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​Digital leadership in a much disrupted sector

Divina Paredes (CIO) | Sept. 17, 2015
Stuart Haselden, director of ITS at the Victoria University of Wellington, talks about transforming infrastructure to support multiple users, from digital natives to academics.

Victoria University of Wellington's Stuart Haselden: In the digital world, increasing student numbers is not just marketing's job.
Victoria University of Wellington's Stuart Haselden: In the digital world, increasing student numbers is not just marketing's job.

Enterprise CIOs have an increasing remit to use digital to sell across channels and grow their customer base.

Stuart Haselden, director, information technology services at Victoria University of Wellington, is familiar with such a remit. For Haselden, the goal is to use digital to grow the university.

Last year, Victoria welcomed a new vice-chancellor, Professor Grant Guilford, who was Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Auckland.

"Our new vice-chancellor is really IT focused. A key thing he has said to me is 'Grow our student base and he knows that digital is one of the tools we can use to do this'," Haselden told attendees at the ANZ CIO Forum.

"Victoria's strategic plan outlines an unreservedly ambitious 20-year path that looks to double the number of students.

"I am an IT guy, you would think increasing student numbers is marketing's job, surely, but the digital world is now so much more interlinked with marketing," said Haselden.

He and his co-presenter, Nick Smith, senior manager, professional services at VMware, talked about transforming infrastructure to support multiple users.

In the last year, Haselden has spent a lot more time with the marketing team than ever before.

"We are spending a lot of time thinking about how to reach more students around the world," said Haselden.

The 'next generation users' at the university range from digital natives, to staff and researchers, and academics.

Haselden highlighted the importance of the tertiary sector in the economies of both New Zealand and Australia. There are 43 universities, both public and private in Australia, while New Zealand has eight publicly funded universities.

"We have more than 51 universities just in this relatively small geographic area, [which is] quite a lot," he said.

Education brings in $15 billion a year to Australia where it is the third biggest export. In New Zealand, the sector brings in $3 billion annually (Victoria University has a turnover of around $400 million, with 22,000 students).

Victoria has a 120-member IT team, who work on over 100 projects or activities throughout the year.

Smith noted how education is one of the most disrupted sectors and that Haselden's team has one of the toughest customers, the digital natives.

Smith said the goal for Victoria's ICT function is to make IT as invisible as possible so the IT team can focus their time on improving the user experience for their customers.


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