At the forefront of change: How Gagan is leading the way in IT services at Cardinia Shire Council

Gagan has been with Cardinia Shire Council since 2017 and has made remarkable contributions to improve internal and external systems and processes. As Chief Information Officer (CIO), Gagan brings over 20 years of IT expertise and a profound passion for technology. We talked to him about his time at Cardinia Shire Council and how he’s working towards a brighter future for all.

The transformative power of technology

Gagan’s career journey at Cardinia Shire Council is one of amazing growth and opportunity. Currently he is Chief Information Officer and brings over 20 years of experience in the IT sector. He is a naturally curious and savvy leader whose passion for technology extends beyond his role.

“I’ve always had an interest in the way computers and technology have the ability to change the way we live and work. I saw the web browser when it was first introduced, which we take for granted now, as well as the first smartphones. Those were incredible cultural shifts, and I think we’re on the cusp of another major change in the IT space now.”

When Gagan first joined in 2017 as a Service Desk Supervisor, he was ecstatic to finally join a local council doing things a bit differently.

“I actually wanted to work at Cardinia Shire Council for a long time, maybe 10 or 12 years before, because they seemed like such a progressive organisation. They were doing things not many other local councils were, especially from a technological and information management perspective. They were actually the first city council in Australia to move to an activity-based working (ABW) model.”

After 18 months as a Service Desk Supervisor at Cardinia, Gagan was promoted to Infrastructure Coordinator, where he and his team played a crucial role in safeguarding corporate systems against internal and external threats, as well as laying the groundwork for future IT infrastructure enhancements.

“We kept the business going through multiple challenges and were able to deliver positive outcomes. It’s not just about me, it’s about the team. Through those tough times, we were able to bond and grow together.”

In a world where cybersecurity and data protection are paramount, Gagan and his team’s contributions positioned Cardinia Shire Council at the forefront of technology. And thanks to their efforts, Cardinia’s systems remain innovative, reliable, and, most importantly, highly secure.

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Taking charge as Chief Information Officer

As someone who constantly seeks new challenges, Gagan saw an opportunity for career growth in 2022 when the Chief Information Officer (CIO) role became available via the internal vacancies. Following an extensive recruitment process Gagan was successful in acquiring the role. Since then, he has made a significant impact by offering strategic and operational support to senior management on information technology and information management programs, with an emphasis on customer service and business improvement.

“The Chief Information Officer role is busy and varied, for sure. I look after the IT team, the IT Business Systems team, the GIS team and the Information Management team. We are also an internal service provider for the entire organisation to help support the community.”

Cardinia Shire Council provides many vital services that keep the community safe and functioning – from road maintenance and city planning to a user-friendly website, where people can pay rates and report potholes. Gagan and his team ensure the smooth running of all these services by maintaining their essential underlying systems.

“Basically, where we sit is to ensure our people have the right technology, access and capabilities to deliver our services to the community effectively and efficiently. It’s extremely critical that everything we do is with the end user in mind. Our systems should be simple and easy to use so people can get what they need. It’s not just external users from the community but our internal employees as well. We don’t want technology to become a hindrance for anyone.”

A brighter future for all

In a world that’s rapidly changing, and within a growing community, Cardinia Shire Council has consistently championed an innovative and adaptive approach. Just as Gagan was initially drawn to Cardinia’s forward-thinking outlook, his contributions to IT services have not only preserved that perception but also kept Cardinia on the cutting edge of an ever-changing technological landscape.

“The battle for security is an ongoing process. We work closely with The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office, who comes in and audits our systems to make sure we are complying with the right standards. My hope is that we continue to deliver excellence for the community while embracing our culture of ‘Together, Different, Future’ to better serve our people, our organisation and our community.”

Gagan’s hope for the future is for a collaborative environment where knowledge is shared, mistakes are learned from, and innovations benefit not just Cardinia Shire Council but other local councils, too. His commitment to ensuring that technology is sustainable, financially responsible, and adds significant value to the community is what sets him apart from the rest.

“For those looking for a career in IT, I always say, ‘follow your passion, not just the pay cheque’. Technology evolves rapidly, and staying passionate is key. The jobs of today may not exist tomorrow, but exciting opportunities are on the horizon. The modern IT field is not about solitary nerds who work alone in a dark room but about people working together, making a real impact, and envisioning a brighter future for all.”

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