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Becoming a Customer-Centric Leader in the Age of Automation

Derick Schaefer, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Trintech, recently sat down with The Tech Talks Daily Podcast to discuss how CTOs can best navigate the current age of automation.

Derick has spent more than 25 years in a variety of software leadership roles including the last 10 years running large-scale SaaS and PaaS operations. Today, he leads Trintech’s software engineering, cloud operations, information technology, and information security functions and hails this position as the highlight of his entire career.

Derick discusses how the CTO role has become nebulous as the innovation-age has progressed. As a modern CTO, these leaders need to have a pulse on innovation, how it’s created, and how it is secured. However, they should also embody this leadership role as a fresh opportunity to help businesses and their customers overcome challenges and be successful in an era of complexity.

Here are some key tips Derick suggests for leaders in the automation era:

  • Build a passionate team that understands business ROI: Focus on the ability to guide and retain top talent in order to drive incremental business growth. Avoid bringing a cookie-cutter approach to leadership because teams and success factors are dynamic and ever-changing. By coming into the role with an open mind and listening more than you speak, you can create a team and a strategy that works best for the business.
  • Customer-centricity is key: To enable customer success, leaders need to develop a customer-centric mindset and fuel this pillar throughout the organization. By truly listening to customers and understanding their unique pain points, companies can incorporate new functions into product roadmaps to continue developing a stronger, more robust solution for them.
  • Be agile, within reason: The ability to innovate is easier which leads to shorter innovation cycles and the opportunity to see the ROI on innovation faster. While this is great, it can also make innovative leaders forget their purpose – creating the ‘wow’ factor for customers. Leaders should embrace automation as it helps curtail rising business costs and allows teams to focus mindshare on more strategic business opportunities. Being agile is essential as businesses become more complex, but a good leader understands the value of onboarding only the solutions that truly move the needle.

To learn more about how CTOs can navigate the current age, listen to the full interview here.