Supply and Demand
Long hours, but "Zero Harm" policy helps prevent burnout
Tony Welsh is the CIO of Brisbane City Council and he runs a tight ship. Keeping a tight rein on costs helps keep the pressure in check, he believes.
That said, it never entirely goes away as there is an ever increasing demand for services and growth — faster than the council's ability to supply, he says. "Our budget has been at a pretty constant level for three to four years, and in some areas we have managed to reduce it but we have had a very full portfolio of programs to deliver on and have maintained a significant range of services and reduced budgets to allow other areas spending.
"We are a local government organization and there is a huge demand for us to invest in infrastructure, in roads and tunnels and public transport," Welsh says. "All those services demand more budget and we have to find savings from optimizing and using IT to achieve efficiencies and drive down expenditure."
Welsh, who runs a team of about 470, operates a very tight budgeting process — engaging managers in the business before agreeing to any new project. At the same time the move over the past two years away from a distributed architecture to a more centralized environment has delivered $3 million in savings. "There has probably been a reduction in our total spend of around 10 percent since 2003-04. But there has been more pressure on services and we have implemented a number of projects."
What about the pressure on the team?
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