25 Q&As: Deliver on your promises

As part of Computerworld's silver anniversary celebrations 25 IT managers recall the ups and downs of their careers. Here, Paul Summergreene, director of information services branch, Queensland Transport, Brisbane, shares his experiences with Lauren Thomen-Moore.

Q: What has been the most challenging IT project of your career?

Converted from host-based application development to server Java-based application development and deployment. It was a paradigm shift from mainframe green screen to Web services able to deliver anywhere any time.

Q: What’s on your vendor wishlist?

If they could underpromise and overdeliver. Hold them to what they promise to deliver through client-focused penalty clauses and so on.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing IT managers now?

Lack of rigour, clarity and direction in a formalised manner from the business. Over the last five years IT has developed considerable rigour in its processes. Business has not evolved as quickly as it doesn’t have the pressures to deliver that IT has.

Q: When did you start in IT and what job did you have before you moved into IT?

In 1995; before that I was in the Queensland Police force as an operational police officer for 22 years.

Q: How would you like to see IT develop in relation to your expected business needs over the next three to five years?

Queensland Transport’s business needs to deliver inputs to IT plans and the architectures, which dictate the technologies required. We have invested heavily in developing an IT planning and architecture framework based on best practice methodologies like those of Meta Group, Gartner, Zachman, TOGAF and COBIT.

We don’t implement technology change for technology’s sake. Our business-focused approach ensures technology change and investment is driven by our understanding of Queensland Transport’s goals and objectives.

Fast facts: Annual turnover: $80 and $100 million. Employees: 300. IT users: 6500. Key technologies: Advantage Gen Version (6.5) — CA; J2EE Web Services based on Advantage Gen, Borland Enterprise Server (5.1) — Borland and in-house developed frameworks; Lotus notes (4.5 migrating to 6) — IBM, Oracle (7.3.4 and 9i); Cisco Networking equipment; eDirectory (8.7) — Novell; Primavera Enterprise (3); HP Openview; Cognos Suite.

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