Henry Jennings is the Principal Engineer-Clients Services/Desktop at Sony Pictures Entertainment. An industry veteran, Henry has worked with IT teams for over two decades on improving their services support and building tangible metrics for business success. He was fundamental in his company’s shift to remote work in 2020 and has managed several large-scale IT projects across Sony.
We’re delighted that Henry will join us this year as a panelist at our virtual conference, Experience Everywhere. We had the chance to catch up with Henry this week and he shared some advice that can help any IT leader approach the new year with a fresh set of eyes.
Nexthink: how would you define 2020 from a career perspective?
Looking back, I think 2020 was a good test of our resilience. For a lot of the IT staff, this was our opportunity to rise up to the challenge and I think we did that.
What’s the biggest professional lesson you learnt across 2020?
Letting go of old stigmas and taboos around modern work. I think there was always a fear that if people switched to remote work they would goof off and be less productive. We found the opposite to be true this year. Our employees are way more productive.
In addition, a lot of our technical fixes, like upgrading somebody’s RAM used to be done in person. There was a bit of a learning curve, but our IT teams have adopted workflows to implement hardware fixes from a virtual presence when necessary and other repairs virtually. Also, the Wi-Fi integration with Nexthink really helped us troubleshoot our remote workers’ problems.
Ok, Experience Everywhere. Tell us about your session?
I’ll be speaking on a panel w/ David Paul (Director of the IT Service Desk at TRC Companies) & Tori Paulman (Director of IT Client Services, Pegasystems). In particular, I’m going to share the philosophy I use with my team, which is this: how can we get just one-step better in everything we do?
I think too many times in IT people try to “boil the ocean,” they try to do too many things and never get very far. Instead, my team and I have tried to do things like cut a 15-minute call into the IT help desk down to 2 minutes; or remove manual work steps in the IT process so it’s automated (or done in a single click).
Those little wins are huge for IT departments, so I’m looking forward to sharing these stories. We’re targeting more integration work with ServiceNow and continuing to improve our services with employees.
Why did you agree to present at Experience Everywhere?
Honestly, it came down to scheduling. Being able to do this virtually was a huge help. Not having to worry about budgeting, travel, etc. made this very easy.
What else are you hoping to hear more about at the event?
I’m always looking for new perspectives, ideas, and technologies that can help my team improve. I’m hoping to learn other methodologies from my peers. For example, switching from SLAs to XLAs is something that we have taken (from outside Sony) and merged with our existing strategies.
What are some of the best things about a digital (rather than in-person) conference?
A virtual conference helps because you can be prepared, you can control your environment better than during an in-person event. It’s much more convenient but of course, you miss some things like that human connection and any post-event collaboration.
Finally, where do you think the digital workplace is headed in 2021?
I think there will be a balance between work-from-home and in-office. And I think there will be new productivity metrics that will come about. IT can help demonstrate whether people are more productive and healthier or not in a remote versus an in-office setup (overall, my bet is the former will win out).
From an IT perspective, I think this means we will have to build frameworks with ISPs to see their operations and keep our businesses going. I think we’ll need better collaboration with them so we can repair issues faster and escalate problems quickly as they unfold.
Experience Everywhere is happening on December 9th (EMEA) and 10th (Americas).
Reserve your virtual seat today!