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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.

The next arena

Bruce Tinsley: I want to focus a lot more on governance. I think there are not enough IT people on boards and we need to really start ramping up a number of good confident IT people on boards. We've discussed it today -- IT is so important for business and it's so integral for the way businesses operate today.

You've got your accountants on the boards, every board has got lots of accountants and lawyers and whatever else but I think I think there's certainly a role for CIOs to move into those governance type roles. I'm starting to investigate that at the moment and that's through the likes of the Institute of Directors.

Matt O'Mara: The example about using GIS and GPS was being entrepreneurial. It was a really quick project. There's more and more talk in government about being more agile as well. I think agility and innovation and entrepreneurialism within government should be given more of a profile.

Object lessons

Matt O'Mara: Secondment work is fantastic. I got [involved] into a programme management role to tidy up a situation. I was a little apprehensive to say the least but it was fantastic. Pressure makes diamonds.

Bruce Tinsley: In my early days at the ANZ [in] a senior management role there. I thought I knew about banking... But I was challenged one day to go out and spend a week in a branch. A day as a trainee teller. A day as a trainee customer services operator. A day working on back office stuff. All of a sudden you get a real appreciation of what goes on out there in the field.

Stephen Fox: I ran the North Island Power system and you certainly learnt a lot when the power goes off in Auckland or Tauranga and you have everyone ringing you up. It is good to get that grounding first. Now any incidents on the help desk are quite mild in comparison.

Bruce Tinsley: Do take the opportunities to get out and experience other industries... In the late 90s, I was looking at a role change and [a recruiter said], 'You've been in banking for 20 years now, you've institutionalised yourself. You're never going to move anywhere else.' I've been back into a bank once since then but I've been in government, in dairy, right across the board.

Aaron Kumove: The CIO is a great preparatory role for a whole lot of other things... CIOs see the cross-section of almost everything going on in organisations. You can dip your toes into all kinds of things if you choose to do it... Get out into the business, see what life is really about and not just sit in the office talking technology. Stay curious. Learn as much as you can.


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