Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 35 | Page 71

GET TO KNOW... On the lighter side of things, we ask the industry experts what makes them tick. . . . Pieter Bensch, Executive Vice President, Sage Africa & Middle East W What would you describe as your most memorable achievement? What do you think is the current hot technology talking point? Personal achievement is important to me both inside and outside the workplace. Outside work, I’m proud of completing my Joberg2C 900km mountain bike in 44 hours. It’s hard to single out one professional achievement but bringing together a capable leadership team at Sage and what we have accomplished over the past 12 months is certainly a highlight. Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly reshaping the world around us, whether we’re looking at virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, Machine Learning algorithms used to analyse massive datasets or a new wave of technologies that will transform the accounting profession. Far from bringing about wide-scale destruction of jobs, AI offers an unprecedented opportunity to drive economic growth and a wonderful opportunity to elevate automation of mundane tasks so that people have more time to spend on the things that really What first made you think of a career in technology? I studied as a computer science teacher but never started that career because I was more attracted to the challenge of contributing in a corporate environment. I believe that technology can contribute to creating a competitive advantage for individuals and corporates alike. What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position? I lead the Sage business in Africa and the Middle East in an open and consultative way. I like to get out there and meet colleagues, hear their ideas and find out what’s on their minds rather than managing the business from an office. My goal is to help remove the blockages that stop people from reaching their full potential and teams from driving the best possible business performance. “ matter. While routine, repetitive tasks are automated, AI is being introduced to help analyse massive volumes of data from social media, connected sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT), public data sources such as government databases and internal systems. How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office? When I want to relax, I cycle. I particularly enjoy long races and completed the Joburg2C race, covering 900km in nine days. Alternatively, I enjoy trail running to destress and unwind. A LACK OF INSTALLED TECHNOLOGY CAN, IN SOME CASES, OFFER THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAPFROG LEGACY SOLUTIONS. INTELLIGENTCIO 71