Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Frontline leadership

Stephen Bell | Dec. 18, 2012
After more than five years with the National and ANZ banks in ICT-related roles, Victor Vae'au decided, in 2007, to "round out" his career with some public-service experience. He applied for an applications development post in the NZ Defence Force and was told of an opportunity as operations manager.

NZDF is taking the opportunity to leverage such technology as cloud computing and has delivered its private-cloud capability -- "replacing the datacentre, modernising our infrastructure and upgrading our software stack is the challenge we are navigating our way through".

Vae'au expects the main workload to be in the new primary datacentre by July 2013," though he acknowledges that confident deadline statement might worry his project manager. This is, according to Vae'au the first step of his strategy to utilise industry to deliver more commoditised ICT services in the future "I don't think Defence should run datacentres -- there are experts who do that, we should be the experts at Defence systems and therefore focus on delivering those services".

Defence also has a role to play across government and is leading some developments in cross government services particularly in telecommunications, mobility and secure networks. "Interoperability and security in a very information rich world is vital, and a very complex given the nature of how consumers receive, consume information in an ever growing risk of cyber threat."

There are also critical programmes in NZDF that Vae'au's team is supporting and enabling over the next while. There is the Information program that is developing digital collaboration, publication and electronics records management, the development of shared services channels through the internet and major transformation in the human resources (HR) area.

"We are making a significant transformation in our HR area. We are implementing an HR Management Information System (HRMIS) that will deliver a more modern platform that can help us transform the way we manage our people, and streamline the business processes involved."

Vae'au has about 280 staff reporting directly to him, and another 300 to 400 in ICT roles in the three fighting forces and the civilian teams. "From the people perspective my aim is to create an environment where our military and civilian ICT specialists can come together and grow as one and become an effective operational unit," he says.

"That's one of the biggest challenges," he says, "while we have to respect the different aims of intelligence, military and corporate domain within the Defence Information Environment [NZDF's terms for its whole ICT resource], we are working hard to ensure we approach the challenges as one community."

"It is a cultural shift" says Vae'au. He is very keen on doing things differently and taking the time to get the right things right -- and culture is right up there with Vae'au.

How does he go about bringing the different teams of ICT people together with the operational people? It's about influencing -- a key leadership skill -- and about engagement, he says, "keeping an ear on the ground; listening to what your customer is saying. But you have to make that a two-way street; we've also got to be constantly informing them."


Previous Page  1  2  3  Next Page 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.