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Who's who in New Zealand ICT

Who's who in New Zealand ICT

A common thread links these 50 people - they are noted for their strategic, distinct and innovative work in New Zealand and beyond. MIS readers helped us assemble this list.

Marcel van den Assum

Former CIO, Fonterra Marcel van den Assum left Fonterra with an eye to spending more time working in the "IS governance" space - and that has become a reality. "I have plenty on right now," says van den Assum, currently a non-executive director for Simpl Group, and an independent advisor to some national government agencies. He is involved in a CIO mentoring program and in some incubator projects. He is relishing his new roles "It comes down to working longer-term at a governance level - board and executive leadership - where I have commitment and accountability to deliver outcomes but don't need a 24x7 mobile cover!"

Garth Biggs

Executive director, HiGrowth

For Garth Biggs, six degrees of separation is too wide a net for the New Zealand ICT community, with its estimated 41,000 members. "My theory is that there are about three, maybe four degrees of separation. People know what projects you've done or know someone who knows what projects you've done and how well you've done. You can't get away from your reputation." For Biggs, this has been a guiding principle for nurturing a career in ICT and beyond. He is one of the few New Zealand CIOs who have moved on to a CEO role, at Gen-i.

Leaving Gen-i following the Telecom takeover meant focusing on other ICT-related work for Biggs, and being no less visible. He is a director of Optimation and is executive director of HiGrowth, which is working with NZ Trade and Enterprise, Microsoft and IDC in coming out with a map of NZ ICT.

Phil Brimacombe,

Chief information officer, HealthAlliance

Phil Brimacombe and his team are busy in two regional integration projects. The first is a regional clinical data repository of laboratory test results that would be available to the different clinicians, and should be fully operational within six to nine months. At the moment, lab test results are often held in separate places - the new system called TestSafe will allow both hospital doctors and GPs to access a common database of lab test results for their shared patients. The second project, Auckland Regional Mental Health Information Technology, will provide shared clinical information for mental health patients. "This is a large and complex project," says Brimacombe who expects full implementation in 2007.

Simon Bunn

Chief technology officer, Derceto

Simon Bunn was named entrepreneur of the year during the 2005 New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards. The foundations for this award started in 1996, when Simon, an electrical engineer who was section head of the controls systems group at Beca Group, developed a system to smooth production and optimise storage at the New Plymouth District Council.

Beca Group won a bid to deploy the software at the Wellington Regional Council, and launched Derceto as a spin-off software business group focusing on optimisation software. Derceto is now being used by water utility companies worldwide, including in the United States, where Derceto expects sales to grow over US$15 million every year.

Dr Rod Carr

Managing director, Jade Software

We are calling 2006 "the year of accelerating sustainable growth", says Dr Rod Carr, who joined Jade in 2003. Jade's revenues, he says, have been growing by about 20 per cent over the last two years, and the number of Jade process licenses on issue is also increasing from 5 to 10 per cent every month. "Jade is a highly liquid, profitable, well capitalised company seeking to accelerate its growth."

The company, he adds, is outlining a clear vision as the provider of an agile development technology with a robust integrated, runtime platform and highly interoperable architecture. "Acquisition opportunities" are part of this growth plan, he states.

Roger Cockayne

Managing director, Revera

Roger Cockayne was CEO of Hosting and Data Centre Services, also known as HdS, which bought out the shares (49 per cent) of partner Hitachi Data Systems. The directors, who had originally thought keeping the same initials was a good idea at the time of the partnership with Hitachi, had considered a name change and chose Revera (Latin for "in truth") following the buyout in late 2005. "It separates us from the old name related to storage hardware... it helps us because we can act more freely in the market," says Cockayne, who adds Revera has experienced a lot of "organic growth" in the past year.

For Cockayne, it is imperative one thing remains constant at Revera - any issue will be dealt with in this order: Customer, team, money. "We have got a great culture thing going in this company. I want it to continue. Otherwise, I'd retire."

Chris Corke

Chief information officer, New Zealand Racing Board

Chris Corke, who left the New Zealand Stock Exchange to take on the first CIO role at the New Zealand Racing Board, says he is currently looking at "developing internal efficiencies" and setting up a "project focused", rather than operational direction, for the NZRB's IT department. "It was in a pretty good state of operations," says Corke when he came in late 2005, so his focus would be on "taking the many new opportunities in the best use of technology".

