National Stock Exchange (NSX) head of technology Lina Lim recognises that being a successful CIO requires serving the needs of all key stakeholders – including both internal and external customers – as well as leading the technology strategy in a collaborative way.
“As CIOs, we are accountable to drive and lead organisational technology strategy that will enable and support the business strategy, as well organically to implement a technology-led strategy for creating the business opportunity,” she says.
“In doing so, to execute them successfully, it is not so much about implementing the most advanced, latest and greatest, and state-of-the-art technology. Instead, investing and having the people with the right skills, and who understand the strategy and be able to diligently work with the technology that will provide the best outcome to meet the need, is what will ensure a successful execution.”
An example is the recent IRESS project, which Lim helped steer in the right direction.
“I just joined the organisation and quickly assessed that this project, which was signed three months prior, had the challenge to work with the system that was inadequate under a tight schedule. We had resources (people) working in the project, who were only doing the works as they were told.
“As a result, it had caused and led us into further issues in the delivery process. Given the situation, I discussed the issues with my CEO and the board and recommended the way forward was to minimise the impact. With their approval, I quickly took a decision to change the team and onboarded a team with the right skills, who understood the strategy that we took, and was contributing to providing the right solution to give us the desired outcome.”
Trio of milestones
As such, Lim was involved in three major projects that ran concurrently and fundamentally repositioned the business over the period September 2016 to June 2017.
IRESS connectivity, which was the first project, involved the development and implementation of a major market connectivity project.
“We embarked on this project with the primary objective of transforming the way the business engages its customers’ experience through seamless access and integrated networks for the trading community.”
She says the project was run in the hybrid model of using an agile method during the development phase and waterfall risk-based approach during testing to ensure the desired outcome.
“The success of this project provides key values for the business including revenue growth, which is providing the Exchange listed companies with access to significantly greater liquidity across SMSF, wholesale and retail investors, using the market leading access model.”
It also improves operational efficiency, she adds. “This new connectivity will form the backbone of product and service innovation by NSX, which will focus on providing a more integrated, end-to-end solution to NSX-listed companies and their investors.”
The second project was the data centre relocation, which Lim said was a fundamental program for the business to enable and support the key business strategy under the new board and leadership team.
“We were relocating the entire exchange key infrastructure framework from previous office location in Newcastle to new two locations: the co-location facility of the Australian Liquidity Centre (ALC) and new office, both in Sydney.
“The program involved multiple parties and stakeholders, including two telecommunication providers, two datacentre location projects, the professional services team, software vendors, internal team and the Exchange clients/customers. Through close and transparent communication, continuous collaboration and monitoring with each party on every milestone and deliverable, whilst managing the inter-dependency between each of them were critical to the successful completion of the program,” she says.
The third project involved a new website launch including a redesign and development, she said, explaining the project was intended to serve as one of the main conduits for the Exchange (business) rebranding and marketing strategy.
Within five months, this project was completed successfully. “The agile approach had proved to be gratifying to achieve the desired outcome. By ensuring clear, well defined and documented the requirements, we managed to minimise scope creep and deliver the project within the desired time,” she says.
“The new website brings significant values to the business brand identity and strategy: on who we are, what we are doing and how we are serving our customers.”
Asked some next steps, Lim said it involves the ongoing exploration and assessment of the Blockchain/DLT (distributed ledger technology) capability for business use cases, including new products and markets, as well as operational compliance improvement.
“Blockchain/DLT has been one of the emerging and innovative technologies that is being widely focused for use in financial services,” she says.
“Blockchain/DLT is unique because it will reduce the intermediaries, enable peer to peer (direct) interactions, faster settlement process, and allow transparent and auditable compliance process.”