"Industry has a responsibility to help shape the education of its future workforce," says Barry Simpson, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Coca-Cola Amatil. "That is why I'm very happy to give students the benefit of my experience."
He was recently invited to give a guest lecture to Masters students within the School of Information Systems Technology and Management (ISTM) at the Australian School of Business. He said the main benefit to students is that they get to interact early with people who have navigated their way through industry experience. "They get to see the practical application of what they are studying, and giving them this industry context of what they are studying early on can help them frame their thinking."
Barry Simpson has the responsibility of heading the IT organisation as well as delivering the OAisys program (One Amatil information system), which is Coca-Cola's technology refresh program. It has key financial, back-office and equipment service systems operating on the SAP platform. This is a platform that many students will get to know well in their professional career. "Many organisations are built around SAP," he said.
The School of Information Systems Technology and Management integrates guest lectures from industry as part of our UG & PG curriculum, which connects students with industry - and which also enables organisations to see which students they might like to recruit. "As an employer, it is great to identify talent early on, and you better prepare people for entry into the workforce," said Barry Simpson, who joined Coca-Cola in January 2008. "I feel a responsibility to help shape the IT industry that I am so passionate about. This is a simple way to do this at a personal level."
Christine Van Toorn, the Co-ordinator of ISTM Co-op Programs said Barry Simpson did an impressive job engaging the students and presenting the materials. "The lecture gave the students an excellent industry and business perspective on Enterprise Resource Planning systems, and the many demands and pitfalls associated with this specialised area. The students really appreciated him sharing his knowledge and experience with the class."
He responded "I found the student's questions very engaging and the opportunity to use my experience very rewarding. It was a great opportunity to reflect on the experiences that I have had in my career and to put myself in the shoes of the students to help them frame their thinking."
Charlotte Henninger, a student in the Masters of Accounting and Business Information Technology program commented "Having Barry Simpson come and talk to us was both a great learning opportunity and an inspirational experience. Attending a lecture on ERPs given by someone who was in charge of implementing such a system at one of Australia's Top-50 listed companies gave me an insight on the practical benefits and constraints that kind of process can create. Being able to link the course material to a real-world business case is not something you get to do every week but when you do, it is always interesting and thought-provoking."
"The lecture gave me a chance to get a better understanding of what the CIO position entails and having the opportunity to hear someone talk about their path always gives you an insight on what choices to make in order to build your own career".
Future Industry sessions have been confirmed with Segar Reddy, former CIO of Qantas & Virgin Australia and with the Australian Broadcasting Commission's Technology Leadership team.
Alison Richards: 02 9385 6070
Julian Lorkin: 02 9385 4704
Lecturer, Director of BIT and ISM Co-op Scholarship Programs
School of Information Systems and Technology Management