A conversation with Rocky McGuire, a Unisys experience manager who serves on the HDI Strategic Advisory Board.

by Team HDI
Date Published April 12, 2023 - Last Updated February 16, 2024

headshotEach year, HDI enlists the help of our Strategic Advisory Board to guide us as we serve the IT service and support communities. These leaders in the field provide input about what’s important to cover and what training and events to offer, and help us network with others in the IT sphere.

Throughout the year, we’re highlighting the individual members of the board, and asking each of them a few questions about their experience. Here, we ask a few questions of Rocky McGuire, an experience manager with Unisys.

Thank you for agreeing to be a part of HDI’s Strategic Advisory Board. Why do you think it’s important to give back to the IT service and support community?

It's an honor to be on HDI's Strategic Advisory Board and an opportunity I don't take lightly. I hope to bring some value to the HDI community and IT service support community in any way that I can. For me, the IT service and support community has changed the trajectory of my life, literally. When I accidently landed in an IT Service Desk role in 2015, it was this industry, those around me, and the growth opportunities I was provided that led me down a path to personal and professional growth. It was as a Service Desk agent that I first realized that my passion for serving others and drive to improve things could bring value to the customers and teams I got to serve in IT Service and Support.

So long story short - It is important to me to give back because this industry has given so much to me. I get to serve people every day, look for ways to improve our employee and customer experience, and work to make things better than when I started. I have had a career journey that I could never have dreamed of - and it's because of this industry that I get to do something I love every single day.

I believe there are people in this industry that are unknowingly just waiting for a leader to partner with them to discover how their passion and skills can bring value to the world around them In the IT Service and Support industry. If those who have the opportunity to influence the outcomes of this industry do so in even a small way, we can see our people, customers, and the world thrive.

What lesson did you learn from your biggest success in your career? And from one of your biggest challenges?

I think while many are worth noting, there is one that truly stands on its own that applies to both successes and challenges (big and small). The lesson in three words: Attitude determines altitude.

Since entering this industry, I have never been the smartest guy in the room. I don't have 100 case studies I have run on the latest technology or a bunch of letters next to my name on LinkedIn. What I do have is unapologetic optimism. As an agent, when I am being yelled at for a broken application I can't control, I choose to see the opportunity to serve the caller and reassure them. When I have to travel every week for three months for a project, I choose to focus on the chance to learn from the leaders around me during that time and soak up all the knowledge I can. Control how you think about your circumstances and challenges, and your attitude will follow the lead.

In your opinion, what skill or skills will be most needed in the next decade in this industry?

In IT support, we are seeing a clear shift from traditional transactional measures of success to a more holistic view of success. This leads me to believe the skill most needed in this industry over the next decade will be a proactive mindset. The agent, technician, and director alike will have to operate from a place of proactivity like never before. Gone will be the days of just achieving transactional metrics and feeling good about it. This means agents will need to start thinking about how to gather the right information to be proactive for the future, and leadership will have to be intentional about thinking ahead on how to equip the agent with the tools and skills to do just that.

We will continue to see an increase in a need for automation and zero touch provisioning, and digital experience management and journey analytics tools will become critical, not just "nice to haves". These roles and skills to leverage these tools will continue to grow in demand. Agents will transform from a break/fix transactional focus to a knowledge working focus that feeds the overall vision and action for IT to impact employee experience with the work they do every day.

What are you most proud of in your career, and why?

I would have to say the most proud part of my career holistically is really how many lives I have gotten to (hopefully) impact in even a small way - directly or indirectly. That is what it's all about for me.

Project wise, as COVID was beginning to lead to the shutdown of the world, I got a call on Saturday around 10:30 am from my boss's boss. Less than 48 hours later, I had created an entire training plan to equip what would end up being over 1000 people to support a state unemployment line. By the Friday of the next week, we had added over 100 people to the support line of an unemployment office whose volume had increased from 2000 calls a month to over 30 thousand a day. While I didn't influence the technology used or create an automation solution that changed the landscape of the IT industry, I feel that the 3 months following that Saturday phone call was the most meaningful work I have done since entering the IT industry.

You find yourself in a room full of IT service and support professionals and you have the opportunity to give them just one piece of advice to set them up for success. What would you say?

The work you do matters. Every day you are impacting people's lives in tangible ways. You may be supporting university faculty and staff, but what you're really doing is helping ease the nerves of an incoming freshman or creating an opportunity for a tenured professor to connect with their students through technology. If you're supporting insurance employees, you're really enabling your staff to help a retiree who just lost her husband understand how to claim the life insurance policy so she can pay off the dream home they built 20 years ago.

No matter what you're doing in IT, you are doing work that is impacting the lives of people in real ways. Never lose sight of that.

Tag(s): supportworld, support models, technology


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