Ellie: For the next instalment of our ‘Day in the life of’ feature, I’m about to interview Operator Richard Pateman. Hi Richard, we haven’t worked together much as you do a lot of out of hours work and are based at Retail Assist’s Northampton Data Centre – how long have you worked for the company?
Richard: Hi Ellie, I have been at Retail Assist for 4 years and 6 months now.
Ellie: So what is a typical day (or in your case, sometimes night) at work for you at Retail Assist?
Richard: Since I starting working for Retail Assist I have seen a lot of new systems and contracts coming on board and I am responsible for monitoring all these systems to ensure 24/365 continuity which also includes day to day checks ensuring the Data Centre is kept operational. The types of things I do vary very much, these can include making sure that Merret SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are met by monitoring all of our overnight schedules and ensuring that any issues with our clients AS400’s are escalated to 2nd and 3rd party support personnel. I’m responsible for monitoring all of the Retail Assist Network, servers, routers, switches and hardware, which again involves escalating any issues to 2nd and 3rd Party support. I also keep regular checks on WDFE, RA-X, and Selfridges BMC, not to mention the remote desktop monitoring of Jane Norman, White Stuff and Awear. I look after a lot of the backups running on our client systems and can be asked to run manual restores of lost data and saves of a specific library or object. I also assist Jan Benjamin, the Operations Supervisor in setting up new procedures and documentation which the Ops team use to assist them overnight and during the day. There could also be a number of calls I take from clients or Retail Assist personnel that have issues with equipment or software out of hours which I would log on Ambercat / RSD (Retail Service Desk) and pass over to the relevant support party if it is something I cannot resolve myself.
Ellie: What do you enjoy most about your job – what is it that motivates you at Retail Assist?
Richard: It’s good to see the company expanding every year and the list of clients we support growing, as it is a vital part of Retail Assist. I also feel fortunate to work in an environment which has very good support teams and have found it brilliant working alongside Technical Services. They have aided me in understanding the job I do and systems we look after better than I could have done on my own. I have also built up some good friendships with people in Nottingham, and Northampton. Currently I am enjoying showing the new Operators around and teaching them the job as others did for me when I was the new boy.
Ellie: That’s really nice. I’m afraid I’m going to ask you what you find most difficult about your job now though!
Richard: Well a big part of the job involves working on my own, which means I have to be very organized and have eyes in the back of my head to ensure I stay ahead of the game.
Ellie: That’s funny – Alaine mentioned that she needed extra arms to do her job when I interviewed her for this feature, and now you’ve said that you need extra eyes – I’m noticing a pattern emerging amongst Retail Assist personnel! My final question as ever, is what previous experiences helped prepare you for your role?
Richard: Before starting at Retail Assist I worked for a very busy logistics company working split shifts with a large team of people which definitely helped me to cope with the Ops shifts and also working with the various teams in Retail Assist. I also took a computer course supplied by Advent training to become MCSE, the company is now no more after going into administration, but I found the information I was given a good stepping stone and aided me in getting the job here at Retail Assist.
Ellie: Great, thank you Richard. Readers please keep checking the blog for the next ‘Day in the life of’ interview.