Getting to know Gabsten Technologies’ Hemant Harie

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Gabsten Technologies and DMP SA’s group CTO has a unique leadership style that involves guidance, a bit of humour, and a hands-on approach.

The community just keeps growing as CIO South Africa connects with Hemant Harie, group CTO at Gabsten Technologies and DMP SA, entities that forged a strategic partnership in 2021. Hemant shares insights into his deep-rooted enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, which is seamlessly intertwined with his love for gadgets.

Q: Please tell us about yourself.

A: I am originally from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, where I completed my studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science and telecommunications. Growing up surrounded by electronics and mechanical elements, coupled with familial exposure to the field of engineering, sparked my early interest in technology. Witnessing the evolution of technology, from green screen computers to advancements that became game changers fuelled my passion for IT.

Q: What does your role as CTO at Gabsten Technologies entail?

A: As the CTO, my focus spans the full technology stack of the company. My responsibilities include guiding innovation, evolution, and product development. My role extends internally, ensuring the company adopts the best practices and technologies, and externally, guaranteeing the right product sets are in place for our customers. This involves mentoring our leadership to align with technology trends and applying and maintaining best practice internally and externally.

Q: What is it that you love the most about your job?

A: Coming from a diverse IT background, including data warehousing and project management, I like being at the forefront of new-age technology. The dynamic nature of my role allows me to assess and adopt cutting-edge technologies, keeping me awake and happy.

Q: What was one of the biggest roadblocks in your career, and how did you overcome it?

A: While I have faced challenges, I view them as opportunities to grow. I have been with Gabsten Technologies since its inception, naturally progressing towards data management infrastructure and executive roles. Challenges have been stepping stones for my professional evolution.

Q: Where did you work before becoming CTO at Gabsten Technologies, and did you work in any industry outside of the one you’re currently in?

A: Prior to assuming the role of CTO at Gabsten Technologies, my professional journey unfolded in various stages: Commencing my career at Data World in 2005, I served as an assistance analyst, specialising in mapping, statistics, and warehousing.

Transitioning to Business Edge, I engaged in IT consulting, contributing to projects for entities like Direct Access, Re Insurance, Hollard, among others.

In 2009/10, my wife and I embarked on our own IT venture. It was during this entrepreneurial phase that we met Iniel Dreyer, the managing director of DMP SA. This is when Gabsten Technologies was invented.

Since 2010, my professional trajectory has been tied to Gabsten. Collaborating with Iniel, we spearheaded the development of the support, consulting, and training divisions within Gabsten Technologies. My journey then traversed into the operational side of the business, where I became the managing director. Subsequently, with the merger of DMP SA and Gabsten Technologies, I then became the group CTO, overseeing the technological landscape of the amalgamated entities.

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?

A: My leadership style involves providing guidance, using humour, and being hands-on when necessary. I believe in fostering growth by offering support and resources, allowing my team the freedom to innovate safely. The door is open, with a handle on it: if you need to use it, open it. I am not just leaving it open – there must be a purpose for opening it. There must be a balance between providing guidance and doing the work (hand-holding).

Q: What strategies do you use to attract and retain top tech talent?

A: Making our workplace remote-friendly after the Covid-19 era became a top-notch goal. After all, who cares where the IT person is, as long as the job’s getting done, right? That is why I aimed to make our company as remote as possible, considering the nature of our work. We want our technology talent to thrive in a comfortable space where they are not just doing their job, but are well-supported too. It is about keeping it professional while throwing in a dose of active constructive stimulation.

Q: If you were not working in tech, what other profession/industry would you be in?

A: Having fulfilled my dream of being in the tech space, I would not pursue another profession. My career path has seamlessly integrated my technical background into a role where I bridge the gap between technology and business.

I never envisioned my career taking the path it did, transitioning from a technical consultant and developer to overseeing security on the other side. Every bit of my education and career has been woven into my current role, giving me the ability to seamlessly transition into my current role.

Q: In terms of emerging technologies, which ones are you most excited about in 2024 and how will they help you in your industry or day-to-day job?

A: Artificial Intelligence (AI) remains a focal point among emerging technologies. While not necessarily new, its integration into various technologies excites me. Incorporating AI into a business enhances our industry’s capabilities, fostering efficiency and driving innovation. For example, chatbots, voice assist, smart home devices for convenience and comfort, and vacuum robots.

Q: What do you do to unwind?

A: To unwind, I am into gadgets and technology, exploring anything with an engine or computer. Fishing is another passion I pursue whenever I get a chance.

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