A discussion of how to meet all of your objectives and stay within your budget at the exact same time when it comes to IT.
In many ways, information technology is the backbone of your business. When your infrastructure is functioning properly, it’s one of the most powerful enablers you have. It’s a productivity machine with an eye towards the future – allowing you to effortlessly combine technology with your long-term strategy to bring you the results you need exactly how you need them.
Because of this, companies need the absolute best in consultation, recommendation and implementation for their technology in order to be the best they can be. They need someone to take email, asset management, network design, business continuity and more and bring them together, creating less a series of disparate parts and more a living, breathing whole.
Can you really expect to find one person to meet all of these needs and more, all while staying on-time and within budget? The answer, in all likelihood, is “probably not.”
Information Technology: Breaking It Down
Think about all of the areas of concern that businesses have when it comes to IT and what one person could potentially be asked to do. One of the biggest concerns would undoubtedly fall on a line of business software applications support. Companies need more than just an email or database solution – they need systems that are built with their own end goals in mind.
Their email service can’t just be “functioning” – any free service in the world can meet that requirement. They need to be productivity and collaboration enablers, allowing organizations to weaponize communication and use it to do better work in an easier way.
Next, consider something as seemingly simple as asset management. This is about more than just keeping track of what equipment is in play across an infrastructure. It’s making sure that resources are being utilized in the way that they were intended. It’s about making sure that updates are installed and those small problems are being fixed. It’s a full-time job in and of itself, to say nothing of the other full-time jobs you could be asking a single person to do.
Training has long been considered one of the most important aspects of IT, both in terms of staying abreast of the latest technology and keeping up-to-date with important issues like cyber security. Training must be proactive in order to be successful – it’s not something you do once and forget about. How is one person supposed to find the time to do this properly?
All of these bleeds directly into larger topics like systems management and administration. Backups and data protection are the keys to making sure that an organization can resume normal operations in the event of a disaster. Onsite and offsite storage (and how they interact with one another) make sure that employees can work anywhere at any time, no exceptions. Even network design and concepts like wired networks, wireless networks and vLAN are less about getting computers onto the Internet and more about empowering employees with the ability to work in any way they need given the situation.
Then, you have to think about things like Help Desk support. When it comes to IT, something going wrong is not a question of “if” but “when.” How are you supposed to expect one person to suddenly stop everything else that they’re doing and address user concerns, potentially at a moment’s notice at the least opportune time? The answer is simple – you can’t.
Going back to the topic of security, this is essentially another huge job in and of itself. Remember that we’re living in an era where 55% of companies say that they’ve experienced some type of cyber attack in the past twelve months alone. 50% of those reported data breaches involved compromised customer or employee information. In the aftermath of these and similar types of incidents, companies spent an average of about $880,000 because of damage or theft of IT assets and an additional $955,000 because of the disruption of normal business operations?
How, in good faith, can you expect one person to shoulder this type of burden on top of everything else that they’re being asked to do? Not only are you setting up one person for a particularly nasty ulcer sooner rather than later, but you’re also setting your entire organization up for failure.
Instead of spending one person so thin at the expense of everything that they’re actually trying to do, you need several people with various skills who are all working in tandem. Business software applications support, network design, business continuity – these are all entirely different skillsets that require completely different ways of thinking. You can’t expect a single person to shift at a moment’s notice, let alone devote as much attention as they need to all of these aspects.
They say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Rest assured that if you’re asking one person to do all of this and more, they will quickly become that weak link before your eyes. Forget accomplishing all of your objectives and staying within your budget – you’ll be lucky to still have a business in six month’s time.
These are just a few of the many reasons why you will most likely find that you need several part-time people with various skills, rather than one person. When you’re talking about something as mission-critical as your business’ IT infrastructure, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. When one person is spread too thin, you have something of a “Jack of all trades, master of none” situation on your hands. Since these resources are also what are supposed to give you a competitive advantage in an understandably crowded marketplace, that’s one situation you don’t want to find yourself in if you can help it.