Employee spotlight: Meet ICT Program Director, Annemie Kotze

3 June 2021

Originally from South Africa, Annemie arrived in Australia in 2006 after spending six years in New Zealand. She’s been with Stanwell since April 2020, in the role of ICT Program Director and oversees a team of 32 people who are responsible for delivering Stanwell’s technology strategy.

Annemie’s role touches all aspects of the business, from behind-the-scenes maintenance to major projects that affect all our people’s day-to-day use of technology systems and our company’s ability to operate in the National Electricity Market.

We caught up with Annemie to chat about her background, her role at Stanwell and how the ICT landscape has changed over the course of her career.

“In my role, success is highly dependent on working with the different business areas to understand the problems and opportunities they are looking to address, ensuring we invest carefully and maintaining partnerships with peers and suppliers.

“It’s my job to ensure that we deliver Stanwell’s ICT projects on time and on budget, while creating an environment in which each team member can deliver their best. While it is centred around technology, the essence of my role is leadership,” Annemie said.

Annemie’s career has spanned across the southern hemisphere, which has presented its own challenges at times.

“In 2000, my husband and I relocated from South Africa to New Zealand, with a baby and toddler in tow. Juggling work commitments relied on excellent childcare arrangements and being super organised. With an understanding manager and husband, I was still able to successfully complete the ICT component of a major merger.

“I had to adjust to the cultural differences of a new country, occasionally relying on people understanding my intent rather than the way I said things! When we later moved to Australia, my communication skills had been honed, but I still found it a challenge to build a new network from scratch. It has left me with empathy for any new arrivals in the workplace, I facilitate introductions wherever I can to help them settle in,” she said.

Many things have changed in ICT since Annemie started her career as a programmer in 1992.

“PCs (personal computers) had just become a ‘thing!’ Early on I knew that I needed to be in a role centred around bringing people and technology together. Luckily, I had a manager who agreed, and I transitioned into business analyst and later project manager roles.

“Since those days, ICT has expanded to become a much broader field with previously unimagined roles and challenges. While the foundations were there, the use and application of ICT has exploded. Areas like cyber security and business intelligence look different to 30 years ago, and areas such as operational technology integration and machine learning have made ICT a field where new roles are created daily.

“While this sector will always continue to evolve, globalisation has significantly contributed to diversity within ICT, and I love being challenged by the different ways people think and solve problems,” she added.

“Working in the energy generation industry allows me to be involved in vastly different projects. With Stanwell’s focus on excellence and innovation in asset management and performance, we have projects ranging from artificial intelligence, and payroll system replacement, to our energy trading services, where Stanwell (and most of the industry) are making extensive changes to align to regulatory reform. The industry is undergoing significant change, and this is reflected in the variety of requests for change and transformation we get as ICT project team.

“At the moment, our largest ICT initiative is the transition to a five-minute settlement period in trading on the National Energy Market. This project touches on every trading related system and data source, enabling bidding and settlement of trades to occur in increments of five-minute data instead of 30-minute data. With a fixed implementation date, this project certainly provides excitement in my day-to-day problem-solving tasks!”

What does a typical day look like?

“My typical day involves attending project steering committees, meeting with leaders to track the progress and delivery of projects. I also meet with my team members, ICT management peers and suppliers to ensure everyone is on the same page and help resolve issues. No day is the same, with recruitment, procurement, portfolio investment, architecture and infrastructure discussions all possible tasks. I spend time giving input to and reviewing project documentation such as business cases, status reports and organisational change management strategies.”

There’s no shortages of projects and initiatives in the pipeline for Stanwell’s ICT team.

“Upcoming works range from regulatory compliance and back-end projects that most users won’t even be aware of, to transformation projects that will impact nearly all users. With changes happening in the energy industry and the speed of technology advancement across topics like digital twins and machine learning, there will be plenty of challenging and exciting work over the coming years!”