Gavin, Business operations, UK

Gavin works in IT and is a UK operations supervisor, based at our Stevenage site. Here, he talks about teamwork, problem-solving and the best things about his job.

Hi Gavin! What do you do at GSK?

I manage a team in the UK that’s responsible for IT incident management of 27 of GSK’s critical applications. We also provide hands-on support in the data centre where I’m based.

So you’re responsible for dealing with technical operations when things go wrong. Is that right?

It is. Our team support a lot of the critical applications. So if an incident occurs where users can’t access the application, for example, we would be contacted and it would be our responsibility to triage the issue.

We would try to identify what happened, escalate it to the right technical teams, get all the parties together and start working out what the issue is to implement a solution. We are also responsible for reporting the incident to stakeholders and providing timely updates.

How do you feel your work makes a difference for GSK?

Well, I can see a direct line to the end-user from the role I perform. It gives me a lot of responsibility and pride in my work because I know that I’m making a difference. If restoring a service is quicker, it means that there’s going to be less impact on end-users or patients, or consumers of that particular product. That’s how I’ve always looked at it.

If restoring a service is quicker, it means that there’s going to be less impact on end-users or patients, or consumers of that particular product. That’s how I’ve always looked at it.

What are the best things about your job?

I like the variety. In one day, I could be dealing with a production line down in Australia and then later on dealing with something more local like a hardware fix on the server.

I also know that we’re in a position of responsibility. It puts a bit of pressure on us and I know that it adds to the drive of the members of our team, to get systems online. I love the responsibility!

Has your industry experienced any exciting advancements recently?

Last year, we moved our main monitoring tool onto a new product, one which is more user-friendly for my colleagues. This means we can respond to incidents quicker. So, if we have an outage to a system, we can respond faster, which means less down-time for that application, or that infrastructure component. If a production line was down and a product is stopped on that line that can’t be released in the warehouse, then we can get that system running quicker – meaning that product is going to be released from the warehouse quicker. Ultimately, it gets to the doctors, chemists and the patient or consumer faster.

It sounds like you’re always keeping busy. What are your longer-term goals and aspirations at GSK?

I would love to stay at GSK – that’s for sure! The company encourages you to use your initiative to develop yourself. I have only recently started to manage a team, so I would like to develop my management skills and see where that takes me. I would like to stay in an IT role and look at managing teams on a global level.

What would you say is your biggest challenge?

A lot of the teams roles have been off-shored. During the early transition of these roles, it’s a challenge to keep the service running at the high level we would like it to run, but we know that this is the way of the world. We provide training to the new colleagues in these locations but it can be a challenge to provide this when you’re in one location and they’re in another.

And that gives you the opportunity to travel a bit…

Yes, definitely. I was recently in Poznan, Poland and I met my team over there which was great. They took me out and it was good to see how they do things over there and how they work. Now I’ve had that personal connection with them, I can chat to them more freely.

What sort of skills does your job require?

You need to be organised and able to multi-task, for sure. When we have a situation where we have a major incident, we’ve got a lot of things going on at once. We’re required to make a lot of calls and get the right people involved.

You need to be organised and able to multi-task, for sure. When we have a situation where we have a major incident, we’ve got a lot of things going on at once.

And what’s the office environment like?

In the UK office, we’re all very close. We’re all friends outside of work, so it gives us the chance to have open discussions about work and how we deal with situations.

We’re all shift workers, so we work days and nights. At the end of the shift, if there’s still an ongoing major incident, the team will stay behind and help the other person until we’re in a comfortable position. 

What advice would you give to someone coming to an interview?

In our role, we interact with several teams, so you’ve got to be confident in speaking to people from different backgrounds. Also, smile and bring some positive energy.

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