The 2016 CIO100 report: Full speed ahead

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Pieter Bakker, group IT director, Frucor, aptly explains the environment he and his team face ahead as they execute the organisation’s digital strategy, while working on traditional IT operations or business as usual: “The challenge is to maintain deep engagement and deliver at pace, whilst building digital capability in the IT team.”

This balancing act for CIOs is a key theme running across organisations in this year’s CIO100, our annual report on the top ICT using organisations in New Zealand. The organisational shift into the digital realm means ICT leaders are essentially in the midst of building new business models, preparing their ICT teams for an ever evolving environment, while ensuring they are in step with their business peers in implementing these initiatives.

They do not expect the pace of activities in the digital arena to slow down this year, and are preparing their teams – through upskilling and restructuring – to be able to cope with these shifts. A number of these CIOs – equipped with resources, top level support and proactive teams and co-business leaders – are thus providing the templates for other New Zealand organisations on how to thrive in the digital economy.

Who are in the 2016 CIO100 list?

Global CIOs

Gerben Otter of Fonterra

John Bell of Fletcher Building

Johan Vendrig of Orion Health


The inside track

Organisations that made it to the list were ranked based on screens, users and turnover. Public sector agencies make up more than half of the list, composed of central government agencies, health agencies and educational institutions. The private sector is represented by agriculture, finance and insurance, IT and telecommunications providers, retail, manufacturing and transport. In terms of tenure, more than half of the CIOs interviewed this year have been in the role three years or less.

So what are some of the conditions they will factor in as they work lead through the rest of the year?

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This is more than a new two-speed, hybrid operating model...It is a balance to how we deliver IT projects and services. David Habershon, Ministry of Social Development


Nearly 40 per cent of the CIOs say their ICT budgets will remain stable, with a third expecting increases by up to 10 per cent, about 9 per cent expecting up to more than 20 per cent increase and 4 per cent seeing budget increases of more than 20 per cent.

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Around a fifth of CIOs (22 per cent) said their project numbers remain stable. Nearly 40 per cent of CIOs say they are gearing for a rise in project numbers by up to 10 per cent. Around 12 per cent say their project numbers will rise more than 20 per cent.

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Amidst these changes, nearly half (45.5 per cent) say their staff numbers will remain the same, with less than 10 per cent expecting a smaller staff number. The rest expect to see a rise in their staff numbers with around two organisations stating the numbers will exceed more than 20 per cent.

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As to what technology initiatives will drive the most IT investments in the next 12 months, the top ranked are big data/business intelligence and analytics, cloud services, application modernisation, customer experience technologies and security/ risk management.

CIOs also listed the following as their top five challenges ahead: Agility/speed of deployment, managing complexity of systems and apps, meeting the changing needs of the business, moving to two-speed IT, and leading disruptive technology enabled change.

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C change

This year notably tracks CIOs moving to the same roles in other sectors and to other executive roles.

A significant development that is clearly being watched by the local business community is Air New Zealand’s creation of the chief digital officer (CDO) role. Silicon Valley executive Avi Golan took on the role, and his portfolio includes the ICT team, along with parts of the sales, marketing and operations.

Three global CIO roles were filled: John Bell at Fletcher Building, Gerben Otter at Fonterra and Johan Vendrig at Orion Health.

Chris Trigg has left Genesis Energy and joined Southern Cross Health Society, and NZ Police CIO Stephen Crombie is now the CEO at Education Payroll Limited, with Anne Speden taking over as acting CIO. Mark Leadbetter now heads ICT at House of Travel, replacing Dave Veronese who is now a technology strategist at cloud services provider Inde NZ.

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We are doing a lot of things at the same time and in parallel.Don Robertson , Healthcare of New Zealand Holdings


Waikato DHB’S Geoff King stepped up to become CIO from his role as director, development and operations. He replaced Darrin Hackett who is now GM at HIQ. Mike Clarke has left SkyCity to join KPMG’s IT advisory group, and Glen McLatchie took over the CIO role. Kevin Robinson was appointed CIO at healthAlliance, after holding the interim CIO role for four months. He stepped up to the role from manager solutions delivery, following the resignation of Claire Govier. Govier is now head of transformation, strategy and architecture at Kiwibank.

Robinson reports to CEO Myles Ward, who took over the helm at healthAlliance in November, following three years as chief technology officer at Inland Revenue Department.

The new IRD CIO is Gary Baird, former head of enterprise infrastructure architecture and business services at ANZ Bank. Mark Denvir is acting head of information services at Auckland Council following resignation of Mike Foley. Other interim CIO roles are held by Nick Kumarich at NZME and Barry Thurston at the Order of St John.

Kevin Adamson has left the University of Waikato, with Eion Hall taking on his role. Hall is former CIO of the Hamilton City Council.

CFO Selina Omundsen now heads the ICT department at Datacom. Alistair James is acting CIO at Massey University, following the departure of Clive Martis, who held the role for over six years. Murray Thomson, deputy CIO at Department of Corrections, is also acting CIO after Jon Cumming resigned to become chief digital officer at ACT.

