Stories by Ulrika Hedquist

The department of transformers

The game has changed and IT has a pivotal role to play in enabling business transformation.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist25 Aug. 13 08:36

Tidal wave alert

According to IDC, the enterprise mobility market in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) will increase from US$6.9 billion in 2013 to US$12.8 billion by 2017. In New Zealand, this market will grow nearly 20 percent in that same period of time, and will reach US$277 million, says Charles Anderson, head of telecom practice, mobility lead, IDC Asia/Pacific.
Locally, the highest growth rate is expected to be in mobile value-added services (VAS), with a local market growth rate of 29 percent (CAGR) through 2017, Anderson says. VAS is about mobilising business applications; mobile security,mobile enterprise management and virtual client computing. The expected growth in these areas means that local organisations are investing in getting to the next stage of mobility, he says.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist19 May 13 22:00

IPv6: A new headache or huge opportunity?

The IPv4 internet address schema has been around for a long time -- pretty much since the beginning of the internet, says Murray Milner, NZ IPv6 Task Force. And while there are still IPv4 addresses available, the supply is inevitably running out.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist13 May 13 14:27

The game is changing

We are at the dawn of a new era where the CIO and the IT function play a central role in creating value, says Ross Dawson, chairman, AHT Group and futurist.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist02 April 13 22:33

Winemaker grows for the future

For Delegat’s Wine Estate, it’s mission critical that the company is on top of balancing supply and demand. Forward planning is a key part of the business, says Matt Boswell, Delegat’s corporate financial planner.
Three years ago, the wine company implemented an IBM Cognos TM1 analytics solution to help make better business decisions, based on more accurate information.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist24 Oct. 12 22:00

A merged CEO and CIO role

Alan Grainer had been thinking of changing the direction of his career for some time. After seven years as CIO at the Waikato District Health Board, "I had done my round", he says. He was interested to move into a CEO position, but not at any cost.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist01 May 12 12:55

Be prepared for fabric

Fabric-based computing (FBC), a modular ‘fabric’ computing system built from interconnected nodes, could have a significant impact on the server market, according to Gartner research.
The research firm estimates around 30 percent of large IT-organisations globally are in the planning stage of deploying fabric-based architectures, but so far, only 10 percent have implemented them.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist30 April 12 22:00

Shared vision drives BI success

What started out as a low-risk reporting upgrade to meet new tax legislation requirements ended up as a full-blown, future-facing business intelligence project at Westpac Life.
The new taxation rules, effective from July 2010, required Westpac’s life insurance arm “to do a lot of different reporting and pull our data together in a different way,” says Kevin Crowley, head of insurance at Westpac Life.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist18 Dec. 11 22:00

HealthAlliance's slow and steady rollout kept under the radar

The implementation of an electronic rostering system that affects a total of 16,000 staff started early this year at Waitemata DHB, while Auckland DHB is planned to go live in June 2012.
The “roster-to-pay” solution takes information from the roster, stores it electronically and amends it, based on for example sick leave or extra shifts, and sends that through to payroll.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist03 Dec. 11 22:00

Gearing for change

At a recent CIO lunch in Auckland, Garry Fissenden told those present he feels like a bit of a fraud standing in front of the tech-savvy audience, because he hasn’t done full-time IT for five years.
“I am a business person who understands technology. I have never been a ‘bits and bytes’ person,” he says.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist16 Aug. 11 22:00

Disruptive and cloudy conditions ahead

CIOs need to reimagine IT through creative destruction, which enables them to build a new IT department with the ability to allocate and position the team in more strategic areas of the organisation, says Michele Caminos, VP of research at Gartner.
“Identify where your IT initiatives are and where they are being focused — on the competitive advantage practices of the organisation or in the back office?” suggests Caminos.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist03 Aug. 11 22:00

The ever-changing role of the CIO

The 2011 Summit, organised by CIO Magazine, IDC and conference company BrightStar, aims to explore the challenges CIOs face in keeping up with the changing landscape.
These days, IT is embedded into businesses and many use technology as a way to gain competitive advantage, says Joe Peppard, professor of information systems at Cranfield School of Management (UK), who will discuss the leadership challenges of the CIO in his keynote. At many organisations, this has highlighted the increasing importance of IT. However, that recognition has possibly been a bit slow to find its way into the C-suite.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist20 June 11 22:00