David Cunliffe

Information technology and communications minister

In his website, David Cunliffe says one of the turning points in his life came when he was 12, and was kicked out of class for quarrelling with a boy who called him a "Labour supporter". Cunliffe says he was caned for that.

"I learned early to stand up for what I believe in," he states. This kind of grit Cunliffe definitely needs as he is tasked to implement reforms and programs in New Zealand's ICT sector. During the last election, Cunliffe says Labour's vision is for New Zealand to be a world leader at using ICT. "Having a world-class infrastructure is crucial for our economic development. Creating a pro-competitive, pro-consumer environment is the way to achieve this." The public awaits how all these moves will pan out during Labour's third term.

Peter Dickinson

CEO, Greentree

Peter Dickinson reckons he was fortunate to have a maths teacher who believed computers were going to change the world and had organised a computer club, "quite revolutionary" because this was circa 1969. Since then, Dickinson immersed himself in the world of ICT, and was the founding president of the New Zealand Software Exporters Association, now the New Zealand Software Association. He has been CEO of Greentree for the past three years.

The Auckland company, which specialises in financial and business management software for medium sized enterprises, is one of those low-key Kiwi software companies that have quietly been expanding their local and overseas markets. In 2005, MIS Australia named Greentree as one of the 25 "rising stars" or technology companies CIOs should be aware of. "Such recognition is rarely bestowed from outside the domestic IT market, it's a real watershed for us," says Dickinson.

Jim Donovan

CEO, Synergy

Jim Donovan says there will be a "big shift" for Synergy from a general IT shop to one focusing strongly around the areas of business payments and transactions. "It is a significant repositioning," says Donovan, who became CEO in May 2005. Its nearest competitors, with between 10 and 40 people, only provide "point solution bits and pieces".

But Synergy's 200 staff in Wellington, Auckland, London and Singapore will concentrate on providing "industrial strength business transaction and payment systems that connect its clients to the outside world". These include mobile and internet access for banking services, building and hosting secure online business sites, providing support for government payments like student loans, and a significant growth area - payment gateway services. "We will, without question, be the largest player in the business transactions and payments space."

Peter Fletcher

Chief information officer, Bank of New Zealand

Peter Fletcher says in early 2006, the Bank of New Zealand will embark on two software projects that will provide "real innovations" and a "big difference" in the market. He cites BNZ's "great partnerships" with IBM and Infinity and says, "I am looking forward to those two partnerships developing strongly this year, and seeing what more we can do."

Theresa Gattung

CEO, Telecom New Zealand

Theresa Gattung is New Zealand's most prominent woman executive, says Fortune Magazine, which included her in the 50 most powerful women (rank number 29, up from 32 the year before) of 2005. Fortune says Gattung heads a multi-billion dollar company that is a "near monopoly with a footprint in Australia". Next year's rankings, however, may be affected by several factors - the fate of AAPT across the Tasman, the raft of new technologies that could disrupt Telecom's core business, and the results of the government's "stocktake" review of the telecommunications industry.

Liz Gosling

Acting director, IT services, Auckland University of Technology

Liz Gosling says key business drivers in all projects at the university are improving the delivery of service to students, and finding innovative ways to deliver relevant education to meet their needs. Thus, one of the major projects of her department involves the core network infrastructure upgrade that will increase the capacity of the network from one gig to 10 gigs

Paul Knight

Chief information officer, Fletcher Building

Fletcher Building is a "federation of businesses" employing 14,000 people in New Zealand, Australia, the Pacific Island and in North and South America. This is a distinct challenge for Paul Knight and his IS team. "They [these businesses] cover 400 locations from one end of the group to the other, so getting alignment across all of those is not an easy thing to do," he once said. But as in one recent project, the rollout of an accident reporting tool with Corpendo, Knight was quoted in Computerworld as saying the key to getting acceptance for such a project in a diverse organisation is to "get it in place and grow it, rather than try to make it all things to all people from day one".

