WHAT TO DO IF YOUR IT-SYSTEM IS THE ONLY ONE,
WHAT IS HOLDING BACK THE COMPANY'S GROWTH
Somehow you decided to start your own business. Business was going well, and you, as a sensible person, steadily allocated funds for service support, modern equipment, and for IT employees, whose work was always expensive. Business continued to grow, and so did its dependence on the performance of the departments that required the direct participation of IT people: finance, accounting, sales. All the processes were so intertwined that even a small disruption was able to paralyze the entire team. Later these failures became more frequent, and the team began to express dissatisfaction with the work of the IT department.
- "Take it long," comes a shout from the accounting department.
- "Just call them already," the marketing staff echoed.
- "It makes no sense to contact them, they will still answer that they already know everything and have taken care of the issue," the transportation department is sure.
Most likely you are familiar with this situation, as well as with the following one.
You decide to call the sysadmin for a debriefing, but you already know exactly how the conversation will turn out. He will start to pity you, telling you that the company's staff has increased, that they are opening 70 tabs in their browsers and that the RAM is failing. He will also point out that the new software, which has been installed in the finance department, consumes a lot of system resources. The IT guy will be sure to clarify that he did not write these programs, but they are lagging for some reason. In addition, he will not forget to ask for money.
You will finance this request, but the worst thing is that you will do so not because it will solve the problem, but because you see no other way. And when the payments are signed, there is still the understanding in your head that this will not change the situation globally. Just paying will simply prolong the anguish of all employees of the company, because the conversation about the large-scale expansion was not even started. And the root of the problem is this:
- There is no understanding of what is going on in the IT area of the company.
- It is not clear who is required to set and task and how it should be formulated, so that everything in the IT-sphere works properly.
- It is not at all clear how to control what is happening and reduce dependence on IT people.
In addition, there is a fear of replacing the sysadmin who is employed by the company, so it still works at least somehow, and the new employee can generally break what is functioning now, though not in the way we would like.
Still, it's worth noting that it's not that bad, and the sysadmin is really absolutely innocent.
Why the IT network is so problematic
Before identifying ways to solve the problem, it is necessary to understand how such a sad picture was formed, who is to blame for it. No special prelude is needed here to answer that the root of the evil is not at all in the head, his erroneous investments or management blunders. Not even the sysadmin had anything to do with it. Your actions globally were absolutely correct, and the resulting situation was the inevitable outcome of the process of standard development of any firm, because this business was not bought ready, and raised by its founder.
Initially, you have only five employees, which can be handled by a simple local network. After that, the number of employees doubles, but there is no point in buying a new server yet, because you can upgrade the old one. This is the right decision. Then there is the emergence of new service programs, for example, employees to serve customers, which also requires a little funding.
Naturally, ten new users need to be connected. No one is going to do a system overhaul in this case. This is how it comes down to opening a company branch.
It is clear that over time, the sysadmin makes attempts to make a total upgrade by changing the server equipment or rearranging the network, but if you look globally, the entire IT system, as it was built on "crutches", so it remains the same. And even inviting additional experts in this case will not help, because they will not understand the intricacies of the work of all departments at once.
The turnover is increasing, and the financiers are getting harder and harder because of the increasing number of reports. So the security of the system is replaced by faith in man, but there is no other way, because this is the law of evolution.
As a company evolves, its IT network is updated based on a scheme of props and crutches, which is quite normal, as are attempts to reanimate the system, applying obsolete methods at the moment when it became clear that scaling the old design is not possible.
Why a sysadmin cannot build a global IT system on his own
You realize that you need to rebuild everything, but who do you ask? Your confidence in the system administrator is rapidly diminishing. And it is worth accepting the fact that this employee is not able to cope with such a job, because he is a sysadmin, and the solution to the problem has already left the field of IT technologies and moved into the sphere of business processes and projects.
To understand the situation in which the system administrator finds himself, it is enough to imagine that you are required to organize the process of managing the IT department, and you are the manager who can do it. By and large, a manager can handle everything if he can find someone to consult with. But you may not have a deep understanding of the process, so even the wording of questions is given with great difficulty. There's no help from the IT people in all this, but that's not because it's not in their interest. Simply, based on your knowledge, you can not understand their terminology. Therefore, having even a solid management experience is unlikely to work out in this IT catastrophe.
Next, let's imagine that an I.T. guy ends up in a finance department or in a salesroom. Except that he is so "narrow-minded" that he has no knowledge of project management. He will not be able to brainstorm or build a business model. Clearly, his competence in organizing teamwork when innovations are introduced, as well as his interaction with "protesters", is at a very low level.
The best he can do under such conditions is to listen to the problem, snap back, guess at what he couldn't understand, and start solving local problems in a simplified way.
Who will help clean up IT
It turns out that you need specialists who are competent in:
- Development and subsequent implementation of business processes;
- IT technology;
- Managing projects and their groups.
If you take away even one of the skills listed above, you get the same pre-revolutionary company. However, you want to own a modern company where technology will think instead of man.
Requirements from the experts
If you take the strategy as a whole, you should not strive for your IT system to disappear, but for all the people involved in your company to forget about the name of the sysadmin, even if the volume of business increases by 200-300%.
The best acknowledgement of the quality of a system administrator's work is that he performs his direct duties as infrequently as possible. Somewhere like an electrician.
The tasks that need to be solved in terms of functionality are as follows:
- A high level of manageability and transparency. IT specialists must have at their disposal a tool that would allow easy and convenient monitoring of the entire network and its systems. In turn, the head of the company should have information on the activities of the IT department, namely the number of errors in the systems and failures, the speed of problem solving, the degree of satisfaction of the staff and other statistics.
- Automation of processes and operations. Employees should spend a minimum of effort and time to complete operational tasks, which will not only reduce working time, but also reduce the likelihood of failures.
- Reporting and financial management. The head of the company must receive the necessary reports on time, which are provided in a format that is convenient to analyze them. It is important that the employees of the financial department do not kill a huge amount of working time on the preparation of reports.
- Keeping the business on-trend. The company needs to keep up with current realities, and it shouldn't be the case that it learns about new developments as their competitors do.
There must also be security of infrastructure and information.
It is recommended that you begin with an initial audit of all problem areas. This is done in order to clarify the nature of the difficulties and understand how they are to be solved. The experts will assess the situation, identify the main failures, identify requests for possible weaknesses in the system, and suggest next steps.
When to take action
Before contacting professionals who can help in this situation, you will definitely have a situation where the sysadmin will offer you to buy equipment with more power, which, in his opinion, will solve the problem. However, it is unlikely to be able to predict how much the number of failures will decrease.
If such a dialogue has already taken place, then you can safely pick up the phone and call 8-800-201-33-75 to order a consultation with our specialists, because our goal is not only to build an IT-system, but also to make the IT-department employees to become real helpers in your business.