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Future tense

Divina Paredes | Dec. 13, 2011
How can CIOs implement their skills in change management to another constantly shifting area -- their role itself? IT leaders share their views during a CIO roundtable sponsored by Absolute IT. Here are excerpts from the discussion.

See the CIO New Zealand Facebook page for more pictured of the roundtable discussion.

Balancing act

Aaron Kumove: We often see CIOs come from one of two paths. There are the ones who come up the technology ranks and then the ones who come out of finance with accounting backgrounds. In either case, there will be gaps to fill... Whatever your gaps are, look to address them so you can be more well-rounded.

Bruce Tinsley: I did an MBA and that was in the realisation that working at that stage, I think I'd been in IT [then] for about 17 or 18 years, I didn't know enough about the way the business operated, the way operations worked. I found that very useful. I don't think it's for everybody but I think anybody aspiring to be a CIO needs to have a good grounding of the fundamental business. The CIO role these days is not about managing IT, it's managing the delivery of the technology to the business and supporting the business that way. You can't do that if you don't know how businesses operate, and that includes financial information as well.

Stephen Fox: I came from an engineering background so all my early stuff was engineering and operational management. I did a management and an IT degree and then I moved in. I have just finished a diploma in art and creativity and [found that] most valuable.

Jan Smolnicki: It is showing that you need to have the broad brush approach of understanding business, understanding IT... I came up through the accounting background and moved into IT quite early in my career. About 10 to 12 years into it, I was thinking when people see my CV they'll say: 'He's an accountant, he doesn't know about IT.' So I did a masters degree in information technology.

Roy Goldsmith: It's important to know both sides of whether it's the technology side and the business side. I spent 14 months working in our [bank] retail sector which was absolutely fantastic. It opens your mind, rather than just being part of the technology sector. I really recommend to any CIO as well.

Don't take the job until you've been a supplier as well as a customer... You can then at least put a balanced argument together as to how difficult it is and what you require from those suppliers. It doesn't mean you go easy on them, it actually helps them.

The people principle

Roy Goldsmith: The other key path for me is trying to make certain that you do get that succession planning right and not just thinking that you can go on the marketplace and buy what you need all the time. We do need to have almost a mandate to try and put some things back in that way, to try and develop from within.. Take people at a base level and bring them through. If we don't do that, we will run out of resources.


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