In this week’s Q&A, James Wilson, Chief Technology Officer at Red Flag Alert, describes his impatience for innovation and disruption
What is your full job title?
Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Red Flag Alert.
How long have you worked in the industry?
I started my first IT role with Vision Consulting, Edinburgh, in 1998. I worked as a Junior Consultant responsible for Software Configuration Management, initially working on a large utilities project, latterly finishing on Intelligent Finance – one of the largest IT projects in Europe at the time.
How long have you worked in your current role?
My current CTO role with Red Flag Alert started in September 2020. My appointment also included the acquisition of ID4-S.com, a technology start-up aimed at the Trusted Identity Proofing and Corroboration (TIPC) market.
How did you get into your current role?
I had been previously introduced to members of the Red Flag Alert leadership team during my time in my last role with Bibby Financial Services, which I was made redundant from in April 2020. We started talking and it became clear that my experience could benefit Red Flag Alert’s strategy, future capabilities and differentiators in competitive sales enablement and risk management markets.
What does a typical day look like?
I’m usually up and out at 6:30am for a 6km dog walk to get the blood pumping and the brain working – always with some form of audio book. I’ll then spend the day working closely with the team, other colleagues, clients and suppliers. Each and every meeting or activity is prioritised based on creating value, which includes software developments that better help third parties such as accountants to beat financial crime and fulfil anti-money laundering obligations.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
I genuinely think that gaining my current position is my greatest achievement. It brings together brilliant ideas and vision, disruptive strategy, financial commitment from the business, resources and highly skilled people. The role and Red Flag Alert recognise there’s no limitations in money laundering and have created a strategy to ensure innovation stays ahead of increasingly sophisticated financial crime.
What is the most challenging thing about your role?
I always consider rate of change as a major challenge. I have an irrepressible desire to innovate and bring new, disruptive capabilities to market, yet I lack the patience to see this drawn-out over weeks and months.
What part of your role do you enjoy most?
Seeing people’s reactions when delivering new capabilities that have positively impacted their lives. This outcome is by far the most gratifying, and from which everything else is linked; strategy, communication, collaboration, delivery, revenue, and profit!
How do you see your role/industry changing in the next few years?
I would like to proactively challenge organisational and behavioural structures, applying Holacracy (decentralised management and domain leaders) and applying some intent-based leadership techniques. As a CTO, my focus will remain on; Enterprise Architecture, Strategy, High-performing Teams, Bleeding/Leading Edge Technology, Commercial & Business acumen, and Client Satisfaction.
Would you recommend working within this role, please give your reasons?
Without doubt – it is the greatest role and opportunity I’ve had in my career.
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