Q&A: Iron Mountain CTO discusses transformation during Covid-19

Following a tenure as global CTO at Nielsen, Kimberly Anstett joined Iron Mountain in May 2019 as its CIO, before being appointed as its CTO in May 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As well as aiding to shift to remote working, Anstett was tasked with digitally transforming Iron Mountain’s services, from its foundations as a physical document storage provider, and into a new era of data storage and information management. This has enabled customers to manage physical and digital data in one platform.

The Iron Mountain technology leader revealed to Information Age the key to ensuring remote collaboration, the biggest challenges that she has had to overcome, and the present and future plans for the organisation.

How have you managed to ensure continued collaboration amongst your team during lockdown?

Our digital workplace program has evolved how we work as a team, across geographies and with our clients. In January, we completed the deployment of GSuite, state-of-the-art video conferencing and enterprise platforms that provide robust mobile capabilities. We have found the video conferencing capabilities have enabled the seamless transition to work from home. In addition, we are benefiting from real-time collaboration with Google Drive using Docs, Sheets and Slides. Finally, we are using Currents for our social engagement platform that allows teams to share stories, post questions to our global team and celebrate wins together.

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We are also further leveraging Agile practices, which enable more focused collaboration among teams as they form small groups to tackle specific initiatives.

What have been the biggest challenges that you have encountered as Global CTO of Iron Mountain, considering you were appointed in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, and how did you overcome them?

Stepping into a new role during a global pandemic is certainly a unique scenario. However, I’m certain the challenges I faced were felt by most business leaders. We had to work very hard, very fast to transition teams to work from home while providing top quality service for our frontline associates that remained active in the field in our records centres, our digital scanning centres and onsite with clients.

In addition, we had to provide the tools and capabilities for our teams to continue to work effectively in a very distributed environment while providing the support needed as many employees juggled the personal impacts of Covid and caring for loved ones. I am thoroughly impressed with how teams aligned around new ways of working; we found that productivity increased as we focused on the most critical business imperatives and rallied around each other to deliver for our customers.

What are the most important aspects to consider when it comes to effective data and information management?

Accessibility through robust security and data governance are a must. We have developed the solutions and capabilities that are centred around data. It’s important to focus on agility and flexibility that provides the most robust views of business operations and unlock insights to drive faster business decisions.

Our technology platform strategy is the foundation to efficient data and information management. We have been standardising, expanding and evolving our reference architecture with a focus on native cloud architecture, data strategy, automation and robust security and governance.

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What are your future plans for Iron Mountain going forward?

I am very much focused on our digital platform strategy as we build upon our Insight product capabilities. Iron Mountain Insight is an SaaS solution that leverages deep experience in content analytics, data management and information governance expertise with Google Cloud’s machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, to provide customers with the ability to mine data to uncover new revenue stream opportunities and cost savings.

We will continue to enhance and expand the Insight platform to provide an intelligent content services platform (CSP), incorporating physical and digital records management and workflow to enable valuable business process automation.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.