A CIO’s handbook: Planning for the long game

A CIO’s handbook: Planning for the long game

Victor Vae’au does not have a separate ICT strategy - it is Future35, the framework for change of the New Zealand Defence Force in the next 25 years.

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‘Keeping the lights on’ globally

“This is our keeping the lights on,” says Vae’au, pointing to a slide presentation. On screen is a map of the world, with distinct markers across continents to show the operations his teams support every day, all year. It is a complex environment with overseas deployments, allied engagements, humanitarian aid and disaster relief activity. Vae’au describes the challenging ‘destinations’ a defence force operates in and the additional complexity this add to ICT.

Across Defence Force capability portfolio, there are more than 50 projects with major ICT components and an ERP program which includes information digitalisation, he states.

At the same time he was tasked, like all other CIOs, with three major challenges around ICT: efficiency (optimise ICT costs), effectiveness (provide the right tools for the right job at the right time) and resilience and security (continued provision of operational activities).

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The Internet of Things and the cyber security around it is important as geography now is irrelevant when it comes to the new warfighting domain.

Victor Vae’au, NZ Defence Force

“We needed to do something about infrastructure,” he states. “We needed to treat information as a strategic asset, we needed to de-risk communications.”

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Vae’au says one of the first things he tackled in the ICT strategy is optimisation of the business processes used across the organisation.

He was also forthright about sharing some of their non-technology challenges, which include limited workforce numbers not only in IT but in other business units.

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Culture was another factor to consider, he states. “Working with partners is an important step with the move to 'as a service' delivery being very topical in government.”

He says strategic partnerships also apply to the work Defence does with allies. This, he says, is also a focus of other government agencies like Police, Customs and Immigration as they work with cross border systems.

Next: 'Do not be distracted by the fad of the day'

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Tags information securitystrategyGartnerdigitalBusiness Continuitybusiness alignmentgovernment CIOwellingtonnz defence forceCIO100Victor Vae'au

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