by Lisa Banks

Q&A: CIO of PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia

Oct 25, 20114 mins
CareersInnovationIT Leadership

After being recently profiled in On Success: A Woman’s Perspective; an e-book on some of Australia’s inspirational women, PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia’s CIO, Hilda Clune, talks to CIO Australia about what it takes to manage business change and transformation, as well as the challenges she faces in the role of CIO.

What does your role as CIO involve and how long have you been in the position?

I started with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) two years ago and my role as CIO is twofold. Locally it is to develop and deliver a complete technology strategy for the firm. I also sit on PwC’s Global CIO Board, which is directing a global technology transformation program for the PwC network that reaches across 158 countries.

What does your average day look like?

For me, there is no such thing as an ‘average day’. On any given day, I could be meeting with senior stakeholders on business strategy and programs, working with my team either individually or together on strategy, projects or operational issues, or participating in an evening call to discuss the global program of work.

Managing my time and travel commitments locally and overseas is a challenge but it’s amazing what you can achieve in a day with a fantastic team and great technology.

What are some of the major challenges you face in the role as CIO?

One of the most significant challenges in my role is to create a vision and strategy that allows for sustainable investment and managed risk while maintaining an ‘open’ platform for the innovation of the firm’s future needs.

What steps have you taken to manage change in the business?

Part of my journey as CIO has been to shift the firm’s perception of technology as a service provider to a business partner and, to engage in meaningful conversations on business drivers and capabilities as opposed to taking an order for software or a solution.

What are some of the recent projects you have been working on?

PwC understands that agility and mobility is critical to the way we do business and is valued by our clients. The firm is constantly reviewing and enhancing its unified communication programs to allow greater mobility while at the same time embracing new possibilities in the way we work to deliver value. This has resulted in several programs focused on creating new virtual, social and physical environments to underpin our new way of working.

What are the three biggest issues facing CIOs today?

The technology industry is moving at such a quick pace. The speed of change is challenging CIOs to continue delivering technologies to stay current while at the same time ensuring return on investment.

Not that long ago, an individual’s experience with technology was defined by the technology they used in the workplace. Now the reverse is true.

Personal technology now sets the expectations for technology in the workplace. Where the challenge lies for CIOs is in creating a seamless personal/business technology experience in an environment that has constraints in areas such as information security.

CIOs continue to face tremendous operational cost pressures against a backdrop of increasing demand and the demand for ‘instant’ access to newly released personal and business technologies is also challenging.

What is your favourite gadget and do you have a smartphone brand preference?

Our strategy is to be device agnostic. Our focus is to offer our people the choices that best enable them to bring value to and service our clients. I use a Blackberry, an iPad and a laptop depending on what I need to do.

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