Hervé Durand has been recognized for his strategic leadership and technical capabilities on private and hybrid cloud environments with deep expertise in infrastructure skills. Hervé was selected to be part of the inaugural class of Kyndryl Distinguished Engineers, leading innovators who are shaping the future of Kyndryl and driving change in the industry.
If you are at a dinner party, how do you describe what you do every day for work?
The day-to-day rhythm of my job has me working with enterprises across our big and connected global economy, and I help lead Kyndryl’s expert teams that keep up-to-date all the technologies these important institutions rely upon.
The pace of technology is inherently fast, right? To some degree, enterprises everywhere are always playing catch-up, trying to stay technologically current to enable innovation and their operations to be efficient and secure. My work lives in the middle of that effort, always evaluating what customers need to overcome challenges, and designing solutions to get these solutions over the finish line.
What’s something you’ve worked on that you’re really proud about?
I’ve worked on a lot of neat projects throughout my career, so it’s tough to choose any single job. There are a couple of projects that stand out to me, though. In 2018 and in 2020, I was assigned to work on customer accounts — both times large financial institutions — and the task was all about figuring out how to shift much of the customers’ really complex operations to the cloud.
To a layperson, it can be difficult to convey just how technical and in-the-weeds this work can be. And because of that, it’s important to have someone who is adept in the soft skills of being a good listener and an air traffic controller, helping teams communicate, connect, and meet our goals. You have to be able to internalize what customers need, identify the value they’d get from a project. Then you have to translate these demands into IT solutions that meet the customers’ expectations. This is all part of co-creation. I really enjoy it.
How did you find yourself in technology in the first place?
If I think back 40 years, I remember my father came back home with this little calculator. It was a TI-57. And he presented to me this little programmable calculator and it just totally fascinated me, and it got me thinking a lot about computer science. I wanted to know more, and was fortunate that my father then bought an Atari 520 ST, which allowed me to program and code demos using advanced tricks in assembly. It was my first real experience with teamwork, as we introduced audio tunes and graphics into our productions. I loved the creative element.
It sounds like, for you, a lot of your interest started — or at least evolved — from a genuine interest in the artistry that technology can unlock?
Yes. It also drew me to being interested in the creative, behind-the-scenes work happening in the video game industry. Just like I used to play on that Atari my dad bought, I now have a Playstation 4 and I still play with it.
But more than playing, I like thinking about the design and creative work behind games and new technologies. And this makes me think about why I’m at Kyndryl in the first place. The reality is that my everyday job is all about developing ideas and creating new ways for the world to work better. One day our teams might be co-creating with a global bank, the next day it might be for a top retailer, or a government institution — but that overarching goal is the same.
This idea of co-creation, it sounds like that’s woven into the ethos you bring to work.
I believe very much in bringing the spirit of co-creation to the work that I do, but it’s also a fundamental value at the place I work. The mindset at Kyndryl is really about the collective power of people putting their brains together to solve some of world’s prickliest technical challenges. What’s neat is that the people here have an opportunity to do amazing work for a wide variety of important customers who are instrumental in keeping the global economy running smoothly, securely, and efficiently.
And now that you’ve been acknowledged as a Distinguished Engineer, how does that distinction make you feel?
It is a big achievement for me. At first, I could not believe it. I could not imagine I that this sort of distinction was possible for me. Now that I am a Distinguished Engineer, it opens a new challenge for me, which is how to use this as an opportunity to take more of a leadership role.
The best advice I’ve ever gotten I received 22 years ago. It was from my then-manager when I saw him valuing my work at the top level. I was very surprised, and later he said: "A manager shines by making his team shine.” It's what I strive to apply to my job every day now.