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Brave new world

Zoom’s Irish CIO Harry Moseley told David Hennessy how Covid-19 has sped up the process of the world moving towards a more flexible approach to work with more of a work/life balance, that the video communications platform is going to be a mainstay of the business world for years to come and how rewarding it feels to be part of a company that has played such a big part in keeping industries like education and healthcare going throughout the pandemic.

While it was relatively unheard of a year ago, video communications app Zoom became ubiquitous in times of Covid-19 and certainly the most talked about company of 2020.

In times of lockdown, Zoom kept families and teams in contact and provided a lifeline for important services like education and medicine.

Zoom’s Irish CIO told The Irish World that Zoom is here to stay and set to be a mainstay of the future workplace.

Harry Moseley from Dublin said: “When I talk to many executives around the world they fundamentally believe that Covid- 19 accelerated the trajectory that everybody was on anyway.

“It would have been terrific not to have the deaths that we’ve had. Anything greater than zero would have been would have been too many.

“But that trajectory that we’re on- Changing the way retail is done, changing the way education is done, changing the way healthcare is done, changing the way financial services, professional services, changing the way we operate our business lives.

“We’re on this mission to empower people to accomplish more. That means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

“We want to empower medical professionals to be able to support their patients better through a virtual experience so that their patients can accomplish more.

“We want to empower retail specialists so that they can connect to their customers so that their customers can accomplish more.

“We want to empower financial services professionals so that they can connect with their clients so that their clients can accomplish more from a business perspective.

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“We’re clearly on that mission.

“The other part is really the ability of making a virtual experience better than an in-person experience.

“We’re clearly on that journey. And I think that’s pretty exciting.”

In years to come it will be impossible to look back on the pandemic without mentioning Zoom as 2020 was the year it became a cognitive platform for our home and work lives with its use skyrocketing at an incredible pace.

“If you you go back to a year ago, we had over 10 million daily meeting participants and in April that rose to in excess of 300 million daily participants.

“You’ve got great enterprises around the world using the platform. You’ve got great governments using the platform. You’ve got 125,000 schools in 25 countries using the platform.

“I think everybody fundamentally believes that video is the new voice, they understand what that means.

“People realize that they don’t need to travel for business quite the way they used to in the past. I used to be on three or four flights a week. I think I’m much more productive not doing that and in the post-pandemic world I have no plans to go back to that. And I’m not alone. There’s millions of people with me.”

Lockdown forced people to work from home if they could. With so much of the workforce out of the office, many companies are re-evaluating the need for their big offices in London and other big cities.

“When you look at the myths of the past. As an example, the myth being that people couldn’t work well from home. Well, that’s been proven all wrong.

“People can work very effectively from home. They can work very productively from home. They have a good work/life balance.

“Companies recognize that people enjoy working from home and they also understand that they can be geographically agnostic in terms of where they hire people from. They can hire people locally like they did in the past but nationally, internationally and globally.

“That’s a big, big change companies are going through as well.

“A lot of enterprises are now rethinking their real estate footprint. Instead of having that big office in London or Paris or some other capital city of the world maybe they have a smaller corporate office in the centre of town and establish satellite offices so that people can work near home, not from home.

“When you look at employees, 20% of the people really want to work in an office five days a week, 20% of the people really want to work from home five days a week. You have got 60% of the people in the middle who want to work from an office two to three days a week. They want that flexibility.

“So you really have 80% of the people who want flexibility in their lives.

“I think the most profound thing is a year ago, people had to get permission to work from home. Now people need to get permission to work from the office.

“It’s a complete reversal of what of what we used to experience as little as a year ago which is no time at all for something that enormous to have changed.

“Many leaders and organizations see that the hybrid model is going to be the future.

“Whilst that’s great, it also bring some other challenges. How do you collaborate across the digital divide because you’ve got some people in the office, some people working from anywhere? How do they collaborate when you’ve got this gap between the two worlds?

“The other challenge is the cultural aspect. When you think about everybody getting together in the office, meeting new employees, employee orientation, breaking bread together. How do you do that in the in the distributed world?

“So we’re working on a whole bunch of innovations. We’re working with great third parties to help both the collaboration across that digital divide and the cultural challenges across the digital divide.

“I’m very excited to see when we release those features starting in the new year.”

Skype was already a well known communication app and Facebook has a video call function. So why is it that Zoom has taken over so completely? Well, Harry says, it is user friendly and that’s what people have found. It just works.

“Every six-year-old and 96-year-old and everybody in between can use zoom. You have to go back, quite honestly, to the principles that Eric Yuan, our CEO and founder, based Zoom on.

