CIO100 2017 #31-100: Doug Stuart, IBM New Zealand
The role of IBM's IT function is to enable the company's strategy by giving IBMers the modern tools they need to do their work, to be responsive to clients, and to act with speed and agility, says Doug Stuart, head of ICT at IBM New Zealand.
He explains the CIO strategy is defined globally and implemented locally.
A key role of the local team is to keep the organisation’s IT environment compliant with IBM’s exacting standards, he states.
“The IT team are active change champions, supporting the global change strategy by applying agile principles to their daily practices in support of IBM's transformation,” he states.
Over the last year, IBM has upgraded core IT infrastructure to support our 'Workplace of the Future' initiative, a mobile-first strategy, says Stuart.
This flexible working initiative involves supporting a highly mobile workforce with cloud, software-as-a-service, and 'best of breed' internal and external apps, accessed from any mobile device.
The NZ team worked with IBM's real estate and partners within the business to transform the new Auckland office in the Wynyard Quarter into an agile, activity-based workspace using the latest technology.
In preparation for the move to the new office, the IBM NZ IT organisation has delivered the network infrastructure, tools and capability to support a truly Agile workplace.
The programme supports the global transformation strategy, while being owned and delivered by the local team who have worked collaboratively across the NZ business to ensure a behavioural shift matches the technology change, explains Stuart.
For network infrastructure, the team consolidated and optimised the network design for resiliency, reducing both cost and complexity. Stuart says work will continue on the development and pilot of a hybrid cloud network infrastructure and the move of core applications into a cognitive cloud environment.
They delivered a resilient and secure wifi connectivity to support the Agile physical environment. This ensures the desks can be moved and configured as required for both IBM staff and with their clients. There will be no ports on desks and wifi will be the primary network connectivity. Employees can seamlessly use the high performing wireless after a successful pilot deployment in Petone, he states.
The team also orchestrated the move from providing localised systems to common, standard, global solutions. They are rolling out the Cisco Unified Communications platform, which will include many of the technologies we use to communicate via voice and video, including chat, audio conferencing, video conferencing, e-meetings, webinars, and softphone telephony. These are all part of a highly integrated UC solution, based on Cisco WebEx and Cisco Jabber.
Mobile phones and tablets are now the primary devices as part of the move to ‘onephone’. There are fixed line telephones plugged into the network in our Auckland office meeting rooms for audio conferencing , he states.
The move to an Agile environment requires a corporate culture shift, and the IT team worked with the various units to prepare for this change.
Stuart says ‘change champions’ from across Auckland acted as advocates for the change pre- and post- move. They helped raise awareness, escalate concerns, and actively model Agile behaviour and seek employee participation.
He says a comprehensive communications programme was put in place to support the move. Updates were relayed by the change champions every fortnight, through the daily 'Connections Cloud' newsletter, and town hall meetings with the executives.
The IT team are active change champions, supporting the global change strategy by applying agile principles to their daily practices in support of IBM's transformation.
CX takes centre stage
Stuart explains IBM’s Agile culture combines lean and Agile techniques like continuous delivery and design thinking to ensure the customer experience takes centre stage.
He says several initiatives have been rolled out locally that stemmed from this new way of working.
One of these is the Mac@IBM program, where Macs are shipped to the user in a box with a URL and when they visit the website, they are guided, step-by-step, through the setup of the Mac.
Users select the applications and services they need from an app store. To achieve this, IBM had to do three things: automate provisioning, rebuild its intranet, and open up a new service desk, he states.
This is an innovative initiative where operational excellence was improved. “It puts the employee at the heart of their onboarding experience, while also freeing up valuable resource to focus innovation and continuous improvement.”
IBM NZ is also a 'mobile first' organisation now. That has meant working with procurement and our local telco provider on identifying appropriate usage plans and bundles, creating usage alerts and transparently managing usage. It has also meant collaborating with HR to construct local usage and BYOD policy, and driving a culture of personal responsibility across the NZ organisation, he says.
Box@IBM is an online cloud content management service that provides file sharing, collaboration, and tools for working with files that are uploaded to its servers. Each IBMer can determine how they share their content from any device to drive collaboration.
Help@IBM is the support portal that is the single place for IBMers to visit for information and help on IT tools, services and platforms. Real time updates are provided on any issues, and content is personalised. Staff can quickly get help when they need it via their preferred channel: chat, phone or intranet community. They can also raise a ticket for End User Support, says Stuart.
Stuart leads a compact team of six. He estimates 80 per cent of their time is dedicated to operational excellence, and the rest is spent on projects and continuous improvements, engagement activities, innovative solutions and transformational initiatives.
Diversity is an essential component of IBM's corporate values and is tightly integrated into our NZ business strategy, he says.
Our policy of inclusion goes beyond employment practices and protections and celebrates the diversity of our workforce.
There's even a twitter handle IBM LGBT (@ibmlgbt) and Facebook page around this. Our NZ based IT team's make up reflects this policy of diversity of inclusion, he says.
Individual upskilling and retraining of staff members is embedded in the IBM Culture with mandatory training via 'Think40' (IBM's global learning platform).
“IBM has both formal and informal mentoring programmes (CoachMe) to develop our people so they can reach their potential.”