Wendy Paine from Logicalis takes use through her career in IT and talks about skiing, cycling, and, er, Citrix
What is your role and who do you work for?
I recently became a technical integration services team leader at Logicalis UK.
Before that I was a pre-sales and post-sales technical consultant- that’s when I was awarded my double HPE Master ASE’s (in storage and server solutions). In that role, I designed and implemented solutions for customers around IT Infrastructure, service, storage and backup.
In my new position, I still work on the projects and with the people that I did before, but this time in more of a managerial role. So the work that I did previously is standing me in good stead so far!
How long have you been in IT?
Since about 1996. My first role was hardware support for a hospital in London, then I moved into solutions and software design before making the switch to a consulting role.
Although, technology is something that has always been really prevalent in my life. My grandmother was in IT during the late 70s and early 80s. She worked for GEC Marconi’s IT department, managing their backup solution, which I guess would have been quite unusual for a woman back then. As a child, I often went to work with her and that’s where my passion for all things tech came from.
What is your most interesting project to date?
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many exciting projects but the most interesting one was probably for an oil and gas company in Kazakhstan.
The undertaking itself was a big one; we reduced the company’s data centres from 36 to just 3. So, as you can imagine, it was a long project with a lot of time scales and even more travel- it took 23 hours to get there! In total, it took around 6 months to complete and, during that time, we worked on a system of 2 weeks on followed by 2 weeks off.
However, it wasn’t just the size of the project that was exciting. Kazakhstan was a mind blowing place to work. The people… The weather… Everything was so different and that’s what made it so interesting.
Yes, the experience was a challenging one but also really good fun.
What is your biggest challenge at the moment?
It has to be the current rate of change within the IT industry- it’s continuous and is only set to increase!
Everything is speeding up exponentially and, as a result, customer expectations have changed over the years. Just like consumers signing up months in advance for a new iPhone which isn’t on the market yet, business owners all want the latest technology for their organisations and they want it now.
As a provider, this demand is falling on us. All organisations need to be so much more agile and able to adapt faster than ever before in order to keep up with their competitors and we are no exception.
What technology were you working with ten years ago?
Citrix. It’s virtual desktop infrastructure platform one of the first digital workplace applications, which a lot of businesses still use but I don’t do anything with it now!
What is your favourite technology of all time?
Backup is the area of technology that really floats my boat. It’s very much like insurance because everybody needs to have it in place but no-one really knows or appreciates that… Well, until they really, really do need it, that is.
Plus, when a customer has had a disaster and you’ve got them back up and running with a backup solution you have designed and implemented, it’s an amazing feeling!
How will the Internet of Things affect your organisation?
The Internet of Things has resulted in more connected devices, more networks, and more data being collected.
IoT has sparked a total transition- away from older ways of working, and towards newer, more mobile ones. And it’s only set to increase in popularity.
As a business, we must find ways to support this.
What smartphone do you use?
Well my personal phone is an iPhone and my work phone is an Android. But I’m an apple person at heart- I like the interface, the fact that it syncs between my iPad and phone and how easy it is to use.
What three apps could you not live without?
Waze, because it gets me places on time!
My social media apps, because they help me to stay connected.
My camera, because it is a way to preserve my memories. I have thousands and thousands of photos on my phone!
What new technology are you most excited for a) your business and b) yourself?
I am probably most excited about the shift to Software Defined Everything both on a personal level and for the business.
It will completely change the networking business for us. Instead of traditional technologies, a lot of networking is now access defined; so it’s based on who you are as opposed to what IP address you’re working on.
All vendors are moving in the ‘Software defined direction’ and technology is becoming more commodified and more agile.
If you weren’t doing the job you do now, what would you be doing?
As a child I really looked up to my grandmother and so I always knew that I wanted to follow in her footsteps and go into IT. Whilst at school, I decided I wanted to be a systems analyst. I think this was- at least in part- driven by my fascination with understanding what things are and how they work.
I’ve been very lucky to work in a sector that I’m passionate about. However, if I wasn’t in tech, I’d like to think that one of my other passions would play a part in my career. Perhaps I would have been a ski instructor or a professional cyclist? As things are, I keep these hobbies in my spare time, skiing two or three times a year (if I can!) and volunteering for British Cycling.
I think my other career choice would have been to do something like physiotherapy because I love getting the most out of people and helping them. I’ve also had injuries myself in the past, so I know how devastating they can be and how important the correct treatment is on the road to recovery.