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Operations

What IT leaders need to know about the management and effective running of the IT organization.

How Can a CIO Leverage Students for Innovation?

Globalisation is concentrating the minds of leaders of organisations on innovation. For most, there is a  need to improve or introduce products and processes more quickly in response to increased competition. Whether the desired innovation is disruptive or sustaining the challenge is usually to make it happen – to turn good ideas into improvements in organisational performance.

A recent IT Media Group Masters Series Roundtable considered how Chief Information Officers can best create and support innovation in their organisations. At the University of Waterloo, we have worked with organisations on the application of information technology in innovative ways that support organisational objectives, for many years. Student teams in our Strategic management of Technology course undertake projects with organisations that are intended to accelerate innovation activity.

The projects focus on the application of information technology to benefit the business. Students are mainly from engineering and technology oriented degree programs and the projects help them understand how the work that they will do in their current or future jobs can be better aligned with business needs. For organisations, the students are a free resource that can help them accelerate their innovative activity. Projects can undertake feasibility studies, assist with selection of technologies, contribute to technology design, prepare business cases for technology based change and evaluate past technology based project work.

At the university we have developed a project process that is used as a basis for most of the projects that we undertake. Before student teams are formed, the professor and the client organisation develop a project specification. The professor conducts a video interview with the client that is used with the specification to introduce the project to the student team. The teams are formed and will usually meet with the client to help them prepare a plan for their work. After discussion and agreement on the plan with the client, the work on the project proceeds for the 12 week course period. The project concludes with a report, usually written, with a video presentation and any other deliverables that have been agreed with the client.

Communication with clients is usually virtual. Skype, or another collaboration tool, is used for meetings and online collaboration spaces are often used to share documents and other information on the project. A template for weekly reporting on the project is provided to the students and facilitates the relationship with the client. Projects can be and have been located any where in the world with an internet connection.

We are often asked how an organisation can get the best value from their projects. While most of the projects that we undertake are successful, our greatest successes have come from projects with the following features:

Make sure the project has organisational value: The best projects are very important to the organisation. This increases student motivation to deliver good results.

Ensure project objectives are clear and achievable: If the client is unclear about what they want from the project then the project team will also be confused. Clarity of expectations is essential for a successful project.

Provide access to necessary people and information: Providing student teams with the access to people and information that they need for their work is very important. Delays disrupt the project schedule and can make the team feel that they are not valued.

Recognise success: If you are pleased with the project activity, let the team know. This will motivate them to continue with the good work.

Discuss concerns promptly: Raising problems as quickly after they appear as possible will usually make it easier to get the project back on track. Allowing problems to simmer usually makes them worse. Receiving constructive criticism is valuable learning for the students.

Over the past ten years we have undertaken many projects, for many organisations. In the past two years our projects have included the introduction of e – signatures in real estate transactions for a major condominium builder, selection of an application for scheduling of consultants for a major financial services company, advice on the use of social media in the relationship between veterinarians and their clients, for the Ontario Veterinary College, development of and evaluation of proposals for the use of near field communications technologies for a tech start up, development of proposals for the integrated use of mobile health technologies, preparation of business continuity plans for the IT services of a medium sized city in Ontario, and information technology planning for a major technology personnel recruitment company. Our clients include large and small companies and organisations in the public and private sectors.

Many universities and colleges undertake projects with organisations today and will be grateful for th opportunity to work with you. Details of who to contact to discuss this can usually be found of the institution’s website. If you are interested in working with us please contact me.


Peter Carr’s work focusses on the impact of information technology in society and its application within organisations. He is the Director of three online certificate programs at the University of Waterloo in Technology Entrepreneurship, Project Leadership and Social Media for Business Performance, for working professionals.

