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CIO100 2018 #31-100: Dianna Taylor, New Zealand Racing Board

  • Name Dianna Taylor
  • Title General manager technology
  • Company New Zealand Racing Board
  • Commenced role February 2017
  • Reporting Line Chief executive officer
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 70 internal staff and 7 direct reports
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    In the past year, the New Zealand Racing Board has completed a major business transformation programme that delivered savings in power consumption in the corporate office, while reducing their technical debt and business continuity risks.

    Dianna Taylor, general manager technology (CIO) of NZRB says the programme included completing an all of  business migration to Google; outsourcing of technology operational, desktop support (first and some second level) and infrastructure to Spark; and moving their physical kit to the Revera datacentre, through the All of Government IaaS offering.

    “This enabled us to have a primary and secondary secondary BCP capability that didn't previously exist,” says Taylor.

    NZRB decommissioned the data centre in their building and converted it into office space.

    Object lessons on change management

    Throughout this project we ran a "change champion" programme with both business and technology team members, says Taylor.

    While this group has been dismantled now, the network is still active and the members continue to share that tips and insights in their weekly all of staff communications.

    “We had to learn how to work with our partners and not assume they understood our business like our former employees did,” she says.

    This has been a real challenge and is still a work in progress as both organisations mature, she points out.

    “Communication has been the key to the results that have been achieved this far and something we continue to focus on.”

    Taylor says the digital delivery teams have launched Agile methodologies which have led to some great learning experiences, she says.

    These include transparency of delivery progress and deliverables, behaviour changes and automation.

    “As a result we have also adopted this approach for our core system project too.”

    Squads are now common across NZRB, and the team members, leaders and squad leads all understand their roles.

    “We form and disband as required and the disciplines have provided greater rigour for BAU work as well,” says Taylor.Taylor is passionate about staff development. As the only female executive at NZRB, she started a subgroup of future NZRB female leaders and have relaunched the "Woman at NZRB".

    This group meets every quarter, and is open to their male colleagues. External speakers are invited to discuss current issues, and the meetings allow members to also grow their professional networks.

    Taylor also mentors a couple of staff from outside the technology team. “I am often seeking ways to support staff develop, the most recent example is a secondment I have arranged for one of my staff to work for another area two days a week for three months as a development opportunity,” she says.

    “This could result in the staff member moving permanently, and that would be a great result to grow and develop him within our business, this would also create a opportunity for someone else internally to fill his vacated position.”

    She says in her executive career, the biggest lessons she has learnt is to “Listen more, respect the past, vary your pace...and celebrate success.”

    “In previous roles I been too driven to implement the organisation’s objectives or my strategy/vision, and while the organisation achieved the results they needed I did not always take my people, peers and sometimes the wider organisation with me..

    “The frenetic pace could have been relaxed to reflect where the organisation was at, and the results would still have been achieved.”

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