by Rodney Fletcher

CIO100 2017 #31-100: David Healy, Icebreaker

Mar 29, 2017
Big Data Careers Digital Transformation

Icebreaker embarked on a transformation to change its emphasis from a traditionally product centric led business, into a consumer centric and insights driven business, says its CIO David Healy.

“In order to facilitate this strategic shift, we needed to re-evaluate our processes and solutions with the customer at the forefront,” he explains.

There was initial concern from the team members at the outset, which we mitigated through open and regular communications, says Healy.

The merino wool outdoor and sport clothing designer and manufacturer engaged PwC to help facilitate a series of (Value Chain Analysis) workshops across the business.

“We removed senior leadership from these workshops to ensure open frank discussions and [demonstrate] a clear mandate that there were to be no ‘sacred cows’,” he states.

The first logical review was focused on the company’s product lifecycle – the core of its business.

“It was clear through the workshops that the current systems were not enabling the core drivers and behaviours,” he says. “We embarked on a PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) system review with the objective to enable the opportunities highlighted through these workshops.”

This more detailed system review further highlighted the requirement for a more consumer insight driven design process, with a greater focus on quality and improved efficiencies that would also yield margin improvements, he says.

“Through this review we have been able to implement a continuous improvement programme, by ensuring a seasonal teardown activity as a key milestone embedded in our product lifecycle calendar.”

We now have the capability to move applications between our private cloud and the worldwide network of Azure datacentres as we requireDavid Healy, Icebreaker

Icebreaker has also gone to the cloud, with a project to leverage Microsoft’s new Cloud Service Provider Partner Program. This combines services from the public cloud, private cloud and the company’s own IT, to enable fast and efficient implementation as expansion plans take it into more markets worldwide.

“This has given us the ability to geo-locate when required and put a stripped-down version of Icebreaker’s core business applications in Microsoft datacentres in our key markets, to reduce latency and improve overall performance for users in those regions.

“We now have the capability to move applications between our private cloud and the worldwide network of Azure datacentres as we require.”

As CIO, Healy runs the IT team with a lean strategy, resourcing the team to deliver to the operational requirements and small tactical IT projects, establishing project teams and leveraging vendor capabilities to deliver larger strategic initiatives or innovative projects.

Leading the way

“To ensure we have a culture and environment that facilitates collaboration, we have established a PMO that governs the overall five year strategic plan, roadmaps, IT and non-IT projects from initiation through to benefit realisation across the global organisation,” says Healy.

“I chair the monthly PMO board meetings with key members from the leadership team and the CEO, as the overall sponsor for the strategic programme of work. This forum is used to discuss the overall programme status, benefits realisation, risks and issues. This is also a forum for new initiatives,project close-out and business cases to be presented and approved.

“There are also quarterly presentations to the board around benefits realisation, meetings one-on-one monthly with peers, key project managers and heads within the business as well as fortnightly meetings with the CEO to discuss overall progress, new opportunities and initiatives in their specific markets and disciplines.”

To keep everyone in the information loop, IT Service forum meetings are held with the market senior management team on a fortnightly basis to discuss strategic initiatives and any operational updates required. This is also an opportunity for them to ask any questions around IT and opportunities they see within their respective markets, says Healy.

Healy says as a member of the leadership team, a core competency is to ensure you have a succession plan. This is someone within the organisation that you are mentoring to step into your role and will take up your responsibilities when you are absent.

“This both de-risks the business and allows for flexibility for the organisation during large strategic projects,” he states.

“This was recently implemented when I stepped out of the CIO role for nine months to establish the Business Transformation team. The IT services manager was promoted to Global Head of IT while the department was established.”

Rodney Fletcher