Don’t Be a Hero
By Blake Garrabrant
President, Xila Networks
You’re referred to as a geek, techie, or maybe the “the IT guy”. You work for an organization in the information technology department. You’re known as the resident computer expert. You enjoy troubleshooting complex issues. You hate it when you can’t solve a problem. Your fellow team members think you can fix any technology issue. And you try ……..
Your typical day starts with checking the ticket queue for emergencies. You work on solving a critical issue before you attend the first meeting of the day to discuss the backup/disaster recovery project. You tell the project sponsors the project delivery date is in jeopardy due to some unforeseen critical issues which needed immediate attention. You end the meeting communicating to the stakeholders your team will make every effort to deliver the project on time. And you try…….
You settle into the afternoon with your to do list (the one you were hoping to begin when you started work). You have a quick meeting with your help desk team and assist them with a few tickets. They have utilized all their troubleshooting skills and need you to diagnose an Exchange email issue. And you try…
Next up is an afternoon meeting with the accounting department to discuss a software upgrade to their ERP system. The upgrade needs to be completed in the next few weeks because the timing falls between quarterly financials. You agree to make every effort to complete the request during the designated period. And you try….
To keep the project on track you will remote into the servers from home after hours. You can get more done in 3 hours at home then you can all day at work. And you try….
You finish the week only slightly behind. The projects are close to being on track. The ticket queue has grown but that’s OK because the projects take priority. If you go into work Saturday morning you should be able to catch up and enjoy a less stressful Monday morning. And you try…
Next week comes and the routine begins again. Always behind. Delays due to unforeseen circumstances. Too many hours.
Your management team isn’t looking for a hero. They want an individual who will provide a vision of where the IT department is going. They want to know it’s aligning with the organization’s goals. They want innovation. They want IT business solutions.
You need to develop a plan which quantifies the goals and you must have the undivided attention of the management staff to clearly communicate these changes and how they are going to benefit the company.
You need to present metrics to the management team which clearly show the costs they are incurring. They need to know there is considerable waste functioning with a legacy mentality. They need to know the ROI on projects and the delays that are costing the business. They need to be educated about cloud solutions, virtualization and unified communication.
You need to consider outsourcing mundane tasks to managed service providers. You need to consider contracting with experts who can deliver solutions more quickly than the internal IT department.
Your team needs to begin spending a majority of their time on improving processes and providing solutions which reduce cost and increase revenue.
You need to spend time evaluating your team to make sure they have the right skill sets. Your team is small and misplaced talent can only hinder your goals.
The sooner you transform your department from a legacy cost center to a provider of business solutions the sooner your department will be known by the management team as a critical decision making arm of the company.
Begin Today. Be a Visionary. Don’t be a hero.