CIO New Zealand launches the inaugural CIO50, recognising the nation's top 50 technology and digital chiefs of 2019, at the Te Papa in Wellington (Photos by Mark Coote)
Project Management / Interviews
“Whenever you deliver IT projects or enhancements to a business, you are delivering a change. You should never lose focus on who is impacted by this change and how the change affects them,” says Mark Leadbetter of House of Travel.
The Instillery has joined forces with Vo2 Group in New Zealand, in a merger designed to drive wider adoption of cloud technologies across the country.
A good CIO needs staying power and nerves of steel. Owen McCall, chief information officer of The Warehouse Group, set his sights on system stability from day one and never let up until he achieved it. Four years on he is confident that first base is covered and can address some of the other challenges: “Business enablement” and revising perceptions some areas of the business still have about IT unreliability.
For The Warehouse there is increasing competition, with new entrants in general merchandising and national retail space growing three-times faster than retail sales. As well, so-called ‘large-box category-killers’ such as Harvey Norman, Supercheap Auto, Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10 and even Number 1 Shoes have been expanding their retail footprints. Convergence has led to grocery businesses increasingly selling general merchandise — not to mention, of course, The Warehouse diversifying into groceries with its own Extra stores. Three Extra stores were opened, with plans to expand to 15, but further expansion was put on hold last September; as the company wanted to assess the performance of the new venture.
For Natarajan (Nats) Subramanian, the constant factors in the management and technical aspects of the CIO position are more significant than variations from one industry sector to another.
The past half-dozen years have taken him on a varied and speedy course through telecommunications and software project management, to his current role as CIO of plastics manufacturing company Click Clack.
London Heathrow, one of the most profitable international airports in the world, is simply bursting at the seams. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 were built before 1980 to handle 45 million passengers a year, yet on average 68 million fly through, while Terminal 4 is functioning at four times the capacity it was designed for.
So it's not surprising that BAA has come under fire, with commentators saying that delays at Heathrow damage London's status as a major financial center. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has blamed Heathrow chiefs for the airport's poor services. "Certainly Heathrow does shame London," he said. "It is typical of the English short-termism, lack of planning, lack of investment."
When gaming giants Tattersall's and Unitab finalised their $4 billion merger last year, the combined company's new top technology executive, Stephen Lawrie, knew he was in for a wild ride.
Not only did Lawrie have to integrate the two companies' disparate information technology systems, he also had to find cost savings to ensure the IT department played its part in delivering a promised $20 million or more in synergies from the merger over the next two years.
Vodafone's chief technology officer, Andy Reeves, has been looking forward to this Christmas for a long time. Early in 2005 he set out to conduct a comprehensive overhaul of the company's billing, financial, provisioning and mediation systems.
Having been through similar projects previously, Reeves was keen to set a realistic deadline, and Christmas 2007 was locked in as the date by which everything would be done.
In April this year, Patrick Kerlin, the company secretary and senior manager of administration for the children's charity Barnardos Australia, was called into a meeting with the organisation's chief executive Louise Voigt.
He knew what was coming.
Singapore's Land Transport Authority has embarked on a project that has reduced its dependence on physical documentation and streamlined its internal processes.
Even by the standards of chronically overburdened government departments, Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) has a serious workload. Formed more than 10 years ago from the ashes of four separate agencies overseeing everything from private vehicles to mass transit and road works, the authority acts as an all-purpose shop for any projects or queries concerning the city-state's transportation infrastructure.
The world's attention will focus on Beijing over the next 12 months in the lead up to the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. The city is busily finishing the construction of the major event venues, like the Bird's Nest and Water Cube, where the opening ceremony and swimming events will be showcased. While the Chinese capital is developing trendy and high-tech building architecture, the IT infrastructure that will support the world's greatest sporting event is being based on more conservative and established systems.
Wireless networks, radio frequency identification (RFID) and biometric scans may not be dominant, but, according to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) and its hardware supplier Lenovo, reliability has a far higher priority than cutting-edge technologies. As the world turns its attention towards next year's staging of more than 300 different events, all happening within 17 days, the IT systems that support the 2008 Olympics cannot afford any failure nor downtime, notes Hou Xinyi, deputy director, technology department of BOCOG.
Project management programs often sound great in theory, but once IT hands them out to end users, complaints about ease of use and inscrutable interfaces start rolling in. Industrial-strength charting programs like Microsoft Visio please IT veterans, especially those who draw network diagrams for a living, but often prove frustrating for line-of-business execs. Sometimes, as Neal Benz, CTO of Healthwise, learned, you have to think differently to crack your company's project management problem.
And, as Benz learned, you may find that a project management app today can do more for a business than keep projects running smoothly. The program that he chose, Mindjet's MindManager, turned into a product development tool for his company as well.
Auckland’s Nuffield Street in Newmarket isn’t the place that springs to mind when you think of the city’s water operations. You imagine a building camouflaged by dense bush, perhaps, overlooking a dam or a reservoir in the Waitakeres. But the upmarket suburb is the location for Watercare Services’ new corporate headquarters and you can find Mike Foley, its CIO, in the former Mercury Energy building; an open-plan office accommodating 200 people from operations, asset development, IS and corporate finance.
Foley sees Nuffield Street as a fresh start for Watercare. Operations and management had previously been spread across two sites in Onehunga and the Auckland CBD.