Organisation: Chief Information Officer Group
Job Title: National Manager,
Word Limit: 500 words per criterion
Shape Strategic Thinking
Throughout my career I have managed complex projects and programs that have had an integral role in shaping the future strategic direction of an organisation. Within the Department of Defence (DOD) my focus has been to contribute to the establishment of an integrated information environment (across geographically dispersed, deployable and mobile networks) that acts as a robust foundation to all corporate and military operations. I am currently appointed as the Director Enterprise Solutions, a role that is crucial in supporting the business processes, information flows, reporting, and data analytics of the DOD. My mandate is to drive a way forward for DOD enterprise systems that supports standardisation, integration and the use of common services (not only across the department, but with a focus on alignment with whole‑of‑government directions). I have been examining one-point-of-entry authentication and access for staff across a range of platforms built on a token system. My aim is to create both ease of access across multiple domains (based on user specific credentials), as well as ensuring information security at all levels. I also aim to align this with whole-of-government directions related to ICT authentication and access.
I have a future-based focus and proactively seek opportunities to position the DOD to meet its service requirements. For example, I have developed an ICT solution that enhances the department’s preparedness and situational awareness in the intelligence space. This includes the functionality to extract diverse information items, collate and link them in current time and projected future time frames. This integrated information enables operational leaders to make strategic decisions and provide tactical advice to government.
I also leverage emerging and innovative technology to ensure best practice solutions. In my current role I have introduced a DOD occupational health and safety (OHS) enterprise solution that enhances workplace safety and minimises risk. The system manages incidents, and analyses patterns and trends, allowing the organisation to reduce incidents and shape a smarter OHS culture. The challenges I faced included ensuring that the solution could be effectively implemented across diverse, geographically varied operational environments.
As the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Hawkesbury Council I also gained experience at developing strategies that aligned with both organisational and government priorities. For example, to improve the service level of the organisation I implemented a Wide Area Network to combine data, voice and mobile networks with Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), significantly improving the Council’s external communication functionality. I also worked with a range of key stakeholders to analyse the security of the Council’s document and records management systems, implementing a revitalised solution to ensure legal compliance, address entrenched cultural issues, enhance efficiency and ensure the long-term integrity of data and records.
Another example of my ability to focus strategically and ensure the alignment of ICT to support future directions and drivers occurred when I was part of the executive team for the Royal Blind Society (now Vision Australia). As CIO I contributed to developing the strategic direction for the organisation, integrating and leveraging technology to enhance service. In this position I led the implementation of two innovative text-to-voice and interactive voice response solutions that read up-to-the-minute news and job advertisements, significantly enhancing service to clients and establishing a reputation of innovation for the Society. I also helped shape the infrastructure of the business to meet future needs by developing a PABX for the above system, combining landlines and mobile phones under one supplier.
- Achieve Results
In several roles I have had to deliver ICT infrastructure and services that allowed the business to both operate to its maximum potential and to position itself for future growth and expansion. To deliver on this, I had to undertake a systematic analysis of the core issues that would impact current business objectives, as well as its planned goals and targets. I then translated the strategy into structured operational functions, ensuring that the type of structures, systems and skills needed to support both current practice and the future vision, where implemented. At the DOD I have built a solid reputation of being able to plan, secure resources and gain approval for them and progress projects that deliver effective ICT solutions for my clients.
I also have a strong commitment to deliver solutions that enhance staff capabilities that gives them the tools they need to work more efficiently and effectively. As the CIO at Hawkesbury Council one of my main drivers was to enhance the organisations internal communications model. Part of this approach was to facilitate information sharing across the council and to capture and manage data and knowledge more effectively. One of the ways I progressed this was the creation and targeted implementation of an innovative, flexible intranet system. I ensured the sustainable integration of the system through robust change management and employee engagement practices during all stages of implementation.
Another skill I have is the ability to effectively leverage the knowledge and capabilities of existing staff and ensure they work cohesively together to deliver excellent results. Within DOD I refocused my team, aligning work practices to business requirements, through whole-of-government enterprise solutions based upon a sound architecture framework. This has helped the team to work on project to upgrade the Navy fleet. At both the Council and as the CIO at Hyne and Son, I revised the internal staffing structure to ensure that cross-functional relationships were established. This enabled ‘workplace silos’ to be eliminated and for knowledge and information to be shared more effectively across the organisations. In several roles I have also established or reinvigorated staff performance planning and review systems. I have a strong focus on re-engaging and motivating long-term employees, ensuring that their extensive corporate knowledge is utilised effectively within the business.
I also have proven expertise in generating innovative solutions and practical, tailored services adapted to the needs and requirements of clients. This includes working with them to understand their business, their culture and drivers in order to meet and anticipate their needs. Within DOD this has meant gaining a real appreciation of a complex, dispersed and mobile organisation, with a vast range of operational parameters, as well as unique needs and challenges. My ability to understand these complexities and develop effective solutions was clearly demonstrated through the implementation of the department’s OHS system (a project with a budget in excess of $90 million). At Hyne and Son I delivered a major infrastructure project worth $110 million, overseeing the building of one of the largest industry-specific buildings in the southern hemisphere. Once again this involved having an exceptional understanding of the business, the skills of staff and resources available to develop a significant infrastructure project to facilitate improved operational effectiveness.
