Interview with Megan Hemingway from Seven West Media

Megan started her career as a developer, moved into data as her area of specialty and then found herself as a project manager and ultimately a leader. She’s worked mainly in Australia but also had a 3-year stint in Asia. These experiences have developed Megan so that she is most effective in an environment with a focus on continuous improvement and gets excited by leading teams through wholesale transformation.

 As Head of IT, Megan has full responsibility for corporate IT for Channel 7 and Pacific Magazines, Australia wide. This includes a team of 40 people that are distributed across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The team supports a user base of approximately 3500 across 13 sites. The role manages teams that have responsibility for ensuring operational stability, providing end user support and managing the delivery of projects for the business.

 

Interviewer: How do you keep up to date with technology innovations and keep your organisation up to date with new technologies without disruption?

Megan: If we’re going to be honest, it’s almost impossible to stay completely up to date without disruption – but then not every organisation is right to be on the ‘bleeding edge’. The most important thing is to understand how ‘up to date’ your organisation wants or needs to be. Part of determining this is to identify the appetite for disruption and comparing that to the appetite for everything shiny and new.

 

Interviewer: What is the biggest challenge you face as Head of IT?

Megan: One of the things I love about my job is that the challenges change on a daily basis. One day might be removing a roadblock (or potential roadblock) from a big project, the next could be dealing with an unhappy customer and the one after that, making decisions on trade-offs between cybersecurity and user experience. There are also the inevitable financial challenges of doing more with less.

Consumers are becoming more tech-savvy every day and rightfully expect the same level of technology they have at home to be available in the workplace. However, the workplace has budgetary and other constraints that may not apply to the home. The challenge is finding ways to overcome as many constraints as possible so that people have the technology they want to use that enables them to be the best they can be at work.

 

Interviewer: How much importance does cybersecurity play in your role?

Megan: A significant amount. There are cybersecurity experts within the organisation but security can’t just be left to them – all of us need to play our part. As the leader of the IT team, every decision I make must include consideration for security – something that has changed considerably, even over the last 3 years.

 

Interviewer: What projects are you currently or have recently been working on?

Megan: We recently finished an O365 foundation project where we focused on identity, security and email. It was a 4-month project with an amazing technical outcome that included more than 5000 mailboxes migrated, 1500 public folders removed, 40 servers decommissioned and our security score increasing by 250. Although it wasn’t without hiccups, it has been well received in the business and people are already jumping in and asking ‘what’s next?’

 

Interviewer: What to do you feel will be the biggest game-changer within your industry beyond 2020?

Megan: The media industry (like many others) is being significantly disrupted and is having to find new ways to operate. This is resulting in ideas that historically would have been completely dismissed, being seriously considered and in some cases implemented. We have traditional competitors sharing resources in areas not considered to be competitive in nature. The media ownership law changes have also allowed for mergers and acquisitions that historically weren’t possible. I believe the next biggest ‘game-changer’ will come from new ideas that form out of these changing company structures within the industry.

 

Interviewer: Have you recently introduced new technologies into your organisation or are you currently looking to? If yes, what are these new technologies and their key uses?

Megan: Our focus is less on the introduction of new technologies and more on fully utilising technologies that we already have. There are technologies that have been brought into the organisation for various uses but haven’t been widely standardised on. By revisiting and choosing the ‘best of breed’ we already have, we’re getting improvements in traditional overhead areas like backup and DR, patching and monitoring as well as significantly reducing complexity.

 

Interviewer: What is your strategy for staying on top of new technologies and other industry changes?

Megan: My strategy is to listen. There are so many sources of information available to us that it would be possible to make a full time job of reading and researching upcoming trends. Most of us don’t have that luxury of time so I find that listening is the best way to identify which trends I should further investigate. The information can come from all sorts of sources including mainstream media, vendors, colleagues, my team, friends, etc.

 

Interviewer: What do you think is the most important aspect of your role as the Head of IT?

Megan: Leadership. I’m not the most technologically advanced person, I’d never be great on a service desk, I don’t understand the complex backend workflows in a broadcast management system – but my team is all of this and more. The most important part of my job is to provide my team with the support and guidance they need so they can utilise their skills to provide the organisation with the services that they need.

 

ABOUT SEVEN WEST MEDIA

Seven West Media is one of Australia’s leading integrated media companies, with a market-leading presence in broadcast television, magazine and newspaper publishing and online. The company is the home to many of Australia’s leading media businesses – Seven, 7TWO and 7mate, 7flix, 7food network, Pacific Magazines, The West Australian and The Sunday Times, and the biggest content brands including My Kitchen Rules, House Rules, Home and Away, Sunrise, the Australian Football League, Cricket Australia, the Olympic Games, Better Homes and Gardens, marie claire, Who, PerthNow, racing.com and 7plus.

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