Statistics NZ seeks new IT chief

Fancy producing the figures that tell New Zealand how well or badly we are doing? Statistics New Zealand is offering a new top job for someone to run its IT systems and manage the data.

Title: Statistics NZ information tecnology services GM

Function: Manage 110 staff and $10m budget

Description: Combines roles of information and knowledge chiefs

Dosh: Estimated up to $220,000

Fancy producing the figures that tell New Zealand how well or badly we are doing?

Statistics New Zealand is offering a new top job for someone to run its IT systems and manage the data.

The Wellington-based post of general manager of information technology services will replace the current role of group manager of IT as incumbent Dallas Welch heads home to Christchurch, taking the statistics functions with her.

The post will involve managing 110 full-time staff and a $10 million budget, focusing on IT and knowledge management. Essentially it combines the roles of chief information officer and chief knowledge officer (see www.stats.govt.nz).

“The new person has the responsibility of making sure the Census IT environment – infrastructure [network, servers, etc], and applications - perform well, so that the census data can be captured, processed and analysed and the statistics produced and disseminated to meet target time frames and the level of quality required," says Welch. "This also means that data needs to be well organised, managed through [its] lifestyle and kept secure.”

“This is similar to the role they have in producing any critical statistics such as the Consumer Price Index, balance of payments or Household Labour Force Survey, but is quite different in scale and in some of the technology used,” she says.

Statistics New Zealand has a wide range of IT systems, supports its own infrastructure and has a 60-strong application development area. It spends a fifth of its budget maintaining and upgrading its technology.

Systems used include Lotus Notes (for hosting web servers) and Sybase on NT servers. SAP, Oracle financials, Novell, Centura and VB and also used.

Welch says the type of person the role would suit would be someone presently in IT strategic planning, has an interest in participating in developments like e-government, and interest and experience in knowledge management and good people skills.

“Someone who can cross the boundary between business and IT. Someone who has the ability to sort out what’s happening within the IT world … looking for the opportunity to get into stats,” she says.

The successful candidate would probably have a degree in computing or economics (like Welch), good application language knowledge and experience in risk management and strategic planning.

The new job, answering to the Government Statistician, is “challenging, interesting and exciting” enough to last someone a lifetime, or “it can be a stepping stone to a larger organisation,” says Welch.

Welch won’t say what the job pays other than it is “second tier” and “a reasonable salary within government".

Barry O'Brien of recruiter Enterprise says this sector is not his specialty but "guesstimates" a package of $220,000. Christine Fitchew of Candle estimates "around $200,000", adding it is always harder to assess jobs in the state sector.

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