At the end of 2011, Otago Polytechnic’s senior leadership team was restructured with a change to roles, responsibilities and titles to better align with its key strategic objectives. As part of this, Mike Collins’ title shifted from CIO to director — learning environment. “As an institution, we see the need for strategic investment into technology, systems and learning spaces. The decision was made to extend my portfolio to entail technology, systems, buildings, facilities and services,” he explains.
As the education provider invests in multiple technology platforms, solutions and systems — including e-business, knowledge management, social media, ERP, business intelligence, CRM, virtualistion, wireless and unified communications, it seeks to complete several key projects over the course of the next 12 to 24 months. At the top of the list are a replacement of the student management system, a core network replacement, phase one of a multi-phase unified communications deployment, updates to IT service management software and processes, on-going business intelligence development, and a review of business integration systems. IT can really enable business objectives when there is an understanding that IT projects are actually business projects, says Collins. There need to be clearly defined business outcomes aligned to business strategic and operational goals, he says, with business managers and staff seen as customers for IT projects.
“We enforce continual involvement of business staff and managers throughout the lifecycle of ICT projects, and clearly define processes to operationalise new business systems,” says Collins, who was a 2011 finalist for CIO of the Year.