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Unfazed by rapid change

Divina Paredes | June 12, 2015
The CIO role is in a constant state of ‘flux’, but this may actually be a career advantage, part two of our 2015 State of the CIO report reveals.

Sivakumar is using agile methodologies and cloud platforms so he can work on "four or five streams of products at any given time".

"By doing that, we have come up with some really good concepts not just into technology but from the product side as well."

The IT broker and enabler

At the Presbyterian Support Central (PSC), IT manager Alan Lyford says the IT team is moving into becoming a "broker and enabler for the business".

"Our stance is to not allow IT to be a hindrance to the business, but be a broker that can find the best solutions to help the business do its tasks," says Lyford.

PSC, with headquarters in Wellington, provides residential care and in-home support services for older people, as well as a range of social service support for children and families. The organisation started more than 100 years ago and now has around 1400 staff in 26 locations.

Lyford joined PSC as a systems administrator and his role evolved to IT manager, with another staff member reporting to him.

The two of them worked with Fronde to move PSC's IT infrastructure to Amazon Web Services.

Lyford says the project delivered more than financial benefits (savings of $120,000 over three years), but the ability for the group to trial new ideas at a lower cost.

"Small concepts can be spun up and piloted in a few days," he says, which was critical for the not-for-profit.

Purely using cloud for all our business is our strategy going forward in the next five years, he states.

What works for him is that he has "a very grounded technical background across a lot of systems, but also works closely with the business units".

"Having that combination, that knowledge, is helpful because a lot more of my role now is managing projects and managing tasks and workloads," states Lyford.

The customer focus mindshift

David Havercroft, chief operating officer at Spark, says one of the major concerns for both the company and their customers is the pace of change and security implications as they move services online and to digital platforms.

"With the speed of movement of activities online, you have to be very fast, watching what is going on in those situations, you have to be agile."

He says there is no single bullet answer out there for organisations.

"The old world used to be about building walls, firewalls, or protection and so on. Now, you can't build a wall for every case, so it is all about how do you react, spot, monitor and correlate behaviours and watch for things," he says.

Another area where he has seen a big shift in his 30 years in the telecommunications and information technology industry is the customer centric focus for today's IT teams.


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