Stories by Divina Paredes
MIS 100 Overview
MIS100 Roundatble Staff recruitment and retention
For the past two years, staff recruitment and retention has emerged as a top business challenge for CIOs interviewed in the MIS100. In back-to-back roundtable discussions in Wellington and Auckland, IS leaders share their insights on ways to address the problem.
Staff recruitment and retention critical
Georgina, as she is now known, is one of kiwis hatched at the Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua. We have a tradition of putting Kiwi icons on the cover of our special editions, and for this year's MIS100, Georgina is it.
MIS New Zealand has been publishing this annual report on the country's biggest IT users for the past nine years, and I have been privileged to be involved in the past six editions.
How many push-ups can you muster? How fast can you assemble a rifle? Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone to join humanitarian missions and search and rescue operations in various parts of the globe?
The advertisements in print, broadcast and online media all highlight the rapid pace and excitement of being part of the country's defence force. As the Air Force ad puts it, there is no danger of being stuck in the same job for years.
Garth Biggs is the executive director of HiGrowth Project, which has just released the first ICT Industry Map, a survey of 400 ICT companies in New Zealand. The survey, carried out by IDC, was a joint initiative with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Microsoft New Zealand.
The map will provide the "reality" in which business and government can underpin strategic and policy decisions for the sector in the next two years, says Biggs, who has over 30 years in IS leadership roles. He was chief executive at Gen-i and CIO of Air New Zealand, Progressive Enterprises and Sky Television.
It refers to a leader who has the ability to "decide which data to heed, which to ignore, and how to organise and communicate the information". HBR says it is one the most important traits for business executives in the 21st century.
But haven't we known this all along? Are we not referring to the "skill of synthesis", as HBR puts it, when we talk about wading through the information overload, separating the wheat from the chaff or seeing the forest through the trees? These are all clichés now so this particular skill is something we have been aiming for quite some time now.
Sumit Arora migrated to New Zealand in 2002, hopeful of landing a job in IT. He had completed a computer technology course in India, and was an Oracle certified programmer.
Prior to coming to Auckland, he applied for jobs online through recruitment firms and was told they needed to interview him personally. "But when I came over, it was totally different. Not even a single consultant interviewed me."
Steve Johansen, chief information officer, Port of Napier, explains why you should read Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People's Minds by Howard Gardner (Harvard Business School Press, March 2004).
"Every one of us, not only in our roles as IT leaders, but as valued members of society, occasionally find it necessary to try and talk colleagues, customers, friends and family around to our point of view. And it's not easy. So, how does a leader change the mind of employees, customers or other stakeholders? Or, more importantly, how does a leader change his or her own mind?
"Marketing has ideas and wants to react immediately. IT likes to plan and need time to do things."
"Marketing often doesn't consider the costs."
Marcel van den Assum
These days it has almost become a mantra for networked organisations to be nimble, ready to adjust to the ever changing needs of the marketplace and stakeholders, while ensuring the foundations for long-term growth.
But how about transposing this philosophy to another area close to the hearts and minds of today's contemporary IS executives - their career?
Scott Houston laughs when asked whether he is a "power hungry executive". "Power processing hungry," he clarifies.
These words aptly describe Houston, who heads the New Zealand Supercomputing Centre (NZSC), now one of the largest commercially available supercomputing clusters in the Southern Hemisphere.
"It gives us a lot of flexibility," says Simon Hull, managing director of the labour hire firm. "We open new branches pretty quickly and it has given us a reasonably seamless changeover. It is just running in the main server and all you need is to get another computer up and running and there it is."
Hull strongly supports a web-based approach for a multi-site business like Allied Workforce. "With this system, we can run our business from almost anywhere, using just a web browser."