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Stories by Vera Alves

On the ascent

CIO talks to three women IT executives tipping the gender imbalance in the sector as they take on leadership and decision-making posts.

Written by Vera Alves17 March 12 01:22

No time for downtime

If your car breaks down and you need roadside assistance, it is highly likely that you will be unknowingly calling First Assistance. The same goes for when you need to organise travel insurance or if you need to lodge a property claim. From its Auckland office, this service provider powers many of the corporate telephone helplines both in New Zealand and overseas.
This means that the company’s IT and telecommunication systems need to be up and running 24 hours a day, seven days per week. The company receives up to 400,000 calls and manages over 300,000 cases every year, all in its business customer’s name.

Written by Vera Alves07 Jan. 12 22:00

The casual CIO

Daily deals website GrabOne may be growing rapidly but that does not mean it is about to turn into a big corporate.
Dave Agent, who has been with the company since its fruition around 16 months ago, wears the hats of IT director, CTO and CIO but says one of the great things about the company is the absence of fixed titles.

Written by Vera Alves21 Dec. 11 22:00

Wealth of experience

In his role as HP’s chief technologist, Archie Reed spends a lot of his time advising and guiding CTOs of other companies on best practices.
Reed says one of the most fundamental things is to understand where the market is going. “You have to understand the market, understand what the company wants and establish points of relevance,” he says, adding that it is important that the CTO realises and accepts that “you don’t always make everyone [in the company] happy”.

Written by Vera Alves29 Nov. 11 22:00

Kiwi Provoke takes flight

New Zealand-based Microsoft partner Provoke has opened an office in the US and appointed its first American employee, the company has announced.

Written by Vera Alves01 Nov. 11 22:00

Gen-i team running for those who can't walk

On November 2, Gen-i’s CEO Chris Quin, along with marketing GM Jo Allison and CIO Peter Finch will be boarding a plane to New York. Hopefully they will get over the jetlag quickly because, four days later, they will be lining up with thousands of other runners for what is possibly the most famous running event in the world: the New York City Marathon.

Written by Vera Alves30 Oct. 11 22:00

Grey swaps Renaissance for Microsoft

Renaissance’s general manager for distribution Warwick Grey is leaving the company to return to Microsoft. Grey has confirmed that he is moving to Microsoft and his current role at Renaissance will be filled by CIO Doug Casement.
He says that there was a premature leak to the media and adds that a more in depth announcement will be made in the coming days. An industry veteran, Grey spent over five years working for HP before moving to Renaissance. Prior to that, he was Microsoft’s small business manager for five years.

Written by Vera Alves24 Oct. 11 22:00

Asia Pacific CIOs ready for cloud

The keynote speaker at a regional Hewlett-Packard event says companies in Asia Pacific markets are relatively eager to adopt cloud services.
“The region is more ready than other regions on the planet,” says Wolfgang Wittmer, interim senior VP and general manager, Enterprise Services, Storage & Networking in the Asia Pacific and Japan. According to Wittmer, this advantage is due to a number of factors, including economic, social and technological changes.

Written by Vera Alves16 Oct. 11 22:00

BNZ launches first banking app for Android in New Zealand

With close to 10,000 hits per month coming into its mobile website from Android users, BNZ has just announced the launch of its native Android application for customers.The application, available now from the Android market, allows customers to do the same operations they can do on the mobile website and the existent iPhone app, launched last month. Users can check their balance, view transactions history, transfer money and pay bills. There is also a store and ATM finder, using the GPS capabilities of the Android smartphone.Rogan Clarke, head of BNZ online, says the company realised they were neglecting a large portion of their customers when they released their iPhone application. "This is our attempt to get ahead of the curve," says Clarke, adding that "Android has gotten to a level where we just can't ignore it anymore". Clarke also says the number of Android users "is reasonably close to iPhone numbers" and the uptake is a lot faster.Since its launch last month, the BNZ iPhone app has been downloaded more than 15,000 times. "We knew from the outset that Android users deserved the same experience and when you take into account the exponential growth the platform is experiencing, it was even more important for us to get this app out there," says Clarke. According to Paul Bartlett, BNZ's project manager for www, mobile and online, the company has recorded a "1313 percent increase in Android visitors to the website" in the 12 months to June 2011. Clarke says BNZ is "confident that the solution has the same level of security as the iPhone app", as it requires the same level of authentication required by the iPhone app and the mobile website."Security and making sure the user experience was solid from the outset were our top priorities. You can't have one without the other in our view, so our in-house development team in Wellington have put in the hard yards over many months to ensure these three BNZ Mobile services are world class. BNZ Mobile offers all the security of our main internet banking website along with a silky smooth, mobile experience," adds Clarke.The launch of the app means that BNZ has become the first New Zealand bank to launch an internet banking application for Android smartphones (and one of the first in Australasia to build its own native Android app). Clarke says the company is well aware of the fact that it will not be long before other New Zealand banks launch their own Android apps as well.

Written by Vera Alves04 Aug. 11 08:01

Headquarters Hairdressing: From information to wisdom

Sending your business data to an accountant to create a report is a thing from the past. More and more companies are deploying business intelligence suites to measure and manage their data in an immediate and collaborative way, accessible across the organisation.
With seven businesses in Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill, as well as wholesale warehouses and a distribution network covering the whole country, tracking and analysing business data is vital for Headquarters Hairdressing.

Written by Vera Alves13 July 11 22:00

CIOs gather to discuss new challenges

“There is an IT attention deficit in the C-suite of most businesses,” said Professor Joe Peppard from the Cranfield School of Management (UK), in the first international keynote that opened the CIO Summit in Auckland this morning.
Peppard delivered his keynote to a full room at Sky City Convention Centre, kickstarting the annual two-day event where New Zealand’s leading CIOs and senior IT professionals discuss the most pressing issues affecting the role of the CIO.

Written by Vera Alves26 June 11 22:00

Cybersecurity is the number one concern for kiwi businesses, says Symantec

A study from Symantec has revealed that New Zealand companies see cyberattacks as the biggest threat to their businesses, ahead of terrorism or natural disasters.
Symantec’s New Zealand State of Security Study found that 39 percent of companies surveyed believe IT security is more important now than it was 12 months ago.

Written by Vera Alves15 June 11 22:00

healthAlliance tops MIS100 ranking

Johan Vendrig, general manager, information services for healthAlliance, demonstrated at the MIS100event in Auckland this morning why the company topped this year’s ranking of New Zealand IT user organisations.
The organisation, formed in March this year (and therefore not listed in the 2010 report), is a shared service formed from the merger of the non-clinical services of the Northern Region District Health Boards – Northland, Waitemata, Auckland and Counties Manukau. Prior to this, the healthAlliance brand was used only for the shared service that has supported Waitemata and Counties Manukau DHBs since 2001.

Written by Vera Alves30 May 11 22:00