Technology is supposed to get easier to use over time, right? So why is it that information technology (IT) teams are continually overworked and playing catch-up?
For one, newer and better technology means that we’re trying to do more and more things. That opens the door for more to break, and when things break it lands in IT’s lap. Also, many teams are getting smaller as technology is (allegedly) becoming more plug-and-play. So how do you remove the roadblocks your IT team faces and allow them to do more with less? Here are a few things you can try.
Give Them the Tools They Need
Managing the latest and greatest equipment for their co-workers might sound exciting, but if your IT team is doing it using antiquated technology, they’re going to be inefficient. So provide them with excellent tools. Make sure that you have a modern ticketing system in place. Use metrics to understand how much time is being invested in the upkeep of different technologies. This will allow you to spread the workload in a healthy way and plan projects more accurately. That makes the IT team work more effectively and reduces stress.
Move it to the Cloud
Modern businesses generate copious amounts of data, and most of it has to be archived. Maintaining physical hardware to store your company’s files not only adds cycles for your busy IT team, but it also increases energy costs in your space and leaves the door open for accidents like a power outage or physical damage to the hardware. Instead of dealing with these things, look into outsourcing the storage to a cloud provider. Most offer competitive pricing, high-availability contracts, and multiple layers of redundant backup. They’re secure and reliable, and they’ll take one more job off of IT’s plate.
Have a Succession Plan
IT professionals work under a great deal of stress, and as a result, they want to be recognized. That means competitive compensation and the opportunity to move up, but if your organization traps a high-potential worker in an unexciting role, it’s your loss. So have a succession plan that employees can review. Include the requirements to move from one position into the next and offer employees tools to have advancement conversations with their managers. Keeping your best employees around is critical to your company’s growth.
Respect Work/Life Balance
Visit any successful company’s IT department and you’ll notice that they’re planning events after-hours quite a bit. Some jobs just can’t be done during work hours; it would impact business negatively. Overlooking how much this affects IT workers is a mistake. Yes, these jobs have to get done, but you can compensate the team with time off during normal business hours, fun team building activities, and recognition. This will go further than you might think.
Define Clear Goals for IT
Jobs like IT roles can be soul-crushing because it feels like you never win. Every day you come in and put out the various fires. The next day is the same. Maybe you fulfill a large project every now and again, but it goes completely unnoticed. Good leadership sets metrics around IT’s expected service level, ticket response times, and other essential performance values. Good leadership connects the dots to show why projects to implement new technologies are critical to the company’s success as a whole and then recognizes their IT team for the entire company to see when things get done. Without knowing what a win looks like, life in IT can be a constant firefight. Don’t let that happen.
These things are simple to read, but much more challenging to carry out. But chances are, at least one of these items and probably more will help your company’s IT team enjoy a better workplace culture and work more effectively. So give them a try, have a conversation with your leadership team and you might see just how exciting these ideas can be for those who work every day to ensure your company’s technology is functional and effective.