What are some of your major pain points\/challenges as CIO? \nWith the commission of our Operations Centre, communications infrastructure became a piece of critical infrastructure in a way that had not been in the past. From time to time we experience communications faults, generally through something impacting the fibre optic network, and whereas in the past these may have been an inconvenience, these now stop production. This has forced a rapid maturity of these systems, which is not common in the resources industry.\nWith such a rapid expansion, it has also been critical to remain ahead of construction. Project teams have a habit of delivering their own solutions where none already exist, so we seek engage early and comprehensively with any initiative that features technology.\nDo you face any issues re: dealing with a distributed\/remote workforce? How do you overcome these?\nOur business attracts an increasingly connected generation that live and work in different locations. While they\u2019re at our work sites, they expect to remain connected to their friends and families at work and in their free time. Social media, mobile phone connectivity, the quality of in-room digital systems and availability of tools like Skype are becoming increasingly important, and provision of these forms part of our strategic and operational plans \u2013 no simple feat in the Pilbara. Providing the communications infrastructure and support for these systems is a key operational challenge.\nDo you have an opinion on centralised versus decentralised IT?\nWe maintain a hybrid model in our business. There is a necessity for some aspects of our IT delivery to be core and standardised across the enterprise, including configuration of our ERP and a tight control over the design and monitoring of our network. Some aspects are best delivered as close to our operational teams as feasible, such as triage of control systems and delivery of complex applications projects. We seek to balance the benefits of leveraging scale for improved efficiency of standardised services, with the benefits of direct operational control. We have mostly centralised - we centralise services for which we can leverage scale and skill, or for which our operations have little interest in running.\nTo what extent are mobile technologies critical to your workforce?\nWe have a degree of infield data capture and mobile computing, but in most cases our people must return to their desk to action maintenance and operational issues identified in-field. Mobile technologies are an area we have looked to other industries for inspiration. There is a great opportunity to untether our workforce from their PCs. The Oil Gas and Logistics industries show what is possible in this field.\nRead Part 1 of this interview.\nThere\u2019s also an opportunity to mine the information we already collect, particularly location of fixed and mobile assets, to provide better information to mobile teams. There is some very promising work in the utilities and transmission industries extending on the work of Google in developing augmented reality solutions. Alongside, the breakneck pace of development in smartphone and tablet platforms, and their prevalence in the retail market, mean everyone from graduates to board members are demanding the same thing, \u201cHow can I do that on my iPad?\u201d\nWhat do you see as the particular advantages of working as a CIO in the resources sector?\nThe resources industry has held an enviable position in this economic cycle with demand for product remaining strong throughout. While many other industries have had a primary focus on cost reduction, we have expanded and our stakeholders have moved from viewing IT as an overhead cost to recognising technology solutions as a key enabler of business value.\nWhat do you see as the particular challenges of working as a CIO in the resources sector?\nBecause of the remote nature of our business, CIOs in resources must cover an enormous breadth of business process \u2013 for me, this includes mine, port, rail, utilities, accommodation and corporate systems. There aren\u2019t too many dull days and there\u2019s usually something in dire need of attention. There\u2019s also a finite number of project managers, business analysts and communications technicians with deep experience in those domains. We\u2019re seeing acute shortages of certain skills in Western Australia, where mining, oil and gas and consulting services all compete for the same people.\nWhat\u2019s next for the company? Where do you foresee IT being able to take the business tomorrow?\nRio Tinto\u2019s Iron Ore division will continue its rapid expansion. We will continue to use technology to improve safety, to provide the connectivity for our people, our equipment and their supporting systems, and to leverage the integrated nature of the business to provide optimisation across our supply chain.\nReflecting on other industries, I feel we need to get better at mining our own data. As an asset intensive business, we record everything, yet we barely scratch the surface of using this trove to gain business insights, to expose issues, to predict failure, or to provide solid decision support. That challenge is fertile ground for our years ahead.\nRead Part 1 of this interview.