Why one leader thinks simplicity in IT is an oxymoron

Fariba Anderson, CIO of MPAC in Canada

For Fariba Anderson, helping other people is what gets her up in the morning.

Anderson is the vice-president of Lottery IT at Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., where she works out of the Toronto office of the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.-headquartered organization.

“Working for the OLG, I don’t call it a job. I call it the calling,” Anderson said. “The dollars go back to the people of Ontario.”

Anderson describes herself as a cause-driven person who welcomes differing opinions.

“I appreciate when people disagree with me,” she said. But as an IT leader, Anderson has noted certain challenges among IT pros. For instance, she finds creativity can hinder an IT person’s performance by making them too slow when it comes to solving problems.

“We are too creative. Users ask us for a glass of water and we drop them in the ocean,” Anderson said. “In IT, simplicity is an oxymoron.”

Anderson is a key player in the development of Lottery Data Analytic and retrieval technology. She’s responsible for the ticket machines and the Lottery Data Analytic program that produces and encrypts lottery tickets so the tickets cannot be duplicated. Prior to 2008, analytics for lottery transactions were unavailable. But in July 2010, the program at OLG was launched. Under Anderson’s leadership, the OLG created a Data Model to address analytics in ticket sales, redemptions, and winnings.

Anderson said the money collected from lottery tickets sold by the province is put into hospitals and roads, much like tax money. It also helps smaller businesses profit like convenience stores from the commissions the owners receive from selling lottery tickets.

“The commissions for the mom and pop shops are a source of revenue (for store owners),” she said. With that success under her belt, moving forward, Anderson is working on creating online gaming for the OLG in Ontario.


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