Warrick Laing

Information technology services manager, Accident Compensation Corporation

The Accident Compensation Corporation processes millions of claims each year, spending about NZ$1.4 billion annually for rehabilitation, treatment and compensation payments. Warrick Laing and his team have been implementing projects to ensure ACC's infrastructure could manage the growing use of information services across the organisation. These include an upgrade of the enterprise data warehouse and implementation of a claims management system.

"We are modernising the systems, and what it brings is a modern insurance company processing capability." These projects, he says, are mostly about business process change. "The technology is the lesser part of the challenges across all fronts."

Steve Mayo-Smith

Chief information officer, Auckland District Health Board

Steve Mayo-Smith says the ADHB has just completed its long-term Health Services Delivery Program that includes the building of the new hospital and clinic. From an ICT perspective, a lot of the plans in the program were predicated upon the use of technology to become more efficient and more effective. We have gone from the building stage, " he says, so the "absolute key focus" in the next 12 months is on information management.

"We need to make it coherent so clinicians and managers have information when they need it." He says this focus on information management, however, does not negate or demote the other priorities of the board, which is the ability to share information and systems on a regional scale.

Fifty per cent of the work at the ADHB comes from outside, which means there is a need to ensure its information is available outside of the DHB. "It is enabling the technology so that when we run a clinic up in Whangarei they have access to the information," he states. "We have our own internal needs but we also have to meet the external needs as well."

Geraldine McBride

Chief executive officer and managing director, SAP New Zealand and Australia

"I'm very much a straight shooter; I like to empower people," Geraldine McBride once told Boss Magazine about her management style. During the three-year run in her current post, McBride has overseen a strong business growth for SAP. In 2005, for instance, SAP reported a year on year product revenue growth rate of 20 per cent. SAP's continued focus on the small and mid-size enterprise space resulted in netting 160 new SAP Business One customers in New Zealand and Australia during the same period.

Owen McCall

Chief information officer, The Warehouse

Owen McCall says replacement of in-store systems at the Warehouse stores "is still active and a major emphasis". This includes Warehouse Stationery which is replacing its core merchandising systems. The focus for the local operations is on category expansion, demand planning, the Teradata database and applications upgrade and improving disaster recovery capability. He and his team will also provide "transition support" as the retailer divests its interests across the Tasman.

Bennett Medary

Managing director, Simpl Group

"The New Zealand market is small, we need to be global," says Bennett Medary, who does not subscribe to the idea of simply outsourcing software development to New Zealand. "We want to be part of a virtual global team," says Medary. "It is imperative for Simpl staff to be able to work in integrated global teams, working with them live, in real-time."

Currently, Simpl is working with a channel partner in the UK, as part of a "blended development team" that provides software services across Europe. This means roughly 30 per cent of the work is done in the UK while 70 per cent is done in New Zealand. For Medary, this type of global interaction is important not only for Simpl, but for the growth of New Zealand's ICT. "If we will not compete globally, we are hiding in the bunker, waiting for the next bomb to fall. You do not have to have an office in every city. People have to know they are part of a global professional community working together wherever they may be. These big corporates we are dealing with, some of them are more powerful than entire nations. They think globally, they expect us to think globally."

Sam Morgan

Founder and general manager, TradeMe

TradeMe.co.nz is so successful and so distracting some businesses ban their employees from accessing the site during work hours. What makes Sam Morgan's story so compelling is that he was able to trounce the top global player in online auctions - eBay - and is able to fend off, for the moment, local competitors, including Telecom's Ferrit. Nielsen/NetRatings says in January 2006 alone, TradeMe had 2,181,316 unique browsers and had the most browsers of any site in the its market intelligence ranking.

Graeme Muller

Country manager, IDC New Zealand

Graeme Muller moved into his current post a year ago after a stint as IDC New Zealand's research manager. In the past 12 months, his analyst team has doubled to 12, with a regional analyst based in New Zealand. But the expansion has its challenges, as Muller echoes the concerns of executives of the companies he deals with. "Like many other organisations in the sector, we have struggled to find and recruit the high level of talent required to be market analysts." Working for a multinational and reporting to Singapore which is five hours behind can place extra demands in his office so he has adopted flexible working hours and technologies to allow his team to work anywhere.

