‘There are no permanent enemies, only permanent interests’ an oft quoted phrase in international relations, has comfortably slid into business parlance. Organisations are revisiting strategies as they try to survive — and grow — in a stalled economy. Previous concepts of ownership are abandoned as new alliances are being forged — across sectors, and even with competitors.
The heads of ICT in these organisations, by necessity, are playing critical roles in all this because information technology, after all, is the key foundation for these new business models.
There is no shortage of examples of these new types of alliances in New Zealand. Ports of Auckland and the Port of Tauranga, the country’s largest ports, have launched Two Port Connect, a single window container management portal. Auckland Co-op Taxi is providing a one-stop service shop that includes call centres and a despatch system, for other taxi companies. In the pipeline is the creation of a Trusted Service Manager (TSM) by Paymark and telcos Telecom, 2degrees and Vodafone. The joint venture will allow Kiwis to use their smartphones as wallets.
Sandra Pickering, Vodafone CTO explains the rationale for TSM — which also applies to the other joint ventures. “With the cost of infrastructure, it doesn’t make sense for everyone to build their own solution because there is no competitive advantage in the infrastructure that you need to run it. The advantage is in what do you package it up with, and how do you differentiate the service that you provide.”
We can expect similar undertakings in the months ahead, and the State of the CIO 2013 Survey bears this out. This year, CIOs across the globe report the necessity of melding the internal facets of their role (the ‘keeping the lights on’ responsibility) with an expanding external focus. The survey finds more CIOs are simultaneously working — if not leading — non-IT areas in the organisation, and taking on the role of business strategists. They are at the forefront in advising the business on the possibilities of technology in cutting costs and developing new revenue streams.
The year ahead will test the CIO’s leadership mettle — and provide them the new platform to elevate ICT’s profile in the organisation.
Divina Paredes (@divinap) is editor of CIO New Zealand.
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