A couple of years ago, questions to the IT team would be what type of laptop would they recommend. Now it would be someone asking about options for hosting, for instance, a Facebook campaign. "We fought long and hard to establish trust with the business," he says. "In the last two years the business has accepted the advice we give, the solutions we give."
Before that, he says, there may be a project that will be given to a design agency. "All of a sudden they are also hosting the website, absolutely no technology input [on] whether we could have done it ourselves."
In this case, IT can explain to the business unit there is technically nothing wrong with what they are doing. "However, it would be better if you did it this way, and we get heard."
He says Tourism Australia had appointed a new CIO and under his leadership they have taken a lot of technology contracts that were previously out in the business unit and back into the technology team.
"We are now managing those contracts in consultation with the business," he says. "What that has allowed us to do is find similarities so we might have two separate business units using two separate email marketing platforms. When we bring those contracts in, we have an email marketing platform which should be consolidated. It allows us to consolidate the amount of services we consume economies of scale. Effectively, we are getting more value for our data."
He says Tourism Australia has created an annual operating plan. The technology team is involved at the initiation phase, or at the start of the project to see if there is a technology component. "If we already have something that they are looking to do, we can help procure or provide that service in order to drive value for money for the entire organisation, not just for technology."
"We know we are running X amount of projects through that process. It does give us a presence in the business," says O'Neill. "We are seen as a trusted adviser to the business so their call is first to us."
The same thing happened when staff brought their personal devices to work and asked IT if they can access their email from these devices. "We are the guardians of corporate data. There is a need for people to get data on the go but there is enormous onus on tech to make sure that data is secure."
"Now we support any phone, we support anything which connects to Microsoft Active Exchange Sync because that will enable us to remove that data from end user device," says O'Neill. If the staff will lose their device, they can ring IT and they can remote wipe potentially sensitive information on the device.
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