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Q&A: Coca-Cola Amatil CIO, Barry Simpson

Q&A: Coca-Cola Amatil CIO, Barry Simpson

Simpson talks about a technology refresh program, BYOD, attracting and retaining staff

Coca-Cola Amatil chief information officer, Barry Simpson

Coca-Cola Amatil chief information officer, Barry Simpson

Working for Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) isn’t just about the soft drinks for chief information officer, Barry Simpson.

As CIO of four years with CCA, Simpson has spearheaded a number of IT projects including a migration in 2010 from Lotus to Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

He took time out from his day to speak with CIO Australia about the company's technolgy refresh program and why he thinks bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is inevitable in the workplace, as well as attracting and retaining staff.

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

I spend a lot of time with our various business units as these units are very engaged with technology. I also spend time with staff to make sure they have the right working environment to be successful.

What are some of the IT projects you have been working on?

The main project has been the implementation of the Oasis technology refresh program across the group. This includes a replacement of over 170 legacy systems ranging from call centre systems to call management and production planning. We expect to complete the rollout in Australia and New Zealand in 2012. We’re also starting work on refreshing legacy systems in our Indonesian business.

We’ve also been working on the digital futures platform which is about developing Android and iOS mobile apps for My CCA, that’s our customer portal for ordering new stock.

Some CIOs have decided not to roll out bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs. What’s your view on BYOD?

I think BYOD is inevitable because there isn’t a part of your life that technology doesn’t touch. There will be convergence of business and consumer technology because people’s work and home life have blurred, there isn’t a clear line anymore. It’s early days for BYOD at CCA but we’re planning to extend our capability.

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

Consumer technology is an issue because the next generation of employees will expect to have the same ease of use and convenience of technology at work that they get at home.

The second biggest issue is speed. We’re trying to create an environment where we can deploy solutions faster.

The third is attracting and retaining the best talent. We’re lucky in that CCA is a large ASX listed company that is investing in technology and has well-known brands. It’s about creating the right work environment where people are appreciated and investing in skills and training.

What’s your favourite gadget?

The Samsung Galaxy tablet. I have an iPad as well but I’ve been trialling the Galaxy and it’s great as a business tool.

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