Infobip Middle East and Africa data protection officer Imraan Kharwa’s career journey began long before jobs in his field – data protection – even existed in their current form.
“The allure for me to get into this field was that privacy and data security sat firmly at the intersection of several things I was already passionate about: human rights, law and technology,” Kharwa says.
“I embraced the uncertainty early on and worked relentlessly on developing the necessary skills, certification and experience to thrive in what was fast becoming the hottest topic locally and globally.
“This culminated in positioning myself as a thought leader in the field and working with remarkable people of all backgrounds across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.”
TechCentral asked Kharwa a few questions for its IT Leadership Series.
What does your company do?
Infobip is a global company in the omnichannel communication space. It helps brands simplify how they connect and engage with their customers at a global scale, using a wide range of communication channels.
What do you see as the IT leader’s top priorities in 2023?
Leveraging emerging technologies such as large language models to address ever-evolving privacy and data security threats; developing a culture of compliance across organisations; and driving a paradigm shift in perception to one of privacy and security first.
Who do you most admire in business and why?
I admire Elon Musk’s approach to business for two reasons: his agility and his speed of execution. His “first principles” approach to engineering has led to the invention of reusable rockets and desirable electric cars, and his ability to make impactful business decisions at short notice has driven success across his enterprises.
How do you attract and retain talent?
By creating and maintaining a culture that is conducive to high output while making sufficient allowance for people to thrive in an optimal environment.
If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
What’s your favourite productivity hack?
Blocking out time allocated to specific tasks and then only leaving once they are competed. Also, listening to orchestral music with headphones on.
What occupation (other than your own) would you like to try?
Aviation. I even considered obtaining a private pilot licence recently.
Where do you see the technology industry heading in the next three to five years?
The rapid deployment of large language models and artificial intelligence tools will almost certainly impact the entire industry, from IT support all the way through to IT executives. While it might make some roles redundant, it will almost certainly improve the quality of others and present innumerable opportunities for those willing to embrace change.
What is one book you’d recommend to our audience and why?
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius is a perennial read because of its transcendent wisdom. The mental models and perspectives of the author ring true for leaders today as they did in ancient Rome.