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Giles Nunis, Western Australia GCIO: Working to raise the value of the CIO and drive greater innovation

Giles Nunis

Giles Nunis will be speaking as keynote for our Western Australia OpenGov Leadership Forum 2016 on 15th March, 2016… Stay tuned for our coverage of the event!

OpenGov recently caught up with Mr. Giles Nunis, Government CIO, Western Australia. The Office of the GCIO is a sub department of the Department of Finance. Through this capacity, Mr. Nunis chairs the Director Generals council and the CIO council.

Giles Nunis was appointed into the inaugural role of Chief Executive and Government Chief Information Officer on 30 September 2015, having been acting in the role since 28 April 2015.

Before his appointment as GCIO, Giles was the Deputy Director General at the Department of State Development since early 2010. He was responsible for negotiating commercial State Agreements on behalf of the government with major resource companies and managing the government’s international trade offices.

During this time Giles was also seconded to the Department of Health and played a major role in restructuring of the department’s Fiona Stanley Hospital ICT Program which was successfully delivered on time for the opening of the hospital in November 2014.

Prior to joining the WA Government, Giles was the National Managing Director of a multi-national ICT and Management Consulting firm, based in Melbourne, with its head office in Zurich, Switzerland. Giles had undertaken a number of major ICT consulting assignments in Australia, SE Asia and the UK in both the government and private sector in the following industries: health; licensing; compliance & regulation; courts; legal; banking; land tenure; and hospitality.

Western Australia is at the forefront of the digital transformation process right now. However, Mr. Nunis feels that there are still quite a lot of obstacles to overcome.  Mr. Nunis comes with a qualified background and understanding, which he brings to the forefront of discussion in approaching this digitisation process.

Data Analytics driving Transformation

When it comes to data analytics, Mr. Nunis is more concerned with how government organisations use technology to pull insights, rather than the actual technology itself.

Some of the constraints to technology adoption have stemmed from budget constraint. This is why there needs to be a focus on how to serve a solid foundation for ICT to serve good data and innovation, Mr. Nunis emphasised.

“With respect to data and innovation, they run parallel to each other, but it is essentially about analytics,” stated Mr. Nunis, “Analytics helps decide a variety of things such as where the next bus stop is going to be, where is the next school going to be, where the roads should go, and others. All of these things are what Singapore is good at doing.”

Mr. Nunis is looking to capitalise on data analytics to improve the lives of those in Western Australia. This requires organisations to buy into the idea that sharing data will provide greater benefits, amidst the worry of risk.

Another challenge Mr. Nunis must face is trying to make government become more commercially orientated in the marketplace. As they are the greatest purchasers of products and services in Western Australia, Mr. Nunis is looking to leverage this in order to create more output out of these solutions.

His greatest objectives are to deliver better value and greater commercial outcomes from the use of data analytics solutions.

Raising the level of the CIO

Mr. Nunis and his team have been working to raise the digital awareness of top level officials. Mr. Nunis has held a session with over 60 Director Generals to demystify ICT, while encouraging them to get more involved with trending technology.

 “We have a deficiency in our capability in this sector. There are pockets of skills but our CIOs have been seen as just the technologists,” said Mr. Nunis, “I am keen on raising the profile of CIOs to the top tier level of CEOs, COOs, and CFOs. CIOs deserve to have a top level decision making authority.”

So far, many Director Generals are beginning to realise that technology is essential to business functions- they understand that when technology goes down, much of the business goes with it.

The task of raising this awareness has been a challenge. Yet, it will soon be inevitable that the CIO is brought to the top tier level as technology is destined to play a central part to each and every organisation.

Giles is currently focused on pushing his framework around building the capabilities of IT staff. This would also help to categorise the work of IT and increase the role of CIO’s. This framework is to be signed off by the ministers so then he can work with agencies to instil the thrusts of this framework.

To accomplish the delivery of this framework, Mr. Nunis is targeting 8 agencies which encompass a majority of the government.  These agencies include Health, Education, Public Transportation, Transport Authority, Police, and Main Roads. 

Through this, he aims to create a government wide network which is on-demand – and he hopes this will start with the WA Police.

Mr. Nunis is confident that if he is able to influence change within these agencies, others will swiftly follow. He is pressing a cabinet agreement that will push government policy to contractually agree to this framework.

Technology Adaption across Australia

Technology adaption across Australia works like this: other states may take on solutions and Western Australia will leap frog past them. This is because the state runs a smaller and more efficient government, similar to the strength of Singapore some might say.

It can be argued that not all of government will be on board by the time an ICT initiative is ready to launch. By the time that happens, organisations have decided they have new or different needs or requirements that cannot be matched by the upcoming initiative.

The goal is having 80 percent of organisations on board for a particular initiative, this signifies success. Plus, countrywide initiatives have the benefit of reducing costs for individual organisations. 

As Mr. Nunis works to push further analytics initiatives and raise the awareness of the CIO role, the cultural shift will be the most crucial part to digital transformation. Influencing mindset change will be key to reaching the next dimension of digital service delivery.

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