- Exemplify Personal Drive and Integrity
Working within the DOD I consistently display the highest levels of professionalism, ethical behaviour and impartiality. The inherent nature of my work environment involves liaising closely with operational staff and designing solutions that may impact on national security. I regularly deal with areas of extreme political sensitivity, confidentiality and risk and the approach I take and decisions I make can have far reaching consequences for our defence forces.
Throughout my career I have always delivered courageous leadership, providing honest, forthright opinions and advice that are in the best interest of the organisation, rather than just politically expedient. My commitment to this approach was demonstrated when I commenced as the CIO of Hawkesbury Council. This role included responsibility for information and records management within the organisation and I quickly realised there were significant issues with the work processes and practices within the Records Department. Service was not occurring to an acceptable standard, and there were constant complaints concerning staff within the area. I also found that processes being undertaken were not meeting statutory compliance requirements regarding storage, access, security, retention and disposal of information.
I was honest with staff within the area, making sure they understood the negative perceptions that existed, but at the same time I worked with them closely to understand the issues they faced and to help develop clarity and scope regarding their roles and responsibilities. I reviewed interacting work processes, the training and development levels of staff, the ICT infrastructure that supported records management and adherence to relevant compliance frameworks. I addressed all these issues, engaging internal records staff in all stages of the process, using their knowledge and experience to improve and enhance all areas of structure and service. At the same time I confirmed the importance of effective records and information management across the Council, emphasising the significance of the function, and the value of staff experience in this area. I changed both the internal and external focus to shared goals, and developing a collaborative approach in delivering those outcomes.
I have exceptional resilience and am able to overcome set-backs and maintain momentum in challenging circumstances. Within the DOD I have continued delivering excellent service through a major restructure, where my team was disbanded and my role changed significantly. In these circumstances I remained outcome-focused, committed to delivering solutions that aligned to the needs of my clients. Throughout my career I have also consistently focused on engaging staff, galvanising employees who have hit significant barriers and become disengaged. In a previous organisation I was appointed to a restructured position that the previous incumbent had held for several decades. The employee was angry and disappointed with my appointment and he was causing major disruptions within the office. I did not give up on this employee. I worked hard to re-engage him, refusing to lose his extensive organisational and industry specific expertise and capabilities. I eventually achieved this and he became a valued member of the business once again, still working in the IT area when I left several years later.
Finally, I also strive for continuous learning and development. ICT is a fast changing environment where it is vital to ensure the currency of knowledge across the field, specifically in relation to DOD specific directions and whole-of-government priorities. I achieve this through networking, accessing various ICT publications and attending a range of forums and conferences within the field.
- Cultivate Productive Working Relationships
I have a proven record in developing collaborative relationships with internal and external clients, sustaining cooperative partnerships to deliver business outcomes and ensuring the continuing engagement of stakeholders in challenging circumstances. As a skilled program and project manager I have worked in conjunction with extremely diverse clients across a broad variety of work environments, including the government, private and not-for-profit sectors. Within the DOD my client base is spread across the country, all with differing service needs, business drivers, and levels of buy-in for the strategy or service I am delivering.
I have always managed to establish and maintain strong relationships with these clients, even in complex and challenging situations. As mentioned previously I led a significant project to implement a situational and preparedness system for improved security management within the DOD. A significant component of this strategy was to establish cooperative relationships with a range of internal clients. I met with each of these identified stakeholders, consulting with them to determine their requirements and expectations in relation to the solution and ensured that I could deliver on these needs. This approach allowed me to identify and address a range of conflicting priorities across various operational areas. In turn, this meant I could keep these important stakeholders engaged throughout the implementation and engagement phases of the project, maintaining momentum and ensuring sustainable integration of the system into the core business. Throughout this project I adopted a participative and consultative approach built on a foundation of ongoing and honest communication with all stakeholders.
I also excel at consulting across departments, facilitating cooperation across government to achieve whole-of-sector outcomes. When I developed the Export Control System for the DOD, I realised that Australian Customs and Border Protection (ACBP) needed to be part of the consultation process and engaged in the design and implementation of the solution. I liaised extensively with customs officials, gaining an understanding of their role and determining the impacts of the system on their business. I was adaptable and flexible in my approach to stakeholder management, willing to establish opportunities for mutual benefit and shared positive outcomes.
During the process to scope the export control system I had a number of internal clients contend that responsibility lay solely with ACBP. To clarify DOD’s responsibilities I examined precedents in the matter and found specific incidents when the Defence Minister blocked the export of items with possible military use. I also reviewed applicable legislation to confirm the legality of the action and explained to DOD staff the necessity for the department to control specific types of exportation. In the end I developed an innovative ICT solution to manage export control, ensuring its alignment to DOD and sector-wide priorities. I engaged both internal and external stakeholders, including the ACBP, the Department Foreign Affairs and Trade, through strategic negotiation and consultation at all stages.
