Business Memory Lane – IT Profiles A Decade Ago (A)

Business Memory Lane – IT Profiles A Decade Ago

Business 1: SONIC HEALTHCARE

Senior IT executive: Michael Falconer, IT infrastructure manager
Reports to: Alan Lloyd, CIO
Operating systems: Windows XP/2003/2000, Unix, DG-UX
Database systems: MS SQL Server, InterSystems Cache
Applications: Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, MS Dynamics
IT staff: 100
IT budget: Undisclosed

ALMOST ANY document issued by Sonic Healthcare includes glossy photographs depicting spotlessly clean laboratories in which its highly trained staff are positioned in the middle of some important-looking medical group. In the background lie some computers, which one imagines contribute to the company’s business of providing medical diagnostic services. Just what those computers are doing, however, is hard to say. The company’s website says that Sonic operates “a sophisticated laboratory information system, which has been personalised to suit the specific needs of the organisation and its stakeholders” but more information than that is hard to glean. Even its annual report tells no tales, as it contains neither the word “software” nor “technology”. Intriguingly, our research suggests that the company may still be using Data General’s long-defunct UX operating system. And one recent event seems to be the loss of group IT manager Rob Wells, who has joined Tasmania-based company Healthcare Software as its chief operating officer.

Business 2: RAILCORP

Senior IT executive: Vicki Coleman, group GM ICT and CIO
Reports to: Rob Mason, acting CEO
Operating systems: Windows XP, Solaris
Database systems: MS SQL Server, Oracle
Applications: Cognos, EMC, IBM, Mincom, Sun Microsystems
IT staff: 240
IT budget: Flat

WHILE SYDNEY commuters remain in revolt over the state of the rail system, RailCorp’s IT staff have a predictably full plate. Back then, the corporation achieved ISO 27001 security certification and implemented a new disaster-recovery system. This year will see further work in the same area. Disaster recovery systems for RailCorp’s top 150 business-critical and business-operational systems are due by mid-year. RailCorp is overhauling its procurement processes, human resources and timetable distribution. The corporation also says, “The public private partnership to acquire the next generation of trains is also a significant undertaking for the ICT group.” Coleman also says “the coming 12 months will see the delivery of the enterprise content management foundation platform and search engines… and development of projects to manage engineering drawings, internet and intranet redesign”. The projects are part of a plan that has seen RailCorp develop a sourcing strategy complete with preferred supplier panels and much outsourcing to Fujitsu.

Business 3: UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

Senior IT executive: Bruce Meikle, CIO
Reports to: Bob Kotic, deputy vice-chancellor and COO
Operating systems: HP Unix, Sun Solaris
Database systems: MS SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase
Applications: Hyperion, MS Exchange Server, Oracle, PeopleSoft
IT staff: 380
IT budget: Flat

FOLLOWING THE successful implementation last year of a human resources system touching recruitment, staff development, timesheet and leave-processing operations, the university is revamping the rest of its IT department. This year it is attempting the first phase of implementing a new research-management system, and has started tendering for a packaged student-management system to replace its existing in-house-built system. Meikle, the university’s fifth CIO in five years, is also planning to develop and implement an organisation-wide infrastructure-improvement program. The first part of the program involves moving to a new, more robust data centre after bulldozing the old one. Meikle says much of last year – his first on the job – was spent investigating projects, standardising reporting structures and developing incident-management procedures. This year has been earmarked as one in which the university will tackle big projects.