​2016: The year that was for Aussie end-users

​2016: The year that was for Aussie end-users

CIO Editor-in-Chief, Byron Connolly, provides a month-by-month look back at who and what made news in 2016 from a buyer perspective.

2016 was a year of transformation and continual change in the CIO sector. In January, Gartner said that this year, CIOs would influence, acquire and reshape capabilities beyond their core IT agenda and were expected to behave like more ambitious change leaders. Many IT chiefs certainly did just that.

In this month-by-month review, we take a look at the some of the highlights of this year.


The first month of 2016 was a big one for CIO movements with Barry Simpson, the former group CIO of Coca-Cola Amatil moving into a global role at The Coca-Cola Company. Simpson left Sydney to Coke’s headquarters in Atlanta in the United States to undertake the role.

The University of Sydney hired Mike Day as CIO, replacing Bruce Meikle, who moved into the role of director, enabling technologies at the university.

Meanwhile, Brett Wilson also became CIO at home designs and building company, McDonald Jones, and ASX-listed Super Retail Group appointed John Lewis’ former head of IT delivery, Paul Hayes as its new CIO.

Also during the month, eHealth Queensland’s CIO and chief executive, Colin McCririck, was being investigated by the state’s Crime and Corruption Commission following complaints of nepotism. He was stood down along with department deputy secretary, Susan Middleditch. But the investigation found nothing and McCririck returned to work in April.

The Australian Securities Exchange spent $14.9 million to acquire a 5 per cent stake in Digital Asset in January. Digital Asset develops distributed ledger technology similar to the Bitcoin blockchain. The investment funded the second phase of a post-trade solution at the ASX, replacing the CHESS system used for clearing and settlement with Digital Asset’s technology.

At the end of January, PwC also said it was partnering with Blockstream to help organisations deploy blockchain technology.


Sydney Water appointed George Hunt as CIO, replacing the retiring Stephen Wilson. At the time, Wilson also announced that the organisation was replacing a 30-year old billing system that is responsible for processing 1.7 million customer bills every quarter. The bespoke system was written on an IBM mainframe in the 1980s.

In the government sector, the Western Australian Department of Transport announced it would trial an autonomous shuttle bus, while Transport for NSW announced it would launch a program where technologists could pitch their ideas to government around improving the state’s transport system.

The University of Adelaide switched on Phoenix, a high performance computing (HPC) system that provides more than 4,300 of its researchers with the computing power they need to crunch large data sets. The University of Western Australia launched a high performance computing cluster to support researchers studying gravitational waves.

National Australia Bank begin rolling out its ‘personal banking origination platform” in its biggest technology overhaul ever. ANZ launched its mobile payments app, allowing customers with an Android smartphone to make contactless payments.

A report by the Queensland Audit Office also found that Queensland government departments were not paying enough attention to security when implementing and adopting cloud computing.


Google Australia and New Zealand's managing director, Maile Carnegie quit and joined ANZ Bank in the newly-created position of group executive, digital banking. The NSW Electoral Commission’s director of information technology and CIO, Ian Brightwell, also quit his position, which he held since 2005.

Mark Sheppard moved into the role of digital lead for Asia-Pacific at GE – responsible for commercialisation of software across the region. The Benevolent Society’s CIO, Andy Hurst resigned after 18 months in the role, and Suncorp Group’s CIO, Matt Pancino, quit just one month after moving back into the role.

A failed rollout of an infringement management and enforcement system at Victoria’s Department of Justice & Regulation – costing taxpayers $60 million – was one of six technology projects across the state to come under scrutiny. The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office analysed technology projects worth a combined $200 million with the Department of Justice & Regulation’s rollout being terminated in early 2015, six years after the expected completion date.

The federal government also announced the first stage of a new online digital marketplace that enables startups to access its $5 billion annual spend on ICT projects.


One of Australia’s biggest technology users, Tabcorp, told CIO Australia that it was using a development centre in Krakow, Poland to access application developers with skills needed by the multi-billion dollar organisation to build its digital capabilities. The organisation signed an agreement with Grand Parade, a London-based digital agency, to increase the amount of developers it uses from the firm’s Poland office to around 50. Tabcorp CIO Kim Wenn also said at the time said the organisation would go ‘all in cloud’ within three years.