For Muller, the best part of the job is "meeting so many great people in the industry", having lots of coffees and spending hours listening and discussing the technology markets. He keeps "sane" - his word - by taking short breaks and taking his mountain bike out to the forest.

Duncan Nimmo

Technical manager for film production companies

Duncan Nimmo spent five years working on the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy, as IT manager for the production company Three Foot Six. He has just finished wrapping up work as technical manager for Lamp Post Productions, which was behind the Chronicles of Narnia.

Nimmo is now involved in another major movie, but true to the code of silence surrounding such projects, he can not at the moment divulge more than that.

With the portfolio of work behind him, Nimmo could work in any film company or any part of the world, but chose to be based in New Zealand. But as he explains, these days half of his time is spent overseas, where he works as technical manager for film production companies. "I am taking more of an entrepreneurial approach now," says Nimmo who is starting a consultancy providing services for film companies. He is also the local supplier for New Zealand and Australia of entertainment industry software company DAX.

"He has a real 'can do' attitude and no task is too big or too small for him," says Scott Houston, head of the New Zealand Supercomputing Centre, and who worked with Nimmo during the last two films of the LOTR trilogy. Houston recalls an incident in London when Nimmo was with director Peter Jackson scoring the sound for The Two Towers and Return of the King. Houston says his team used to send about 10 GB of data a night for Nimmo to pick up on an iPod and take to Jackson for review when the director got up in the morning. "He needed to pick up the data about 5.30am and we [were] always trying to get one final shot across at the last minute."

One day, a group of muggers chased Nimmo through central London, intent on grabbing his iPod, unaware it contained the final scenes of the Return of the King. Houston says Nimmo sprinted to get away from them: "There are not that many CTOs that will go to those lengths to protect their data!"

Pat O'Connell

Chief of information technology, Carter Holt Harvey

Pat O'Connell says the IS team at Carter Holt Harvey is trying to ensure the user population is much more "outcome focused". They should not be concerned with where data is or what applications and technologies they are using. "All they should worry about is they get the service, at a level at which they agree is cost effective," says O'Connell as he and his team continue to execute CHH's consolidation and standardisation of systems and processes. In December 2005, CHH centralised the reporting lines of business IT units to O'Connell. In the past, business IT units had a "dotted line of reporting" both to him and to their respective lines of business.

"We have taken over management of all business processes, and are tasked with making sure we deliver systems to support them, in as standardised a method as possible."

Tim Occleshaw

Chief information officer, Ministry of Social Development

If you are in a Wellington pub and the Sugar Daddies or Out to Lunch bands are on stage, watch out for the lead guitar player. That is Tim Occleshaw unwinding from his day job. "I believe strongly in keeping a sensible work-life balance," says Occleshaw, who moved from ANZ bank to the Ministry of Social Development in November 2004. Since then, he has made a few, but "mostly subtle" organisational changes in the IT group.

He re-established an enterprise architecture practice, which is directly linked to business delivery. "Enterprise architecture must, in my view, be a dynamic, living thing. It must be robust and flexible, and must move seamlessly with business strategy as it evolves."

He has set up an IT Strategy Council, which he chairs and focuses primarily on ensuring the IT strategy supports and enables MSD's business strategies.

Ross Peat

Managing director, Microsoft New Zealand

Ross Peat says education is his "real passion", and not just because prior to working in IT, he was a secondary school maths and biology teacher. "It plays to my belief technology and technology skills are incredibly enabling for those who wish to seek personal growth," says Peat, who is visible in targeted activities in the sector, like Microsoft's projects with polytechnics, and the Maori language interface of Microsoft software.

He is also actively involved in the Health IT Cluster, a collective of Kiwi software vendors. A recent project involving the management of healthcare for diabetes patients got a good reception at an industry conference in California. "It is not only bringing innovations to the health sector - we want to support great Kiwi innovations and industry development in New Zealand, and hopefully create opportunities for some of these companies to sell their products to the world."

He says this work with the education and health sectors is part of his "citizenship area" responsibilities which he finds "particularly rewarding as well". Peat actually went into IT through IBM's graduate recruitment program in the early 80s where "good communication skills" was a key requirement from applicants. Five of the 10 recruits that year, he recalls, were teachers like him who have had experience "up front in class". He moved to Microsoft 14 years ago and says, "It has been an amazing ride since then."

