25 Q&As: Flat out at Dalrymple Bay

As part of Computerworld's silver anniversary celebrations 25 IT managers recall the ups and downs of their careers. Here, Paul Green, superintendent IT services, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, shares his experiences with David Beynon.

In your experience, what IT technologies have brought the most significant benefits?

Standard Operating Environments — the ability to walk to any computer and expect the same look, feel and major applications has been the biggest single improvement over the last five years. In the progression from computer “scared” to computer literate companies, the key has been to take away the distractions of differences between “my” and “your” computer and make the PC a standard tool for anyone to use.

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

Implementing JD Edwards OneWorld ERP at DBCT. My role was on the technical side of the project and it was challenging to manage the interactions between the vendor, third-party integrator and ourselves to try and make the project work. Managing the lack of understanding of the product while being asked to sign off on functionality of the delivered product created many an interesting discussion. The follow-up work to make the system function once the integrators left has been the rewarding part of the project, as has seeing the users start to understand the product and get the maximum benefit from it.

What would you put on a wishlist for IT vendor performance?

Quality Control that works; project management skills that work; consultants understanding their product; sales staff that are genuine and truly represent their product.

What is the biggest challenge facing IT managers now?

Getting ROI on investments. It is no longer acceptable for IT projects to wander aimlessly until they get killed.

What has been the most significant breakthrough during your IT career?

Getting my team to understand that there needs to be a business justification behind every decision to implement a sexy technical solution, product or thing.

What has been the most disappointing project during your IT career?

Year 2000 project — too much emphasis on side issues rather than the best way to deal with the rollover.

What has been the most exciting experience of your IT career?

Getting my mum and dad connected to the Internet and using e-mail.

What tertiary qualifications do you have?

Bachelor of Engineering.

When did you start in IT and what were you doing before that?

Started in an IT role in 1998 at an industrial site; before that I was working in an operations management role at an industrial site.

Fast facts:Head office: Hay Point, Mackay, Queensland. Employees: 160. IT users: 200 (many contractors also access our systems). IT budget: $1 million to $2 million. Key applications: JD Edwards OneWorld Xe, MineTrak, Plantscape SCADA, CorVu. Key infrastructure — hardware: Compaq/HP Servers, desktops and laptops; networking: 3Com. Operating systems: W2K Prof, W2K Server.

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