Also during April, Westpac CIO, David Curran, predicted that more partnerships between big banks and smaller fintech startups will help to drive a new innovative working model.

Apple co-founder and PC revolutionary, Steve “the Woz” Wozniak said there may be no need to own a car in future, thanks to developments in self-driving vehicles and Uber.

St Vincent’s Hospital’s Sydney IT chief, David Roffe, left is long-term post to join Macquarie Health as its new general manager of IT. Roffe headed up IT for St Vincent’s since 1997 – almost 20 years – overseeing many IT initiatives with a focus on electronic medical records (EMR) and healthcare informatics.

ASX-listed video streaming and DVD rental company, Quickflix appointed Ferrier Hodgson as voluntary administrators. Quickflix made the move after failing to lock down a deal with Stan Entertainment, owned by Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media.

ANZ started offering the Apple Pay contactless payment solution to its five million customers in Australia – and was the first bank in the country to do so at the time.


The federal government announced it would create an operational taskforce of more than 1,000 specialist staff at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to prosecute companies, multinationals and high wealth individuals who are not paying enough tax.

IBM recruited eight US universities to help train Watson for Cyber Security, a new cloud-based version of its cognitive technology. Watson is learning the nuances of security research findings, and discovering patterns and evidence of hidden cyber threats that could otherwise be missed.

Meanwhile, Fintech specialists claimed that banks of the future would be technology companieswith a banking licence, and traditional finance options may give way to more digitally advanced methods and platforms.

The Victorian government unveiled a new IT strategy to update and consolidate outdated and complex and costly systems including hundreds of phone hotlines and 538 different service websites.

Former Sydney University ICT manager, Jason Meeth, was found corrupt, following an investigation by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. ICAC found that Meeth engaged in serious corrupt conduct by improperly exercising his functions as a university official. While in the role, he gave preferential treatment to Canberra Solutions in selecting the company’s candidates to work at the university as ICT contractors.

The Australian Federal Police raided two addresses in Melbourne as part of an investigation into NBN leaks. Search warrants were conducted in the Treasury Place office of former Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy. The second property is reported to the Brunswick home of a staffer of Labor MP Jason Clare, Andy Byrne.

The raids related to complaints from NBN, the company rolling out the national broadband network, following alleged leaks of internal documents to the media.


Sydney Water announced it needed an implementation partner to design, build and run new ERP, billing and CRM systems in a ‘once in a generation investment’ to drive a new customer-focused mobile and integrated business.

Pizza retailer and technology leader, Domino’s started using customer GPS and mode of travel data to calculate the optimum time to start making an order.

WA’s exasperated auditor general considered naming and shaming government agencies with IT system weaknesses to force them into action. In his annual Information Systems Audit Report, auditor general Colin Murphy assessed 45 agencies against six control categories: IT operations, management of IT risks, information security, business continuity, change control and physical security. More than half had no defined controls in three or more categories, according to the report tabled in Parliament.

Westpac Group tech chief, Dave Curran, said remaining agile was one of the biggest challenges facing CIOs today. He described the bank as a 200-year old startup needed to both work with Agile methodologies while leveraging legacy processes.

Meanwhile, Woolworths’ CIO Clive Whincup quit after just over two years in the role. Whincup joined the retailer in April 2014 after almost five years as a senior IT executive at Westpac.

Claudine Ogilvie was appointed as Jetstar’s new CIO, replacing Grainne Kearns who departed in August after helping restructure the low cost airline’s IT team.

Education services provider, Navitas, appointed former Ramsay Health Care IT chief Mick Campbell as its CIO. Campbell moved across from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Also during the month, prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull promised that the rollout and management of an updated Medicare payments system will not be outsourced to the private sector. He said on the Q&A program that there had been consideration of revising the platform, which is 30 years out of date.

IBM’s global CIO and former IT chief at Telstra, Jeff Smith, told CIO Australia, spoke about how he rolled out Agile methodologies at Big Blue.

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