker. Also, competing in multisport or ultra-marathons in obscure places all around the world.

What was your first job?

I had my first job at the very young age of seven, when I would earn pocket money for helping the milkman deliver milk on his float.

At high school I worked as a check-out person at Safeways in the UK.

My first job after school was working as an account payable clerk at the British Broadcasting Corporation.

What's the best thing about working with IT executives?

The best thing is the ever evolving nature of the industry. Today it is at a very different point to where it was 10 or 15 years ago. We talk a lot more about innovation, agility, business strategy growth and alignment, whereas 15 years ago we were far more obsessed with P&L, balance sheets, reporting and the state of the economy. We seem to have lifted our eyes to focus on the more important and exciting things.

Read more: Multi-speed IT needs multi-speed CIOs

Can you share one key pointer for managing global teams?

It is important for teams to get back to an understanding of how true collaboration can benefit the outputs of teams. At Microsoft, the ethos of collaboration and its impact on business transformation is alive and well, and we are executing it well within the company. Outside this company, it seems to be a concept that people think they know but in my view it is rarely done well.

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

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