Highlights of the CIO50 awarding ceremonies in Auckland and Wellington
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CIOs need to build their business strategy credentials, lead change and start thinking like marketers if they want to attain CEO and board positions in the future.
Three days after Nigel Prince joined the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry as CIO, his ambitions were reined in.
“The chief financial officer told me about all the money I didn’t have to spend on all the whizzy stuff I thought I could do in the MAF environment,” he told a recent CIO Insights luncheon.
Recession and the organisation
Glenn Myers: Our focus has really been more on how do we deliver more efficiently. It’s not a case of recession driven, it’s good business practice. It has made us think carefully about what to prioritise, what is important to the organisation.
Around the table
• Phil Brimacombe, chief information officer, healthAlliance
“We find ourselves… right at the maelstrom at the impact of IT and technology to everything in the world and that creates challenges [and a] tremendous amount of opportunities.
“With those opportunities come the necessity to look at our core competence, comfort zones and examine what needs to be changed in order to move to higher and bigger advances.” With these words, Andre Mendes, global CIO of Special Olympics and a keynote speaker at the 2008 CIO Conference, summarises the challenges facing today’s ICT leaders in increasingly globalised, if uncertain, times.
Easyflow secured three new contracts in quick succession, after discovering a substantial market for the company’s premium hose connectors outside the industry where it usually operated. Work orders from just one of these new customers, Global Maritime Engineering (GME), now made up almost 35 per cent of total sales.
It’s not just you! It really is getting harder to outpace the other guys. Our recent research finds that since the mid-1990s, which marked the mainstream adoption of the internet and commercial enterprise software, competition within the US economy has accelerated to unprecedented levels. There are a number of possible reasons for this quickening, including merger and acquisition activity, the opening up of global markets, along with companies continuing R&D efforts. However, we found that a central catalyst in this shift is the massive increase in the power of IT investments.
To better understand when and where IT confers competitive advantage in today’s economy, we studied all publicly traded US companies in all industries from the 1960s through to 2005, looking at relevant performance indicators from each (including sales, earnings, profitability and market capitalisation) and found some striking patterns: Since the mid-1990s, a new competitive dynamic has emerged — greater gaps between the leaders and laggards in an industry, more concentrated with winner-take-all markets, and more churn among rivals in a sector. Strikingly, this pattern closely matches the turbulent “creative destruction” mode of capitalism that was first predicted more than 60 years ago by economist Joseph Schumpeter. This accelerated competition has coincided with a sharp increase in the quantity and quality of IT investments, as more organisations have moved to bolster (or altogether replace) their existing operating models using the internet and enterprise software. Tellingly, the changes in competitive dynamics are most apparent in precisely those sectors that have spent the most on information technology, even when we controlled for other factors.
There have been many discussions about the nature and quality of the relationship between the chief information officer and chief financial officer within an organisation. It has been said this working relationship may suffer because they don’t understand each other’s responsibilities well enough, or that a CIO would prefer to report directly to the CEO rather than through the CFO.
In February this year, Fairfax Business Research (FBR) took up the challenge of putting some solid data in place in a bid to dispel some myths and the results reveal a greater degree of unity than is often realised.
Until recently the University of Otago was depending on a 15-year-old accounts package called Counterbalance, which ran on minicomputers under the VMS operating system.
Unsurprisingly, Mike Harte, director of Information Technology Services, says the legacy system was well past its use-by date. “It was still a good, reliable engine room, but it was very difficult to use and lacked functionality. It was time to look at other things. We wanted something that was easier to use, had better reporting capability and all the things that you would expect in a modern financial information system.”