5 minutes with… Julie Lunn, systems administrator, Geoff Pickering Motors

Q: How did you get into IT?

To this day I am not really sure how it happened. I think it was just something I had a knack for and fortunately my boss at the time must have noticed this and pushed me towards IT. I was at a point where I had to make a decision to continue with my studies at university (Bachelor of Commerce) or concentrate on IT. Sometimes it makes it easier having an accounting background as well as IT.

Q: What does your current role involve?

My role as systems administrator is broad and varied. I am responsible for ensuring that all systems are available and well maintained. We have nine new vehicle franchises and some eight different ventures, some located over 500 kilometres away. This provides some interesting challenges as I also support about 150 users and their equipment along with the company servers and LAN. I am also responsible for the company’s telecommunication needs and will occasionally be called upon for any number of things such as Eftpos machines, workshop diagnostic computers to Fax machines.

Q: What projects are you working on now?

I have just finished setting up the IT aspects of a new dealership that the company has purchased, the third in as many years. Also, the consolidation of our Warranty department, which has an extremely high volume of claims to process as most are processed centrally in our main office. We need to work towards streamlining procedures and ensuring they are all lodged with manufacturers quickly and accurately.

Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?

That is meeting everybody’s expectations and just getting everything done. There never seems to be enough hours in the day.

Q: How many IT professionals in your team?

Unfortunately I am the only one. But since I started in this role it has grown 10-fold.

Q: Who do you report to?

I report to the company’s financial controller, he usually approves any major purchases. But overall, I think I would say I answer to all of the managers in the company.

Q: What is the most pressing issue you face as IT manager?

At this point it would be shrinking IT budgets, and trying to get the most out of older equipment.

Q: Where is your organisation’s Australian head office, and how many end users are there?

Our head office is located in Townsville, North Queensland. We also have dealerships in Bundaberg, Mackay, Ayr and Ingham, along with some non-genuine parts operations here in Townsville. There are about 150 end users.

Q: What’s your average week like?

It usually consists of fixing problems as they occur, which usually take up most of my week. During the quiet spells when the phone is not ringing I attempt to improve our IT structure.

Q: If you could change one aspect of your job, what would it be?

What I would most like to change is to have more time to dedicate to structural changes throughout the company.

Q: What is your company Web strategy?

Our Web site has our used vehicles listed along with photos; customers can browse our stock after hours without the hassle of salespeople. They have the ability to enquire via e-mail and we can complete most of the sale process by e-mail. We maintain a presence with our new vehicle ranges but mainly location details and contact numbers with links to the manufacturer’s Web sites.

Q: What is the worst IT disaster you worry about?

Cyclones, our main servers are all located in Townsville, which is pretty prone to them. I worry that we will loose the roof of the building and every thing will get soaked.

Q: What is your IT prediction for this year?

I am not really sure what will happen in this year. I think that the government is due to change the GST percentage, or maybe it might change some of the state laws with regards to stamp duty.

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