NBN Co CIO: IT leadership strategy of Australia telco, Part 2

NBN Co's tasks are split between network construction and business-as-usual telecommunications, and few of the company's employees could map out the same 20-year careers at the company that often herald the same position at Telstra.

They share much of the history, however; many of the staff hired so far herald from chief executive, Mike Quigley's own alma mater -- Alcatel-Lucent -- as well as a range of Australian and international telcos.

In IT, the company is hiring based on existing experience, but remains mindful of the need to learn new tricks.

"We still run up against people wanting to look at a particular organisational unit or their own view rather than looking at the entire picture," Rawlins says. "Predominantly, we've had to do a lot of work to persuade people we'll get the results by looking end-to-end."

Rawlins' past has clearly influenced her priorities at NBN Co. Her experience at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein has left her wary of stovepipe systems that inhibit flexibility. Likewise, BT provided insight into the dangers of underestimating the impact of internal and external process changes on business. They are issues she is keen not to replicate.

"We went back to basics and asked: What do we know about NBN Co? And the thing we do know is we have to be a very low cost wholesale service provider," she says.