Ravi Chellam Ponnusamy – IT Team Lead and Systems Administrator – Chennai

Ravi Chellam Ponnusamy – IT Team Lead and Systems Administrator – Chennai

RAVI CHELLAM PONNUSAMY

IT Team Lead and Systems Administrator
Chennai, India
Joined: 2013

As a global coordinator of all things IT, Ravi continuously strives to achieve a high level of performance while also enjoying the people that he works with.  He’s the consummate Grouponer.

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

There are so many of them! Meeting my managers—Karin and Kelly—when they visited the Chennai office in 2013 is one of them. I also really loved my first visit to the Chicago office. Finally, I loved meeting my current manager Brian Burden and our Global IT Head Iain Phillips when they visited both Chennai and Bangalore offices in 2018.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? 

I am the India Team Lead and Systems Administrator for IT Support Services. I’m responsible for the day-to-day IT operations of both Bangalore and Chennai locations and serve as lead providing global coverage to our employees. As a Systems Administrator, I partner with the Global Help Desk and key business stakeholders to identify opportunities to automate processes, thus streamlining the way we work and simplifying daily life.

What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

I have worked on a lot of projects, all of which have posed different challenges. My most recent challenge has been helping to lead the Windows 10 1709 upgrade. The project involved a lot of reporting, cross-departmental collaboration, and coordination amongst local team members.  After a lot of hard work and energy, I’m happy to report that we successfully upgraded over 2k computers globally!

Who inspires you?

Both of my managers. Karin Swanson for when I was a helpdesk analyst and Brian Burden, my current manager.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

That it was very open and friendly.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

Groupon IT provides the systems, servers, and networking which are the backbone of any IT organization. Our work enables all teams to do their daily jobs effectively and connect with local businesses.

Where were you before you joined Groupon? How did you get here?

I was a Systems Administrator at Syrma Pvt Ltd. where I worked on the night shift. While I was watching TV, I saw an ad for Groupon. When I searched Groupon, I saw there was an opportunity in IT available, so I applied for it.  I was interviewed by the US recruiting team and after interviewing with some IT managers over video, I was selected, and boom I am in Groupon.   🙂

You probably have a life outside Groupon; what are you up to when you’re not at work?

I like to play XBox, watch ghost and crime stories, and I also have a stamp collection.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be and why?

I have three answers for this because it has changed three times during my life. When I was a kid I wanted to become a military officer. Then, when I was a teenager I wanted to become a cricketer. But now  I am happy with my current role and would like to move higher up in the IT ladder.

What’s your favorite local business?

Ice cream shops 🙂

IT obviously exists at other companies…so what makes your role at Groupon unique? 

You don’t get a team which is so friendly just anywhere. Our managers support us in every way so we can move to the next level. That is the difference.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Groupon is the place —

Managers are Fun —

I would love to work for them

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I am not always satisfied even when others are very happy with the final result of a project I do. I have a certain level that I want to achieve. That is me.

chennai badge

Sean Murphy – Senior Desktop Support Analyst in Scottsdale

Sean Murphy – Senior Desktop Support Analyst in Scottsdale

SEAN MURPHY

Senior Desktop Support Analyst
Phoenix, AZ
Joined: 2015

The best way to dodge a Polar Vortex in Chicago? Move to Phoenix! Sean talks Phoenix office culture, magicians, table tennis, and Minecraft.

Tell us about your job! What do you do? 

As a Desktop Support Analyst, I cover the Scottsdale office locally and work with our team on the frontline for global coverage. Days are very unpredictable, which is why I love my job. You need to stay on your toes to be ready for whatever comes in. I love the challenge it presents and the learning opportunity Groupon provides.

And you’re originally from Chicago—how did you end up in Phoenix?

I actually moved from the northern burbs of Chicago to Phoenix prior to working at Groupon to escape the “Polar Vortex.”  I’ve been back to Groupon’s Chicago office since orientation. The Phoenix office culture is unique: we’re sales-dominant and pretty much everyone knows each other due to the office size which makes outings, competitions, and general friendliness in the forefront. Table tennis is a pretty big deal here; typically there’s an office-wide tournament open for anyone to join. It’s hands- down the most fun I’ve had at an office job!

