by Divina Paredes

CIO 100: Downer NZ

Mar 24, 2016
Technology Industry

DOWNER NEW ZEALAND has completed an infrastructure redevelopment which general manager of IT, Glen Willoughby, says is the ICT project that delivered the biggest improvement to the enterprise in recent times.

Willoughby joined Downer in late 2015. Downer is a leading provider of engineering and infrastructure services across sectors including transport, construction and mining. Before this, he was CIO of Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa District Health Boards.

Willoughby says the ICT budget for his 65-member team will remain steady, and will see staff and project investment rise this year. A major program of work will be around the consolidation of Downer’s applications set.

Downer will also look at deploying innovative technology that will increase capacity and quality of mobile solutions to field staff.

The team will be streamlining Downer’s ERP system including its HRMIS. They will also work on projects around workforce scheduling, GIS and business intelligence.

Willoughby says the group will also have major technology investments in big data/business intelligence, security and risks management technologies, as well as machine to machine and Internet of Things.

Last year, Downer NZ started using Electric Vehicles (EVs) as pool cars for its offices in Auckland and Hamilton. The program is part of its focus on ‘smart infrastructure’, as well as support for its clients and business partners operating in this space.

The ICT team is working with the other divisions to ensure their customer facing systems are well positioned for business opportunities, and they are able to work collaboratively with customers to deliver sustainable cost reductions.

With this perspective, Willoughby sees the need to transition IT from information technology to ‘innovating together’, “where end users and IT get together to come out with new ideas”.

He says in the current environment of fast changes and shifting business needs, failures are as useful as successes. This, he says, is one of the founts of a culture of innovation.

For CIOs, this means taking on strategies that will envelop short term with long run strategies.

Those involved in shadow IT, for instance, should be seen as innovators “at the margins”, he adds. “The CIO challenge is how to bring these innovators into the fold.”