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Q&A: Elders CIO, Shaun Hughes

Q&A: Elders CIO, Shaun Hughes

Hughes talks about juggling two roles, outsourcing and why he loves Siri

Shaun Hughes, Elders CIO

Shaun Hughes, Elders CIO

Shaun Hughes was chief financial officer at Elders Rural Services before becoming CIO of the company. Since making the switch to IT three years ago, he has embarked on a number of projects including outsourcing some operations to HP’s private Cloud.

Hughes spoke with CIO Australia to talk about juggling his two roles within Elders, outsourcing and why he loves Siri.

What does an average work day involve for you at Elders?

Generally, I go to the gym most mornings and I’m at my desk by 7am. I have two roles within Elders at the moment, the CIO role and as of 12 months ago I picked up our real estate unit to get that back in order.

My day alternates between those two core responsibilities, understanding what’s happening in the IT environment and the real estate business.

What are some of the major challenges you face in the role of CIO?

The biggest challenge we all face is keeping abreast of technology and where it is heading. When you’ve architectured your system reasonably well, most business users don’t think there is much complexity in running an IT environment.

One of the challenges I face is working through with business owners why something needs to be thought through end to end. Sometimes this can take a while because fundamentally it is a technical decision.

With the rapid pace of the consumerisation of IT, if you’re not thinking through all those system architecture issues than you’re creating a rod for your own back.

For me, Project Connect is the main focus. The first part of that is the legacy transformation project to SAP on HP’s private Cloud infrastructure in Sydney and the second is the services delivery model been outsourced to HP. There is also the extension of our telecommunication arrangements with Telstra.

What are the three biggest issues facing CIOs today?

Consumerisation of IT, Cloud computing in its various forms and the need to find ways of leveraging the value of unstructured data to drive the business.

What is your favourite gadget?

I love my iPhone 4S because Siri [voice recognition] is pretty cool. I also use it to stream the music through my sound system at home.

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