CIO roundtable: 'Navigating the new workplace'

Divina Paredes

New technologies bring greater communications and collaboration among teams, along with a raft of new issues for CIOs and their executive colleagues. At a recent CIO roundtable held in association with Dimension Data, panellists shared insights on how to lead this changing environment. Here are highlights of the discussion.

Evolution in the workplace

Vaughan Robertson: There's a great fragmentation of communication channels. Now you've got everything from phone to Lync to video conference to voice conference to cell phone to smartphone to desktop communications; email, to internal social, and to external social. It's a dilemma for everybody in the organisation, not just IT, to work out how to use these channels effectively, because the multitude of ways to get the same message across is difficult to manage. We're a facilitator of this, and I've found that my relationship with our internal communications staff has grown substantially over the years as they've recognised the critical importance of IT systems to facilitate their role.

Alin Ungureanu: We are in the aged care environment, so we look after the elderly in New Zealand; we have independent villages, rest homes, and hospitals. Over the last two-and-a-half or so years, we've transformed the way we operate and how we interact and communicate. We now use video conferencing for our clinical quality teams and operations teams. They can do videoconferencing from iPads whenever they are traveling. When they are in the facility, they do the high-grade quality video conferencing.

The first applications for the iPad will be to replace paper-based forms (audit forms) with electronic audit forms that generate tasks list and email notifications. This will allow better visibility into any non-compliant issue and allow us to monitor remedial actions.

We deployed iPhones to all of our managers at all of the facilities and to maintenance staff. And now we are in the process of developing applications for these iPhones that will allow us to centralise information to ensure that we deliver the quality of standard and care we promised our residents. But the most important aspect of the last two years has been the automation of core workflow processes.

Arian de Wit, general manager, information systems and technology, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research:The biggest thing for us over the last couple of years is having scientific staff across 15 sites bring together the best skills for every project. Last year, we put in Microsoft Lync and people now do desktop video and screen sharing; co-authoring stuff in real time, rather than getting together for a meeting in front of a white board and trying to get a document on a projector. Distributed teams work much better with these collaboration tools than ever before, and it just speeds up the project lifecycle.

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