5 minutes with . . . Patrick Teh CIO, Hoyts Cinema Group

Computerworld: Is this your first stint as a CIO?

Patrick Teh: Yes, it is. Before becoming the CIO for the Hoyts cinemas group (encompassing Hoyts cinemas in Australia, New Zealand, US, Europe and South America) I was the IT manager for Hoyts Cinemas Australia.

CW: What was your first job in IT?

PT: I landed in IT by accident. My first degree is in civil engineering but I completed the degree after the major global stockmarket correction in 1987. At the time, capital works were far and few between and, after job hunting for a while, somehow I landed myself a computer operations job, albeit a night shift role. That was the start of my IT career.

CW: What are the key challenges you face as a CIO?

PT: To have the ability to strategise constantly, sell and implement what is appropriate for the company as well as effectively managing the changes affected by the implementations - be it systems or processes.

CW: What kind of characteristics does one need to become a CIO?

PT: To be commercially astute, confident, credible, tenacious, persevering, determined, and to have the right attitude.

CW: How does Hoyts plan to tackle GST compliances and how will this affect the automation of increased ticket prices?

PT: As with most other organisations, Hoyts has established a GST project team to manage this transition. Fortunately, whilst there are implications both from a front of house and reporting perspective , they appear to be manageable at this stage. Unlike the supermarkets, none of our sale items are GST exempt.

Thus it is an easier transition. Ticket prices are centrally managed and the GST transition at the front of house will not pose a major issue.

CW: What are the key steps an IT manager should take to become a CIO?

PT: It is important to avoid being labelled as a ‘propellor head' or a highly technical person. Focus on implementing ‘appropriate' technology as opposed to the ‘latest and greatest'. Understand the business, be confident and make efforts to sell yourself via networking with middle and senior management to demonstrate your business acumen. Lastly, be credible by constantly delivering, as opposed to constantly promising blue skies and better things to come.

CW: What is one of your most prized IT achievements?

PT: There've been a few. The latest achievement is the introduction of telephony and Web technology to the movie industry in conjunction with the other major cinema exhibitors, Greater Union and Village Roadshow. In this instance we worked alongside each other to implement a vehicle called Movieline which sells content and ticketing inventory.

CW: Where is your ideal holiday?

PT: As there are many places I haven't been to and which I'd like to visit, I can't say where my ideal holiday would be. The picture of my ideal holiday is one of remoteness (can't be accessed via mobile phones), peace and tranquillity, yet comfortable. Let me know if you think you have the right place for me.

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