Why IT matters
An IT department is uniquely positioned to move an organization toward a goal. The following principles lay the groundwork for taking advantage of the opportunity that every IT department has.
Provide specialized solutions.
The purpose of an IT department is to enable an organization to get things done more effectively. Rather than offering generic tools, good technology solutions are tailored to the needs of an organization.
The ideal solution can only be found by listening carefully to the needs of the individuals doing the work. It is important to spend time face to face with people throughout an organization in order to better understand what the right technology solutions are and how best to implement them.
Tailored technology solutions are much more effective than generic ones.
Deliver exclusively production ready solutions.
When an end user receives either a piece of equipment or a software solution, they should have the utmost confidence that it is a solid tested and proven solution. Every IT department needs to determine what it will define as “production ready”.
The challenge is that IT budgets put constraints on the level of quality that can be delivered. As a result, it becomes very important that IT personnel test solutions before offering them up to end users.
In hardware, this means balancing cost and quality when selecting a device, and running it through its paces personally, sometimes for days on end before handing it to the end user.
When offering software solutions, the same principle applies. Each offering should be tested and proven before being delivered.
Confidence results from consistent reliability.
Customer service is of vital importance.
The reputation of an IT department among it’s end users determines a lot about the effectiveness of an IT team.
If an employee really appreciates his or her IT team, they will be quicker to ask for help, be more patient when waiting for a solution, and their overall moral will be higher, leading to more productivity.
There is also an opportunity to lead by example, as the IT department is uniquely positioned to interact with everyone in an organization.
I have dedicated significant thought to this issue, and have laid out 7 rules for end user interactions, that highlight some of the ways to build a good reputation.
The reputation of an IT team is a determining factor in its effectiveness.
Pick the right tool, beware of bias.
Brands have a tendency to draw people in and create loyalists. To be truly effective, an IT department should only be offering the right tool for the job, regardless of personal bias or preference.
Apple, Microsoft, Google, and the open source community all offer valid solutions. Being tied down to one brand or way of thinking severely limits the options available.
Better solutions come from more open minds.
Better security, balanced for cost.
Many organizations today do not have a large enough IT budget for a dedicated Information Security team. As a result, it is vital that IT departments take security very seriously themselves.
Security is very often traded against ease of use. Adding a level of security often requires an additional step or interaction, which can slow things down.
IT departments are responsible not only for creating good technology solutions, but also for securing them properly.
I believe that security should be integrated into the thinking of every solution that an IT department offers. Any security solution that is not prohibitively obtrusive should be considered.
Security should be first, without losing sight of usability.
Better control, balanced for cost.
There is a balance between developing in-house solutions that the IT department can maintain optimally and outsourcing the core components of a solution such as the hosting and development of it.
There is great value in an IT department having more control over a system. A tool that is developed in-house, hosted in-house, and supported in-house is usually much more effective: issues are resolved more quickly, features are tailored directly for end user needs,
The challenge with fully in-house tools is the amount of time it takes to develop and maintain them. The best way to determine whether to develop or host internally or outsource is to identify the importance to the organizations success, and weight that against the time available to the IT team.
IT department time must be optimized for effectiveness.
The tool doesn’t use itself.
Tools, applications, and software solutions can sometimes be touted as being able to do your work for you. Although a better tool is sometimes the right decision, it is important to
One of the most difficult challenges for the support technician is maintaining a correct device inventory. There are many tools and many ways to maintain a proper inventory of IT equipment.
The tool itself in these instances is not the important thing. How the tool is used is what matters.
Diligence is important on every team, regardless of the tools they use.