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CIO50 2020 #26-50 Andrew Collins, Sport Integrity Australia

  • Name Andrew Collins
  • Title Chief information officer and chief security officer
  • Company Sport Integrity Australia
  • Commenced role July 2018
  • Reporting Line Chief operating officer
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 3 full time, 1 part time
  • Innovation at Sport Integrity Australia is not a single product or capability but rather a human, property and ICT transformation of the entire business over a two-year period. 

    This included using a small ICT team and budget to transform from a paper-based operation to a globally connected and collaborative leader in anti-doping security, education and engagement.

    "In 2018, we had just completed two high-profile doping cases and we  were an embattled, inwardly-focused organisation, highly dependent on paper records," SIA chief information officer, Andrew Collins tells CIO.

    "A new CEO with an engagement focus was appointed in the first quarter of 2018, and set about forming a new strategy for the organisation based on community engagement, education and data-driven decision making."

    Collins was appointed in July 2018 to create a digital business strategy to transform the organisation into the CEO's vision. It become apparent early that the ICT function was disconnected from the business needs, having for instance, implemented security controls at the request of one area that adversely impacted other groups and limited industry partnerships.

    "Shadow IT was rampant in the business to address perceived shortcomings in the existing ICT platforms leading to a disconnected and disjointed dataset," he says.

    Using a co-design model, the CIO engaged with C-level executives and branch leaders across the business to create a shared vision of the future and implementation plan. This became the digital transformation program.

    "Adding to the difficulty of such a large change program was a small IT team (3.5 staff) with no experience with modern cloud applications or services, supporting 270 casual and full time staff around Australia and 86 full time staff in Canberra. Budgets were increased for the transformation but still very limited," he says.

    Rather than using an outsourcing model, commercial vendors were integrated into the ICT team, allowing both scaling and variation in skillsets to be addressed. This approach to overall ICT program delivery remained with Sport Integrity staff, which resulted in a far more cost-effective and productive delivery model than traditional outsourcing.

    Data Centre of Excellence

    Collins and his team migrated SIA's records management system to cloud services; a protected collaboration platform, implementation of data and information governance programs and standards, mobilisation of the workforce, and the implementation of mobile casual presenters using elite athletes.

    All process and reporting have been digitised, education outreach programs that make use of AR and VR platforms; security protocols have been implemented to protect data about athletes, including AI-driven data loss presnetation, insider threat management, automated phishing awareness testing and training, as well risk-based conditional access to resources, he says.

    Collins says that the rapid rate of change, and the dramatic changes from a paper-based to a cloud organisation are not without their challenges, the most important being the adoption of new ways of working.

    "While some staff have adapted to new ways of working with gusto, others have been reluctant to embrace change."

    To manage this, the team created programs to help staff adapt to new ways of working including training 'Data-Centre of Excellence' staff to be early adopters and change champions in their respective business teams to ensure that at least one adopter is present in each section of the business. Under another program, early adopters challenging business processes, and successfully automating and simplyfing recruitment, education attendance reporting, intelligence targeting identification, and performance reporting programs.

    "The business value was demonstrated during the Christmas bushfires, which in January 2020 threatened the Canberra offices affecting 79 staff, and during the COVID-19 response. In both scenarios, the business was able to operate without signficant disruption with all staff working at home for most of 2020," he says.

    "We have also seen the collaboration and outreach goals of the CEO realised with the technology platforms being used to establish a range of global collaborative programs."

    Byron Connolly

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