Senior IS executive:Victor Vae'au, CIO
Name of organisation:New Zealand Defence Force
Reports to:Chief Joint Defence Services
Size of IS shop:300
Address:2-12 Aitken Street, Thorndon, Wellington 6011
Key IS projects this year:2020 Ready, Secure Information Environment Program (core Defence network), Defence Command and Control System, Veterans Affairs Support System, SAP Mobility, HRMIS - wave 2, Application Remediation, Allied and Coalition Interoperability projects (national and international).
VICTOR VAE’AU SAYS the technology team at the New Zealand Defence Force ICT strategy is guided by the Future 35 strategy and the new 2020 Ready roadmap the chief of defence launched in 2015.
The roadmap is aimed at achieving ‘Enhanced Combat Capability’ for the next five years, says CIO Vae’au.
“All the themes in the programme– better information, better tools, better support, better together – have ICT components or are fundamentally enabled by technology.”
“Defence Force’s major capability projects are very long-term,” says Vae’au, “and our challenge is to ensure we meet and stay current [technologically] as these platforms take time to acquire, develop and deliver – especially with the evolution of IT.
“This means the range of programmatic challenges will span the strategic, operational and tactical environment of the Defence Information environment.”
He says the department is also developing its ERP Roadmap where SAP is its core system. “The challenge with any ERP roadmap is aligning information requirements and organisational change management – or its ability to absorb business change for benefit realisation or ROI.”
Vae’au notes Defence Force is spending time on planning this with the business with a delivery date in May 2016. “A coherent, integrated and deliverable plan is the target.”
“The Veterans’ Affairs support system, which is a key deliverable for IT this year, has expanded NZDF’s reach in using common capability [cloud in this case] which is new to Defence and will demand more ‘customer facing’ services as we mature and move forward,” says Vae’au. “This is an area that Defence will continue to get demand as people require more interaction [publicly] which will drive a different support requirement than we have had in the past.”
ICT continues to support the information strategy through co-delivery of analytics proof of concepts with the Knowledge and Management directorate in defence. Mobility continues to be a challenge “from a security perspective” as the reach and communications become more reliable, he states.
Vae’au also comments on the changes that his organisation is going through within the Defence Force. A maturity review of the ICT function and its operating model was conducted and a project, CIS Transformation Change Project (CISCTP), has been stood up with support of the chief of Defence.
The goal is to enable the technology function to be more fit for purpose to deliver the ongoing technical demands of the Defence Force, particularly as its platforms, systems, people are becoming far more digital and integrated in nature.
“I’m very excited about it...the business is taking ownership of its ICT capability – it will be shaped to deliver for them – not the CIO,” says Vae’au.
When asked about innovation and two-speed IT, Vae’au responds, “I think you have to embrace both.”
“There is a balance to strike as a large organisation, what you can do very quickly and fail/succeed fast, versus what should take time through a full spec’d delivery lifecycle.
“You have got to be very clear about what falls into one speed, and what falls into the other speed, and don’t get one mistaken for the other.”