“I started my technology career as an engineer working on IT infrastructures – primarily back-end covering systems, networks and security”
Every Monday morning we fire five questions a leading member of the business technology world. Today, we’re pleased to be joined by Christian Aquilina – Director of Programme Management, Parallels Inc., a global leader in cross-platform solutions.
What’s the Biggest Challenge for your Clients?
In general, the biggest challenge for my clients is how to ensure high-quality, efficient and consistent delivery of service internally or to their external customers, as inevitably this has a significant weight on their brand offering.
This has been especially true recently, during the pandemic, which has made everyone seriously evaluate their business continuity and the state of their internal communications. The fact is that communication and business agility and flexibility might have previously taken the back seat, as the focus was on other areas that were perceived to provide a quicker ROI. Having a clear customer-centric IT strategy heavily contributes towards the long-term success of the brand and business at large.
A question that should be constantly asked is, ‘how can we meet – or better yet exceed – our customers’ expectations?’. In practice, this deserves a multi-faceted response, but the simple starting point is being truly able to conduct your work from any device, anywhere securely. We have experienced an accelerated shift in thought when one thinks about work – we no longer think about a physical location, instead there is a change in emphasis on what matters, from where you are, to what you do. This comes with its own set of challenges, including the ability to maintain collaboration between colleagues, which sometimes might even require you to be over-communicative to compensate for the dispersal of employees. Linked to this is productivity: How productive can my employees be while maintaining data security and low IT overheads?
Part of the answer to these questions is to have the right technology and the right set of tools that enable you to be agile and flexible – to be able to adapt to changes, quickly and efficiently and to meet changing business requirements. My clients need to be able to implement remote working solutions without having to build complex IT infrastructures to do so. They need their solution to be easily scalable as circumstances change and to be able to support current and future business requirements delivered by a robust IT environment irrespective if deployed on-premises, cloud or hybrid. It is the ultimate goal for many businesses to empower their employees while providing a superior customer experience. Providing a secure remote working solution accessed from any device, anywhere, while ensuring a minimal level of IT overhead is one of the important cogwheels towards reaching these goals.
Technology that Excites you Most?
I started my technology career as an engineer working on IT infrastructures – primarily back-end covering systems, networks and security. This experience served as a backbone to what I realised, and it comes to no surprise when I say, that my passion leans towards the end-user computing (EUC) world.
Technology that facilitates digital transformation and brings a digital workspace to life, where access to data is at one’s fingertips. Technology that is able to de-couple applications from desktops, providing better support. Technology that is used to secure end-user devices and data access, irrespective of device platform. In essence, it’s the technology that directly facilitates users to carry out their day-to-day work better that really gets me going. How can I help organisations modernise their LOB applications?
How can I ensure a great and consistent user experience across various end-user devices? What makes life easier? After all, isn’t this the main reason why we are interested in technology at large? These are some of the questions I grapple with and try to find the answers to. I am not in this alone, and I am very grateful to find a dedicated EUC community that shares knowledge and ideas about the technology that excites me the most.
A relatively newer and vast area that has also caught my attention for some time now is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the future possibilities of what AI can further offer in this area. Technology that is shaped around one’s life and not the other way around, elevating us to new heights and helping us to achieve more in our professional and personal lives.
I am a very goal-driven person. Apart from long term goals, my life is made up of many small successes because I set myself goals each day, often many times in a day. These successes help build more confidence to set even bigger goals in life.
I was fortunate enough early in my career to be able to work whilst progressing with my studies. This meant that I got to experience travel and work not only in my home country, Malta, but also across Europe, Australia and the US. I vividly remember when I moved to Australia, and although it was not an easy decision to make at the time, it was an experience that I still cherish today and one that helped me grow and thrive further.
My engineering degree and master’s degree in business were also successes – especially achieving them whilst also juggling family and work! But I guess all this contributed to my greatest success to date, that of finding my own path and being fulfilled in what I do and bring to the community. I mean that today I am responsible for building the roadmap for the technology that excites me most, supported by my family, and it feels right.
I started piano studies at a very young age and nearly finished all my examinations. I was only a couple of exams away from completion and achieving a music degree, however at that time I shifted my focus towards other studies. Maybe I was too young.
However, as a goal-oriented individual I regret not completing the piano studies back then. To me these exams represent an open task that needs to be completed. Music is a unique art form and requires passion, that’s why today I still practice piano every now and then. I realise now that I may not have valued my musical potential at the time. I believe that it is never too late, and I plan to get back to completing my piano studies now that I appreciate music more than before.
In another life I’d be…
I’ve always loved surfing and the surfing lifestyle. Whenever I plan personal getaways, I try to include a visit to a surfing location.
Paddling out in the ocean and riding that wave all the way is a feeling I never get tired of.
So, in another life, it would’ve been great to dedicate my time to surfing and even be a competitive surfer, participating in top leagues around the world, winning medals for my club or even country! I’d relish the responsibility of representing my country at international events and being a role model for younger generations interested in sports.