By Helen Dean, Marketing Director, ANZ

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EMC recently had the pleasure of sponsoring CIO Magazine’s inaugural ANZ CIO Forum. Held in the Yarra Valley, Victoria in early September, almost 50 of Australia and New Zealand’s top IT chiefs gathered to hear from exceptional local and international speakers as well as participating in Think Tanks and Roundtable discussions.

With a schedule packed with talks from a range of inspirational leaders, the IT leaders in attendance heard three key themes evolve during the sessions:

1. Innovation

Merck’s Phyllis Post discussed the journey of innovation emphasising that companies need to shift their focus from integration to differentiation to achieve effective IT transformation.

In his session on innovating to create better citizen services Colin MacDonald, from NZ’s Department of Internal Affairs, dared to claim that government and innovation is an oxymoron. He suggested government needs to match the private sector customer experience and mentioned that the NZ Government aims to deliver an ‘Amazon-style’ experience for its citizens.

EMC’s SVP of IT Jon Peirce took us through EMC’s own personal journey of IT transformation and highlighted that every crisis is also an opportunity. He suggested not letting mistakes go to waste but to instead learn from them and keep your focus the bigger picture.

Digital Disruption Guru Steve Sammaratino claimed start-ups are changing the world we live in and went on to outline what can be learnt from them. He even went as far to say that toilets will be mini laboratories and the most high tech device in our homes in five to ten years!

Rodd Cunico took us through the “Technical Tour de France” showcasing how Dimension Data is delivering a big data cycle analytics platform for the first time in the history of professional cycling.

2. Leadership

Transformation is a continually ongoing process, and for meaningful change, a test of leadership will occur along with change management acumen. In a session on leading and driving a performance culture GE Mining’s Steve Sargent highlighted that the world is changing, yet he sees leaders taking perfectly rational actions for a world that no longer exists.

Forrester’s Peter Burris advised CIOs to lead digital business transformation by using customer experience to design ‘outside in’. Rebecca Livesay, formally of Westrac, discussed how to link strategy, culture and leadership and Michael Power, of Gartner, explained how the CIO can effectively work with the board and executive team.

3. Transformation

The expectation of the consumer has fundamentally changed and companies must prepare for digital disruption. Currently organisations are struggling with the new world of data science. A study by EMC shows rapid change is required to meet the demands of the information generation. Their use of technology means the future of technology is not the mobile device, but the software and interaction delivered through the device.

World Bank Group’s Mark Thompson sparked ideas by declaring transformation is entrepreneurship in his session on how to make change happen now with urgency. Thomas Mayer, COO of the Lotus F1 team, discussed the intersection of motorsport and technology, advising not to outspend the competition, but instead to outthink them as Lotus F1 does by using Big Data for a competitive advantage.

And finally Nick Smith, of VMware, hosted a joint case study with Victoria University Auckland Campus on how they transformed the university’s IT systems.

There was also time for plenty of interaction, as EMC hosted an executive Think Tank session, delving into how businesses can benefit from the Big Data boom. Additional Think Tanks were held by VMware, discussing its blueprint for technology-enabled transformation while VCE hosted the third executive session exploring why convergence is the key to achieving agility.

As well as these insightful Think Tanks, issues were discussed during roundtables titled Succeeding with Agile, hosted by Dimension Data, 10 Hidden Aspects of Digital Transformation hosted by CSC, and Cyber Security in the next generation of technology environments hosted by Deloitte.

The sessions and roundtables weren’t the only fun and games to be had! The first evening tickled the taste buds with a wine tasting challenge and guest speaker 2014 Victorian Young Australian of the Year and Founder of Thank You Group Daniel Flynn fascinated the crowd with discussion of his award-winning social enterprise on the second. Everyone networked further during heated matches of tennis, testing their archery skills, aiming high in clay shooting or relaxing with lovely bushwalks or bike rides.

Thank you to all our guests, CIO Magazine, our Federation partners RSA, Pivotal, VCE and VMware and supporters CSC, Deloitte and Dimension Data. We are already looking forward to the next #anzcioforum.