Teaching a computer human languages

Tall, blonde and with calm hazel eyes, Alyona Medelyan doesn't strike you as your typical software engineer. Ukrainian-born Medelyan has led the developer team at search software company Pingar for the past 18 months. Now, she has been appointed chief research officer at the company.Pingar develops semantic search solutions to help companies find useful search results from masses of unstructured data. Medelyan's niche expertise in Natural Language Processing (NLP) will drive the start-up's next steps into the future. NLP is about designing programmes that "understand" human language, says Medelyan, who herself speaks Russian, Ukrainian, English, German, some Italian and is learning Chinese."I find it very exciting," she says. "Languages are fascinating and complex -- developing computer applications that attempt to understand them is very challenging. There are still many unsolved problems in this field. New algorithms and new powerful methods are developed every day."So far, she has developed an enhanced summarisation tool to boost the search software. Pingar's software basically pulls out sentences from a document that contain a particular search term and collates them into a PDF-file. But some of the extracted sentences may be out of context, so Medelyan came up with a new algorithm that summarises the document. She has also been in charge of the recent release of an API (application programming interface), which gives third-party developers access to Pingar's core technologies. "I'm very excited to see what other developers will do with it and how the new solutions will compare against other tools in the market," she says, at an interview at Pingar's newly-opened Auckland city office.Not so long ago, the University of Waikato PhD graduate was looking out over another famous skyline. Medelyan's supervisor at Waikato, Ian Witten, had also been the supervisor for another bright mind, Craig Nevill-Manning, who is now director of Google Engineering in New York. Medelyan got in contact with the intern supervisor there who suggested she come over and implement her PhD work, using Google technology. The three-month internship at Google's Manhattan office was a "bit of a change" from Hamilton, she says."I had to buy new clothes to fit in," she laughs. "It was definitely a busy life over there. Almost every night I attended cool events -- concerts, roof-top parties and even yoga classes in the studio of my favourite painter."The working environment was amazing, she says. "There are so many smart people there. Everyone you talked to had won national competitions in mathematics or graduated from MIT with top marks. It was a very inspiring environment."During her PhD (which she finished in 2009), Medelyan developed an open-source tool, Maui (multi-purpose automatic topic indexing), which automatically identifies the main topics in documents. Her tool is now used by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN, a US bank and a search engine in Australia, among others. Being a young woman in a very male-dominated industry hasn't bothered her at all, she says. "There aren't many female role-models [in the ICT industry] so it can be hard to associate yourself with somebody who has achieved a lot in this area; it's much easier for guys to do that," she says."Hopefully I can help break the pattern and help coach other women in the industry," she says.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist05 April 11 10:51

Shifting tides

There isn’t a blueprint for being a CIO, says Mike Clarke, CIO of SkyCity Entertainment Group. CIOs, more than any other chief officer position, are faced with hugely conflicting objectives, he says.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist09 Aug. 10 22:00

Working towards redundancy

Two years ago, Radius Health Group CIO Steven Mayo-Smith began a restructuring that would successfully eliminate the need for his own role. It was an unusual situation, though he did not find it awkward. "I was working towards my own redundancy and that may seem a bit strange, but at the time I was working to reach the company's goals," he says when we meet him at a café across the road from Auckland's Parnell Rose Gardens.Radius Health Group today consists of Radius Medical, which has 19 medical centres, and Radius Pharmacy with 40 locations nationwide.Four years ago, the picture was quite different. Then, the Radius' strategy was to be an integrated health care company. In addition to the pharmacies and medical centres, it owned rest homes and had shares in a home handyman company. The overarching philosophy was that Radius would take care of all its clients' needs. If you got sick -- patients would go to a Radius doctor and then go next door to a Radius pharmacy. Clients would be taken care of in one of the company's rest homes, or if they needed assistance with home maintenance, a Radius handyman would come and do the job. To pull all that together, the company needed an integrated IT solution and four years ago, that is just what Mayo-Smith came onboard to manage. Under his leadership, all Radius business units came together in one centralised, thin client environment, hosted in a TelstraClear datacentre. However, two years after he joined, there was a fundamental change in philosophy. Radius morphed into a profit-focused investment vehicle and the ability to quickly carve off or add business units became a priority.

Written by Ulrika Hedquist09 June 10 08:10