Leading the Leisure industry towards Dynamic Work

Future of work blogs okta

Listening to learn is a trait I value highly. With that in mind, Okta recently sponsored a series of interviews with technology leaders, to discuss how they and their organisations have had to adapt to remote working; leading and succeeding through the Covid19 pandemic.

First up was Guy Mason, CIO at Bourne Leisure, who currently count well-known brands such as Butlins, Warner Leisure Hotels and Haven Holidays in their portfolio. 

Like most of the leisure sector, Bourne Leisure have had to effectively press pause in 2020, as non-essential travel and the holiday industry were grounded. Guy himself was no stranger to remote working and together with his technology team, possessed the mindset and know-how to accelerate the necessary pragmatic technology projects to become truly agile.

“We’ve created in three weeks what would normally have taken 18 months,” Guy explains, reflecting a common theme amongst those interviewed about the pace of digital change in 2020. “We’ve had to overcome challenges to become agile,” Guy continues, “In normal times you create user guides or quick start guides, ways of working, before rollouts. But here we’ve quickly shipped off laptops to any team members who need them and generated a self-help, peer-to-peer community [of learning]. It’s a better result we’ve found than top-down leadership, actually.”

This technological empowerment of the individual is something we believe in fervently at Okta, in our pursuit of what we call Dynamic Work. Listen to what a happier, more productive life means for each individual on your team, then give them the technology, freedom and culture to enable this to happen. You’ve hired professionals, so trust that they know best how to achieve their agreed outcomes. One-size-fits-all is never a good solution.

To gauge the current sentiment our New Workplace Report study surveyed over 2000 office workers in the UK, to assess how prepared they were to work agile, what the effect had been on their productivity, and how secure they felt.

Security needs to be balanced alongside agility and productivity, but that too can be created around the individual’s identity as organisations move towards a Zero Trust model. Ironically the term Zero Trust actually delivers the most trust to your workforce, allowing them to work anywhere, anytime from any device, securely.

Security has rightly been high up Guy’s agenda at Bourne Leisure too. “The security team [at Bourne] is the one team who haven’t been furloughed. In fact, we’ve added to them!”  he explained. Guy also conveyed an understandable note of caution though, about large-scale deployments in the current climate. “We’re making as few changes as possible to our systems as change increases risk,” he explained.

From an Okta perspective, I always feel that change should be viewed as an opportunity not a threat. Sure, there has to be a pragmatic balance, but with modern identity at the heart of digital transformation, agility and security can be increased in parallel, exponentially. Change can then occur with confidence at a much faster pace.

Covid19 has forced the challenge of many previous assumptions around working practices. Guy admits that it’s been an ‘eye-opener’ how working ‘lean’ has improved his team, citing that many of the previous ‘sacred cows’ have been proved wrong. Specifically, for Bourne Leisure, that will change how they define their new operating system and even their business model in a post-pandemic world. 

What’s been particularly gratifying is how open technology leaders have been in sharing their challenges and experiences. Covid19 might have forced us all to put greater distance between ourselves in one sense, but actually it has brought us all closer together in another, to collaborate towards more dynamic, productive and ultimately happier ways of working.

Listen to the full conversation with Guy Mason, CIO at Bourne Leisure, on our podcast here <https://soundcloud.com/user-565709831/the-future-of-work-series-episode-1-guy-mason-cio-bourne-leisure-group/s-6ljvEgImdAT>