Primed for change

Primed for change

CIOs from New Zealand’s largest ICT using organisations harness an arsenal of leadership and technology tools to succeed in a constantly evolving business environment.

“Rather than just thinking we were in financial services, we started 
to think about what would happen if we considered ourselves a technology company that is licensed and trusted to provide financial services”
says Russell Jones, executive 
general manager – technology
and innovation, ASB Bank.

For Jones, this simple pivot of perspective allowed his team to “think about things differently”. This introspection highlighted the importance of quick deployment, user-based design, and continuous delivery of services – as expected by both internal and external users.

As one of the leaders interviewed for this year’s CIO100, Jones describes a simple but powerful approach to how organisations can work through a constantly evolving business technology environment.

Indeed, the speed of change – be it in technology, market forces and user expectations, or others – and the response of organisations are key discussion points shared by CIOs in this year’s report.

The annual report on the largest ICT-using organisations in New Zealand, based on screen numbers, staff and turnover, delves into key developments in today’s networked enterprises.

Who made it to the 2015 CIO100?

Highlights of the article

Top ICT projects for the next 18 months

The evolving CIO role

The 10 business and technology trends to prepare for

I.T. is the business

The report finds that CIOs and their teams are being pulled in the centre and frontline of changes across the organisation. In the past two years in particular, the discussion has been about the rise of ICT as a strategic component of every major program, and how this impacts the role of the CIO and IT.

Liz Gosling of AUT University says it succinctly: “When I started, IT was considered a service,
 like water or electricity.

Liz Gosling, AUT
Liz Gosling, AUT

“IT is now an intricate part of every business change project... There are no technology projects any more. There are business projects.”

Read more: ‘The CIO holds the most strategic role in the enterprise today, with the exception of the CEO’

Cobus Nel at Transpower says IT’s role in his organisation has evolved from an internal service provider to more of a business partner:
“It is a challenging and exciting division; a lot of people don’t realise that we are a telecommunications provider, IT shop, and software development house all in one!”

Research insights

Public sector agencies traditionally dominate the list, and this is
true again this year. Government and defence agencies comprise a fifth of the list, followed by health and community services and educational services. These are followed by finance and insurance and information providers in the private sector.

We asked CIOs how the economy will impact their budgets, projects and staff numbers.

A third expect their budgets
 to be stable, with about the same number expecting their budgets to increase up to 10 per cent. Half of the respondents say their project numbers will increase, with over a third of
this group expecting the numbers
to increase by up to 10 per cent. For staff numbers, around half of the respondents said there will be no changes, with a quarter expecting staff numbers to increase up to 10 per cent.

Read more: The CIO’s trusted lieutenant

For projects that will keep them busy in the upcoming year, cloud computing and software top the list, followed by analytics, business continuity and disaster recovery, security, mobility, and unified communications.

A notable trend observed in 2014 continues: The creation of new CIO roles. These include AUT University (Liz Gosling, who moved from group director ICT services), The Warehouse Group (Simon Kennedy, who was executive GM, information and strategy deployment), Ministry of Justice (Tina Wakefield), and Te Wananga o Aotearoa (Garry Johnston).

Tina Wakefield, Ministry of Justice
Tina Wakefield, Ministry of Justice
Read more: Apply data science with care: Gartner

There was also a raft of new CIO appointments: Murray Mitchell, former CTO at NZ Police, moved to NZ Fire Service as IT director; Westpac has a new CIO, Dawie Olivier, taking over from Jason Millett, who was interim CIO. Jane Brewer is now CIO at Suncorp (which was listed as Vero in 2014, when she was interim CIO).

John Holley has joined the Manukau Institute of Technology
as ICTS director. “My focus will be, initially, working with the ICTS team to work on the MIT digital strategy to enhance educational outcomes for staff and students, while ensuring MIT leverages the value of the investment made in the new MIT Manukau campus,” says Holley,
 who was former Auckland Regional Council CIO and general manager operations for Visible Results.

Related: Carl Powell of Fletcher Building: ‘The CIO holds the most strategic role in the enterprise today, with the exception of the CEO’

Nisha Clark is now head of application, delivery, and design at Vodafone, reporting to chief technology officer Tony Baird, who took over from Sandra Pickering who has moved to another executive post at the company.

Brad Vines took up the IT director role at Waikato Institute of Technology, when Garry Johnston moved to TWOA as its inaugural CIO.

At Transpower, Cobus Nel is the new general manager information services and technology, after
his predecessor Jim Tocher
moved to the role of general manager, Grid Performance.

Paul Fallon is appointed chief information and technology officer at W2 Shared Services, created by Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) and Whitireia Community.

Read more: CIO100 2015 reveals biggest ICT user in New Zealand

A flat world

This year, 16 CIOs reported working with offshore ICT teams from their headquarters in New Zealand. They include Fonterra and Fletcher, which are perennials in the top 10, and a newcomer to the list, Orion Health.

David Kennedy, Orion Health
David Kennedy, Orion Health

At Fonterra, CIO Carl Moore (Moore has resigned and Fonterra has an interim CIO, Simon Paparone, a partner at Ernst & Young) and his team have implemented over the past year a new IS operating model and started four global programs in the areas of digital, planning, ERP, and HR. “This year my lead team will go from running nationally based functions to globally driven functions that span the world’s
time zones,” says Moore. “I know they’re up for the challenge and excited by the year ahead.”

Thirty-eight CIOs report to the CEO, managing director, or equivalent roles. For the past four years, this reporting line has applied to more than a third of CIOs in the list. Less than a quarter of the CIOs report
to CFOs or heads of finance. The
third most common reporting line
is to the chief operating officer.

Read more: ISACA: Boards and the executive team must take a leadership role in cybersecurity

So how mobile are CIOs, career wise? For the second year now, we have asked them about their tenure. Around a third of CIOs have been
in the role between two and four years. More than a quarter have been in their roles for four to 10 years.

As to their career provenance, 80 per cent declared they came into the role via technology.

Towards transformation

CIOs in both government and private sectors are working on major transformation projects in the upcoming months.

“We are thinking about how to better align with business needs for more strategic engagement, and we are looking at the way we engage, manage, and govern our vendors as we move to consuming services ‘as a service’,” says the Department of Internal Affairs’ CIO, Chris East.

The DIA is in the midst of a modernisation and transformation project, which involves a significant refresh of hardware and software assets, as well as moving to on-demand services and adopting all-of-government ICT Common Capabilities, including infrastructure-as-a-service
and desktop-as-a-service.

At Fletcher Building, group CIO Carl Powell says the company is in the midst of a three- to five-year
IT transformation across all its businesses. Last year, he said the group successfully completed
the implementation of five businesses onto strategic ERP platforms, providing efficiencies, and preparing those businesses for future digital initiatives.

Read more: Get ready for hyperadoption now: Forrester

Carl Powell, Fletcher Building
Carl Powell, Fletcher Building

Next: What are the key themes that emerged from the survey?

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