Q&A profile Ian Poole is the chief executive officer of Integ Group, an Australian integrator of secure voice, data infrastructure and IP business applications and part of ASX-listed UXC. Poole oversees more than 150 staff across six engineering teams around Australia. The musically-inclined, aqua-sport enthusiast took some time out to talk about his roots.
Ian Poole (Credit: Integ)
What was your first job ever?
My first job was as a teenager, working in my dad's country electrical retail and repair business after school. It was during these early years that I learned how to keep customers #1 by forging strong relationships, selling good products and providing excellent service, because what we sold we had to support.
What do you most like about working in Australia's technology industry?
I love the fact that you need to be good at change — it's a requirement to be successful in IT. And I enjoy building the vision for a technology company, where innovation is balanced with building strong teams to deliver outcomes that really make a difference to Australian organisations. IT is everywhere now — it's in all enterprises and it gives me great satisfaction knowing that IT really makes a difference to how enterprises operate. It's an integral part of how business is conducted, and we are a part of that.
What's your hobby?
Almost anything to do with water: ocean swims, boating, swimming, diving, fishing and snowboarding. I also enjoy writing for and playing the piano, which I do when I can.
What can Australia do better to help grow a great technology sector?
I see this in two areas. Firstly, we need to develop, market and sell more of our own intellectual property. It needs to become more a part of the psyche of IT companies and certainly governments also have a role to play. This means we need to be more entrepreneurial in our approach. Secondly, I believe that as an industry, we need to invest more into attracting good people starting in the school years, and to play a dominant role in the development of their business and technology skills over time.
What/who has been the biggest inspiration in your career?
Different people at different times have inspired and influenced me. In my early years it was certainly my Dad, who instilled both a customer and service-centric ethic. In my 20s I had a number of technical and engineering mentors who guided my problem-solving abilities and technology-design processes and disciplines. In my 30s I was lucky to have some good formal and informal mentors focused on sales and marketing acumen, both nationally and internationally.
My 40s was all about gaining inspiration and ideas to run a successful business. Being party of UXC has also been fertile ground for growth, where the CEOs of nine different technology companies, with the same parent, regularly discuss and share common issues and ideas about how to develop and grow our boundaries.