Director of Information Technology Services, University of Sydney
Hard work, long hours, self-improvement, striving to be the best are the ingredients to Barbara Olde's success.
Barbara began supporting computerised accounting systems in the 1970s, before going into system and application programming, installing her first computer network in 1980 and her first PABX system in 1990.
Today Barbara's duties include the management of the university's voice and data network, the administrative computing facilities, student laboratories, application programmers, desktop services and computer shop. But it's the challenge of managing people she relishes most.
"People are the essence of success,"
Barbara says. "There have been a lot of challenges at Sydney and what has helped overcome some of these are stream-lining our services and the introduction of an automated problem-tracking system.
We just approach each problem systematically. To have a challenge is good for the soul."
Barbara believes the ATM network at Sydney University to be the largest switched network in any university in Australia. She was one of the first women to gain an Austel licence in NSW and pioneered optical fibre technology in the state and states her aim as being able to make Sydney University "the envy of others in the IT and teaching arena".
An IS executive's lot is tougher now than ever before, says Barbara, with far more constraints, more pressure to reduce costs and a faster technological cycle. "1 believe the job of IS executive has become more of a managerial role and less of a technological role," she says.
"For example we now have to have an understanding and an appreciation of accounting practices; where there were once specialists to do that work, while we concentrated on the technology side.
"Gone are the days when you could spend hours training yourself. Today the training is `just-in-time' type training and because technology is changing so rapidly there is a lot to keep up with."
Source: Reprinted from an article in MIS Australia magazine with the kind permission of the publisher Justin Randles URL for Strategic Publications: www.misweb.com.au
Updated: 11 December 2012