Computerworld: Did you always envisage you would have a career in IT?
Peter Gasparovic: At school, I did not know what the computer industry would have to offer in the way of challenges and I actually thought it would be just a boring office job. So I saw myself initially as being a policeman and eventually that changed to wanting to be a pilot.
I was always intrigued about technology and saw it as being a challenge; my family convinced me to take up computer studies and it turned out to be the best decision I ever made.
CW: What career would you have chosen if not IT?
PG: Since I have begun working in IT I have never even considered any other career.
The evolution of technology at the pace we are experiencing is ideal for a person who loves change and the challenges associated with it.
CW: Who are your key network product suppliers?
PG: Usually I look for suppliers of any technology who are innovative with their solutions and are prepared to back their products and their services.
I currently work with two suppliers.
CW: What is the most interesting task you have undertaken during your career and why?
PG: It's difficult to nominate just one task, but accepting the position with Chubb and having to basically turn the IT division upside down, restructure, instil a customer-focused culture, and survive. That would be the most recent.
CW: Have you ever considered becoming a contractor?
PG: Half-heartedly, yes. But I find I can get the same challenges and diversity working full time for an organisation. The main advantage of not contracting is the ownership and sense of working in a team environment, which is something very difficult to achieve when contracting.
CW: If you could walk a mile in any other IT professional's shoes, which one would it be and why?
PG: The CIO of World Bank, as the challenges and responsibilities for that position, I imagine, would be very fulfilling. It really is a role where "You don't follow the path, but set the trail".
CW: What do you find most fulfilling about your current role?
PG: The support provided by my senior management for technology-based solutions. This type of support has helped me deliver the right tools to enhance our business process for the purpose of gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage.
CW: What do you believe are the hottest technology trends right now?
PG: E-Business mostly focused on procurement and supply.
* Customer relationship management
* Wireless computing
*Voice and data convergence.
CW: Describe the best part about your job.
PG: Without a doubt the fantastic group of people within the IT department that I proudly call my team, and if you combine that with a dynamic organisation that constantly offers diversity and challenge, then every part of my job is great.
CW: Does your role involve a lot of travel?
PG: Yes I do travel a lot and although it's demanding, I feel that it also broadens my experience and enables me to market the IT department throughout the business.
Also, to develop the experience of my staff, they too get the pleasure of travel. You could say we share the travel load.
CW: What is the best compliment you have ever received on your work?
PG: From a senior manager in our UK parent company: "Usually when an organisation goes through major changes it's IT that has problems, but in your case it was IT that proved the most robust, together with a team of people who are passionate about their work."
CW: How many people are there in your IT department/team?
PG: In Australia and New Zealand currently 53, but due to some recently acquired companies that will be increasing substantially.
CW: Where do you see yourself in five years?
PG: Global responsibility within the IT industry, as I really believe it provides me with a high level of challenge and satisfaction.
CW: Do you envisage undertaking additional training courses to further boost your career? If so - what?
PG: I have actually started a three-year, part-time Master of Business Administration, which I have currently deferred due to the demands and challenges of my position. But I am looking forward to continuing the studies as soon as time permits. There are a number of developments within Chubb that should be completed by the end of this calendar year, which will give me the time to restart the MBA studies.
CW: What are your interests outside work?
PG: My family is number one. I have a very sporting family and not only for participating but also as spectators. So we can't wait for the Olympics to start. I am actually part of the torch relay, which I am thrilled about.
CW: How did you get picked to do a leg of the torch relay and when and where are you taking part?
PG: Thanks to the nomination by my account manager from IBM, I was selected to be part of the great event. I will be taking part at Wyong (NSW Central Coast) on Tuesday, August 29, just before lunch. (I'll be lighting the BBQ).