Below is the full transcript of the CIO Executive Council panel discussion from the CIO Summit 2009.
The panellists taking part were :
- Caroline Bucknell, General Manager, CIO Executive Council
- Carsten Larsen, Executive Manager, Information Services, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
- Chris Clark, CIO, Brookfeld Multiplex Limited
- Garry Whatley, CIO, Corporate Express Australia
The topic for this year’s panel discussion was “2009: The Year of Opportunity, Not Survival":
CIO: Many organisations are in the middle of transformation projects at the moment. What are each of you doing at your organisation?
Gary Whatley, CIO, Corporate Express: From our perspective we have looked at the financial crisis as an opportunity -- but we are still looking for every chance to take cost out of the business. From an IT perspective, we looked to take costs out of the run component to provide dollars for new opportunities. But my budgets year on year continue to increase.
The best thing to come out of the current environment is that the business has focused on reducing the number of projects. We went in with 30 or 40 projects at the start of the financial crisis, but now have five we are really focused on and execute well on, which is real good news. We are re-engineering the front end of the business and the way we interact with customers. We are looking at our supply chain and re-engineering our processes, looking at how we can standardise and optimise them and reusing them using SMP.
The best thing to come out the current environment is that the business has focused on reducing the number of projects
As a business, we are investing heavily and getting into a better position for the upturn. We started some of this journey before the financial crisis, but since then we have really accelerated it and focused on strategic projects .
We had 30 projects, and it is easy to craft a good ROI, but we identified five projects that align with our strategy and really executed well on those.
Carsten Larsen, CIO, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA): As a government department we don’t face a question of survival in the downturn. However, we live in a world where the Federal Government wants to see continual new efficiencies, so every year our budget for operational costs goes down. We have also just had the Gershon Review, which recommends a reduction in costs in Federal IT departments.
All of that brings opportunities, because it focuses the rest of the agency or department on IT and how it can help bring about those efficiencies. I always tell my staff: ‘If people come to IT and ask for us to be part of the solution then we need to empower those people; provide tools to help them do their job better’. When IT is added to a business problem we also have to make sure that problem is resolved faster. We act like a catalyst.
ACMA has been put together from many different departments and over the years has accumulated a number of varied systems. And it has now decided that it wants to be the world’s leading converged regulator. We have set off on a transformation program as a business and one of the most important parts is the IT shift.
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