What’s your favorite Groupon memory? 

My favorite Groupon memory was my first day. I was completely blown away walking through Chicago’s reception to my new hire orientation—it seemed surreal, this was the place I’d been looking for! Everyone shared the same excitement to be part of something so big.

What’s the most random thing you’ve seen at the office?

Probably when we had a magician visit the office who was part of a deal one of our reps had put together. He put on a small show for us and expressed his gratitude towards Groupon for helping him drive a bigger audience to his show. Everyone got a kick out of it, moments like this make you really appreciate what we do for small businesses.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce? 

It’s my department’s responsibility to provide timely support to ensure business continuity and that everyone is provided with the tools they need to perform to the best of their ability.

What’s your biggest accomplishment here?

At the beginning of the year, I was awarded the “December EngOps employee of the month” for my work consolidating, auditing, and managing our software profile. I’ve never received such recognition for doing what I love. This encourages me to work even harder.

Give us a glimpse of the Phoenix office!

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve worked on?

Throughout 2017, I managed Groupon’s global software portfolio. This forced me to learn all the tools we utilize to be a successful business along with forming strong relations with different departments and business partners. I treated this as I would my own personal investments to save financially where we can and get the most out of the products we own. I’ve never worked on anything of this scale before, coming out of it I have a new level of confidence!

Where can we find you outside of work?

My wife and I love checking out local businesses with purchased Groupons as we learn the lay of the land in Phoenix (since we’re Chicago transplants). My son and I love playing Minecraft together (mostly him showing me the crazy stuff he builds!). Personally, I spend much of my free time running or mountain biking the desert. At any given point I’m usually training for the next big race.

Who or what inspires you?

The more I put in, the more I get out. I’ve never worked for an organization where this was so true. Everyone’s accomplishments are celebrated, this drives me to be on my A-game. The moment I got my first taste of success here I was hooked.

What was your first impression of Groupon as an employer?

Walking through the doors the first time I had no idea what to expect, I was nervous for whatever reason I might not fit in or that it’d be overly competitive. I’d learn very quickly that was the complete opposite! The diversity in our workplace is mind-blowing, there are groups for everyone to be part of. All my peers are interested in sharing knowledge and bringing each other up, it’s such a unique work experience. Everyone I speak with is as excited as me to be here and a part of this. I have so much pride saying who I work for, I know we are each individually responsible for the business’s success.

Fabien Jouneau – IT Support Services Team Lead in Paris

Fabien Jouneau – IT Support Services Team Lead in Paris

FABIEN JOUNEAU

IT Support Services Team Lead
Paris, France
Joined: 2010

What’s your favorite view from the office?

What’s your favorite conference room?

“Fabien is one of the best people I’ve been lucky enough to work with. He’s always eager to go the extra mile and make sure that every aspect of his work is as good as it can be,” – Anton Sidelnikov, Fabien’s manager & Senior Manager of IT for EMEA

What’s your favorite Groupon memory?

One of my favorite memories is from when I was still a trainee. In 2011, we had outgrown the Groupon France and one day, having to plug too much computer—the electric meter caught fire. We suddenly had 120 people who couldn’t work because we had no power. I was tasked with finding a solution so that the employees could get back to work. I proposed to move all of the employees in the middle of the day to the new office. Thus, 120 people moved by taking computers, keyboards, and screens on their chairs and traveled 1km through the streets of Paris to our new location. The tourists thought it was a movie and took pictures.

What was your first tole here and where are you at now?

I was hired as a systems and network administrator for Groupon France. Now I am an IT Team Lead.

So tell us about what you do here!

IT is really exciting every day. We have a lot of responsibility when employees come to the office every morning. Every day I coordinate and drive the daily activities to provide the best service to our users. I am in contact with support services for our business (networks and administration services) to provide support services. We must not forget them because they are important to our business. I also produce useful data for management in order to improve the services when employees contact us.

