The new head of IT at ASB Bank, Clayton Wakefield, has inherited a bigger job than his predecessor.
Wakefield replaces Garry Fissenden, who left the bank before Christmas to become managing director of online marketplace SupplyNet.
From his office on the 28th floor of Auckland’s ASB Tower, Wakefield will manage 350 staff, including software developers, and is responsible for buying equipment, managing electronic banking, internet banking, the company’s e-commerce strategy, ATMs and back-office operations like cheque processing. Unlike Fissenden, he will also handle the IT needs of other firms within the ASB group, such as the Sovereign and Colonial insurance operations.
“I do not think I’m coming in to make significant changes. It’s more incremental,” he says.
Wakefield becomes ASB’s general manager of technology, after just six months as director of IT at the University of Auckland.
He says he achieved much in that half-year, such as leading the nDeva project - which handles online enrolment for Auckland's students.
Computerworld has received some complaints about its effectiveness and some system breakdowns, and Wakefield admits the project was “challenging”, but says as a New Zealand groundbreaker the system is “fantastic”.
He says he also gave the university leadership and strategy on IT issues and still acts as a consultant for it.
Before then, Wakefield spent nine years with Telecom New Zealand, most recently as general manager of its online division. This involved looking at strategy for implementing IT across the company’s internal systems, including integrating systems with its Australian investment AAPT. Technology projects covered sales and service, fault management networks and asset management.
Wakefield says best project was making fault management more "transparent", so repairs could be carried out quicker.
At Telecom, Wakefield also took time out to study at an executive school in Auckland to add to his business skills.
Before working at the telco, he did his OE in the UK, working in IT project management for Standard Life in Edinburgh and Prudential Insurance in London. In the 1980s, the Waikato University computer science graduate worked for six years as a programmer in Wellington.
Wakefield says he became interested in IT because “you can make a difference” and he likes its many challenges. “IT is a large enabler for an organisation. Good IT is the key to success,” he says.
Wakefield advises a good blend of IT and business skills are essential for organsiations to get the most out of someone. “It is also important in the technology sector to take the lead when it comes to business initiatives,” he says.