Interview with Mick Havill, Chief Information Officer – WISE Employment

Mick Havill has over 40 years of achievement in IT across a wide range of business sectors.

He provided a variety of industrial control systems in harsh environments across the globe culminating in the implementation of the first ‘safety-critical’ software systems for the nuclear industry.

He was recruited as a consultant to Barclays to apply ‘nuclear thinking’ in order to raise the quality and performance of their banking systems.

In 2003, Mick joined ANZ to manage their global technology operations.  Mick became a key architect in the implementation of a major transformation program within ANZ before joining IAG to head infrastructure delivery to CGU.  This was a transformational role delivering IAGs platform which has become the basis of their regeneration.

After 20 years in financial services Mick took the role of CIO at WISE Employment to deliver opportunity to the most disadvantaged in our community.   Revolutionary innovation in the area of mobility has delivered a launch pad for WISE Employment’s growth and success.

He has built an expert team from a diverse background and in partnership with large corporate drives innovation as an early adopter.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges IT leaders are currently faced with within their business?  

  • Business demand for speed to market – Technology can deliver but it requires a cultural shift in the business. Collaboration and agility require true engagement.
  • Building and developing a passionate and competent team – Challenges of ‘team’ when from different business backgrounds geographically distant.
  • Sifting the hype from the reality – Living on the edge requires a degree of risk taking. To be successful, I have to recognise when a hyped solution will not deliver and create a strategy to deliver.

Tell us about your approach to supporting diversity in the workplace?

  • WISE is all about diversity in the workplace. We aim to support the most disadvantaged members of society and fully believe in empowerment through employment.
  • We own and operate four social enterprises that are dedicated to providing work opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, those traditionally under-represented in the trades (for example, women) and people with mental illness.
  • I see that technology can assist by bridging gaps that create social exclusion.
  • In my department we are fortunate to have diversity in ethnicity, gender and disability

What advice do you have for an IT graduate who is looking to join the workforce today?

  • Get real about the global position of IT today in Australia. There is a lot of stiff experienced competition and it is hard to get established.
  • Endeavour to keep abreast of the changing technology so that you have real skills which are in demand in a global market.
  • Client facing skills add to your personal selling proposition.
  • Know your brand and develop it.

What are the key things you look for in potential IT employees?

  • Creativity – knowledge leads to an ability to carry out tasks in a methodical fashion. It takes creativity plus knowledge to be able to see opportunities for radically changing for the better.
  • Passion – to be successful in IT people need to have a passion about technology, a passion to learn, a passion to try, a passion that drives you to keep trying until it works and a passion to make sure that it runs without error.
  • Customer focus – technology is not an end in itself. It is all about customer service. I look for people with both customer and commercial awareness.

What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?

  • Infrastructure
    o Hybrid Cloud – A swing back from total cloud deployment using hyper converged systems
    o IOT – still looking for solutions
    o FMC – Convergence and management of voice/video calls through mobile or landline
  • DevSecOps
    o CI/CD
    o Containerisation
    o Automated Testing
    o Scrumban framework
  • Applications
    o Micro-services architecture

What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

  • “Believe in yourself”
    • Despite an uninspiring engineering education, an interest in STEM and the wisdom of experience has given me the tools to be innovative – so take a risk and back myself!
  • “Understand the value you bring to the organisation”
    • Measure the successes and ‘failures’ in terms the benefit and learning brought to the organisation – the net $ value from the changes you have driven!

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