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You can bet on IT

Tim Mendham | Nov. 4, 2013
Keeping core systems online is vital when you're processing transactions for one of Australia's largest sporting events

Tabcorp CIO Kim Wenn
Tabcorp CIO Kim Wenn

When you're helping to run a multi-billion dollar enterprise and close to 10 per cent of revenue comes in on one day of the year, then you know there are serious pressures to keep the lights on. That day is Melbourne Cup day, and the enterprise is Tabcorp.

Kim Wenn, Tabcorp's CIO, says Melbourne Cup day is decidedly the biggest betting day of the year for the company, with punters betting more than $180 million on the day of the "race that stops a nation." This means 50 million transactions are processed all day, and up to 2000 bets per second at peak times.

"Our systems just have to work seamlessly," says Wenn.

Appropriately for a position with that sort of pressure, Wenn reports directly to the CEO and attends all board meetings, as well as working with all of her peers within the company.

"If you think about Tabcorp for a minute, not only are we a leading gambling and entertainment company — we are a very large technology company," Wenn says.

"Other than interest in the bank, all of our customer interactions are through technology. This means my team and I work side by side with each of the businesses to ensure that the technology solution we provide underpins and delivers the business strategy."

This includes working closely with the company's executive general manager of the marketing division to deliver CRM solutions, and with the EGM of distribution to deliver the next generation of terminals.

Wenn and her team work with the CFO to provide deliver real time data analysis to help the organisation understand industry trends; and the chief operating officer of Tabcorp's Media and International division to establish data pooling capabilities with countries such as Hong Kong.

They also work with the managing director of its Fixed Odds business to automate the creation, pricing and closure of markets in the US.

"We work closely with the business to ensure that everything we do ultimately contributes to shareholder value. It's all about adding business value," Wenn says.

Wenn typically shares governance roles with her business counterpart to ensure that any initiative is delivered collaboratively, all regulatory and legal risks are mitigated and managed, and the solution has the customer at its heart.

"Things will go wrong and when it does you want to make very sure that you have someone at your side to help," Wenn says.

This means that leadership and business skills are most important — even more than technical qualifications.

"Attributes such as high levels of empathy and emotional intelligence, the ability to communicate brilliantly and the ability to motivate and engage employees are the real skills that are needed to be successful in the role," Wenn says.


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