Kane Sherlock – Asking the right questions

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Kane is one of CALUMO’s longest serving consultants. His personable nature and understanding of what questions to ask help him efficiently get to the root of an issue so that more time can be spent delivering a solution. If you want to get him talking, bring up F1 racing. He’s a huge tragic and has never missed a race.

So Kane, how did you get into this field?

If you want to go back to the very start, I guess my career started when I was 16 and managed to talk my way into a job as an operator for a computer bureau in New Zealand. This was really basic work on old-school mainframe computers – doing backups, changing tapes, changing paper, replacing ink in laser printers etc – but computing was a new industry back then, so it was really exciting for me.

From a young age, my love of computers meant that I had always really wanted to get into programming, and this was my foot in the door. After a couple of years, the company sent me on a programming course for languages that don’t even exist anymore. With this qualification, I moved into a full-time programming role.

I started maintaining and developing ERP modules. This is when I got into the accounting side of things, writing programs to create pay checks and invoices. Back then it took us a week to write a report!

A week? I’m surprised you stuck with it. And from there?

Well, with this new experience I decided to move to Australia where the industry was further ahead and provided more advanced career opportunities.

My early career ERP experience in NZ helped me secure a job with QLD Public Trustee in Brisbane, transitioning its ERP system using software that I had helped develop.

After this, I worked for a few companies, in government, insurance and consulting, always developing my skills in data warehousing. Eventually, I joined CALUMO in 2011.

Aside from your technical knowledge, what skills helped you along the way?

Outside of the technical, I really value the soft skills.  I think that confidence and communication took me a long way in what is traditionally considered more of an introvert’s industry. I had the emotional intelligence to ask for help when I needed it. Sometimes people won’t ask the question because they don’t want to look like they don’t know the answer. Or they’ll Google the question and come up with the wrong answer.

I have always lived by the mantra: ask the right people the right questions and you’ll get the right answers.

Another element to my success has been investing time in the people around me – explaining why, not just how, when asked a question. That information osmosis in the workplace is key to success and I am always willing to be proved wrong and learn something new. The world is always changing, you’ve got to keep an open mind.

So, what’s your work like at CALUMO?

I love my work at CALUMO. I leverage my 20 years of end-to-end experience putting together BI budgeting and planning systems to provide solutions for my clients. Currently, my portfolio lies mainly in hotels and property management, but I take the same approach to all industry verticals I work with - ask the right people the right questions and you’ll get the right answers.

Every day is a new challenge and I enjoy working across a range of industries and with different people. The variety keeps it fresh.

Understanding people and their motivations is a big part of my job. In any project, there are those who will naturally resist change; for those stakeholders, it means working with them to understand their needs and make sure they know that CALUMO is here to help, not make their lives harder.

Thankfully, my empathy and penchant for a chat helps me excel at this – no pun intended...

Well thanks for your time here today, any parting thoughts for our readers looking to follow a similar career?

If you’re looking to move into business intelligence, data science or analytics, then you need to understand and have a passion for data. It’s also really helpful to understand and study people. Finally, you need a thick skin and to be able to see the motivation behind feedback, rather than the message itself.

If you’d like to work with us and consultants like Kane, then reach out to CALUMO on: +61 2 8985 7777 (AUS), 214-387-6030 (USA) or info@calumo.com.