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3 tech leaders reveal challenges amidst industry change: CeBIT panel

Jennifer O'Brien | June 5, 2017
ASX, IAG and MidCoast Water discuss ways to future-proof infrastructure for mobility and enterprise enablement.


People and culture

Like Squire, "people and culture" is a big focus at IAG, according to its digital workspace and Australian infrastructure director, Kath Young.

Young, who is responsible for enhancing the digital experience of more than 15,000 employees and partners, said her big focus has been dealing with the ongoing disruption and transformation of the workspace and shifting worker expectations.

"There's quite a lot of disruption going on in all industries," she said in discussing IAG's business drivers for mobilising and digitising key business processes.

"We're a fairly old industry and this disruption is somewhat here, but still coming. So to face that we really need to attract people, and keep people, and different types of people, and a younger demographic. We also need to attract people who have expertise, and who may want more flexibility in their life. . . It is really around disruption of the workforce."

Like others, she said the company has had to address the ever-changing demands of the workforce.

"You have very different groups nowadays in the workforce. Women are looking for balance, convenience and flexibility while men are looking for career, money, and role content. Younger people want more job training, more job content, and opportunities; while older people are looking for security and stability," she said.

It involves reviewing not only the ways in which people work, but the tools provided and the need for greater collaboration and access.

"It has really shifted from saying: 'it's okay to just sit here and do what I've been given,' to 'this is the way I am going to work.' There's also a shift in the impact on the business in terms of collaboration across geographies and across teams. Teams that aren't together all of the time. It is really shifting the way people are working together."


Remote connectivity 

Meanwhile, people living and working in remote locations are very much top of mind for MidCoast Water group general manager of information services, Carol Avis.

Avis said her biggest challenge - and one that's been front and centre over the past several years - is how to service people living in remote locations, and how to provide staff and field workers with mobile-enabled applications and coverage.

"Because we're regional I'm representing people who are not connected to the infrastructure that most of us are connected to. So that has been a huge challenge. We are working creatively to try to solve the problem of not having mobile coverage in all of our 10,000 square kilometres in the service area that we need to do service in," she said.

"It is not just the people that are out there remotely, it is all of the meters, the dams, the SCADA-managed water and sewer monitoring devices - and you can imagine how they need to connected and monitored and be communicating in a regional area.


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