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Leadership equity, unlocked

Divina Paredes | Feb. 20, 2013
Simon Casey has a very different experience with his colleagues on two major trends impacting the ICT department -- bring your own device and the growing need to work with the marketing team.


Prior to his current role, Casey has worked for over 20 years in telecommunications, with Telecom New Zealand, where he rose to national telco operations manager; Telecom Directories (Yellow Pages) as IS manager, and Zintel, as CIO.

As head of ICT at Yellow Pages, he worked with different business units including marketing and sales, "really delivering the benefits of IT through trying to solve business problems or advanced opportunities for some of the businesses".

This period marked an evolution in his career, where he shifted from "just thinking about technology to thinking more about the business".

He had already been working there for six years as CIO when he decided to take a sabbatical. "I have worked for 24 years without a reasonable break so I had seven months off," says Casey. He went to Europe and also spent a lot of time on Takapuna beach, sailing.

"Once I had cleared my head, I did not want to get into a high level corporate role," says Casey. "I was quite keen to do something smaller and get my hands involved again." He says he found this environment at Barfoot & Thompson. "This role is perfect for me," says Casey. "Having a smaller team, I have more influence in a company, where I was dealing with board members and the executive team."

Team up

Casey says spends a fair amount of his time organising the team and the response to operations.

"I see one of my roles as CIO is to get the most out of people," he says.

The IT team at Barfoot & Thompson has a low turnover and he "effectively inherited a team" when he joined the company.

His team includes four people on the service desk, which provide support for the apps for the salespeople; a web manager; two to three software developers; a software development manager and a senior business analyst.

He says a priority around staff is to make sure they have performance plans focused around their own development. "Communicating with his team and as well as with stakeholders in the business is an important aspect of being a good CIO.

"The more you delegate [work], you can start to see who is going to thrive in the tough environment," he says. "Work out who your key players are, make sure they know if the systems are down, it is their key job" to work on them.

While he does not believe in micromanaging, he says, "You must be very clear on what they must do correctly and they must run projects in a methodical way. They must follow change control."

"Our projects are always focused on business outcomes," he stresses. "You have got to treat customers well. They are paying us, we must have business focus around everything we do."


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