 

 

Past Attendees


ADP - VP Architecture & Infrastructure

AESO - VP, Information Technology

Agnico Eagle Mines - VP, IT

Agrium - Global Mgr., IT Security

Agrium - Senior Director IT Shared Services

Aimia - SVP & Global CIO

Ainsworth Engineered - Director IT

Air Canada Vacations - Director IT

Alberta Energy Regulator - Director, Office of the CIO

Anthem Properties - VP IS

AON Risk Solutions Canada - Head of IT

Aviva Canada - VP, Architecture & Strategy

Bank of America Merrill Lynch - CTO

BC Ferry Services - VP & CIO

Bellatrix Exploration - Director, Information Technology

Bentall Kennedy - VP IT

Black Press - CTO

BlackBerry - VP Corporate IT

BMO Financial Group - Head of Services Delivery

Bombardier Aerospace - CISO

Bonavista Petroleum - Head of IT

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Global CIO

Bow Valley College - Director, IT Services

Bridgewater Bank - Head of IT

BuildDirect - VP IT

Bulk Barn - Head, IT

Burnco - CIO

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec - VP, IT Planning, Architecture, Governance, Operations

Calfrac Well Services - Head of IT

Canada Mortgage and Housing - VP, Information & Technology

Canadian Depository for Securities - CIO

Canadian Direct Insurance - CTO

Canadian Payments Association - VP & CIO

Canucks Sports - Head of IT

Capgemini - Service Delivery Director

CAPREIT - CIO

Cardel Homes - VP MIS

Cargojet - CIO

CCS Corp. - VP IT

Centerra Gold - Director IT & Comm

CIBC - Senior Director, Infrastructure Planning & Engineering

CIBC - SVP & CIO, Retail and Business Banking Technology

CIBC Mellon - AVP, Enterprise Architecture

CIBC Mellon - SVP & CIO

Cineplex Entertainment - CTO

City of Brampton - Senior Manager, IT Architecture & Planning

City of Richmond Hill - CIO

City of Toronto - Director of Strategic Planning & Architecture

CN Rail Service - Chief Information Security Officer

Coast Capital Savings - VP Technology

Concordia University - AVP & CIO

Crescent Point Energy - Head of IT

Dairy Farmers of Ontario - Head of IT and Administration

Dale Parizeau Morris Mackenzie - VP, IT

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP - Director, Information Technology

DealerTrack Canada - Director, Technology

Defence Construction Canada - Corporate Manager, IT

Deloitte - Director, Cyber Risk

Dentons - Canada CIO

Devon Energy - Director, Integrated Business Services

Direct Cash - VP IT & Security

Dynamic Tire Corp - CIO

D+H Partnership - VP, Head of Canadian Mortgage Technology

eHealth Ontario - VP, IT Systems & Services

Encana - Director, InfoSec

Enbridge Inc. - VP, Technology and Information Services

Enerflex - CIO

Enerplus - VP. IS

ENMAX - VP, IT & PMO

Essential Energy Services - Director, IT

Expedia Cruise Ship Centers - VP IS

FGL Sports - VP, Information Technology

Fix Auto Canada - COO & SVP

Flightnetwork.com - CIO

FT Services - CIO

FundServ - CIO

Genus Capital Management - CTO

Genworth Financial Inc. - VP IT

Golder Associates - CTO

Gran Tierra Energy - Director IT

Grant Thornton LLP - CIO

Greenwin Inc - VP, Information Technology

Groupe Dynamite - Director, IT

GSK Canada - IT Director

GTAA - Acting CIO

H&R Block Canada - VP IT

Hewitt Equipment Ltd. - VP & CIO

Hitachi - CTO, Americas

Home Trust Company - CIO

Home Trust Company - CTO

Home Trust Company - VP & CISO

Horizon North Logistics - CIO

IBM Canada - Associate Partner, Payments Industry

Indigo Books and Music - CIO

ivari - SVP & CIO

JP Morgan Chase Canada - Executive Director, Information Risk Management

Keyera Energy - Director, Information Technology

KnowledgeOne - CIO

LaFarge Canada - Director, IT

Landmark Cinemas Canada - VP, IT

LCBO - Director, Applications Systems

LCBO - SVP & CIO

Leisureworld Senior Care Corp - VP IS

Lightstream Resources - Head, Information Services

London Drugs - GM IT

Loto-Quebec - Corporate Director, InfoSec

Magna International Inc - VP & Global Leader, IT (CIO)