Mike Edginton took over the CIO role at the Department of Conservation, replacing Ashley Mudford, who is now the principal advisor, secretariat lead, at the Department of Internal Affairs. Jason MacDonald left Kristin School as director of ICT services after 11 years, and Nigel Wilkinson, director of business services, took over the ICT portfolio. AgResearch also has a new CIO, Michael Sheehan.

Reporting lines

More than half of ICT leaders interviewed this year report to the CEO, managing director or equivalent roles, while another 23 per cent report to the CFO or equivalent heads offi nance. The third most common reporting line is to the chief operating officer (13 per cent), while three report to the executive board.

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At least two of the CIOs this year have a dual reporting line. Glen Willoughby of Downer reportsto the Downer Group corporate services GM and Downer NZ CFO. Jonathan Iles of Carter Holt Harvey reports to the CIO of Rank Group and the CEO of Carter Holt Harvey.

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Being at the nexus of current technology changes – social, mobile, cloud, analytics, Internet of Things – retailers face an exciting challenge of keeping pace with customer expectations while continuing to deliver 24x7x365 reliability and service. Simon Kennedy, The Warehouse Group.


A group of CIO100 ICT executives report leading multinational teams – from trans-Tasman, Pacific wide, to regional and across continents.

These include ICT leaders of Harcourts, Fletcher, Fonterra, Hallenstein Glasson, Fisher Paykel Healthcare, Mainfreight, Opus, Beca, Kordia, the Salvation Army, Hawkins Group, Fulton Hogan, Tait Communications, and from the publicsector, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Department of Internal Affairs.

Johan Vendrig of Orion Health explains the nuances of working with a global team: “We have to get the organisation to the next level by providing some standardisation and better integration of enterprise resource planning processes. This drives efficiency and it ensures that process improvements can be scaled out quickly. Investment in improved communication tools is critical to make it easy for staff to collaborate across the globe both internally and with customers.”

Mike Pilkington of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says collaboration and communications technologies are critical for the ministry’s 1390 staff based in the head office in Wellington and in 59 diplomatic missions in 50 countries around the world.

Hannes van Zyl of Hawkins Group leads a team of 13, with some based in their overseas offices or assigned to work side by side with customers, design teams and construction partners on projects locally and offshore.

Some of the company’s projects take place in locations that are sparsely populated and with minimum, if ever, telecommunications facilities. He says the mobility contract implemented in the past year delivered massive gains, with Skye for Business and Office 365 allowing teams to work from anywhere at any time.

Agile by default

Without a doubt, the uptake of digital technologies – from collaboration technology, analytics, cloud services – are prompting the organisations to change their business models.

For CIOs, it means adopting new mindsets and structure to operate at various speeds. David Habershon and his team at the Ministry of Social Development are in the midst of a ‘Simplification Programme’ that will transform service delivery and transactional services at the agency.

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The challenge is to maintain deep engagement and deliver at pace, whilst building digital capability in the IT team.Pieter Bakker, Frucor


He says the IT team is using this major programme to develop a stronger digital capability across the organisation. “This is more than a new two-speed, hybrid operating model,” explains Habershon.

“It is a balance to how we deliver IT projects and services. This will be a new strength area that will see us able to take best advantage of both the ‘Agile by default’ process of project delivery, as well as ensuring enterprise stability for our core systems. This way of working will not only make IT better, it will support business change in the wider Ministry.”

Fletcher Building has established a Digital Innovation Lab, which enables business units to work on smaller, digital projects. Many of the apps developed in the lab can be reused across business units, achieving further ROI. The lab also provides examples of how to run rapid, Agile and value delivering projects. The Innovation Lab has delivered a number of customer centric applications that are driving business growth, says Fletcher Building’s John Bell.

The shift towards building teams that can respond faster to business demands using cloud based services and Agile methodologies is a central theme in the CIO100 ICT departments. “We have got almost two ways of operations now in terms of project delivery,” says Joshua Bankers of Fonterra.

He says every project has a business case that needs sign off. “But for the ‘high speed lane’, we have a cut down version which still ticks all the boxes from a governance perspective, but is [delivered] a lot quicker to market.”

“We are doing a lot of things at the same time and in parallel,” is how Don Robertson of Healthcare of New Zealand Holdings, describes his work environment.

In past years our digital focus was delivery of new system features and designs. Now our digital focus is meeting customer expectations and delivering a great customer experience.Simon Casey, Barfoot Thompson


Robertson says a team of developers and business people are currently working on two Agile projects.

“One project delivered a solution to track and enable the payment of travel time for 3,500 staff implemented within a two-month period, while the other is building a central data repository enabling data standardisation and quality improvements ready for migration to the new ERP. This will continue on to build a data warehouse for BI,” says Robertson.

Victor Vae’au of NZ Defence Force says moving to multi-speed IT calls for striking a balance. There needs to be a careful assessment of “what you can do very very quickly and fail/succeed fast, versus what should take time through a full spec’d delivery lifecycle”, says Vae’au. “You have got to be very clear about what falls into one speed, and what falls into the other speed, and don’t get one mistaken for the other.”

Cloud based technologies are having a greater impact than ever on speed of change.

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