“The number one principle was ease of use. It really is easy to use. You don’t need to be a technology professional to sort of get up and running.

A choir of Allied Health Professionals performed Christmas favourites using zoom.

“Principle two is you need to think about the reliability of this platform. Whilst we’ve had this amazing growth on a daily basis in our meeting participants, we’ve also seen our growth trajectory go from 100 billion annualized meeting minutes to in excess of 3 trillion annualized meeting minutes and we have managed to maintain our high, high levels of service, our high levels of customer satisfaction and our high levels of net promoter score.

“Three is innovating at speed and scale. When I talk to other technology executives across the world, they always comment on how Zoom is always introducing new features, better features than all of our competitors.

“It’s the price of a cup of coffee once a week. It’s not expensive.

“And then lastly, privacy and security. We’ve always maintained a high degree of privacy and security.

“Yes, whilst we had our challenges earlier this year, we pivoted the entire company and made a statement about how we are raising the bar, not just for ourselves but for the industry as a whole. That was evidenced with our end to end encrypted service that was released in late October.

“We’ve had lots of challenges but we’ve overcome those challenges because when you have a team of people on a global scale who are pulling together as one with a common objective, which we have, the challenges don’t seem that hard.

“Yes, a little bit more sleep would be good. A few extra hours in the day would be good but the flip side is, quite honestly, it’s energizing. When you think about how we’ve managed to keep the economy running for countries, how we have managed to keep companies operating at size and scale, how we supported the education sector, the healthcare sector around the world, how we have been educating literally millions of kids. You don’t feel tired because you’re just doing all these great things for people. It’s so rewarding. It’s just rewarding.”

As Harry refers to, education has been one arena where Zoom has been a huge help providing more than 100,000 schools in 25 countries with free access to the platform and free support. They also developed a large, comprehensive multi-language set of resources for students, teachers, vice principals, principals, administrators and others and hosts free Zoom Academy sessions, the first of which was attended by more than 35,000 educators.

“What’s great about the Zoom platform is it’s what we what we would call, in the tech world, horizontal technology.

“Yes, when you get into financial services or you get into health care or you get into a regulated industries, there are certain things of controls that you need but there is a certain common platform to Zoom that supports all of the above.

“It’s easy to use for everything. I was doing cocktails yesterday with my sister in Dublin. It’s great. It’s just as much fun for that.

“We had a renovation done in our home. I was able to get on my iPad and show her the renovation.

“Then I was watching my one-year-old niece’s birthday celebration.

“You can do things like that and you can review strategic plans.

“Goldman Sachs did a $2.9 billion stock offering for SoftBank without anybody ever meeting in person. You can do huge financial transactions and you can watch a one-year-old’s birthday party and everything in between.”

Harry realises that Zoom provided a lifeline for families that could not physically be together over the festive period and lifted some of their usual time limits for this reason.

“We’re very focused on the community. We’re very focused on people and giving back.

“It’s great to see how families are connecting or reconnecting from around the world.

“And I think people’s values have changed a lot over the course of the last 10 or 11 months. I think people have a different appreciation for their families and their loved ones than ever before.

“I think that way too many people got caught up in their digital devices.

“I love my kids and we can’t see them. That’s really annoying.

“I think being able to hug your family, hug your friends, being able to go out to a restaurant with your friends and and laugh and have a pint of beer in the pub- Doing those things without worrying that you’re going to spread a catastrophic virus to people, I think people are looking forward to getting that back.

“On the business side, I think it’s gonna be a hybrid world. I’ll continue to do virtual cocktails with my sister because she lives in Dublin but I do look forward to the day when we can go there and she can come here.”

Harry Moseley became Zoom’s first-ever CIO after being the CIO and managing director of KPMG. Harry has been inducted into CIO Magazine’s Hall of Fame, and recognised as one of the world’s top 100 CIOs by Computerworld.

“I remember it became very apparent all my experience has allowed me to do what I’m now doing.

“If I hadn’t had all those different experiences throughout my career: The opportunity to work with great leaders, to work with great teams, be supported by great teams I probably would not have been nearly as successful in this role.”

Although currently based in New York, Harry spent a small amount of time in London.

“When I lived in London, I used to live in Hendon. I graduated college in ’77 and I started working up in the Lake District and then I moved to Colchester, and then in the summer of ’78, I moved to Hendon. And then I had the opportunity to come to New York in July of ’79 and been here the last 41 years.

“Time flies when you’re having fun. I just want to know, when is the fun going to start? No, it’s all been fantastic. No regrets in my life.”

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