04 Jun 2012

A day in the life: John Leuenberger

John Leuenberger is in charge of the Brennan IT Services Operations Centre, managing everything from network operations to the Brennan IT service desk. He’s worked everywhere from the USA to Europe and Africa, and he’s been with Brennan IT for the last 7 years. To see exactly how John and his team keeps our customers’ systems up and running, we decided to shadow him for a day. Here’s how it unfolded: 8 a.m. – arrival By the time John arrives at the office, his day has begun in earnest. After a 5 a.m. start in the gym, John has used the breakfast table and the drive to work to review overnight alerts, resolve some last-minute staff rostering issues and handle some escalations via his iPhone and iPad. “My wife, who also works in the city, acts as my hands-free operator,” John explains. When John reaches his desk it’s time to examine, prioritise, and assign mail from customers and consultants, escalating issues where required. He also reviews alerts from Brennan IT monitoring platforms. 10 a.m. – reporting John examines the daily operations report, making sure that all departments and processes are running smoothly. Among the metrics he examines are call volumes, response and wait times, first call fix rates, grade of service (GoS), client satisfaction ratings and staff development activities. “The daily report is a score card for metrics of many different kinds,” John explains. “It helps us to scrutinize our performance and to take note of important trends. It’s a vital tool for measuring our effectiveness and planning for ongoing improvement. It also ensures that the alignment of our operations to customer requirements is a continuous process, not a series of disjoint adjustments.” 11 a.m. – catch up with team leaders We’ve given this a time slot, but it happens throughout the day. John is up and about, keeping in touch with ‘front line’ troops and clients. Rather than tuck himself away in an office, he says that he is an advocate of MBWA (Management By Walk About) – though he also prefers the term ‘leadership’ to ‘management.’ “It’s important to encourage everyone to walk up to me at any time with any issue,” John says, “and if they don’t, I go looking.” 1 p.m. – lunch Come lunchtime, John heads to the lunch room for a bite to eat, as well as an informal chat with staff. A good cross-section of staff are present and spirit is high. 1.30 p.m. – recruitment To support its growth, Brennan IT is looking to recruit 50 new staff. Many will work in technical positions, which means that John has an important role to play. “Our recruiting process is detailed,” John explains. “After screening based on resumes and a phone interview with HR, there are up to three rounds of face-to-face interviews, including psychometric profiling and technical competency tests.” John says that he is proud of Brennan IT’s performance and best-practice standards when it comes to staff retention, saying that experienced staff can make a real difference to customer service. “For the past six years we’ve had less than 5 per cent staff turn-over in the service operations centre. Part of my job is ensuring that we’ve got well-defined career progression paths. Many of our senior consultants started their careers in operations. We pride ourselves on having vibrant and agile teams, and there’s a strong focus on cultural fit.” 2.30 p.m. – consultations John fields queries from account managers and sales staff regarding various services and their capabilities. These help to make sure that customers receive products and solutions that are the right fit. 3 p.m. – technical planning John meets with his technical heads for a technical planning meeting. With over 12,000 alerts being fielded by the SOC per month, the focus on effective monitoring and resolution automation is high. “We use ITIL, COBIT, ISO27001 as frameworks for improving our service delivery capabilities, and we are always working on staying in tune with industry trends,” John says. 4 p.m. – email catch up Four o’clock finds John at his desk attending to email from clients and staff. “It’s amazing how quickly they can mount,” he says. A short time later, he’s up to walk the front line once more. 6 p.m. – preparations for the evening shift When we check in at six, John is laying the ground for work to be carried out by the evening and night shifts and delivering some last-minute instructions. 6.30 p.m. – Sydney traffic At the end of another day, John departs to battle the Sydney traffic and may not be home until eight. Over dinner, he’ll keep an eye on his iPhone for escalations or alerts that might require his intervention. Afterwards, it’s off to bed, ready for tomorrow’s fresh start.   Robin Marchant is Brennan IT’s National Marketing Manager.