CIO100 2018 #31-100: Nathan John Steiner, Veeam
Nathan John Steiner says the biggest lesson of his 22-year IT career is that one must be constantly willing to adapt to change.
Steiner, who is head of systems engineering, ANZ, Veeam, says this could be change in the environment, technology, people, business, and “all their associated priorities and imperatives”.
It is a lesson he applies time and again as he takes on executives roles across industries.
“Early in my leadership career I was chiefly responsible for the team in technical design and delivery of an end to end patient administration system,” he says. It was part of a $20 million-dollar transformation project covering a 30,000-seat health service agency.
“Driving technology transformation required me to adapt the business case and ‘technical solution sell’ to many different stakeholders,” says Steiner.
“Learning early in my leadership the importance of risk mitigation, clinical, corporate, political, commercial, and operational benefits/goals allowed me to overcome such challenges with targeted strategies to the above.”
He says the result was a complete transformation of a traditional client/server based clinical application architecture to one that was completely virtualised and supporting at scale 15,000 concurrent health service professionals, clinical, corporate and business.
A more recent project was the Veeam executive briefing centre (EBC) at the company’s headquarters in Sydney.
“I incubated, built and delivered the project,” he says. The EBC is a ‘world first’ for the company and showcases Veeam’s integrated solutions to business, executive, strategic and operational C-level stakeholders.
“The program was designed to drive Veeam brand awareness across the commercial and enterprise landscape and to positively influence pipeline and revenue opportunities with prospective customers, channel and partner clients. The EBC provides a ‘day in the life’ story for end-users in terms of availability.
“It also provides Veeam the opportunity to explicitly deep-dive our technology capabilities with a broad set of data centre centric technical resources in one session, to educate our technical stakeholders in using Veeam as part of their disruptive digital transformation.
“From a cultural perspective, the challenge was the business case justification and proving the value the EBC would bring to the various market segments Veeam serves,” says Steiner
“The cultural reengineering was around how to deliver the message of the EBC into the channel partner commercial and enterprise landscapes,” he says.
“We overcame this by putting together assets that were structured for the purposes of an EBC in terms of agenda, what was covered in those agendas and how the messaging was delivered, being cautious not to deviate from that.
“Educating and aligning the messaging to different parts of the business, be it inside sales, marketing, sales or presales, as they all have their part to play during the executive session.”
“In terms of the presentation and the way in which we deliver it – we leverage a full mobility experience with iPads showcasing access to applications though mobility devices presented on 60-inch screens. We aim to make the experience similar to an end user experience rather than showing them widgets within a data centre.”
Steiner’s team also developed a product specific EBC demonstration focusing on Veeam and Private Cloud, Veeam and Managed Cloud and Veeam and Public Cloud.
“The EBC is unique as it is a world first within Veeam,” he says. “ \It has also provided the competitive advantage and the opportunity to drive direct Veeam awareness across the commercial and enterprise landscape.
“Also, in terms of competitive advantage, the EBC has been able to positively influence pipeline and revenue generating opportunities, as well as completely flipping the interaction with our customers, partners and end users to be very customer-centric,” says Steiner
Steiner holds monthly all-hands call to the business across Australia and New Zealand, where he provides product strategy and technical enablement updates; monthly director calls with his peers across the broader Veeam business geographies; and weekly meetings with his ANZ team to discuss all product and technology related updates.
He also regularly writes blogs covering digital disruption, data centre transformation, mobility, next generation workplace, network and security.
Steiner works with Veeam’s alliance partners in product strategy development, reference architectures and assessment.
With his team, he is focused on instilling a strong purpose and empowerment.
“These two factors are my main ingredients for cultivating a strong team that is prepared and confident to disrupt. Disrupting themselves, our customers and our competitors to drive positive change is a core tenant of my management approach,” he says.
He believes that for his staff to perform at their best, they must have an equally balanced and stable personal life.
“Being a highly technical team, I drive success through business case justification of quarterly technical training, “ he says.
He notes 10 per cent of his team consists of women, whom he has nominated for industry awards. He holds regular one-on-one catch ups with them as part of his team mentoring. Steiner is also a mentor for Veeam’s ‘Women for Green’ emerging leaders group.