Australian enterprise technology jobs aren’t usually glamorous, but Coles’ Conrad Harvey says the CIO role can be an exciting career as long as you don’t let the help desk moments get you down.
Harvey, who is the Coles Group’s IT general manager, was speaking on a panel of enterprise technology bosses at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week.
Here’s what he said:
I think being a CIO is about embracing the positives. If you want to, you can let the job get you down … it can occasionally feel a bit demeaning when you try to answer to the CEO about why his Blackberry’s not working.
But – and in retail, this is definitely the case, where the combination of the rapid evolution of technology and the rapid change of customer behaviour and what you need to have in place for people to be able to work – there’s not many people who have as exciting and as critical roles.
Occasionally, you may not get the headlines and glory that some of the other roles do but boy it’s an exciting job and a fascinating job to be involved in where you work across any organisation you’re in, from people on the sales floor all the way through to the execs and you really get to touch and feel all parts of the organisation.
Other panel members were the Stanford University Graduate School of Business CIO Ranga Jayaraman, Thomson Reuters CIO Jane Moran, and Salesforce.com CIO Ross Meyercord.
They agreed that the highlights of the job were how it enabled innovation and transformation and tackling the challenge of big data.
“Things that always can get any of us fired on a given day still exist, in terms of a network going down repeatedly or screwing up big projects,” Meyercord noted.
“But I do think that our role – especially for me at Salesforce – helps make business partners’ lives easier. That kind of focus makes a good career CIO.”