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New Transport CIO to drive major systems consolidation

by Paris Cowan •
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Transport for NSW has appointed a new Group General Manager of ICT who will oversee the technology operations of the State’s cluster of transport agencies.

Tim Catley started the job in June, marking a return to the public sector by the former Sydney Water Chief Information Officer after two years in the media industry.

Integration of the cluster’s IT functions will be top of his agenda once he has settled into the role, following a restructure of the Transport portfolio in November 2011.

He is likely to begin planning for a major business systems consolidation in line with the interim findings of a NSW Commission of Audit headed by Kerry Schott, a spokesperson for the Department has confirmed. The Audit suggested that Transport for NSW could save $100 million a year if it consolidated the 130 business and reporting systems in operation across its 58 comprising entities down to as few as 12.

“The formation of Transport for NSW is an opportunity to ensure the integration of support operations across transport and alignment of strategic roles across the agencies.

“Transport for NSW does intend to consolidate systems in line with the Schott Report however this is subject to further analysis,” the spokesperson said.

The Department received $151.3 million for business system improvements in the 2012-13 Budget – the largest allocation of new ICT funding for the year – however the approval of this funding pre-dates the Schott findings.

The Transport for NSW Group General Manager of ICT is an equivalent role to the former Group CIO position, which was until recently filled by John Thomas. Thomas has this month joined the ICT Policy unit at the Department of Finance and Services (DFS) as its Director, ICT Services.

After Thomas, Catley is just the second person to hold the whole-of-cluster Chief Information Officer role, with IT authority previously held by former agency CIOs such as Joe Abraham at the Roads and Traffic Authority and Roland Oderbolz at RailCorp.

Catley has returned to the NSW Government after a two-year stint as CIO and Head of Shared Services at APN News and Media where, he says, “a key focus of this role was the integration of IT delivery and operations across the group”.

Prior to this he served as CIO at Sydney Water for five years, under Managing Director Kerry Schott.

Speaking to ZD Net in 2008 Catley said that the IT unit he joined at the water authority in 2005 was struggling with low morale and underinvestment following the failure of the Customer Information and Billing System (CIBS) implementation.

"We built a simple 100-day plan that everyone could subscribe to and we started to execute on it," he told ZD Net of his approach to the IT remediation.  "We focused on building confidence that we could deliver, so that we could extend beyond keeping the lights on”.

However his period of service at Sydney Water was not pain free either. The Maximo consolidation became a familiar bug-bear of the State’s Auditor General. At the time of its eventual completion in June 2011, nearly two years later than anticipated, it had cost more than double its original budget of $18 million.

Catley graduated from the UK’s Anglia Ruskin University in 1986, where he studied electrical engineering. From 1992 to 1999 he filled various roles at Coopers & Lybrand, and then PriceWaterhouseCoopers following merger with Price Waterhouse. Prior to joining Sydney Water he was employed as IT Director at media company News Limited.

Related Articles:

ICT Strategy: Transport’s cloud champion to join NSW Strategy team

Is Transport for NSW looking for a new CIO?

NSW appoints first ever whole-of-Transport CIO

Schott Report: NSW needs a new Budget Management System

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