Brian Bowman

Brian Bowman

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The distributed nature of our business, and the centralised model for IT, dictates that we will constantly face the challenge of providing adequate bandwidth to projects in remote areas to enable them to effectively utilise the appropriate corporate systems run in the data centre, utilise email and connect to the Internet. Some sites are so remote that telecommunications infrastructure is a distant and unattainable dream. We generally try to service these sites through satellite connections which tend to be both expensive and slow, and generally cannot provide the required level of service. This is changing slowly however, and we are trialing both Telstra and Optus products with a view to implementing either solution for remote sites that do not have the necessary infrastructure.

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With a number of significant IT projects either completed or well under way we are now turning our attention to improving the quality of the service we deliver to the company. With our IT infrastructure becoming increasingly mission critical it is essential that we constantly review and ensure the provision of the appropriate level of IT resource to contribute to the organisation’s success and growth. The challenge is how to achieve this in the tight budgetary and technically complex and logistically distributed environment in which we operate.

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The company has just won the largest job in its history and you are excused for celebrating long into the night and, perhaps, over indulging slightly. However when the baroccas have kicked in, and the effects of the alcohol have worn off, reality sets in.

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IT cost recovery is an ongoing issue for CIO’s as they try to regain the cost of providing IT services to the business. As illustrated by IBRS in previous publications, while there are a number of alternative cost recovery methodologies available to organisations not all methodologies are suited to all companies. This month, I will share with you the processes we apply when back charging for IT services. The methodology we use could be considered fairly unique; I certainly have not come across any other company utilising similar techniques. While I am by no means claiming our methods are any better or worse than others, they do have the advantage of being fairly simple both to understand and to administer, and most importantly, they work for us.

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The need to more efficiently manage the enormous volumes of documentation which construction projects produce has been acknowledged, within the industry, for some time. With the increasing complexity of projects and the different models for project delivery this volume is increasing significantly and, along with this increase, the need for more efficient systems becomes even more important.


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IT Asset leasing has for a long time been a very topical issue for our organisation – is it better for the company to lease IT assets or to own them? The current model for procuring and managing IT Assets in the company, is based on the user owning the assets, and is as follows:

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We touched briefly last month on our approach to security and its role in protecting the network from external attack. It is equally essential that clearly stated network policies and procedures, both for internal users and other external stakeholders on projects who require network access, be rigorously applied. Our policies are, visibly endorsed by the Chief Executive Officer and published on the company Intranet. They are designed to protect the enterprise by ensuring that the data on the network is appropriate to the business, network performance is not compromised in any way and the possibilities of virus infection are minimised.

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IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity have always been issues that have figured prominently on our list of priorities but continually get pushed to the back of the queue, replaced by other operational issues that assume greater importance and that can be seen to return some immediate benefit. It is not that the company does not recognise its importance, its more of a “laissez faire” attitude that “nothing has gone wrong so far so we will continue to take a short to medium term risk on anything happening in the future”. It is typical of the approach to risk in the company where construction risk is everything and other risk is considered insignificant.


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We first investigated the benefits of video conferencing in late 1996. The main driver for the initiative came from Leighton Holdings’ major shareholder Hochtief, based in Essen in Germany. Their objective was to have access to a more efficient form of communication between themselves and Sydney and thus reduce the amount of travel that board members and other executives had to undertake.

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Leighton Contractors recently made a significant decision in choosing to continue with in house development to upgrade core modules, in our enterprise applications suite, rather than going down the path of package acquisition and third party implementation. It has been an interesting exercise arriving at this conclusion which, at face value, appears to conflict with the generally accepted way of implementing such systems these days. I would like to take time to tell you how and why we chose to take this path.

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This month Optus announced the development of a trading exchange specifically for the Australian Construction Industry today. The exchange, named InCITE, will be built, owned and operated by Optus E-Solutions and is planned to be launched in early 2003.

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