A gala dinner at the CIO Summit, held at the Hyatt Regency in Auckland last month, was the scene for New Zealand’s top CIO and ICT recruiter to be named. After a long but fruitful day of presentations at the summit, nearly 400 CIOs and ICT industry people gathered to hear celebrtiy speaker Graham Lowe, the former coach of the New Zealand rugby league team, the Kiwis, deliver an enlightening and entertaining talk.
Among a host of entertaining anecdotes, Lowe also delivered 12 tips for success that were remarkably relevant to a business audience (“Kick for the seagulls”).
The night closed with the two elite awards. Firstly for excellence in ICT recruitment, sponsored by the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association (ITCRA) and then the award for CIO of the Year, sponsored by NetApp.
Both awards were hotly contested and the final decisions were difficult.
From a shortlist of Absolute IT, Neal Andrews & Associates, Candle ICT and Robert Walters, Candle emerged as the pick of the judges.
Judge Warwick Sullivan says Candle ICT displayed operational excellence through a thorough basis of quality management underpinning their daily activity, including work flow quality systems with alerts and good performance reporting and independent and frequent internal auditing.
While online channels used were similar as those seen in the other finalists, the provision of an skills testing tool and development of artificial intelligence capability stood out as unique and innovative.
One aspect of the recruitment business the awards particularly sought to celebrate and reward was ethics. The great news is that here all the finalists rated strongly.
Given the current tough economic situation the Candle ICT phrase of “sharing the pain” also struck a chord with the judges and was evidenced by a range of alternative offerings and arrangements.
The CIO of the Year award also attracted very strong entries and the finalist field was top notch. Allan Dornan, CIO of insurer IAG, Colin Smith of Manukau City Council and Julia Raue, CIO of Air New Zealand made for another tough choice for the judges.
In the end they selected Julia Raue for the honour.
“IT-enabled business transformation has ensured Air New Zealand remains competitive, that is something we are incredibly proud of,” Raue said as she received the award at the event. “We are starting to move into areas we have not been before.”
She says the virtual and diverse teams composed of business and ICT staff at Air New Zealand worked together to develop innovative products such as grabaseat, ePass and myairnz that are not easily replicated by competitors.
“Our key business strategy is to focus on our customers — ‘we fly people not planes’ — and so our IT output and efforts have reflected this,” says Raue, who also credits her award to her team’s dedication and commitment.
The judges highlighted IT’s role in building competitive advantage at Air New Zealand as a major factor in their selection.
“Under Raue’s IT leadership, Air New Zealand’s IT initiatives have helped to maintain competitive advantage with their continuous improvement culture and emphasises on the use of technology to enhance operational performance,” the judges of this year’s award wrote.
“Raue has clearly developed strong trusting relationships with the business and effectively lead complex projects to successful implementations.”
The CIO Summit is organised by CIO, IDC and Brightstar. More than 350 ICT executives attended this year’s conference.
Next year’s CIO Summit will be held on 21 and 22 July 2010 at the SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland.
Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.