Friday Five: Markinson’s Ian Whiting


Every Friday we’ll profile a prominent figure from Australia’s IT, telecommunications or video gaming industries in the Friday Five.

Ian Whiting is the chief executive of Markinson Business Solutions — a privately owned Australian software company which specialises in CRM, ERP and retail/wholesale packages. But he doesn’t just think deeply about IT … he likes his life experience wide. He’s this week’s guest on the Friday Five.

What was your first job ever?

My first part time job was packing groceries at the local supermarket when I was still at school.

My first real job, however, was as a secondary school teacher, teaching maths and science. I lasted for about 12 months before deciding to do a degree in commerce and working as an accountant and subsequently qualifying as a CPA and moving into IT. So you can say I have had a few career changes along the way!

2. What do you most like about working in the IT industry?

I love the variety of technology, being at the forefront of innovation and the range of people you meet. There’s always a new technology to discover, a new skill to learn, or someone new to meet, so the challenges are continuous. Being in IT keeps you on your toes; falling behind the eight ball isn’t ever an option.

3. What’s your hobby?

I like a wide range of life experiences to keep things interesting. Once upon a time I was a rugby player, then a ballroom dancer. Fitness is my main hobby these days though. I find it keeps me focused and gives me time out to think and decide what happens next in life and in business. I’m a passionate golfer and love to cycle, swim and run to keep a healthy mind and body.

4. Where do you think the Australian IT industry will be in five years?

Technology is changing the lives of people and businesses around the world. In real-life situations where household tasks used to take hours, they now take minutes. The pace of life is increasing, and the technology we’ve come to embrace is actually providing the means to live at the speed we do.

By multi-tasking and cross-pollinating in our personal and business lives, we’re able to manage and organise ourselves through technology; waking up, opening the curtains, listening to your favourite music, remembering important birthdays, driving within the speed limits, getting to work on time, we’re already automating everyday life.

We’re also finding ways to tailor our lives to suit; stopping the television to make dinner whilst bidding on eBay, updating Twitter and reading an online book all at the same time. Today and tomorrow is really about having your cake and eating it.

In IT, I think we’ll continue to see the evolution of virtual boundaries and a greater need for portable technology and applications. The virtual environment will continue to grow, with businesses accessing applications, developing relationships and trading with teams situated anywhere in the world. This continued move towards globalisation will increase the need for enterprise-wide collaboration and true commercial visibility that will ease information exchange with customers, suppliers and external partners.

Attaining the utopia of a single view will be critical with real-time reporting and decision making available when and where businesses need it. I also think that delivering more for less as a trend is set to continue. In the IT industry businesses are already seeking cost reduction initiatives that arrived with the cloud and the efficiencies that have come with automation; being open to cloud experiences and technologies will be a huge driver of change.

The key challenge for the Australian IT industry will be keeping up, moving with the trends, evolving technology solutions to meet the increasing demands of the global business population whilst taking advantage of everything it has to offer.

5. What/who has been the biggest inspiration in your career?

An inspiration to me is coach John Wooden. A teacher first and a basketball coach second, he recruited a team that understood commitment, using his skills in motivation and leadership to deliver results beyond the team’s wildest dreams. His father’s creed is a great foundation for anyone to run their life:

  1. Be true to yourself
  2. Make each day your masterpiece
  3. Help others
  4. Drink deeply from good books
  5. Make friendship a fine art
  6. Build a shelter against a rainy day
  7. Pray for guidance, count and give thanks for your blessing every day.

Image credit: Markinson Business Solutions