The first thing that strikes you about Joanne Hogan is her youth. At 24, you wouldn’t expect her to be taking on the hugely responsible job of project leadership in the New Zealand Fire Service.
But don’t be misled by the youth and the occasional infectious giggle — Hogan is a heavyweight. The fact that she has achieved so much in such a short time is testament to her obvious intelligence and leadership skills. You have to ask, where will she be tomorrow?
How she got into her present role makes an interesting story in itself.
“Basically, I was seconded from the shop floor as an end-user representative. Before that I was business manager in Palmerston North for the western fire region, ranging from Taranaki down to Horowhenua — 53 brigades in all, most of them made up of volunteers — with a budget of $11 million.”
Well, she says, that’s kind of what she did — all the different business functions, making sure everything ticked over properly. With the help of her administration team, of course. Naturally, with this sort of experience she found herself becoming in demand in other areas of the service. “I knew what the regions wanted to do — and they wanted greater representation than just accountants on the finance project that was then under way. So I became a reporting specialist and did all the communication with the end users.” Once the financials software was put in place, Hogan’s growing knowledge of the JD Edwards software environment naturally led on to other roles for her. “We always knew we were going to set up a portal to roll the data out to the management outside Wellington,” she says. Also in the development queue were a broad — and expanding — range of other services. Hogan’s job was to design the portal and take charge of its rollout.“I am really young to be in such an important role,” Hogan acknowledges. “But building the portal was a really interesting experience and a big learning curve. We were JD Edwards’ first portal site in the southern hemisphere.” As the portal project evolved, Hogan was able to add other HTML applications from the software suite. An unruly buying system was tamed by adding a purchase card component. Hogan was able to add information about who performed what function on the finance team. Users around the country are now able to access information such as payroll closing dates. They can also use various OLAP tools for their financial analysis. “At the moment it’s a finance portal,” says Hogan. “It’s a one-stop shop for any information you want, wherever it is held.” Hogan is brimming with ideas about where to go in the future. Phase one of the financials project started in December 2000. The first offerings went live on July 14, 2001.