2012 NZ CIO Awards finalists

2012 NZ CIO Awards finalists

The 2012 NZ CIO Awards winners will be announced in Auckland at the CIO Summit on June 25. The finalists are...

The 2012 New Zealand CIO Awards reward people and teams who have shown leadership, innovation and foresight in the ICT industry. CIO of the Year Award

The winner of the 2012 CIO of the Year Award, sponsored by NetApp, will demonstrate how he or she has positioned the role of CIO strategically within the company. The winner will be able to show innovation and key successes achieved in the past 12 months and into the future and show how this fits with the company's overall business strategy.

Entrants were asked to provide evidence of achievement in the following areas:

linking ICT strategy to their organisation’s strategy (20 percent weighting), leadership skills (15 percent), influencing skills – for example building good relationships with other IT managers (15 percent), negotiation skills (10 percent), delivering innovation and business improvement (15 percent), governance and risk management (5 percent), programme management (5 percent), business continuity and disaster recovery (5 percent), and customer service (10 percent).

The finalists for this year's CIO of the Year Award are: Allan Lightbourne, head of technology and innovation, Mercury Energy; Thomas Salmen, chief technology officer, Orcon and David Scott, head of business technology and transformation, Z Energy.

Allan Lightbourne

In the past two years, Allan Lightbourne, head of technology and innovation at Mercury Energy, says he has transitioned technology from being viewed as a cost centre to being recognised as strategically important to the business. This has involved the establishment of a technology steering committee at Mercury, on which the senior management team is active, and a new project approval and prioritisation framework that is focused on business benefits.

Some of the initiatives which Lightbourne has helped drive forward include an implementation of a SAP CRM and telephony system to improve customer service, returning an existing SAP ERP system to a standard implementation to reduce operational costs and moving more business systems into the cloud.

Thomas Salmen

The three pillars of Cloud, Content and Connectivity form the basis of all strategic activities at Orcon, according to chief technology officer Thomas Salmen. In 2009 Salmen proposed that Orcon should construct an international transmission network in order to maintain strong gross margins across its residential broadband products and compete successfully in the wholesale market. The project would require substantial upfront investment at a time when access to capital was limited and the wider economic environment was highly uncertain. Despite this, the project received executive sign off almost immediately and gained board approval a week later. The successful construction of the network has become a key achievement in Salmen’s role to date.

David Scott

While it is easy to use phrases like “taking a business approach to technology,” Z Energy head of business technology David Scott says that actions at Z Energy speaker louder than words. For example Z Energy’s Business Technology and Transformation team includes an enterprise architect who is not only focused on technology but also business architecture. The company also has a Business Transformation Office which Scott describes as “a PMO [Project Management Office] on steroids.” Not only does the BTO manage projects end to end, but it also manages a substantial amount of Z Energy’s business strategy portfolio projects which in some instances have little or no technology components.

Executive Team of the Year Award

The inaugural Executive Team of the Year Award sponsored by ClearPoint, honours the exceptional teamwork of the executive team in deploying a business technology initiative that has produced a range of benefits for the organisation.

The finalists in this year’s Executive Team of the Year are: Air New Zealand, Auckland Transport, Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation and healthAlliance.

Air New Zealand

Over the last year Air New Zealand’s executive team has delivered many strategic and operational initiatives according to CIO Julia Raue, but perhaps the stand out project was the “Tiakina” programme. Successfully completed in May 2012 this two year programme migrated Air New Zealand’s full IT footprint to two Tier 3 datacentres. Critical to its success was the absence of business impact – the outcome was a programme without unscheduled business interruption. The programme involved every Air New Zealand business area and application, multiple strategic vendors and partners, represented the largest IT infrastructure change programme undertaken to date at the airline, and was delivered ahead of time and under budget.

Auckland Transport

Auckland Transport was established in late 2010 by the merger of the transport functions of seven legacy councils, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland Transport Authority. Since that time the executive team has been leading Auckland Transport through a technology transformation phase to enhance internal productivity and introduce innovative ways of interacting with the public, says IT business support manager Debbie Norton.

Two of the key programmes currently under way are the Intelligent Transport Systems Programme, to optimise the transport network through information technology and the Online Programme, to transform interactions with customers and stakeholders.

Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation

The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation is a Crown Entity which manages the NZ Superannuation Fund. Its long term objective is to smooth the tax burden of the rising cost of superannuation by investing money today to fund future entitlements.

According to head of information technology Greg McHugh, the Guardian’s SuperMart project involved the executive team working together to deliver a system to reconcile daily investment transactions and report on a whole-of-Fund basis. The end result is a flexible data platform enabling a significant amount of automated processing which has increased operational efficiency. The increased data integrity provided by SuperMart has also reduced the risk of making bad investment decisions based on bad data.


Jason Perry, innovation and performance manager at healthAlliance says the Ko Awatea (“a new dawn”) project was a programme that involved the organisation’s executive coming together to achieve an outstanding result. The vision was to develop a world-class centre for health services innovation within Middlemore Hospital by creating a dedicated teaching facility and innovation hub. Perry says this facility was unique as it engaged strategic partners internationally to deliver best

practice evidence-based webinars as well as setting up joint-ventures with tertiary healthcare education providers, MIT, AUT and the University of Auckland.

Emerging ICT Leader of the Year Award

The Emerging ICT Leader of the Year award, sponsored by Hays IT, recognises and encourages the exceptional ICT talent of professionals between the ages of 35 and 50.

The finalists are: Paul Alexander, general manager, Lexel Project Services; Bruce Aylward, CEO, Psoda; Steven Pyne, chief information officer, Ministry of Science and Innovation and Peter Yates, IS infrastructure manager, Auckland Council.

Paul Alexander

Lexel Project Services general manager Paul Alexander says that over his years in ICT he had spotted a real gap in measuring the success of projects and people in organisations. So he created VBRS – it stands for value based resource supply – which is a system that measures the success of Lexel employees and their work on client sites. Not only does the system directly affect the amount of money Lexel charges its clients each month but it also influences how much individual staff member are paid.

Bruce Aylward

In six years Bruce Aylward, CEO of Psoda has grown his business from a single person start up to a company that employs nine people and manages over $5 billion worth of projects in New Zealand and overseas. Aylward says that he is the “chief everything officer” at the company and initially this could be taken literally – he was responsible for developing the product suite from the ground up including defining the enterprise architecture, building the framework, testing, documentation, training and business development.

Steven Pyne

Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI) CIO Steven Pyne says his private sector background with an ICT vendor and a “can do” attitude greatly assisted him in his task of merging the technology platforms of the Foundation for Research Science and Technology and the Ministry of Research Science and Technology. This included the successful completion of 24 transitional projects within a “non-negotiable” time frame of six months, without disruption to the business and on budget.

Peter Yates

Auckland Council IS infrastructure manager Peter Yates manages a relatively large team of around 60 people which, as well as dealing with around 20,000 business as usual service requests or incidence reports, also oversees about 50 organisation-wide projects which are currently in progress.

Yates says the work involves a fine balance of resourcing a project in the short term in order to attain long term stability. Over the last 12 months the infrastructure team has achieved a more stable environment with the number of major outages per month being significantly reduced.

The award winners will be announced at the 2012 CIO Summit, which will be held on June 25-26 at SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland.

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