Appointed in April, Steve Humm is the chief information officer of Hull-based telecoms firm KCom. He is responsible for planning and delivering the group’s IT and communications strategy.
Humm joined the firm having worked at HP as a director of application services. He also worked as the CIO at O2 from 2001 to 2003 and even held the chief technology officer post at Sunderland Football Club.
His Hot Seat is the latest from V3, following on from a host of leading industry figures ranging from government operating officer Stephen Kelly to Hotels.com chief technology officer Stuart Silberg.
V3: What does a typical day involve?
Steve Humm: No two days are the same, but typically I get out of bed at 6am and head for either the office in Wakefield, one of the offices in Hull, or to London.
Most days have a mix of operational and strategic management meetings with either the Company Leadership Team or the IT Leadership Team. I also try and spend some time every day talking to people in IT one to one, which is easy as most people are located within two buildings.
We have a number of key projects and programmes where I sit on the governance boards and I do spend some time with certain customers where I have a CIO-to-CIO relationship.
What’s your favourite part of your current job?
I really enjoy helping people be successful and grow; it’s great to see somebody do something they didn’t think they could do.
What would be your dream job (apart from your current role, of course)?
I'd like to be first team manager Sunderland Football Club, however they don’t tend to last too long.
Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?
An iPhone and iPad. I finally have a later version of the iPhone than my children, which annoys them. However, I really liked my previous Samsung Galaxy S2.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
The mobile phone. Mobility has transformed working patterns and workplaces and I’ve had 11 fantastic years in and around the industry, being a part of all that change.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been many, but being part of the rise of O2, the delivery of “The Customer Plan” and the transformation of the company's eCommerce capability were particular highlights.
What was your first job?
When I was at school I had a part-time job in a store demonstrating toys at Christmas. I couldn’t believe someone was paying me to play Scalextric.
What’s your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
The variety. I have been involved in so many interesting things, been to some fascinating places and met so many interesting people, including royalty, two prime ministers, four England football managers and the Beckhams.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
One thing that would transform business and lives is instant translation, being able to hear someone speaking instantly in your own language. It certainly would have transformed the global CIO meetings I have attended over the years and made my foreign trips a whole lot easier.
What do you enjoy doing when you finish work?
After nine years on the road I enjoy the simple things like eating dinner with my wife, watching my sons play football or going to the local gym, pub or restaurant.
What keeps you awake at night?
One of my sons is type 1 diabetic. If I worry about anything it’s usually about him.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
I read Niall Quinn’s autobiography and yes it was good, I love the big man.
Who is your favourite band/musician?
I like a wide variety of music so it is difficult to pick one. But a big regret is that I sold a Led Zeppelin Knebworth, ticket because my parents said I was too young to go.
Where’s your favourite holiday destination? OR Favourite place for escape?
Italy. I love the food, love the atmosphere, love the scenery and it was where I went on honeymoon. Although I have special place for in my heart for Madrid and the Spanish thanks to my Telefonica days.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Neither, The Doors.
On-premise or cloud?
It depends on the circumstance, company, budget and service.
What’s holding back women from entering the IT profession?
Not sure, at HP we had plenty of female role models, our chief executive was a very impressive woman and we promoted it via initiatives like computer club for girls in local schools.
How can we get more school children interested in IT careers?
Initiatives computer club for girls; IT companies should see this as a social responsibility.
Did you always grow up wanting to work in IT?
No, like most boys in the North East I wanted to be a footballer but I wasn’t even good enough to get into my school team. My interest in IT was ignited by a rather eccentric but excellent teacher at grammar school, Mr Robley.
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