Staff profiles


Keith Wallace
ICT Infrastructure team lead


My role is to manage our related infrastructure technologies and people. I facilitate the design, deployment and support of everything ICT Infrastructure. This means understanding business needs, and how my team can use technology to help meet them in a high value, efficient way.

Infrastructure technology is something that is all around us – and if we’re ‘doing it right’ – unseen. Countless party conversations have ended with an opening statement such as “I am the Infrastructure lead at the hospital” – it hardly sounds like the most exciting job on the planet – but I (naturally) think it is! Our team is vital, and our work is extremely dynamic.

 

Best things about the job?
My team comes very high up in the list. From a technology perspective, our team delivering novel and reliable systems using quality components is ‘my thing’.

In this role I’m as much a technology manager, as I am a people manager. While I have a team of subject matter experts, if you’ve worked in IT – you’ll know that technologists struggle to decide. I can help with that.

We all very much work towards the excitement of ‘when a plan comes together’ that really does introduce a technology advantage for the DHB.


Tell us about your team
I’m fortunate to have eight subject matter experts in my team.

The database administrator manages our database platforms. This means building and operating database servers, ensuring they meet the requirements of the org, and the data is secure, accessible, and safe.

Four systems engineers mostly work to develop, manage and maintain infrastructure solutions.  One system engineer is designated to ensuring that many day-to-day operations are taken care of, patching takes place, back-ups are successful, and so on.

Two desktop engineers were added to my team two years ago which is proving to be an invaluable link between infrastructure and desktop services development. They assist in deeper desktop device troubleshooting, desktop technology development, and liaise with our team and service delivery teams.

 

Taranaki DHB Infrastructure team

 

What is ICT Infrastructure?
Consider what a country’s transport infrastructure might look like. A typical government provides roads on which people can drive, and they may develop safety mandates to ensure all drivers are kept safe (seatbelts etc), design appropriate routes and so on.

In this analogy the roads would be our Infrastructure Systems, and roading layout could be compared to the way we design and build our infrastructure systems to support the many different applications and ICT solutions the DHB needs.

Road safety mandates could be compared to the various layers of security we provide – from actively identifying phishing/scam mail, to preventing external attacks, to ensuring patient information is not accidentally leaked or accessible by the wrong folk. The traffic would be the hospital staff, with differing allowances for their vehicle requirements – how fast will you go? How heavy is the stuff you want to move? Do you need to get your vehicle off our local roads, and onto a road elsewhere in the country (or the world)? We ensure there is the right infrastructure in place to get systems, data, and you to where you need to be.

My small, but extremely capable team essentially manage the entire ICT Infrastructure on behalf of the organisation, and that includes ensuring all systems and data are run on consistently secure and reliable platforms.

 

How did you get to here?
I’m a native of Dublin, Ireland and born in the ‘70s I’m forever 21 years of age.

I’ve always had a keen interest in IT and technology, with my family owning its first computer in 1981 and this was relatively frequently replaced or upgraded, as my demands rolled in.

As a child, these computers were a primary source of entertainment – but as time went by, I became more curious. I picked up the basics of programming – the very first consumer computers had little software, and you were expected to program them yourself. I then developed a particular interest in the capabilities of differing models of computers, as they were never ‘fast enough’ for what I wanted from them. From there, my interest blossomed in all directions. My expertise now primarily lies in infrastructure services management, many (many) Microsoft Technologies, networking, virtualisation, identity management/security and solutions architecture.

Having got ‘onboard’ with IT at just the right time for its exponential development in the late ‘80s and ‘90s – I’ve witnessed, and had ongoing hands-on experience of consumer and corporate IT development from basic word processors and dumb terminals, to the modern systems we have today. Pre the adoption of the internet, I was active on local bulletin boards, and one of the few to have a Fidonet email address – which predated general internet email.

When I left high school – I dipped out on the concept of Uni, and decided industry training was far more relevant to my career intentions, and went to work for a company that had an exclusive IT support contract for the high courts in Dublin. This meant my first experience with customers was a group with very high expectations and low patience levels.

From there, I progressed to a Service Desk role at Dublin City University for about a year, then was promoted into a Systems Engineer role, working on the IT infrastructure for them. That was a time of extremely accelerated technical learning and industry qualification (I was surrounded by literal IT geniuses at a training institution).

In 2000, I took a three-month visit to New Zealand and I liked it so much – I returned in 2001 for a year ‘off’ working in NZ and decided to stay.

I worked at a small computer service company and left there to join the DHB in 2011.

 

What inspires you to keep doing your work?
The past, the present, the future… My predecessors took some very brave steps with technology in the past, and we have all enjoyed the benefits of this, though few would know it.

The present for us, is currently a junction from a technology perspective. We have an opportunity to pivot into next generation capabilities, and are positioned to affect change relating to our chosen disciplines for the future delivery of quality healthcare. That’s extremely exciting to me.

The future I intend for my team to deliver for TDHB, is building on the giants that precede us; and develop true light touch, cost effective and agile systems that require less upfront investment, less watering and feeding in terms of human resource (automation), and are of such a modular nature to scale as the organisation grows, making costs more affordable. Cloud services are a key part to that puzzle. We are well and truly ‘on that road’.

 

 

Last updated: Monday, March 29, 2021

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