Ridley CIO: Suppliers should support us to be self-sufficient

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This article appeared in the May 2015 issue of CRN magazine.

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Ridley CIO: Suppliers should support us to be self-sufficient
Claudine Ogilvie

Claudine Ogilvie, CIO of the Australian agricultural products, turned to OBS and Thomas Duryea for recent projects.

Tell us about a recent project that required an external IT provider.

Recently we installed a customer relationship management system and used OBS to do that. We created this platform to improve collaboration and productivity across all our business units, which is important for Ridley, because 70 percent of our employees are rural and regionally based. 

A lot of them are on the road and sometimes they are isolated, and that makes communication quite difficult. So that particular project had a big impact on our processes and the way our employees interact with each other.

How did OBS assist?

They mainly provided technical advice, systems implementation and integration, and in particular, knowledge transfer, so that we can maintain it ourselves on an ongoing basis. We want to be reasonably self-sufficient for ongoing maintenance issues while still maintaining more strategic ongoing relationships.

Where do you tend to use partners?

We have a reasonably lean team. The way we look at that is we have a core team, and where we don’t have the skill sets we try and outsource that and engage third party providers, particularly on large projects where we just don’t have the volume of resources. 

What do you look for in partners?

They need strong technical expertise and have to understand my business and our strategic objectives in the context of their services. Any capable salesperson or project lead can describe their suite of services, but few take the time to successfully demonstrate how they come together to add value specifically to our strategy.

Where else have you used partners?

We had a SAN upgrade 18 months ago and Thomas Duryea helped us do the install and configuration and provided advice around maintenance. 

Does cloud play a big role in your future plans?

Cloud is a platform that we are always considering because it can reduce capital expenditure and lower our total cost of ownership, but it is not always appropriate to the need. It’s important, but we feel it’s still got a long way to go and still needs to mature a bit to meet a lot of our strategic needs.

How do you see your use of partners evolving?

Our IT spending is changing quite dramatically. As new technologies and platforms increasingly blur business unit and IT spending, we need to bring in third party specialists, people who have specialised skills. Over time, it may increase, but it all comes down
to strategic business spend.

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