- Communicate with Influence
The establishment of the export control system also demonstrated my ability to communicate with influence, negotiate persuasively and facilitate agreement for particular approaches. During the early stages of the project an internal DOD stakeholder wanted to purchase and utilise a UK based export control system which he had personally visited to investigate. My focus was delivering solutions that were part of an integrated ICT platform. I was aware that another project on the horizon (a payment system for the employers of reservists) could be developed on the same enterprise architecture platform. After extensive liaison and consultation with our partner agencies (ACBC and the Department of Foreign Affairs and trade) I secured their support for my approach and successfully influenced the internal client towards an enterprise solution.
I have exceptional communication, facilitation and presentation skills, with the ability to deliver information and negotiate in a confident and persuasive manner. I have had numerous positive outcomes throughout my career based on these abilities, including a saving of more than $70,000 for the Royal Blind Society when I successfully negotiated with Microsoft to secure software licenses free of charge. I also saved the organisation embarrassment and more than $150,000 in penalties when I personally negotiated a successful outcome with a difficult vendor, to rescind an old contract.
As the CIO of Hawkesbury Council I also demonstrated my influential communication skills. I established strong relationships with a disengaged records management team, structuring and adapting the information I delivered to meet the needs and interests of my audience. I worked closely with the team, listening to them and gaining a clear understanding of their roles and their issues. I addressed these issues, engaging them and leveraging their experience to enhance internal services. I emphasised their value to the organisation, and the importance of the records function. I used my communication skills to change the perceptions of both internal and external stakeholders to focus on shared goals and improved service outcomes.
At Hyne and Son I utilised my influencing and negotiation skills to establish an innovative cross‑functional staffing structure. I approached the General Manager of each department, convincing them to trial the creation of work teams comprised of individuals from various divisions so that expertise and decision-making could be shared and workplace silos eliminated. In this role I also was responsible for developing, negotiating and monitoring Service Level Agreements with key suppliers, ensuring compliance and the delivery of a value adding service at all times. This required exceptional communication skills, including the ability to interact effectively with people from all types of business and backgrounds. I tailored my communication style and focus to build rapport, adjusting my approach based on their responses and priorities.
I also have communication and presentation experience as a professional academic. I was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology in Sydney where I taught Manufacturing, Engineering and IT subjects. In this role I also contributed to the global IT community, chairing a committee of the International Standards Organisation in Switzerland.
- Relevant ICT technical experience and qualifications
I have exceptional ICT skills and experience. I currently am engaged in the role of Director, Enterprise Solutions within the DOD. In this position I define and deliver enterprise solutions that are aligned to the strategic direction of the department and support whole-of-government priorities. The programs, projects and solutions that I lead often have a whole of DOD impact. I drive strategies through all phases of implementation and build effective, multidisciplinary teams to ensure the successful and sustainable implementation of these solutions across the organisation. I also effectively manage the change processes to ensure the continued engagement of stakeholders through all implementation phases.
Some examples of enterprise wide projects I have led within the DOD, includes a solution for preparedness and situational awareness, an innovative system to manage export control that aligned with the needs and roles cross-sector partners, such as ACBP and the Department Foreign Affairs and Trade. I also have led strategies to improve business processes and ensured department audit compliance. This included implementing an automated, corporate enterprise solution to efficiently distribute required supplementary payments to the employers of army reservists. I also led a department-wide occupational health and safety (OHS) enterprise solution that reduced risks and enhanced safety.
Prior to my employment with DOD I was engaged as a Chief Information Officer within the Hawkesbury City Council, Hyne and Son, and the Royal Blind Society. In all these positions I established and maintained excellent collaborative relationships with key stakeholders, ensuring that ICT supported and aligned with their business requirements. Throughout my career I have delivered innovative ICT leadership and solutions that support organisational outcomes and position the business to meet future requirements and goals. I also have strong skills in relation to the operating principles of ITIL. As demonstrated throughout this application I apply a range of methods and techniques to integrate and align ICT planning with the organisational strategy and priorities.
I also have extensive qualifications and training relevant to this criterion, including a PhD in Computer Integrated Monitoring, an MSc in Production Engineering & CAD/CAM, and a CEI in Production Engineering (Equivalent to BSc). The relevant training I have undertaken includes ITIL Foundations, Executive Leadership Dimensions, PRINCE2 Practitioner training, Advanced Business Analysis, Advanced Data Mining, Strategic Applications of EDRMs, and a Company Directors Diploma.
My diverse, strategic level professional experience, combined with my extensive education and training have provided me with me excellent strategic ICT skills with the ability to leverage emerging technologies to enhance business processes and service outcomes. I also have proven change management and facilitation skills, with strong capabilities in ensuring the continuing engagement and motivation of all stakeholders in the change process.