by George Nott

Blank canvas for National Gallery’s first CIO

Sep 14, 2017
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The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) has appointed Trish Leahey to be its inaugural chief information officer.

Leahey started work at the organisation last month, joining from the Australian Research Council (ARC) where she has spent the last five years, with close to four in the CIO role.

She will be responsible for implementing the NGA’s ambitious technology strategy, which was outlined in its latest corporate plan.

Priorities include making gallery information available from ‘any device, anywhere, anytime’; improving business intelligence and data analytics capabilities; a transition of internal workflows to digital; to “simplify, rationalise and integrate” business systems and a greater emphasis on mobile.

A digital strategy will also be devised this year, “which incorporates the digital needs of our customers and the online experience,” the NGA said.

Leahey reports to the gallery’s assistant director of engagement and development, AlisonWright.

In this year’s budget the NGA – which was established in 1967 – received a $1.94 million increase in its funding, restoring half of the funding slashed in the previous budget.

The Canberra gallery – which has around 200 staff – is home to 166,000 works of art from Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, to Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly series, and the largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imageryin the world.

At the ARC, Leahey led a small in-house team to deliver a single grants management system to support the complete grants management lifecycle, replacing three legacy systems.

The initiative – which uses APIs for easier data sharing – brought together 15 years of grant data from various legacy sources, automated manual processes and increased the efficiency of business processes.

Peter Conn, director of operations for the ARC’s ICT Services Branch, is now acting CIO. The organisation has begun the recruitment process, it said.