Stories by Paul Smith

Takeover targets

It all sounds so exciting in theory. A company pulls off a coup, taking over a rival and the chief executive proudly spruiks to the sharemarket about the wonderful benefits, synergies and innovations that will result from joining forces with a former foe.
As the cameras in the news conference flash and the two CEOs shake hands and grin, somewhere in the shadows stand an anxious pair of executives sweating over thoughts about what the future holds.

Written by Paul Smith08 Oct. 11 22:00

Asia is core for ANZ

Given that she sits in one of the hottest chief information officer seats in the country, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group's Anne Weatherston has succeeded in keeping a remarkably low profile since she arrived in Australia 18 months ago.
While her peers at Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Banking Corp and National Australia Bank have been frequent ­subjects of newspaper articles about ­mammoth core system replacement ­initiatives, the former Bank of Ireland CIO has quietly gone about the business of building up her technology leadership team and laying the groundwork for the bank's crucial IT ­strategy.

Written by Paul Smith07 Sept. 11 22:00

Mobile manoeuvres

While business transformation programs and successful on-line product innovation can lead some chief information officers and in-house technology strategists to glory and promotion, an unspoken career progression strategy for some has always been to follow a path of least resistance, and keep the boss off their back.
This can be achieved in two ways. The first is to keep their heads down, not spend much and hope nothing major goes wrong. It is unambitious but effective in some cases.

Written by Paul Smith26 Feb. 11 22:00

Hospital of the future

You'd struggle to find anyone who doesn't agree that the idea of an electronically enabled health system would be a giant leap forward for healthcare in the Australia of today and tomorrow.
Anyone with a background in technology who has spent any time in a hospital in recent years will be immediately struck by the jarring lack of integrated systems.

Written by Paul Smith05 Sept. 10 22:00

Suncorp IT underpins $235 million savings

The extensive technology program required to generate annual savings of $235 million by 2013 for Suncorp-Metway's insurance business will be a continuation of the work recently finished on the integration of Promina, and be complete by next June, according to the newly promoted executive responsible for making it happen.
Suncorp's chief information officer, Jeff Smith, was promoted in April to a newly created role as group executive of Suncorp business services, which now gives him direct control over procurement, real estate and human resources operations.

Written by Paul Smith08 July 10 22:00

Loading the bases

Earlier this year when the judge hammered down his gavel in the long-running British court battle between pay TV network British Sky Broadcasting and IT services giant EDS over a failed information technology project, the sound reverberated around the enterprise IT world.
Chief information officers high-fived and vendors felt a chill run down their ­collective spines. The court had decided that EDS – now owned by Hewlett-Packard – had committed fraud by knowingly promising to deliver a new customer relationship management system in a time frame it knew was not feasible. The finding ­rendered a £30 million ($52.6 million) ­liability cap in the agreement redundant and exposed EDS to unlimited damages, which look like at least £200 million.

Written by Paul Smith01 July 10 22:00

The rules of attraction

If you flicked through the back issues of MIS, back as far as the days when its name bore some resemblance to the job title of its readers, there would be one topic guaranteed to leap constantly from its pages among the headlines of doom and exasperation.
That topic is skills ... or, more importantly, the lack of them.

Written by Paul Smith05 April 10 22:00

Worlds apart

There can be few things more frustrating for a chief information officer than labouring away in an organisation that doesn't appreciate their skills. For years, CIOs of various standing have bemoaned the problem of working with a chief executive, chief financial officer or board that just doesn't get what they are trying to achieve.
But, alas, if new research is to be believed there is still a worrying disconnect between how a CIO believes their IT vision and spending is understood within their own company and the reality of the perceptions among those with ultimate responsibility for the organisation's performance.

Written by Paul Smith31 Jan. 10 22:00

A communication divide on ICT vision and its cost

Company boards are often unable to understand and evaluate the investment required for large information technology programs, and less than half of the largest technology projects in the last three years have met or exceeded return on investment targets, according to research by recruitment specialists Korn/Ferry International.
The wide-ranging study compiled by the firm's head of chief information officer practice, Gail Pemberton-Burke, a former CIO at Macquarie Bank and chief executive at BNP Paribas Securities Services, also highlighted that 50 per cent of chief executives and 57 per cent of CIOs believed there was inherent wastage or inefficiency in current expenditure.

Written by Paul Smith06 Dec. 09 22:00

Commonwealth Bank loses key tech exec

The most senior technology executive at Commonwealth Bank-owned Bankwest, chief information officer Tony Clasquin, has resigned and will leave at the end of the year.
The bank will lose an experienced technology leader who has been in a key role as it seeks to achieve $340 million of operational savings following CBA's $2.1 billion acquisition of Bankwest from HBOS late last year.

Written by Paul Smith17 Nov. 09 22:00

Australian Taxation Office axes long-standing IT supplier

The Australian Taxation Office has cut a A$60 million chunk out of the long-standing mammoth technology contracts it has held with outsourcing firm EDS .
The outsourcer, which has been recently rebranded as HP Enterprise Services, has been axed from a shortlist of five service providers to provide desktop services, under the Tax Office's End User Computing (EUC) services bundle.

Written by Paul Smith16 Nov. 09 22:00

Lumley steps up its internal upgrade

Wesfarmers insurance firm Lumley will boost investment in new technology platforms for its core business applications as part of a wider program to upgrade those systems and offer more online products.
Despite a number of Australian insurance companies distancing themselves from expensive overhauls of their core business systems, Lumley Insurance chief information officer Rolle Walraven said his company had decided to upgrade.

Written by Paul Smith07 Nov. 09 22:00

Selling a vision

There is often a defining project in the career of every chief information officer as they ascend through their profession. Such a project is usually a program of work of gargantuan proportions with the potential to make or break their reputation and determine the future of their organisation.
For Peter Mahler it came in the form of a five-and-a-half-year IT-based business transformation at Coles Myer.

Written by Paul Smith06 Oct. 09 22:00

Qantas flies high with new IBM deal

Qantas has finalised the details of a new seven-year outsourcing deal with IBM for technology program delivery work, which is understood to be worth about A$200 million.
The IBM contract is part of a broader program of cost cutting at the airline known as Q Future, in which Qantas is aiming to save $1.5 billion over the next three years. The savings include $500 million in the present financial year, including $100 million from information technology changes.

Written by Paul Smith29 Sept. 09 22:00

ANZ group on platform to conquer

As the executive responsible for the technology that will underpin Australia and New Zealand Banking Group's ambitious plans to expand to super-regional status, Brian Clark says he has the best technology job in the bank, and one of the world's most challenging enterprise technology jobs.
The stakes in completing the tasks properly are certainly high. Chief executive Mike Smith has said the Asia-Pacific arm aims to contribute 20 percent of the bank's profits in five years, which would equate to $1.5 billion.

Written by Paul Smith02 July 09 22:00