by George Nott

Mike Schuman takes top tech post in Townsville

Mar 06, 2017

Former Woodside tech transformation chief Mike Schuman has taken a new role at Townsville City Council.

He has been working as the council’s first chief information officer since last month.

According to Schuman’s updated LinkedIn profile, his key responsibilities are the council’s transformation agenda and its recently announced Smart Cities program.

Schuman is the council’s first CIO, a position created as one of the recommendations of an independent review of the city’s management structure.

According to the review, which was adopted “in full” in September, the CIO’s responsibilities cover customer and frontline officer mobility, digital enablement, front-of-house and BI solutions. The position reports to the CFO, and the function encompasses 111 staff.

“I was compelled to vie for the role due to the enterprise transformation that is ongoing at Townsville City Council (TCC). My experience and interests draw me to these types of opportunities,” Schuman said.

“The Townsville City Deal which includes sponsorship of smart city initiatives will enable council to use new technology to improve the lives of citizens. The role of CIO in TCC is unlike many comparable roles and was the significant draw card.”

Schuman moved on from his role as transformation business adviser at Woodside Energy in November. His quitting came just two months after the company removed it’s CIO role.

Schuman was previously chief information officer at WA Police. Since his departure from Woodside, he had been working as a transformation consultant.

Smart move to a smart city

Townsville was the first town to sign up to the government’s Smart Cities Plan, a 15 year commitment between the city council, the Queensland Government and the Federal Government.

As part of that plan, the city will “be a flagship for a modern digital city and Local Government in Australia” and maximize its digital connectivity to improve service delivery and public value, the strategy outline says.

Part of that effort will be the provision of a “city dashboard” that will openly share council targets, goals and current reporting such as service delivery, air quality, business investments and jobs being created.

In December, the council signed a five-year deal with Optus. Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said at the time the partnership was “at the forefront of the push to use technology to streamline internal processes” and provide digital services for citizens. The deal covered mobile, cloud, security and managed services.

“Smart Cities are the cities of the future,” added Optus Business managing director John Paitaridis at the time. “As a key element of the new multi-year partnership, Optus looks forward to working strategically with Townsville City Council to design and integrate connectivity, data and analytics, sensor networks and smart phone applications to transform Townsville.”

Townsville is the largest city in Northern Australia with a population of more than 190,000 people. It is projected to grow by around 42,500 people over the next decade