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Expat CIO returns to pick up on Tait's 'innovation DNA'

Expat CIO returns to pick up on Tait's 'innovation DNA'

John Emerson takes on the global CIO role at Tait after ICT leadership roles offshore.

Since John Emerson was appointed global CIO of Tait Communications, last October, he has put a global information strategy in place and the company is progressing under his charge in selecting a new ERP system, expected to be chosen by June. An electronic document management system and the salesforce.com cloud sales support system, will be the mainstays of the strategy. “We need to standardise globally, with global cloud-based applications,” he says.

Emerson has worked for decades in the US, “12 years in my most recent stint and there was another of 15 years before that,” he says. He has held CIO positions with the City of Ventura, California and also for Stanislaus County. He has also worked for 12 years in New Zealand.

Emerson was attracted back to New Zealand because Tait offered a global position and is known to be an innovative company to the US, he says. “I had to actively champion innovation. At Tait, it’s in the DNA.”

A will to innovate is a feature of many NZ technology companies, he says. In his view New Zealand underestimates itself in that respect.

At Tait, Emerson will be in charge of a network and IT systems extending worldwide from the Christchurch head office. The company’s Asia-Pacific division is headquartered in Brisbane, the Americas region (covering North and South America) in Houston, and Europe, Middle East and Africa is handled from Vienna. All those locations have systems for which he will be responsible.

Tait’s most recent radio systems are fully digital and use the internet protocol, TCP/IP. That makes the whole operation an IT company, Emerson says. “We’re now expanding into managed services and software apps.”

Emerson has particular experience in public safety and utility organisations in the US. Forward-thinking leaders in such organisation “understand that, to continue to provide critical services at the same levels, they must effectively apply technology to address their operational and performance challenges”, he says. “For many customers, older technologies have not kept up with operational needs, such as business process improvement and mobile computing.”

Moving to modern cloud-based systems, however, has created opportunities to meet customer needs more directly. Today’s architectures based on open standards are delivering greater flexibility and value for customers, he says.

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