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The heart of transformation

Divina Paredes | March 19, 2012
Fonterra CIO Chris Barendregt says a big development for him and his team at the dairy giant is "the continuing maturity of IT".

Collaboration tools

Barendregt says Fonterra is implementing an upgrade of SharePoint to be used for corporate social networking. At the moment, some 4000 people are using the free version of Yammer, which was installed as a pilot. "It is a tool we can use and learn from, but over time we will move to SharePoint."Barendregt says Fonterra is part of a pilot for Microsoft Lync which will also be deployed globally in the New Year. He says videoconferencing is a big focus for CEO Theo Spierings, who joined Fonterra in September. "He wants to hold leadership meetings without anyone flying in," and the technology will allow them do to this, says Barendregt.The communications upgrade has a positive flow on to the health and safety of the IT team. The team is primarily based in Auckland and Hamilton so the number of people driving between these two cities everyday is large. "When we look at our office environment, our single biggest risk is travel. So part of what we are looking to do is using technology to stop that risk, by reducing people from driving all the time," says Barendregt.


Barendregt finds it useful for him and his staff to have regular meetings -- both formally and informally -- with ICT colleagues. He and a group of CIOs from other sectors have set up an "interaction forum" where they talk about their programmes, such as a restructuring or working on a major supplier contract.He also draws from his experience in previous roles in other sectors. His six years at EDS (now part of HP), for instance, have given him a better understanding of how to work better with ICT providers. "A confrontational relationship, in my view, does not necessarily work with outsource providers," he says. When issues arise, he says, "You just keep on working with them to resolve issues. If you try to push them too hard, it does not always have the same effect. You really have to come up with a constructive working relationship to get a good outcome."




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