IT Life: Tim Thurman, Paysafe Group

Paysafe chief digital officer Tim Thurman talks about blockchain, the Internet of Things and why he loves cooking

What is your role and who do you work for?

I joined Paysafe Group a year ago now in a newly created role as chief digital officer. Working across the brands, I head up a team of 700 people to look after the synergies throughout all business lines. This involves managing everything at Paysafe when it comes to technical components – from the help desk and AV, to our core processing agents and making sure everything is running well across the globe. As well as maintaining current performance, I also spend a lot of time planning for the future and I’m currently working on a project to bring our broad suite of products onto a single platform which is a transformational project for our business.

How long have you been in IT?

I’ve been in IT my entire career – and I’ve been fortunate to always be working at major companies that are on the cusp of their transformation journeys. Starting out as a software engineer, I moved to Athens where I built stock exchanges around the world. I then moved back to my home country of Canada, where I held a variety of roles at the Toronto Stock Exchange, TD Securities and Credit Suisse. I’m a keen traveller, so when I was headhunted for a role in Australia I couldn’t say no! I worked as the CIO of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) for five years before returning back to Canada for my role with Paysafe last year.

What is your most interesting project to date?

Everything I’ve worked on has had its own level of interest, but my current project of moving multiple solutions to a single platform at Paysafe tops the list. Sometimes it can be hard to shift that start-up mentality – but we’re now operating in more than 200 countries with 40 currencies so we need the right technical infrastructure to support this. Our project addresses just that, ensuring consistency across the group and taking the company to the next level of its transformation journey.

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

I’d say it’s ensuring innovation is present throughout the whole group. Paysafe Group has acquired a number of companies in recent years which have been hugely successful businesses in their own right. This is an area I’ve evaluated during my time here to make sure there’s transparency and visibility throughout the group – and I think we’re pretty much there now.

What technology were you working with ten years ago?

Just over ten years ago I was developing code, and now I have fun making sure it’s going in the right direction. Also, back then we were focusing on getting transaction speeds from seconds down to micro-seconds, and now we’re going to milliseconds.

What is your favourite technology of all time?

I’d have to say blockchain. I worked on a blockchain project during my time at the ASX and I’ve been fascinated ever since.

How will the Internet of Things affect your organisation?

It’s already making an impact. IoT has allowed us to be more client-focused than ever. We’re getting more insights on consumer behaviour and it’s only going to get more sophisticated.

Consumer-friendly IoT devices are also a great example of the changing payments landscape. Take the connected fridge as an example – some models can now tell the grocery store what you need but clearly it’s not going to get your shopping for free. Every time a commercial smart home transaction happens, a payment has to happen behind the scenes and that is guiding our digital strategy.

What smartphone do you use?

Currently, I’m an iPhone user. I’m a bit of a propeller when it comes to this, so when new phones are released I like to give them a spin. My family is an Apple-based group, so it’s an iPhone for now, but I like to try out the different manufacturers.

What three apps could you not live without?

It’s so hard to pick just three! For keeping in touch with family, WhatsApp is the number one. Interest-wise, I love planes, so if my family are on a flight I like to track it on FlightTracker24. I’ve got my past three jobs through it, so LinkedIn has to be one of the apps that has had a biggest impact on me. I also use it to hire people – it’s a great business recruitment tool.

What new technology are you most excited for a) your business and b) yourself?

It’s blockchain all the way. Around six months ago, I gathered a group to start looking at business cases for Paysafe and the opportunities are huge. It’s going to be a key element for us going forward. Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time researching it and it doesn’t get boring. Having worked on projects with ASX and the New South Wales Data Analytics Centre, I’ve seen the impressive efficiencies that it can bring.

If you weren’t doing the job you do now, what would you be doing?

I’d love to be a chef. When I’m home during the week, I enjoy cooking for my family. It’s a great stress reliever and I like to experiment with food. I’ve discussed opening a B&B with my wife when we retire – so who knows, it may still happen!