Annette Presley

Co-founder, Slingshot and CallPlus

Annette Presley says despite "working with the vagaries and restrictions" of Telecom's network, Slingshot and CallPlus expect an "exciting year" ahead. "We are a large company now, with 150 employees and $70 million dollar turnover." She says next year, New Zealand may be operating in a different landscape. "There is enough pressure and public awareness for the government to put out a different kind of environment." Slingshot and CallPlus, she says, "are in for the long-term, no matter what". Plans in the next 12 months include the launching of a wi-max service.

Nigel Prince

Chief information officer, New Zealand Post

Nigel Prince says being in IT involves working in a changing, dynamic environment that presents both personal and career challenges for the IS manager. On the personal side, it is planning what you are going to achieve during that period, and what you are going to do differently next. As a manager, he says, it is working with your team, what they are going to focus on and what are the opportunities that could be created and opened up for them.

This year, Prince and his team will work on two big projects - the new mail processing equipment and the replacement of the 12-year-old point of sale system in the New Zealand Post shops. The latter is being done in conjunction with New Zealand Post Retail and Kiwi Bank. "These are technology centric projects that have strong integration requirements and delivery into key business areas, " says Prince.

Chris Quin

General manager, Gen-i

Chris Quin has a handful of interesting stories - and pointers - for executives involved in mergers and acquisitions. He deftly managed the merger of three companies Gen-i, Computerland and Telecom Advanced Solutions into the ICT services business Gen-i. Quin says that given the "plenty of opportunities to be distracted", the merger "came out very well". Gen-i says the successful merger was instrumental in Telecom claiming the market leader position for IT services in IDC's market tracker results for 2005 - the first time a telecommunications provider became number one in an IT services market. As Quin states, in an M & A situation, "strong leadership behaviours", getting "the balance between a takeover and consult mode" and "communicating to the mother ship because they think you're up to something" are crucial.

Ian Rae

Chief information officer, Auckland City Council

In the past year, Ian Rae has been involved in identifying and implementing online services primarily in the customer service space. These included a range of payment services, new information products and online fulfilment for the request, payment and delivery of a LIM (Land Information Memorandum). The LIM project was "particularly exciting" because it entailed electronic production of what was previously an all paper-based product and it sources information from a variety of back office systems.

The uptake of and customer feedback on these services has exceeded our expectations, he says. The council aims to further "empower" the citizens through e-services, like being able to look at and book venues such as community halls online. Rae is a member of the Smarter Systems Board composed of five regional managers and two council heads of IT (Rae and Jeff Shaw, North Shore City Council IT manager) that implemented in 2005 a system linking 50 library sites across the region. "This was a challenging project that not only involved the implementation of new technology, but also the establishment of relationships and common standards and processes across the libraries and IT departments of five councils - a very real and successful venture into shared services."

Mark Ratcliffe

Chief information officer, Telecom New Zealand

He has been on the post for over five years, but Mark Ratcliffe says it was only just over a year ago when he got involved with mergers and acquisitions, with Telecom's acquisition of IT services companies Gen-i and Computerland. As Ratcliffe points out, the strategy work required in these undertakings is just one of the "whole range of opportunities" as a member of the executive team of Telecom.

Despite his high profile in both Telecom and the New Zealand CIO community, Ratcliffe describes himself as a private person. "I'd rather get my boss, my colleagues and my team [get the accolades] if they are doing a good job." He says the quality of his team at Telecom, with their "sheer experience, intellect, ability in terms of what it is they want to deliver" is one of his major achievements.

Sir Gil Simpson

Founder and president, Jade Software

More than 27 years ago, Sir Gil Simpson founded Jade Software in Christchurch, building it into one of the most successful software export companies in New Zealand. These days, Sir Gil is helping independent software vendors who have adopted Jade as a development environment for their customers, find channels for their products. "These are the people who can build software but don't have the ability, the opportunities to sell it because they are not sales people, they are artists. I find that work extremely worthwhile, extremely exciting," says Sir Gil, who was made a Knight Companion for his services to information technology, commerce and the community.

