by Hamish Barwick

Q&A: Schiavello CIO, Krist Davood

Oct 05, 20114 mins
Technology Industry

Krist Davood has held the group chief information officer role at Melbourne-based construction and manufacturing firm, Schiavello Group, for more than two years. As CIO, he is responsible for all IT projects and investments throughout the company.

1. What does an average work day involve for you at Schiavello?

There’s a saying about being up at the ‘crack of dawn’; my day begins earlier than dawn as I like to start early in order to plan the day’s schedule so we are on track for delivery of business alignment functions.

Currently, I’m planning a new round of IT roadmap demonstrations designed to take us to the next level. This is necessary as the Schiavello Group’s operations have increased in complexity due to growth and mergers and acquisitions activity. The more we take on fragmented systems and processes, the more urgent it becomes to streamline and integrate our services and products.

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

When I first started in the role the challenge was turning around multiple IT projects which were in difficulty. It involved extensive work across our construction systems, distribution and despatch systems and by automating more of our material requirements planning [MRP] module’s capability.

The more we take on fragmented systems and processes, the more urgent it becomes to streamline and integrate

By using the people centred implementation [PCI] methodology we’ve been able to take our stakeholders through the change journey. This consists of managing the changes across technology, people, culture and processes.

An example of this is our dedicated business to corporate [B2C] shopfront capability which is available to our corporate customers. The innovations allow the Schiavello Group to streamline several processes, thus alleviating the contract managers of their administrative overheads.

The current challenge is taking the organisation through the new IT roadmap which focuses on streamlining systems into a homogeneous system environment. It is a timely exercise due to the rapid growth of the organisation.

3. What major projects have you been working on?

I have recently completed an upgrade of our wide area network [WAN] network topography. Our bandwidth has increased more than 10-fold in order to cater to our evolving business environment. It is an ongoing project that upgrades our communication capabilities across our national and international networks.

In order to keep up with the raw processing power needed we’ve also upgraded all of our main servers and have fully virtualized our back office environments. This allows for more agile capacity management capabilities.

A recent project has focussed on the availability of tablets for Web-based systems. The systems ensure that no sensitive content is stored on the device; this policy will be revisited once tablets have more advanced built in security features.

4. What do you consider are the three biggest issues facing CIOs today?

Commercially driven CIOs are required for the fast changing times we are living in. The ability to keep up with new changes in technology is critical and seeing the relevancy of new advancements is key to business growth.

The second issue is the lack of understanding of the growing challenge of mobility based products, two examples include iPhone and Android based smart phones. What is not universally recognised is the device’s growing prominence and the one to one relationship it has with its user; this relationship doesn’t include the company’s IT area therefore COBIT [IT governance framework] compliant security is not fully enforced.

The third issue is the lack of understanding regarding Cloud services as many corporations are not aware of the exposure they face when embarking on their Cloud journey.

Some examples include the lack of understanding of the exposure they have when they are cut off from their Cloud service; the organisation’s critical system can be cut off due to internet unavailability or the service may not be available due to a dispute with their Cloud services provider.

Other notable examples include users sending commercially sensitive data via their Cloud-enabled private email accounts. For example Hotmail and Gmail are considered Cloud services which store emails overseas outside the jurisdiction of local enforceable law.

5. What is your favourite gadget?

I have an iPhone and iPad. I’m amazed by the vast amount of software available via the App Store and its pervasiveness across a large amount of people from different walks of life.

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