Name: Elise Potter
Title: Group IT Manager RK Harrison
Route to job: Having qualified in catering and hotel management, I spent seven years in the industry and raised a family. While the children were young I studied accounting and computer science. This led to a position with an insurance broking firm and promotion to accounts manager. My main task was to implement a recently-installed broking system that was fraught with problems.
In 1992, I moved to RK Harrison as insurance accounts manager and eventually took full responsibility for the existing broking computer system.
Current Job: Five years later I moved to my present position, becoming fully responsible for all IT issues.
I headed up a new project to plan and implement a replacement broking system that would network all the existing five branches. I now have a team of five very dedicated and motivated individuals. We have been enhancing and implementing our network, computer and telephone systems in line with the high-level growth taking place within the RK Harrison group.
Typical day: Revolves around system development, administration, correspondence (which in today's market is a constant stream of emails) and managing the team. Being only a small team with 120 users to support, I still get involved in hands-on support, training and testing. As a company, we are continually looking to develop our business and enhance our systems with many projects on the go and in the pipeline.
Biggest challenge: Developing the system in line with the individual requirements of a highly motivated workforce. There can sometimes be a fine line between the users' requirement, actual need and the capabilities of a system, not to mention the cost implication.
A constant balance is therefore sought and the electronic route is not always the best method.
Risk management issue with most impact: Natural and unnatural disasters do occur - part of the reason for an insurance industry Plans for disaster recovery in the `what if' scenario are constantly being reviewed
Largest Issue going forward: As an industry, we need to remove the layers of data input duplication between the broker and the underwriter in order to reduce the administration costs.
A route is being pursued.
Greatest achievement so far: Retaining my sanity. Seriously, I guess it has to be the implementation of the current broking system back in 1997/1998. This was a huge transition into current technology for the company and involved a lot of additional hours for all concerned. This is an area that should never be underestimated before embarking on a project of this nature particularly within a relatively small company.
Advice to someone wanting to do the job: Retain your sense of humour, have oodles of patience, self-motivation and energy to keep up with your users' requirements. In a fast moving industry of continual change you need to keep in touch with both the latest technology and reality. Striking a balance is very demanding, but also challenging.