March Networks - VP Professional Services & CIO

McCain Foods Limited - Manager InfoSec

McInnis Cement - Director of Information Technology

Medical Pharmacies Group - VP, Information Technology

MEG Energy - Manager, Information Technology Solutions & Services

MMM Group - CIO

Montreal Police Service - CIO

Morguard Investments - CIO

Moulding & Millwork - CIO

National Bank of Canada - Information Security Officer

National Capital Commission - Chief, IT infrastructure & Support Services

NHL Players' Association - Head, Security & Technology

Northbridge Financial Corp - CIO

OEC Group Canada - Vice President, Information Technology and Client solutions

Oildex - VP, Architecture & Infrastructure

Olympia Financial Group - CIO

OMERS - SVP IT

Ontario Pension Board - CTO

Ontario Trillium Foundation - CIO

Osum Oil Sands Corp - Manager, IS

Ottawa Police Service - CIO

Pacific Western Transportation - CIO

Packers Plus - Global IT Director

Pason Systems - Manager, Digital Communications & Corporate IT

Patient News - CTO

Peel District School Board - CIO

Pengrowth Corp - Director IS

Penn West Exploration - Snr. Manager, IT Operations

Peterson Investment Group - Head of IT

PFB Corp. - CIO

Pizza Pizza - CIO & VP, IT

Precision Drilling - VP, IT

Precision Drilling - Director, IT Infrastructure & Security

PSP Investments - Snr. Director, Internal Audit & Business Infosec

Public Works and Government Services Canada - Director, IT Security Directorate

PwC - Managing Director, Real Estate Technology Advisory

Qantas - Global CIO

Queen's University - Director, Information Technology

RBC Royal Bank - Head of Application Security, Data Protection & Security Consulting

Regal Lifestyle Communities - CIO

Revera Inc. - CIO

Revera Inc. - Security Architect

Ricoh Canada - VP,IT

RioCan Property Services - VP IT

Rogers Communications - SVP, Customer Experience IT

ROM - CIO

Russel Metals - VP,IS

Scotiabank - Head, Systems Architecture & Platform Modernization

Scotiabank - VP - International Systems Technology

Scotiabank - Director, Architecture & Engineering

Sears Canada - Divisional VP, Information Technology Services

Secure Energy Services - GM, IT

Shaw Communications - VP, Technology Operations

Shaw Communications - Director, Risk Management

SMART Technologies - Director, IS Corporate Services

Smartcentres - Director IS, IT

Societe de Transport de Montreal - Division Head - Security and Compliance

Street Capital Financial - CIO

Sun Life Financial - AVP, Data & Business Intelligence Services

Sun Life Financial - VP Application Ops & Services

Suncor Energy Inc. - Director, Application Portfolio Optimization, I&PM, Business Services

Symcor - CTO, VP Technology Services

Talisman Energy - SVP IT & Business Services

TD Bank - Enterprise Architect

Teknion - SVP, CIO

TELUS - Chief Security Architect

Tervita Corporation - VP, Information Technology

The Hudsons Bay Company - VP Technology

The Hudson's Bay Company - SVP & CIO

The Source - VP, Information Technology

TMX Group - VP, CISO

Toromont Industries - VP & CIO

Toronto District School Board - Chief Technology Officer

Toronto Hospital for Sick Children - Director of Technology

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - Chief Enterprise Architect

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - CIO

Toyota Canada - National Manager, IS

Transamerica Life Canada - CIO

Trican Well Services Ltd. - Director, Business Information Systems

Tridel Corporation - CIO

Trillium Health Partners - IT Director, Applications & Clinical Informatics

UFA Cooperative - VP & CIO

University of Calgary - Executive Director, Development Services

University of Ottawa - CIO

University of Ottawa - Senior Director IT Services & Infrastructure

University of Waterloo - Director, Technology Entrepreneurship

Vancity - VP Technology & Solutions

Viterra - Director Enterprise Technology

World Health - Director IT

Wolseley Canada - CIO & COO

Yellow Pages Group - Director - Enterprise Data Management

York Region District School Board - CIO

Operations Archive