Interview – Damien Scalzo, Chief Information Officer, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Australia/New Zealand
Damien is the CIO of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Australia/New Zealand.
For over 15 years, Damien has combined his business and technology experience as a CIO, Management Consultant, Systems Integrator and Chartered Accountant to help organisations use technology to add value to their core and new business processes across industries including Financial Services, Manufacturing, Utilities and Public sector. Damien is passionate about technology and also spends time mentoring startups to grow and scale.
Interviewer: What do you feel are the biggest challenges IT leaders are currently faced with?
Damien: – Transformation vs BAU: being able to balance Transformation and Business as Usual Activities. IT leaders need to manage this balance carefully to ensure they are not at the mercy of their technology debt.
– Continuous Security: keeping their landscape more secure than ever on top of Continuous Delivery. IT Leaders need to balance security being a blocker to Continuous Delivery vs. the risk of cyberattacks.
– Business Integration: being more than just ‘IT’ and being truly part of and integrated into the businesses you serve. IT leaders need to be embedded in their business, truly part of making business decisions and on the front foot with technology solutions before the business has come for help.
– Reducing Cost: delivering more whilst lowering costs. IT Leaders will need to do more with less or do more with your budget by looking at different ways to structure your landscape, staff and suppliers.
Interviewer: Where do you see the industry headed within the next one to five years and what do you feel will be the biggest game changers?
Damien: My presentation “How the Role of IT Leaders and Emerging Technology are Converging in the Future” covers the answer to this. Hope to see you there.
Interviewer: What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?
Damien: Deliver quality over volume. Whilst it is imperative to deliver to the internal or external customer on time, it’s more important that you get it right. A customer will always remember something that didn’t work, didn’t meet their expectations and was frustrating, rather than something that was delayed. I believe this sets apart technology leaders over project delivery professionals.
Interviewer: What advice would you give to someone trying to excel in the IT industry?
Damien: – Future proof your skillset: IT roles are in the process of transforming and this will continue and evolve for some time. Because of this, IT professionals should focus on getting exposure to as many roles as they can in the software development cycle. I believe IT professionals who do this will effectively “future proof” their resume and ability to transfer their skill set to a future role.
– Understand the business you serve. The more you can understand the businesses you are delivering to, the further you will go. I believe IT professionals who can independently understand, identify and resolve key business challenges will be at the top of the pecking order.
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services is a leading, captive financial services provider and the global financial services company of Daimler AG. Doing business as Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and Daimler Truck Financial, they provide financing for automotive and commercial vehicle dealers and their retail consumers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.