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On solid ground

Divina Paredes | Aug. 13, 2013
Craig Soutar of the New Zealand Transport Agency talks about the CIO’s 'balancing act' of simultaneously leading through a growing ICT portfolio and delivering core services.

So while working on the BCP, they sent a message to the organisation that if a change is "top priority", the IS team will work their way through how to do it. "We will need your support in these areas, whether it will be timely decisions, funding, trade offs, resources, and we set up all sorts of countermeasures."

Indeed, while working on the BCP, NZTA had to implement significant system changes for road user charges. The latter grew in scope, with changes nearly doubling, as the system has not been touched since 1972 when it was first introduced.

"We were able to achieve the delivery on time for that project, and make sure that none of the impacts came through the BCP programme," says Soutar.

He says the team nominated the BCP project for awards for two reasons: to recognise the outstanding work of the people involved, including that of their business partners; and to also show government can do things well in the business technology arena.

"Government has had a bit of a beating in the last year," he acknowledges, a reference to the teacher payroll programme Novopay and data breaches from central government agencies.

"It does hurt," he admits, when he hears reports of failed business projects with major technology components. "But it also makes you want to do even better. It just brings to life how the CIO can go from 'hero to zero' [in a short time]. I am ever mindful of that."

Managing IT demand and supply
The rise of shadow IT is very much in his sights, and to this he repeats an observation he made to an interview with CIO New Zealand two years ago.

"Demand exceeding supply is our greatest challenge and you can mitigate that gap by prioritising," he says. "Across our business the most important initiatives have been prioritised. We are also trying to advance to the next level of prioritisation and governance maturity that we very much need as a 'resource challenged' organisation; to invest where it really matters. A number of our business units may feel they may not be getting the priority they deserve. They have the choice of working with us and we help facilitate where we are not able to deliver, bridging those needs by partnering with them with others, monitoring and reviewing the delivery to standards and policies."

"So we have got our eyes and ears open, aware that shadow IT happens and is increasing. There are some things that are important to us that we won't let go."

These are changes that have anything to do with information security and privacy, he says. "That is an area that we want to, and need to be involved in."

 

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