Q: How did you get into IT?
I studied computer languages at school on an early mainframe in the late 70s and had gained an understanding of the fundamentals of both hardware and programming. A few years later (mid 80s) a friend showed me a simple program running on the Sinclair 8K computer which saved me many hours of valuable time. I bought a similar computer the next day and was hooked on both programming and computers, outgrowing a succession of computers including the Tandy COCO 64K complete with tape drive for storage. With the purchase of a brand new Tandy 1000 TL running MS DOS ( + Turbo Pascal 5.5 with Objects, courtesy of my brother Jack who had just started Leprechaun Software (VirusBuster), I was launched onto an exciting new career path!
Q: What does your current role involve?
Guiding the development of various in-house programs general IS issues, network administration, database administration, numerous small projects.
Q: What is your annual IT budget?
Completely variable and based on demand.
Q: What projects are you working on now?
Designing our CRM (customer relationship management) software and planning its implementation, deploying a document management system for general usage. Guiding the integration of our in-house billing system with our purchased financial package AccPac.
Q: What’s most challenging in this jjob?
Making the time to read up on emerging technologies and their possible applications within our industry.
Q: What are your greatest IT challenges?
Integrating with various external legacy systems which cannot be automated is required for some of our daily processes. Working with outsourcing companies who have limited IT skill sets provides interesting challenges at times.
Q: How many IT professionals in your team?
We have two developers and one helpdesk person in the IT team at the moment.
Q: Who do you report to, and who reports to you?
I report directly to the CFO/CTO and my reports are the IT Team.
Q: What is the most pressing issue you face as IT manager?
Ensuring the completeness of our disaster recovery procedures due to the company’s strong expansion rate.
Q: Where is your organisation’s Australian head office, what is its business and how many end users are there?
Our head office is located in Varsity Lakes on Queensland’s sunny Gold Coast and we employ more than 100 people locally. Our retailers sell a diverse range of our Phone Card products and we distribute Optus stock across the nation. We are a highly successful long-distance postpaid and prepaid telephone provider (GoTalk Home ).
Q: What’s your average week like?
There is no average week within our company, each week is exciting! A single certainty I can count on is that we will expand and our IT requirements will increase.
Q: If you could change one aspect of your job, what would it be?
The hours... Around the time that IBM compatibles first became available we heard countless times how computers would revolutionise our working methods to the degree that we would only be working eight to10 hours per week for full pay and we would have a paperless office!
Q: What is the most difficult IT decision you have had to make?
In a previous job I found an old friend had sold the company I was working for a site licence and maintenance for his program which was failing to deliver. I replaced this with a working solution from a competitor.
Q: What is your company Web strategy?
We aim to provide a one-stop shop for our retailers and a pleasant informative visit for our clients. We utilise Web services underneath where possible.
Q: What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you at work?
While working for the government a few years ago (as a contractor) I turned up for work after Christmas to find the entire high-rise building that I was supposed to be working in had been sealed shut for the week’s holiday that all of these government employees took each year. After that I read the government’s general broadcast e-mails more carefully!
Q: What is the worst IT disaster you worry about?
Sustained widespread inter-company Internet outages beyond my control.
Q: What is your IT prediction for this year?
I think we will see a marked increase in IP address-enabled devices allowing greater control over everyday items.