Unveiling the Tech Vision of Rob Pickering, CIO at the Australian Football League

In a recent interview, we gained intriguing insights into the dynamic world of technology leadership from Rob Pickering, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the Australian Football League (AFL).

With a multitude of responsibilities and a forward-looking approach, Pickering sheds light on the strategic role technology plays in shaping the AFL’s landscape.

The above video is only an excerpt.

Only ADAPT’s Research and Advisory Advantage clients can watch our full interview with AFL’s CIO.


An All-Encompassing Role

Rob Pickering’s role as the CIO at the AFL extends far beyond the conventional boundaries. He eloquently describes his responsibilities as overseeing everything “that plugs into power” within the AFL ecosystem, including the iconic Marvel Stadium.

From the help desk and applications to infrastructure, public cloud, football technology investments, and electronic systems driving stadium operations, Pickering’s portfolio spans the entire technological spectrum. This comprehensive role reflects the centrality of technology in modern sports organisations.

Lean Team, High Stakes

In the realm of technology, the AFL operates with a lean team of around 30 individuals. Despite the modest size, this team manages the intricate technology landscape of a 24/7, 365-day organisation, underscoring the team’s efficiency and expertise.

To supplement their efforts, the AFL leverages strategic partnerships to augment their capabilities and drive innovation collaboratively.

Transitioning from Projects to Iterative Improvement

Over the past two and a half years, the AFL has embarked on a transformative journey in the technology realm.

The organisation has transitioned from a phase of intensive project implementation to a more iterative approach focused on refining and enhancing existing platforms.

This shift signifies a move towards optimising business processes, reducing risk, and improving efficiency, rather than constantly pursuing new platforms. Pickering’s strategic approach ensures that technology investments continue to deliver long-term value.

Navigating the Technological Marketplace

The technological landscape brims with an abundance of products and services, including AI solutions and groundbreaking technologies.

Addressing the challenge of evaluating these offerings, Pickering emphasises the importance of problem-centricity. Rather than seeking solutions for their own sake, he stresses the need to identify problems and challenges that align with the AFL’s goals.

This discerning approach ensures that technology implementations directly contribute to the organisation’s growth and success.

Future-Focused Innovations

As the AFL CIO, Pickering envisions a future rich in innovative applications of technology. He hints at the organisation’s interest in large language models, foreseeing their potential in handling media in bulk and streamlining business operations.

This forward-looking perspective highlights the AFL’s commitment to harnessing emerging technologies to stay ahead in an ever-evolving landscape.

In a nutshell, Rob Pickering’s insights offer a fascinating glimpse into the strategic world of technology leadership within the AFL.

From managing a diverse technology portfolio to adopting a problem-centric approach and embracing future innovations, Pickering’s vision underscores the crucial role technology plays in shaping the future of sports organisations like the AFL.

The above video is only an excerpt.

Only ADAPT’s Research and Advisory Advantage clients can watch our full interview with AFL’s CIO.

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