Strategy determines structure

By Merri Mack
Tuesday, 13 April, 2010

Curtin University of Technology’s students and colleagues benefit from its CIO Peter Nikoletatos’s fascination with technology and its potential. These lucky people get to use and experience the most innovative technology. Merri Mack speaks to Nikoletatos* about what drives him.

“We live in a time where technological advancements have helped shape must of our social platforms and political agendas. Being able to play a small part in shaping what happens in the sectors that I have been fortunate enough to work in keeps me very motivated. My adage is ‘Strategy determines structure’ and much of what I do and think about is a based on that premise. The bonus is that I get to work with some very clever people and being able to mentor them is an amazing reward. Having had the opportunity to meet industry icons reminds me that we live in exponential times. There are some amazing people that I have been fortunate to meet,” says Nikoletatos.

Nikoletatos moved from the University of Newcastle (UoN) across the country to Curtin in Western Australia over a year ago. He says, “My time at University of Newcastle was quite specific in terms of change management, inter alia. The exciting aspect about UoN was learning about the higher education sector. At the end of my contract there, the time was right for me to move on, and I was confident of leaving the IT group in a better state to what I inherited. That said, it would be remiss not to recognise the lifelong friends I made at UoN who supported me, and contributed to the journey.

“Curtin University is very different and I knew a lot about the innovative ideology long before I considered the opportunity there. The potential at Curtin to enhance the student experience, and enable greater engagement with the Research and Teaching & Learning community, is very strong. The opportunity to showcase evidence-based practice in ICT leadership and change through innovation is of paramount importance.

“The senior leadership team at Curtin are very forward thinking and this is clearly reflected in Curtin’s international and national reputation.

Nikoletatos explains the core reasons why he has been successful in implementing systems at Curtin.

“I believe what has been working really well at Curtin is the emphasis on collaboration. I spend a lot of time communicating widely and openly about the direction ICT is heading. This is achieved through a number of communication strategies including CIO Quarterly Updates, Fireside Chats and Open Days.

“The other aspect is that strategy determines structure so we continually focus on working very closely with our strategic vendors. We are obviously keen to understand their road maps and determine the fit in our future state architectures. I also invite our strategic vendors to meet as a group with me with the emphasis on ‘we are all in this together’.”

Nikoletatos is not only a triathlete but an Ironman triathlete, which requires dedication to compete successfully. I asked him how triathlon training complements his role as CIO at Curtin?

“Triathlon and other events that I have been involved in are very much based on outcomes. Training to me is about motivating and being motivated. When I’ve trained for Ironman Triathlon, getting out of bed in the middle of winter before there is even light, for a six-hour bike ride, reinforces the importance of being goal oriented. It has to hurt, if you want to appreciate the rewards.”

* Peter Nikoletatos is the CIO of Curtin University of Technology and has more than 25 years’ experience in the ICT industry and overseas. Over the years he has held several senior appointments including IT Manager for I-MED (Radiology), National Manager eBusiness for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and more recently, the CIO of the University of Newcastle.

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