Brad Rappell, CIO of Mr Rental, has only been in the CIO role for five months but he has already begun a number of Cloud projects at the Brisbane-based rental appliances company, including an implementation of Microsoft Office 365 across 90 stores in Australia and New Zealand.
The Cloud projects are designed to move the majority of the company’s infrastructure into a private Cloud.
Rappell spoke with CIO Australia about the home appliances and furniture rental market, how the company is improving its online customer services and the challenge of keeping IT relevant.
What does an average work day involve for you at Mr Rental?
Research. I spend the first hour and a half of every day reading IT publications so that we are abreast of what [technology] is breaking in the market. That’s so we know what computer hardware is going to be relevant for customers to rent and what IT innovations are out there that we could use.
I also work with the business, my internal IT team and partners on strategic IT plans that will produce tangible benefits for Mr Rental.
What are some of the challenges you face in the role of CIO?
Being relevant is a big challenge. For Mr Rental, technology isn’t about the nuts and bolts of IT and I would love to call my role business improvement officer because that’s where we are getting to as an organisation.
What are some of the projects you have been working on?
Our online presence is critical to our success so I would like to simplify the process of renting more items and also expand the corporate rental side of the business.
A lot of young professionals are turning to us because they want the latest Macintosh computer or smartphone and they can upgrade the device when they choose to.
That corporate market is growing because the bring your own device [BYOD] model is becoming far more acceptable in businesses.
What are the three biggest issues facing CIOs today?
The agility to meet the requirements of the business which is moving faster and faster.
Consumerisation of IT and how to provide a high level of service to a sophisticated market.
Evolution as the industry evolves.
CIOs need to have a seat at the table and be recognised as an asset to the business rather than the traditional IT person keeping the lights on.
What’s your favourite gadget?
I am really happy with my Windows phone. It’s easy to use and integrates with Office applications.
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