Helping communities find the solutions they need to grow is Vice President Technology and Managing Director, IBM Australia, Nicholas Flood’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to the nation that inspired him.
Graduating from university during the tumultuous times of a global financial crisis is daunting for any aspiring banker. But Nicholas Flood, Vice President Technology and Managing Director of IBM Australia, was blessed with a sign. It gave him a reason for optimism and positivity as he prepared to take his first steps into the workplace.
"Kevin Rudd became Australia’s Prime Minister and invited several Millennials to Canberra to help shape his agenda around what Australia was going to look like in the decades ahead. I was fortunate to secure a place as a younger leader," Flood explains.
With his sights set on becoming a banker with one of the big four banks, it was an IBM advertisement with a captivating call to action, ‘Let’s build a smarter planet’, that instantly caught Flood’s attention as he stepped off the bus in Canberra. As with many things in life, Flood’s career path veered for the better.
"I really found a lot of meaning in that call to action in context of the global financial crisis. In particular, the prospect of working with technology to make work more efficient, provide more opportunities for more people and solve some of the challenges facing the world," he says.
His wholehearted investment in this vision really took off when Flood attended the IBM graduate program.
"And that ultimately led to the role that I’m really proud to serve in today," he adds.
Flood’s initial interest has become a passion. Today he leads experts who demonstrate how effective solutions can revolutionize communities, creating meaningful improvements for their people.
"My view is that IBM is absolutely strongest when it’s making the most profound impact on the communities in which our employees and our clients live," he affirms. "Yes, there’s a business imperative to grow the business, but I’ve always found you unlock the deeper level of client, partner and employee engagement by demonstrating how your technology and innovations can drive improvements for communities."
"Yes, there’s a business imperative to grow the business, but I’ve always found you unlock the deeper level of client, partner and employee engagement by demonstrating how your technology and innovations can drive improvements for communities."
IBM is renowned for its hardware and software products, but it also provides consulting, technology and business services. The company’s investment in research has led to numerous technological innovations, giving it a well-rounded and forward-thinking approach to solution creation.
IBM Australia provides tailored solutions for the nation, but Flood is always keen to highlight the fact that this also leads to change on a global level.
"There’s genuine patent developing activity and innovations being designed right here in Australia," Flood explains. "A lot of people are surprised IBM in Australia is generating net export revenue. We’re not just a branch office."
Home is where the heart is
The home market particularly resonates with Flood, as he has a deep love for his country.
"I’m a really proud Australian," he says. "And I’m convinced that the application of technology can help Australians on the path to prosperity. To maintain and improve the wonderful egalitarian society we desire. My role really gives me the opportunity to work on initiatives around that."
"I’m convinced that the application of technology can help Australians on the path to prosperity. To maintain and improve the wonderful egalitarian society we desire."
Looking forward, he is committed to maintaining the rate and pace of innovation, whilst ensuring the security in the core systems that IBM supports isn’t compromised. The last few years have been challenging for everyone, but Flood is certain that the company is on the right track.
After the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he says the biggest challenge has been re-centering people.
"IBM in Australia is growing, and we are creating opportunities for the next generation of talent, whether they’re university graduates or people re-skilling and taking up their first role in tech," he says.
Shaping the future
It’s little wonder that the main things Flood says he would change about his job are to have more hours in a day and to be in more places at once.
Flood will be one of the speakers when IBM Think Sydney takes place on 27 July. The conference is bringing together some of the world’s leading and most creative business and technical leaders, discussing timely topics such as AI and emerging technologies.
With interactive content across AI, automation and data, hybrid cloud, security and sustainability, there’s plenty of inspiration. And, as well as inspiring those who come to hear him speak, Flood admits moments like these are good for his soul, too.
"I’m an extrovert, and I grew up in the country and that’s always given me a real interest and fascination in people."
"I’m an extrovert, and I grew up in the country. That’s always given me a real interest and fascination in people," he says. "This job allows me to engage with employees from so many different areas of the business, along with partners and clients in different industries – all of whom are doing incredibly innovative, creative. Helping them, where I can, to solve problems is hugely fulfilling."
The commitment, passion and energy Flood emanates is sure to drive the Australian arm of IBM to great things, as well as elevate the reach and achievements of those they work with.
"I love helping our super innovative and creative customers apply technology to help solve problems to make a better, more prosperous society for all Australians," he concludes.
IBM is a leading provider of global hybrid cloud, AI and consulting expertise. IBM helps clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. More than 4,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and health care rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and consulting deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. IBM celebrated 90 years of continuous operations in Australia in 2022.