Where can we find you outside of work? What are your hobbies?

During the week you can find me in one of two places. I’m either at the cafe enjoying a charcuterie board and wine with my friends or colleagues or I’m boxing, which I discovered 8 months ago. Otherwise, I’m probably playing video games like World of Warcraft,  Overwatch, or PUBG. I also love reading and devour TV series when I have time. When the weather allows, I’ll go boating to disconnect from technology for a while.

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here?

The biggest challenge I encountered was the standardized our global helpdesk processes. At that time, it was necessary to change everything, myself included.

So where were you before joining Groupon?

Before Groupon, I was in med school, but I got to a point where what I was learning didn’t excite me as much as computers. I decided to change lanes and eventually enrolled in an engineering school. Groupon for me was the same school! I was looking for a job where I could perfect my skills and knowledge. I was also looking for an internship when I came across an ad. Fast forward seven years, here I am sharing my story!

What was your first impression of Groupon?

I had an excellent first impression. In the beginning, most employees were still fairly young. I had just left school so it was really amazing to have a lot in common with my colleagues. Besides, many have remained very close friends to this day. During my interview, I said to myself, “if you must invest yourself in a company, this is a good one.” Since then I have never regretted my choice to join Groupon.

What do your parents think you do?

When I explain to my parents what I do, they always reply, “If you are happy, we are happy.” I am E.T. for them.

What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?

Passion, tenacity, commitment, solidarity.

So what’s something that has surprised you in your time here?

I think the state of mind that prevails at Groupon. I am still pleasantly surprised by the work we do every day. It’s not always easy, but everyone takes responsibility, risks, and investments to produce quality service.

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

Every day I make sure that all Groupon employees can come and work in good conditions and make sure that no one is faced with any difficulties in doing their job. Sometimes I take the time out of my role as manager to accompany my colleagues in joy and good humor and they make me feel good.

Mario Peterson – Desktop Support Analyst in Tokyo

Mario Peterson – Desktop Support Analyst in Tokyo

MARIO PETERSON

Desktop Support Analyst
Tokyo, Japan
Joined: 2016

After studying both Japanese and Information Systems at Loyola, the planets aligned perfectly for Mario when he met a Grouponer at a Chicago networking event who helped him land his current role in our Tokyo office. You can find him doling out life advice to coworkers from his helpdesk perch or slaying it in karaoke during work outings.

Spill the beans: what do you do and why do you love it?

I maintain and optimize the IT environment in order to keep things running smoothly and I also implement changes for improvement. On the local level, I maintain the Japan IT environment and assist users who are experiencing issues related to hardware, software, network, occasional life counseling, and so on. On the global level, I facilitate IT communications between Global IT and Japan, run the helpdesk, and look for ways to optimize helpdesk processes. My favorite part of my role is the satisfaction that comes from solving a complex issue and successfully assisting a colleague with any issues that they may be facing. If your monitor isn’t working, your computer burst into flames, or the network crashes, I am here to help!

What has been the most challenging thing you’ve worked on here?

The office relocation project was the most challenging and exciting thing I have had the opportunity to work on. It involved working closely with multiple global teams, strong communication between local departments and vendors, and close tracking of project constraints (i.e. deadlines, costs, and human resources). It felt great knowing that all of the planning, coordination, and work paid off as Tokyo had a successful go-live date. A bonus was that I was able to work with the Tokyo communications department in deciding the Tokyo conference rooms theme and names. After a fun brainstorming session, we decided to go with UNESCO World Heritage Sites since they are well known and serve as a daily reminder of our global impact.

What are your favorite Groupon memories?

One of my favorite Groupon memories was in the beginning of 2017 when we migrated Japan to the global network. Our incredible networking team in Chicago, a Japan-based coworker, and I spent a lot of time planning this out as to avoid any disasters and/or downtime. That meant doing the migration on Friday at midnight (JST), or Thursday morning (CST), when the office was cleared out. The thing about Japan is that the last train is usually around midnight, which meant we would be in the office until at least 5 am (if not later) depending on the migration.

