CIO's to watch: Parmalat's Barry Wiech

CIO's to watch: Parmalat's Barry Wiech

Australian CIO talks about their industry, career and favourite smartphone

Parmalat CIO, Barry Wiech

Parmalat CIO, Barry Wiech

Name: Barry Wiech
Role: CIO Company: Parmalat
Industry: Food and beverages
Smartphone: BlackBerry Torch/iPhone

With its extra screen space, it makes sense for an avid Angry Birds gamer to choose a tablet. But Parmalat chief information officer — and Angry Birds player — Barry Wiech still favours the game on an iPhone; its portability allows him to carry it around in his pocket.

It is this practicality that Wiech also applies to his role.

“It is really too early for me to tell where benefits can be obtained from innovating around our technology, but I can say the main goal is not innovation for the sake of it but, rather, innovation to meet our goals,” he says.

Originally trained in the military in avionics, Wiech changed careers when he realised demand for laserguided weapon experts was low. He moved into IT, starting out in programming before branching out into systems administration.

“I had a passion for technology and seeing it applied to everyday working life to help increase personal productivity and streamline process,” he says.

“In time, I discovered I was able to identify areas in organisations where applying technology could be a real advantage, and quickly adjusted my career goals to move in that direction.”

Wiech’s decision to switch to IT has been fruitful for the 40-year-old, who after five years as Domino’s CIO was recruited as dairy and food multinational Parmalat’s CIO in February this year.

It is still early days at Parmalat, but Wiech plans to “leverage technology and use IT as a strategic pillar” to achieve the firm’s long-term business goals.

“Business intelligence is important to us at the present time, as we need to ensure our decision-makers have the right information at their fingertips at the right time,” he says.

“We are also working to ensure we improve the productivity of our workforce by modernising platforms and implementing a mobility strategy that allows people to work where they need to work and not be bound by platforms or old-fashioned, restrictive IT policies.”

It’s not all smooth sailing, however. Wiech says his biggest IT challenges include cost control, finding and retaining talent, and gaining continual support for the “concept of IT as a value provider and strategic driver”.

He lists the delivery of an e-commerce solution at Domino’s one of his favourite accomplishments. It has been a key driver of the pizza franchise’s success over the last three years.

“Domino’s launched an upgraded core program just prior to my departure and from what I hear, that platform is growing to a whole new level,” he says.

“It is enabling a lot of flexibility and performance improvements along with supporting other device formats, in addition to the existing iPhone application.

“Franchising is a very challenging environment in which to deliver technology, so it was very satisfying to be part of the online platform’s success.”

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Tags CIO rolee-commerceBarry WiechCIOs to watchParmalat

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