Q: How did you get into IT?
A friend of mine got a job with Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) back in 1984 and said to me this computer gig is all the go. I subsequently applied for an operator role with DEC in 1985 and despite having no experience got the job. The rest as they say is history.
What does your current role involve?
Managing a small team of IT professionals in providing IT services to the BT users in Asia Pacific. This involves managing helpdesks in Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong, managing the messaging, file & print and network infrastructure, plus providing some business systems support for local applications.
What projects are under way?
We have no major new projects on the go at present due to an impending restructure of processes and systems from our parent in the UK. This new standard operating environment will change all our sales, service, billing, etc systems to standard platforms across the globe.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Keeping pace with technology whilst overcoming all of the associated security issues.
What are your greatest IT challenges?
Making sure IT is an integral part of the ongoing business. Being seen more as a profit centre rather than a cost centre.
Where is your organisation’s Australian head office, what is its business and how many end users are there?
Sydney. BT’s Asia-Pacific business concentrates on IP infrastructure, customer relationship management, conferencing and outsourcing solutions for those that have a global presence. There are about 120 BT end users in Sydney and Melbourne. Our headquarters are in London and the company has a global turnover of $45.8 billion (£18.7 billion).
What’s your IT budget?
About $2 million.
How many IT professionals in your team?
There are eight full-time staff and a couple of contractors.
Who do you report to, and who reports to you?
I report to the head of finance, Asia-Pacific. We have a flat structure within IT and all staff report directly to me.
What is the most pressing issue you face as IT manager?
Trying to satisfy all of our customers with the limited resources available.
If you could change one aspect of your job, what would it be and why?
To get more involved in the technical side of things. As a manager I have had to step back but it would be good to get the hands dirty again.
What is the most difficult IT decision you have had to make?
Making staff redundant. What is your company Web strategy?
The use of Web technology is increasing all the time at BT. We have recently developed an e-service support platform that provides our customers with a secure, Web-based service management tool. The intention over time, is to ‘Webise’ as many applications as possible.
Name five people, living or not, you would invite for a dinner party and why?
The Surprise Chef, Aristos, because I like the look of the food he dishes up, Michael Jordan to ask how the heck he flies like he does in basketball, John Eales because he is a legend and would tell some good rugby stories, Jennifer Garner just because and finally my wife to keep me from having too good a time.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you at work?
I remember in my early operator days at DEC I was in a hurry to get home one Sunday afternoon when I put in the wrong disk drive in the PDP system and effectively wiped out a week’s worth of work.
Do you plan to undertake any additional training courses? Why, why not?
Not at this stage. I prefer to attend conferences which enlighten me to what’s new and improved in the IT space.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
In a similar position to today but with IT having a lot higher profile within the company.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Watch the kids play sport. I am also dabbling in home movie making on DVDs. Steven Spielberg need not worry about his day job, but it’s a lot of fun.
What is the worst IT disaster you worry about?
Obviously losing our main data centre.
What is your IT prediction for this year?
Wireless to become more commonplace once all the security issues are sorted. Getting rid of cables can’t happen soon enough.