Vice President, Global Security Services
Christopher Smith has spent more than two decades working for Lumen in a variety of product management roles. He joined Level 3 – a Lumen legacy company – in 2010 as a director in the office of the CTO.
“I've been around technology in product leadership roles for more than 20 years,” explains Smith. “My role at Lumen is to grow and nurture the company’s security practice. And when you're focused on creating application experiences for your customers – whether they're enterprises or public sector agencies – security is front and centre. It needs to be at the core of those things that you provide. My leadership style calls for me to be like a plumber making the right connections for the business.”
A career product person focused on business, Smith has been successful in driving areas of the business to flourish in the market. “To me, business is fascinating,” he says. “Depending on the state of the product or service you're managing or inheriting, it's about figuring out what levers you can pull to get a business to grow to its full potential. You have to ask, ‘Are your products right? Do you have the right focus for growth in the market? And if your products are right, do your salespeople understand them? Are they comfortable selling them? Can they talk about them when they walk into a company?’”
Lumen has a large sales organisation offering everything from connectivity to security. “My job is to get their attention and get them comfortable having a conversation that goes deep into the security space,” reveals Smith. “Sales is a lever. Marketing is another lever. Is your brand resonating in the market? Do the analysts recognise you up and to the right when they think about your portfolio? And what are the things that you can do to drive that market awareness around your portfolio? I think of business as a lot of different levers and figuring out which ones to pull and push to drive the right outcomes.”
Smith’s career saw him drawn to technology. “Managing from a young age gave me the foundation and the confidence to go forward and lead large teams focused on a common goal - the desire to make complicated things easy to understand.”
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The fundamental question is always how much control am I willing to lose versus how much risk I want to reduce when moving to the cloud, and then making a choice based on the business value