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Super ministry CIO

Stephen Bell | April 25, 2013
Warren Shera, CIO of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is faced with the challenging task of reconciling the ICT needs of four departments, which bring very different established needs, priorities and styles of operation to the mix.

"So as CIO I have an operations manager and a CTO and a business administration office and I have a capability team that runs projects, testing and the business architecture team. They form the core of the IT structure going forward.

"As to leadership style; I'm decisive; I'll make decisions, take actions with a high degree of urgency. I hold people and organisations to account. Also I'm very open and transparent about the conversations and communications we'll have as we go through the next 18 months. We'll make and meet commitments when it comes to delivering these IT projects.

"One thing that surprised me is that there are a lot of services that to all intents and purposes have been outsourced or are delivered to or by service providers. I think one of the key things I have to do in the very short term is ensure those service providers accept accountability and step up to their obligations, as our internal providers do, in a way and at a pace that suits the speed with which the new ministry wants to move forward."

Shera thinks, however, that there is a good overall balance between in-house and outsourced services in the constituent agencies of the new ministry. "I will have to go through some refinements, but we already have extensive service agreements with a number of the key organisations around the New Zealand marketplace -- Fujitsu, HP, Telecom, Datacom, TelstraClear (now Vodafone) and Dimension Data -- and those organisations represent, long-standing arrangements, for example in HP's case, managing the AMS immigration system.

"A number of those other organisations represent the all-of-government initiatives that we're utilising -- Datacom with the all-of-government Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Vodafone on syndicated procurement for mobile phones and other devices.

"So there are a lot of improvements that we have to make about our engagement with them and making sure they understand our priorities."

Some of the constituent agencies that form MBIE were already using IaaS; "There's a significant workload with Datacom -- particularly from MED -- and MSI [Ministry of Science and Innovation] with Revera."

He discounts any possibility of conflict or friction in having the former MED as part of his organisation while at the same time it steers elements of the all-of-government programme. "On the contrary, I see a lot of synergy and benefit in using those contacts and the knowledge and the IP that they create for us," he says.

"I think as DIA [Department of Internal Affairs] moves forward with its new initiatives, the challenge -- or opportunity - will be lining up our change with the release of new products or capability that they bring to the all-of-government table. I see that being a critical success factor in my taking MBIE forward to use those capabilities -- as and when they're either mature enough. We've got great value out of the IaaS capability."


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