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CIO Summit 2009 Roundtable: The global financial crisis and IT transformation projects

CIO Summit 2009 Roundtable: The global financial crisis and IT transformation projects

The complete panel discussion from the CIO Summit 2009, featuring Gary Whatley, CIO, Corporate Express, Carsten Larson, CIO at ACMA, and Chris Clark, CIO, Brookfield-Multiplex.

CIO Executive Council Panel Session. From left to right: Caroline Bucknell, General Manager, CIO Executive Council; Chris Clark, CIO, Brookfield Multiplex; Carsten Larsen, CIO, ACMA; Garry Whatley, CIO, Corporate Express.

CIO Executive Council Panel Session. From left to right: Caroline Bucknell, General Manager, CIO Executive Council; Chris Clark, CIO, Brookfield Multiplex; Carsten Larsen, CIO, ACMA; Garry Whatley, CIO, Corporate Express.

Gary: I might offend someone, but the biggest issue we face is vendors. At the end of the day there has been too much over-promising and under delivering in most cases. Unfortunately our boards and executives, which have access to vendors, don’t understand the real situation in the organisation.

This is the time for IT to become part of the solution. We can help empower the business to run faster, smarter, better

Carsten Larsen, CIO, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

It comes back to the trust aspect. Because what happens is that they go out and sell this idea that they can make great changes in your organisation, but that starts to whittle down the trust between your and your exec because you aren’t delivering those things. We have a challenge there. As an industry we promise a lot and sometimes don’t deliver.

CIO: Is the global financial crisis a chance to make some key changes? Can you offer any recommendations on how CIOs can use the GFC to their advantage?

Chris: We talked about getting your standard things -- deliverables, infrastructure, foundation -- in place so now my focus is on talking to the business. Being in IT means you can look across the divisions in the business and see problems such as a lot of replication across the business, and other things we can help with.

If you have that trust with the business then the execs will bring back these things that they are talking about and will work with you. We have a lot of people sitting on the bench at the moment, as no-one wants to do big commercial buildings right now, so hence they are all looking at ways to do things and running little projects around how to do things better. If you have that trust relationship, go for it.

Carsten: This is the time for IT to become part of the solution. We can help empower the business to run faster, smarter, better. From a practical viewpoint it is easier to get IT staff than before. You can also get hardware solutions and infrastructure items at cheaper prices if you negotiate well. People are willing to get sell things for next to nothing just so they get rid of their inventory. If you have a need, go out and see if you can get a good price, go back to the business and tell them you have a chance to get a deal and you might end up getting it this year instead of next year.

Gary: This is the time to bring IT closer and much tighter with the business. Talent management will be essential; once we come out of this the fight for talent will be much tougher. We do see all the transformation from a business and IT perspective is there, but talent management is there too.

Audience question: Chris, can you discuss your decision to open up how your IT hours are spent and to share that with the business?

Chris: I didn’t approach the business with it first. It came out of the process of the financial crisis. I had to work out how many hours it took just to keep the lights on. A lot of that I had to do on speculation -- I didn’t have hard fact numbers. At the same time when you’re running a project and you have a lot of consultants in and you’re signing invoices -- have you entered that time into your systems? Because we charge the business for any work done and so need cost validation. I wanted to get a sense of how much time was spent on working on support and how much on innovation and business development.

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Tags Corporate ExpressACMAglobal financial crisisCIO Summit 2009Brookfield Multiplex

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