Department of Fisheries and Oceans Located in St. John's, Dan Blundon is the Regional Engineer for Small Craft Harbors, a division of the Department and Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). His organizational unit consists of 33 employees, and he currently has six subordinates. One of these six is Dean Simms, who has the title of Engineering Support. With the help of both of these gentlemen, we were able to understand what the organization consists of, and what the most important IT related issues are for DFO.
DFO is a government organization, which finds itself within an industry of no real competitors. This branch of DFO focuses on maintaining core harbors of Newfoundland and Labrador to ensure that all are "safe" harbors. They monitor all fishing crews and quotas, and work with science conservation to try to control the fish stocks.
In an industry such as this there are several IT related issues that Dan and Dean have to deal with.
Several issues were discussed throughout the interview, but we will mention only those that are the most current and important.
ÃÂ· One issue that DFO is currently working on is amalgamating two different operating systems. Recently Small Craft harbors and Real Property Services merged together into one organization. Each division previously had its own system and now that they have consolidated, a single operating system is required to allow information to flow freely.
ÃÂ· A major problem that Small Craft Harbors currently faces is that they do not have an IT support professional on staff. Employees such as Dean can handle most minor technical problems on site, but if they cannot fix the problem they have to put a request in to the main office. These requests are put on a list arranged by priority, with the most serious problems addressed first. We were told that this list is very long and that there is a substantial wait to get something fixed.
ÃÂ· The next issue that they are dealing with is Database Reporting. DFO is a very large organization with several databases full of relevant information. Small Craft Harbors would like to ensure that all information currently being used is consistent with that which the main office has.
ÃÂ· Another IT topic that they are working with is Data Warehousing. As was mentioned earlier, Small Craft Harbors use several databases. What they want to do now is combine information from all sources into a report that can be beneficial to all employees and clients.
ÃÂ· Another problem that DFO constantly battles with is the compatibility of operating systems on personal pc's. The main office of DFO uses Windows 95, which is essentially considered to be outdated. When a new computer is purchased it has a more recent operating system. So right now most branches, including Small Craft Harbors, has the majority of its computers using a different system than the main office. For the most part, this causes minor problems but for Small Craft Harbors these problems are constant.
As you see here DFO constantly works with several IT related issues. These issues do not stop at five; there are many others that need to be addressed such as the fact that if there is a power outage or systems crash, Small Craft Harbors are dead in the water. DFO would not be able to complete its daily functions. Every organization, including DFO, has several IT related issues that they have to deal with on a constant basis.