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CIO roundtable: 'Navigating the new workplace'

Divina Paredes | April 17, 2014
New technologies bring greater communications and collaboration among teams, along with a raft of new issues for CIOs and their executive colleagues. At a recent CIO roundtable held in association with Dimension Data, panellists shared insights on how to lead this changing environment

Vaughan Robertson, group manager - technology services, Beca:There's a term that's used in game development: 'Discoverability'. You don't do a half day training course for Minecraft. That's not how the Internet generation, the digital natives, learn. They try out stuff on the application itself, ask their mate online, or search up a YouTube video.

What we should be doing is providing the collaboration tools to allow these groups of peers to be able to train each other... to ask each other what the problems are and to provide discoverability for each of the individual scenarios being undertaken.

Geoff Tribble, CTO, Auckland Transport :That's exactly what we've done. We've got this huge archive now of internal e-learning for all the staff. So if I want to go and look up how the engineers do something, I can go through their e-learning tool to see what they actually do.

Campbell Such, GM IT, Bidvest :We are looking at virtual training. We hope to develop an environment where we encourage people to do this. For instance, have an expert in one branch, who knows about the best way to organise a warehouse for a particular type of stock, produce the video, and then make it discoverable for everyone.

The shift to 'as-a-service'

Phil Goodwin, general manager, marketing, Dimension Data :The industry is still in the midst of a major change. In the past, organisations like ours sold you something, we integrated it and then supported it for you. Now everybody wants to buy 'as-a-service', and I think we're all going to go there.

We have responded to client demand to deliver communications and collaboration 'as-a-service'. This has a range of advantages such as offsetting costs and removing the burden of clients maintaining the platform themselves.

But during the next few years it will be painful for all of us, because that transformation is far from complete. One of the current challenges is that when consumers buy services, they will commit to one day, and commit to one device. The reality is that the organisations that serve the market have to buy in the old-fashioned way. They still have to buy from manufacturers, and they still have to commit to buying those assets on your behalf. So there is an obvious clash here in terms of demand side being different from our ability to supply.

We encourage organisations that we work with to use this strategy when considering outsourcing: Identify applications that are 'generic' and those that are differentiators or core to the business -- the 'genetic' applications. The quick wins will come from outsourcing the 'generic', enabling more focus to be placed on the 'genetic'.

 

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