Putting fatherhood first
In 2017, William (Bill) Skipper’s young son was diagnosed with leukaemia. A year later, one third into the boy’s 3.5-year treatment plan, the IT veteran decided to part ways with a company that he had been with for over 28 years, to spend more time with his son.
“At that point, I knew I wanted to be there for every hospital visit and every treatment session instead of being away for three weeks out of every four a month on a work trip,” said Bill, whose APAC leadership role at the time required him to travel very frequently across the region.
Building up NCS’ offshore capabilities
It was only after his son had completed his treatment that Bill began to focus on getting back to corporate life. In December 2021, he officially joined NCS as Global Delivery Centre Network Lead and as of June 2022, he is the Chief Operating Officer for NCS Australia where his role is to build and manage a network of offshore locations to provide IT programming and design capabilities to the NCS group.
Bill was attracted to the role by the “breath of the vision”. “The building of offshore delivery is an essential part of NCS’ broader growth strategy and key to its geographical decentralisation efforts,” he said. His aim is to grow the outsourcing organisation from about 1,000 people today to 8,000 people in the next four years.
Driving change through people-centric initiatives
Besides the opportunities that came with the role, Bill also cited the company culture as another reason why he decided to join NCS. He liked the “family feel” of the company, he said. “It is nice to be part of an organisation like that.”
However, the NCS role was not without its challenges. It was important for him to shift those who had their mindset fixated on “We cannot do it” to “These are the things we need to do to make it happen”, he said.
For this to work, he had to build up a certain level of confidence in the offshore teams as a natural extension of the Singapore and Australia team.
“The key is to be people-centric. Driving change is not only about technology advancements or processes. At the end of the day, this is still a people business. It is crucial to treat everyone as a person, understand how they do things, what motivates them to turn up to work, and what makes them do their best. Only with this can we achieve real, concrete change,” he said.
“One mistake that we sometimes make is that we get caught up with the view of what is in the best interest for the organisation. But the needs of an individual can sometimes outweigh what is important for the organisation, and we need to be there to support them in their decisions. This will help drive their long-term success and in that way, drive the success of the organisation as well.”
Asked about his professional achievements, he readily points to the 12-15 partners who he personally mentored over the years, and whose careers he helped to build. “Hopefully, I will increase that number when I end my stint at NCS.”
Being present for his family
As for his biggest personal achievements, he points to his children. Aside from his 12-year-old son, Bill also has two daughters aged 18 and 16. “I look towards them and I am exceptionally proud of what they have done.”
His elder daughter recently started university and is pursuing a double degree in Marketing and Communications. His younger daughter has an interest in music and while he recognises that this is not a traditional career path, he will support her in a career that she loves.
As for his son, who Bill describes as “my hero”, he is now “a normal little boy who is passionate about being a 12-year-old”. Bonding mostly over sport, the father and son pair are passionate about tennis, and Bill is happy to serve as a hitting partner for his boy. He also coaches his son in basketball.
Looking back at the hiatus from work before he joined NCS, he said, “One of the things that I greatly appreciated was being able to find the time to help my family navigate the tough years. I might not be perfect at that, but I try my best.”