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Building IT Efficiency

Posted 20th April 2010.

Interview with: Laurence Millar, Former New Zealand Government CIO

Auckland, New Zealand, April 20, 2010 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

An efficient IT function without service disruptions is critical to an organisations success. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) role, however, goes beyond ensuring emails are working properly. The CIO must enable corporate competitive advantage through technological innovation. A speaker at the marcus evans CIO NZ Summit 2010 taking place in New Zealand, 12 14 April 2010, Laurence Millar, Former New Zealand Government CIO shares his thoughts on social media, improving IT efficiency and cloud computing.

What are some of the challenges facing CIOs in New Zealand, and what solutions would you recommend?

Laurence Millar: Most CIOs are under a lot of financial pressure; therefore they have had to look very seriously at where they are spending money to reduce the impact on the bottom line. At the same time, people are demanding more from the IT function, expecting the tools they use in their personal life to be supported in the office as well, responding to top-line demand. CIOs are stuck between these two pressures.

CIOs need to focus on the things that are critical to their organisation. They can drive down costs by outsourcing commodity type services and by working with others.

What are your thoughts on social media?

Laurence Millar: For knowledge industry workers, social media is an important tool to participate in the development of ideas, whether it be on twitter, discussion groups or communities on Facebook. While I do not think CIOs should necessarily support social media systems as part of ITs core offerings, they do need to recognise that they co-exist in the organisation, and find ways of enabling their use by staff.

What is successful at improving IT productivity and efficiency?

Laurence Millar: The more CIOs can standardise, the lower the costs will be. If they can combine that with meeting the demand for service from their organisation, they can reduce input costs and improve productivity and efficiency.

Instead of creating systems from scratch, re-using software is also an excellent way of improving efficiency. Open source software is good at building on other peoples work. As an industry, we have managed to double our processing capacity and halve the cost of hardware every 18 months, but we have not seen the same improvement in productivity in the software business. Re-using software is a way of achieving higher levels of productivity; it could be through open source or by re-using software developed in another part of the organisation or in similar companies.

Cloud computing is another tool for efficiency. Cloud providers support networks of hundreds of thousands of users, so a single organisation can take advantage of those economies of scale. The major benefit from cloud computing is cost; opinions vary, but CIOs can probably reduce between 50 and 70 per cent of the costs of commodity type services. The second benefit is access to services from anywhere, without additional engineering efforts; this is especially beneficial for companies with remote workers.

What long-term strategies would you recommend to CIOs in New Zealand?

Laurence Millar: CIOs must ensure their function focuses on things that are important to the organisation. It is necessary to have a functioning network and core systems, but there is no real competitive advantage of having a good email or desktop system. As much as possible, the CIOs resource efforts should be focused on the things that influence the organisations success. Anything that does not fit in that category should be outsourced.

What are some of the upcoming trends and technologies that CIOs should get ready for?

Laurence Millar: Environmental issues are going to increase in importance, so whether it is disposal of computers, power consumption or virtualisation in the data centre, CIOs will need to respond to the environment impact of IT.

There are some astonishing statistics on the mobile footprint, and the growth of mobile internet access. CIOs will need a strategy to deliver services to customers on their mobile handsets. Protecting critical corporate information from attack, infection and illegal expatriation will also continue to be an area of focus.

Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

Tel: + 357 22 849 313
Email: press@marcusevanscy.com

About the CIO NZ Summit 2010

This unique forum will take place at the SKYCITY Grand Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand, 12 14 April 2010. Offering much more than any conference, seminar or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The summit includes presentations on implementing virtualisation, cloud computing and green IT.

For more information please send an email to info@marcusevanscy.com or visit the event website at http://www.cionzsummit.com/LaurenceMillarInterview

Please note that the summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the worlds leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-to-one business meetings. For more information, please visit http://www.marcusevans.com

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