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TRC’s IT Director Shares Timely Advice for Execs Facing Remote IT Issues

TRC’s IT Director Shares Timely Advice for Execs Facing Remote IT Issues
November 30, 2020

David Paul is the Director of the IT Service Desk at TRC Companies, Inc.—a leading consulting, engineering, and construction management firm that provides technology-enabled solutions to the power, oil & gas, and environmental & infrastructure markets.

David has over 25 years of IT service delivery and infrastructure experience, and he was one of the key figures to lead his company’s shift to remote work during the pandemic. He attended Nexthink’s previous two in-person Experience events in New York City, and we’re delighted to have him join us this year as a panelist at our virtual conference, Experience Everywhere.

We had the chance to catch up with David to learn how his team handled the pandemic, what he’s looking for at the conference, and where he thinks the digital workplace is heading.

Nexthink: in 3 words, how would you define 2020 from a career perspective?

Well, first I’d have to pick words that would be professional (laughs).

But jokes aside, I’d define 2020 as:

  • Challenging
  • Progressive
  • Fulfilling

What’s the biggest professional lesson you learnt across 2020?

I always say to my team “The company isn’t there for IT. IT is there for the company.”

Looking back, I think the lessons we’ve all learned is that it’s important that IT Leaders have confidence in what they’re doing. But confidence will only take you so far, so you also need to deliver on real action plans that can be implemented quickly.

Also—and this is still a relatively new concept for many in IT—it’s critical to concentrate on customer service. In many cases, the only interaction remote employees might get is with their IT department! These were vital lessons that 2020 reinforced for me and my team.

Ok, Experience Everywhere. Tell us about your session?

I’ll be speaking on a panel w/ Henry Jennings (Principal Engineer-Clients Services/Desktop, Sony Pictures Entertainment) & Tori Paulman (Director of IT Client Services, Pegasystems).

I’m already learning a lot from both Henry and Tori, but for my part I will share some of the challenges my team and I faced this year and how we managed to overcome them. In particular, when the pandemic hit, we were smack in the middle of piloting Skype to Teams, but then, practically overnight, we had to move 5,000 employees immediately to Teams. We also had a VPN setup from before, but it wasn’t ready to support 4,000 users all at once! We went through a learning curve early on but came out better for it.

I’m also going to highlight the intuitive ways Nexthink helped us side-step these issues. The Engage feature, for example, was key at helping us collect unique survey data from our remote employees. One campaign in particular received a 98% response rate!

I also want to share a few points about the visibility we received from the platform. Nexthink gives us insights that maybe only one or two colleagues in your typical IT department might be able to find, but the other 99% of us really don’t have the technical skills, or time frankly, to retrieve that type of information. Nexthink fills that void, and the platform has equipped us with the context we need to quickly troubleshoot.

Do any particular stories come to mind?

Many, but here’s one: recently one of our employees called into the help desk citing some performance problem with his laptop. Before diving into his applications and network connection, we were able to immediately see that he hadn’t rebooted his device in quite some time. The reboot fixed his issue, but that type of visibility—all in one spot—is what I’m talking about!

Why did you agree to present at Experience Everywhere?

The short answer?

I really believe in this product. I’ve been a proponent since I first saw the platform in action at a ServiceNow event four years ago. It was the first product I had seen that offers up a noticeable shift in the way IT operates. You have brought it together, and the whole company seems geared exactly towards where the future of IT support and employee experience is headed. 

What else are you hoping to hear more about at the event?

I think we’re all facing similar challenges, regardless of our backgrounds or industry. I’m curious to see how other people are responding to tricky business problems.

And I’m also looking forward to hearing more from Nexthink in terms of product expansions and plans for 2021.

What are some of the best things about a digital (rather than in-person) conference?

Well for one, my feet don’t hurt at the end of the day!

It’s great to not have get on a plane and be away from family. But I will miss the after-event interactions, going out for dinner, etc. that gets lost but it’s great to connect too from the comfort of my own home.

Finally, where do you think the digital workplace is headed in 2021?

Pending vaccines and all of those logistics, I don’t think we’ll ever swing all the way back to how it was before the pandemic. I think many in IT, myself included, will continue to take a hard look at costs, and determine the best balance for IT and employees.

We used to think work was about an office with maybe remote as an option. Moving forward, it will probably be remote work, with an office as an extra option. It’s all about finding balance between that push and pull of onsite and remote work, and delivering the best IT experience possible.

Experience Everywhere is happening on December 9th (EMEA) and 10th (Americas).

Reserve your virtual seat today!