A CIO's Guide to the NBN

A CIO's Guide to the NBN

Australia's $43 billion National Broadband Network will usher in a new era of connectivity and business innovation. Here’s what CIOs need to know. . .

Says Tampling: “For CIOs who see the NBN as something that fits within their role they should grab the territory and get the organisation thinking about it now.” Yuile says there will be a big separation between platform investment and applications. Just like buying apps for an iPhone, CIOs will buy apps to use for six months and then discard them for something new.

“We will see more adoption of a broader range of software services and applications, and CIOs who don’t adapt to this model will flounder,” Yuile says.

“Traditionally, CIOs have spent their time pushing applications at people who didn’t want them. Now, they’re trying to stop people. CIOs will have to think very differently. They won’t be able to tell colleagues it will take two years of software development before they can have that new application. They’ll have to say ‘that app you found yesterday, we can adapt it and plug it into our platform within six weeks’.

“The NBN will allow CIOs to achieve great things. However, if they take the stance that the technology is their patch and they want to control every aspect of it then they will struggle. There will always be things a CIO has to control but they will have to be more trusting and more willing to take a few chances with new technology. They will also need to be more responsive to internal and external customers. That will be critical for their success.”

While Simon is loath to lecture CIOs, he says he knows what their businesses will be seeking to achieve.

“The NBN is about how a CIO can change a business model to either be more disruptive, to find a lower cost method, or to tap into new talent pools,” he says. “That’s where organisations struggle -- they don’t have access to enough people with the right skills, or those people are too expensive. The NBN can open new doors in this area.

“The only advice I would give: CIOs should investigate how they can use new technologies to help their business lower costs. That’s one of the priorities of all organisations, especially in this business environment. The NBN will provide opportunities to do a lot more with a lot less.

“The other message is that whatever contracts you are about to sign be sure to leave yourself enough flexibility. Getting locked in now for a five-year deal is an idea you might want to revisit given the amount of change that will take place over the next two years.”

Bhatia says it’s also time for CIOs to be more gung-ho.

“CIOs shouldn’t wait for their Boards or CEOs to come to them,” he says. “They should tell their CEO: ‘there is a massive opportunity heading our way. Free up 20 per cent of my time so I can ensure it benefits our company.’ It may sound a big ask but the clever CEOs will do it. They hate missing opportunities.”

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