Luigi Sorbello

Chief operating officer, TelstraClear

He was once described as Telstra's "imported troubleshooter". After all, prior to moving to New Zealand Luigi Sorbello was head of relationship at Telstra's business and government unit managing the relationship between Telstra and TelstraClear's relationship. He is on top of TelstraClear's network upgrade - which has just completed a $14 million project to extend its North Island 10 gigabit network into Auckland; and confirmed plans for a Wellington network upgrade by mid-2006. He has been involved in telecommunications projects in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, Brunei and in China.

Richard Taylor

Director, Weta Workshop

"You never set out with the intention of doing a job on the premise that you hope to win an award - you set out because you want to do the best possible work you can," Richard Taylor was quoted in an interview at the Weta website.

These words could explain the driving force behind Taylor, who started a small special effects company that went on to do work for the Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and King Kong. What is notable is Taylor's view of the imperative to improve and grow. As he stated in the interview, if Weta were to deliver the equivalent level of work it did with LOTR, it would be short-changing the client because the latter needs a company that would bring additional knowledge onto the next job. "Ultimately, it is not only a collaborative process, it is also a constructive process; where you're building on top of your experiences and trying to push your creativity and your innovative thought."

Katrina Troughton

Managing director, IBM New Zealand

Speaking at IBM New Zealand's 50th anniversary last year, Katrina Troughton points out by 2010, the world's most successful firms will be "specialised enterprises" focusing on their core business and a few critical components. As Troughton, who joined the company through its graduate program in 1990 can attest, IBM is an example of one such company. IBM, she states, has transformed the business by moving out of low margin commoditised businesses like its PC division, and increasing its presence in software and consulting services.

Troughton was general manager of the software business across Australia and New Zealand, when she was appointed managing director of IBM in October 2004. Since then, she says, the business has "really grown from strength to strength". Recently, she was appointed chair of the government's Digital Strategy Advisory Group.

Clayton Wakefield

Head of technology operations and cards, ASB

When ASB Bank introduced New Zealand's first and only two factor authentication for its online banking customers in late 2005, it was merely following its tradition of being in the frontline in banking technology in the country. ASB was the first to introduce online banking though Bank Direct and shares trading in New Zealand. The two factor authentication for its online customers consists of "tokens" that customers can use as an alternative to SMS mobile phone messaging.

Wakefield says this additional security tier puts ASB ahead of its competitors, and the bank will continue to research new ways to combat online fraud. "The investment in technology is in a healthy state and continues to bring benefits to the organisation," says Wakefield. "We will continue to innovate particularly around the mobile space and the security space." The challenge, he says, is in balancing the needs of the customers, the services, and the risks involved.

Stephen Wallace

Chief information officer, Fonterra

Stephen Wallace is in the midst of implementing "One IS World" the new business model for his 300-strong IS team. It is his biggest project since becoming CIO of the dairy giant in March 2005. "One IS World" aims to bring together the fragmented and multiple IS shops in Fonterra's global offices into what he calls a "single, harmonised global service". There are no local models for what Wallace plans to achieve (Fonterra is the world's largest dairy exporter and one of New Zealand's biggest employers). But Wallace says he is drawing from his experiences in past "business transformation projects" to ensure the success of the Fonterra IS team's "transformation".

Wallace, a triathlon athlete, has worked at KPMG (where he started his career) and in senior management positions in forestry, brewing and finance. He was director of finance operations in Fonterra when he took over the CIO role from Marcel van den Assum.

Tony West

Chief information officer, Land Transport New Zealand

Last year, MIS100 listed Land Transport New Zealand as the fourth largest IT user organisation in the country, following the merger of Transfund New Zealand and Land Transport Safety Authority. Tony West, who was GM information systems and technology at the LTSA, became CIO of the new organisaton. West says the merger was "very much a synergetic event." From an IT perspective, "we were very much chalk and cheese." LTSA does millions of transactions with millions of people, Transfund had its own customers with 2000 to 3000 projects. As both deal with the land transport sector, he says, the two entities could "share relationships" for instance, with local governments.

Stephen Whiteside

Director of IT systems and services,University of Auckland

The number of screens at the University of Auckland has gone up by around 450 in the last 12 months. For Stephen Whiteside, this is just a "slight" gain, as the university, for the past two years, has consistently been increasing its screen numbers by the thousand each year (the primary reason why it has been number one in the MIS100 ranking of top IT users in the country in 2004 and 2005).

