Women in IT – Lisa Malarkey

Next in our series of ‘Women in IT’ blogs is Lisa Malarkey from our Systems Development Team…

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been in the industry and at Phoenix for 24 years now.

What roles have you held?

I’ve had a variety of roles at Phoenix Software. I initially joined the company as an Administration Assistant. Due to my organisational skills I was soon covering other roles in the company to assist with introducing and identifying new processes. This meant I worked with several departments, providing me with a good knowledge of the type of work we did, this included customer returns, dispatch and then becoming the Administration Team Leader. This extended further in to also managing the Dispatch and Purchasing Team along with Administration. I then started working on more project-based work, my first large project was the introduction of Sage, which then lead me to understand more about accounts.

My role then became more focused working with the Directors, whilst still managing the Admin Team and becoming responsible for HR. Due to the growth within the company my roles have been quite diverse to meet the needs of the business where we hadn’t previously had a designated job for these areas. I had a variety of job titles from General Manager, to PA to Directors due the nature of the different types of work I did, which also included managing the telephone system.

Eventually the project work lead me back in to working with our systems and I assisted with the SalesLogix project and was part of the initial team for our internal ordering system – OASIS.  During these projects I moved into documenting the scope and requirements and testing what had been developed.  Hence my move in to testing and business analysis. My current title is Services & Projects Co-ordination Manager/Test Team Manager. This still leaves room for project work for improving how we work at Phoenix as well managing the team and working with the developers.

What made you choose IT?

To be honest I moved in to IT by accident.  Phoenix had an Administration role which involved working towards BS5750, which I’d worked with in my previous company creating new specifications and processes.  My move was more about administration than actually going into IT.  Fortunately for me I joined an IT company which was rapidly evolving, which guided and led me to other skills I would never have thought of applying for!

Did you face any challenges when starting out in the industry?

Yes, I struggled with the language!  It was difficult at first finding the happy medium of understanding what people were talking about, product and technology wise, but not needing 100% to know how it all worked.  That wasn’t what my role required, but it all did feel very much over my head when I first worked here.

What changes have you seen in the industry and Phoenix over the years?

Our movement in to other areas, not just licence and product sales. We now provide a whole solution to the customer, which includes consultancy, software asset management and managed services for service desk customers. In the past there was a big rise in training to use IT products, we particularly specialised in the Microsoft Office product suite and had a large training centre to provide this service. As time went on this service was no longer required and the training centre closed. The introduction of software asset management and the first development of the products to support this service.

Online procurement. Everything was done via the phone or email. The move towards online portals has provided accessibility across many industries, not just in IT.

What can be done to encourage more women into IT?

There are many roles within IT companies, that are not necessarily technically based.  However, working in this environment, you can evolve as I have, into this industry.  I certainly never thought I would be testing software, writing specifications and helping come up with solutions to manage the business we do.