In preparation for this all-nighter, I grabbed some dinner in the Shibuya area, took a quick nap at an internet café, stocked up on snacks and caffeine, and made my way to the office. The migration was a success, but we didn’t get out until around 8 am the following day; it was totally worth it though. Since it was the afternoon in Chicago, I decided to give my parents a call and felt very proud to share our accomplishment that weekend in a very slap-happy manner.

Regardless of the time of day, that was one of my favorite memories because 1) the execution was flawless; 2) my coworker and I deepened our professional and personal bonds (being the only two people in the office for ~7 hours at an irregular time of day does something to you!); and 3) it was a significant first step towards migrating our systems to Global. Overall, it was a unique experience, I learned a lot, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with our top-notch networking teams.

Another favorite memory was sometime in early 2017, local Japan IT received an alert that a chassis in our off-site server needed to be replaced. Naturally, these repairs would need to take place outside of standard working hours and preferably on the weekend in case something comes up and we need more time to repair the issue. I contacted both the vendor for repairs and vendor that housed the server to set up a maintenance and repair appointment. Due to scheduling conflicts, it ended up being on a weekday at 3 am but, that’s beside the point.

This was my first time at the data center and the security was awe-inspiring. Access lists, biometric hand-scanners, mantraps, badge readers, security cameras, and I am sure there was more in the background. After navigating through security we made it to the data rack storage area and I must say it was a very neat site. There were hundreds of rows and columns that stretched as far as the eye could see and each path was illuminated by blue LED lights and motion-sensor ceiling lights. I felt both lucky and inspired to be able to access an area like this in my first year at Groupon. Once we located the storage unit, the repair vendor got to work and my coworker and I began planning, coordinating, and scheduling the tasks that would occur over the next 6 months, which all branched from our biggest project, the Tokyo office relocation.

Who or what inspires you?

My family and best childhood friend serve as my bedrock of support and inspiration. Although we are spread out across the globe (Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Tokyo), we know that we can always count on each other to be there for one another.

Can you write a Groupon haiku?

Forever changing – Diversity is our strength — We stand as Groupon

Tell us something about you that might surprise us!

I leave it all on the floor at karaoke 😉

How does your work impact Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?

Technology is always changing and IT must continuously identify, integrate, and communicate these changes in order to remain competitive and relevant in today’s marketplace and provide employees and Grouponers the best possible experience.

What’s your proudest accomplishment here so far?

My favorite accomplishment was organizing and leading a street cleaning volunteer event at the previous Tokyo office. This enabled the Tokyo office to further contribute towards the local community and living out our Groupon values as well as build stronger relationships and communication between departments.

Have you won any awards in your time at Groupon?

Two Friday Awards! One for my part in migrating Japan’s IT environment to the global platform and one for my part in the office relocation project. It would not have been possible to complete these projects without the excellent teamwork, communication, and dedication from all teams across the board!

So you went to school in Chicago…how’d you get to Japan?!

I was a student at Loyola University Chicago studying Information Systems and Japanese whilst working part-time as a financial analyst at a small company. During my final semester, I spent quite a bit of time searching for jobs and attending networking events, which would eventually lead me to meet former Grouponer Trina Gizel. We immediately hit it off and Trina, knowing my IT background and keen interest in Japan, recommended me for the IT Helpdesk position in the Tokyo office. Following this, I had interviewed with the Tokyo IT manager and was brought aboard the month following graduation. It all happened really fast but I am glad to have taken the leap to work abroad in the Tokyo office.

Where can we find you outside of work?

Hiking, futsal, reading, karaoke, exercising, late-night talk shows; I am looking into testing out a new hobby each month beginning in 2018. The first on the list is ballroom dancing!

If you could do any other job for a day, what would it be and why?

I would be an English and/or IT teacher for children. Children light up my day with their energy and provide a fresh outlook on the world, boundless creativity, and a reminder to live in the present moment.

What’s your favorite local business?

King Of System

 

\