This means projects spearheaded by Whiteside and his team have an impact beyond the New Zealand education community. The university is currently upgrading its learning management system Cecil, and planning its strategies in the light of major universities in the United States collaborating on open source development. "That will change the landscape for us a bit," he says.

Gary Woodham

CEO, Datamail Group

Just over a year since he came into the job, Gary Woodham says he is "very confident" of the new integrated outsourcing model Datamail now offers to its clients. The New Zealand Post subsidiary provides business process outsourcing services for billing, application processing, forms processing, corporate services and accounts payable. "The major value [is] I can now bring those capabilities together as a single integrated offering that gives you one service component, one person to talk to, one knowledge base," says Woodham, who joined Datamail from EDS where he was regional manager, business process outsourcing, Asia-Pacific. In the past year, he points out Datamail has changed its mode of operation "in a real big way - from product development to service orientated".

Warwick Wright

Chief information officer, State Services Commission

Warwick Wright says he had a "traditional IT career" which meant starting as a computer operator, then programmer and systems engineer, and moving henceforth to various IS executive roles. He spent 18 years at IBM, was CIO of Capital Coast Health and general manager technical services at the New Zealand Racing Board, prior to his current post. He was appointed permanent CIO at the SSC just last January, and is in the midst of reviewing and updating the IT strategic plan and knowledge strategy, while upgrading the internal infrastructure of the state agency. The latter task includes new cabling and switches for the local area network, completing the migration to Windows XP and Office 2003, server upgrades and improved capability for remote access.

Garry Collings

GM, Network Appliance

Colourful would be too mild a term to describe Garry Collings, who was CIO of Toll (which he once described "as the artist formerly known as TranzRail") prior to moving to the vendor side. To test a supplier's claim that its PDA was robust for TranzRail's field staff, Collings threw the device across the floor. Just before the year-end, he graciously agreed to be the master of ceremonies for the first Careers Fair organised by MIS New Zealand in Wellington. He introduced himself as the new general manager of NetApp, "which you've probably never heard of, which is why I've taken the (emcee) job".

That brought the house (a packed Wellington Convention Centre) down. Collings may have been too humble about NetApp (a global company which provided the data storage for the movie King Kong) and astute at his choice of new employer. Fortune Magazine recently named NetApp one of the "100 best companies to work for" for the fourth consecutive year.

Ernie Newman

Chief executive, Telecommunications Users Association New Zealand

"We want to see a robust, wholesale market where entrants to the industry can establish a solid business base without the risks of becoming victims of anti-competitive behaviour."

This, says Ernie Newman, is among the many major concerns of TUANZ as it lobbies in the area of the regulatory and development structure for telecommunications.

"It is good, it is gratifying that the New Zealand broadband situation escalates to the highest possible level of government attention," says Newman of Prime Minister Helen Clark's opening statement to Parliament about new initiatives to get faster, cheaper internet access.

"We have been working to raise the profile [of this issue] for several years." Another "correction" he wants to see is to bring New Zealand cell phone prices into line with other developed countries.

As he states, "For New Zealand to be in the OECD top 10 for communications technology is a huge stretch but we must make it happen."

Lyn Provost

Deputy commissioner, New Zealand Police

Lyn Provost is the first woman to be appointed a deputy commissioner of the New Zealand Police, and her portfolio includes human resources and information technology. The Police, she says, will come out soon with its strategic plan for ICT for 2006 to 2010 based on a "dynamic planning philosophy".

As Provost explains, "The difference is rather than saying, this is everything we are going to do in five years, the plan says these are the areas that we think are important." Each year, the police will review and prioritise the top 10 projects within the plan. For 2006, three or four of these projects are being joined together for the rollout of "mobile police stations".

These are police vehicles equipped with computer power to allow police to check information like people's names and vehicle registration straight into the system, to be piloted in Auckland. In the communications centre, one of the priorities this year is the establishment of a single, non-emergency number. "We want to make access to police easier, for the public to contact us through a variety of different means. For our own staff, what we want is to take information and technology to them rather than them having to come to it."

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