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The evolving CIO agenda

Divina Paredes | Sept. 30, 2014
As technology and market changes surge, the CIO has become more critical than ever to an organisation's success. Speakers at this year's CIO100 event highlight steps to take in this shifting environment.

More is being asked of every CIO today," notes Geoff Lawrie, managing director of Cisco New Zealand.

Projects, security, mobility are just some of the areas they are expected to work on, he states.

"All of these things have a fair degree of challenges in delivering them," says Lawrie.

"But what it highlights is that information technology and CIOs play an absolutely critical role in enabling the success and future success of the organisation."

Speaking at the CIO100 event in Auckland, Lawrie cites IBM's latest global CEO survey in which respondents picked technology as the single biggest factor that is going to have the biggest impact on organisations.

"If any of you were concerned how you would become more relevant or make IT more relevant to the CEO, let me assure you, you are pretty much front and centre already," says Lawrie to the more than 130 CIOs at the event.

"When you see CEOs thinking how they will drive productivity more efficiently... they are thinking first and foremost how IT can help effectively with that."

CIOs have an incredible opportunity in front of them to position IT for absolute organisational leadership. And this, he says, is through a technology that is "disrupting everything" -- connectivity.

He says the combination of greater connectivity of people and things (the Internet of Things) is creating more data that can be used for smarter operations across sectors, including manufacturing, mining and governments.

Cisco estimates that $19 trillion can be gained in the next 10 years for organisations that are able to harness people-to-people (P2P), machine-to-people (M2P) and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, in what it calls the 'Internet of Everything'.

A "personal favourite" of Lawrie is agriculture. "We are in front of the curve in New Zealand in our ability to connect our livestock, pastures, and stock processing systems with weather forecasting systems," he says. "This will help lead us to the most productive agriculture transformation in this planet."

Other speakers at the annual CIO100 event -- where the results of the research into the top 100 ICT-using organisations in New Zealand were presented -- who expounded on leading through various business technology trends include: Marcus Darbyshire, vice president, executive partner, Gartner Executive Programs; Martin Catterall, CIO, St John; Claire Govier, CIO, healthAlliance; Geoff Beynon, country manager, SAS; and Ian Forrester, managing director, Plan B.

Being data driven
SAS's Beynon says the explosion of data is creating a new role for the CIO, "one that is going to allow you to contribute directly to the success of your organisation".

Data assets are potentially spread across the organisation, he says. "The role of the CIO is to go out and bring the data pieces together, to bring a 360-degree view of the customer."


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