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Using the cloud to tackle growing tech pressures

Ergo’s CIO and head of cloud discusses the potential of AI, the opportunities arising from operational pressures and how to improve diversity in the tech sector.

Lorne Chedzey is no stranger to the evolving nature of the tech sector and the cloud, having more than 20 years of leadership experience in companies such as Dell, VMware and Symantec.

He was also the head of cloud and infrastructure solutions for Asystec until 2022, when the company was acquired by Ergo. He is currently leading a two-fold role as CIO and head of cloud for Ergo, where he leads a team of 30 that support customers with their cloud deployments.

“As CIO I have responsibility for the technical direction of Ergo and aligning the technology-related decisions with the organisation’s goals,” Chedzey said. “This role is about listening to our customers and vendors, understanding what their challenges and needs are, following market developments, looking at what the analysts are saying and listening to our own staff and technical teams to understand where they think the opportunity lies and the problems are that we need to solve.

Chedzey said he never planned on becoming a CIO but believes “a curious mind” led him down this career path.

“During my school years, computer studies was my favourite subject, and I enjoyed trying to code Basic on my Commodore 64 and then later on the Amiga 500,” Chedzey said. “However, as I got older, human behaviour was really what fascinated me, hence I charted an unusual course to becoming a CIO by beginning with a degree in psychology.

“I didn’t fancy the long slog to becoming a clinical psychologist, and this led me into an IT sales career, where funny enough I found myself using my counselling skills to talk to customers about their problems, and to help them find a solution.”

New pressures

Like many sectors, AI is making its presence known in the cloud market, with some companies making a push to implement this technology into cloud-native environments. Chedzey believes we’re still at the early days of how this technology will be used.

“AI is a rapidly evolving space, but many people are still only beginning to understand the full depth and breadth of what generative AI platforms are truly capable of,” he said. “AI has the potential to change the world we live and work in, so it poses an exciting opportunity for us, our customers and partners.”

But he also noted that there is “increased pressure” on organisations around operational resilience, particularly in “critical infrastructure or financial services”.

“Companies are now looking towards hybrid and multi-cloud models,” Chedzey said. “There’s a huge opportunity for us to work with Irish companies to develop a cloud operating model that suits their rapidly evolving needs and alleviates operational pressure.

“Both of which have remained constant in an otherwise constantly disruptive business environment, which we’ve seen as a result of geopolitical tensions, the proliferation of emerging tech such as AI, and challenging economic conditions.

Finally, the constant struggle to find strong technical talent is a challenge we’re also trying to help organisations overcome, especially those undergoing digital transformation projects. We’re doing this through the managed services proposition we offer and by sourcing and placing skilled personnel to sit within our clients’ teams.

Tackling issues in diversity

Chedzey noted believes women have “traditionally been underrepresented” in the tech sector, particularly at more senior leadership levels.

“It’s an imbalance that can be traced back to early education where boys are still more likely to study subjects such as science, technology and maths,” Chedzey said. “Achieving gender parity is so important to every organisation, however I am acutely aware that we need to take a holistic approach when it comes to bringing more women into the IT sector.

This journey starts in schools and universities, and within the workplace, and it goes far beyond recruitment alone – it is about attracting, retaining and nurturing talent within the IT sector.”

To get the best out of his teams, Chedzey believes it is important to “listen, ask questions and listen again”.

“As a manager and leader, you know what an organisation is trying to achieve, and it is important to provide your team with the resources to achieve that in their own way,” Chedzey said. “It’s critical to check in on your team on a regular basis to make sure they’re heading in the right direction and help and support them where you can.”

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