Tracking back from your frustration level, to identify the topics of frustration is a good way to identify specific IT issues that need to be resolved. What frustrates you? Is it a lack of transparency? A lack of accountability? A general sense of distrust? No predictability? No schedule? All of these are pretty normal human shortfalls and the very reason for IT in the first place.
Many IT teams are better at reacting than they are proacting. Too often IT departments fail to remember that the technology that they manage exists to help humans. The solutions, the language, the strategy, and the budget, should all be geared toward that end.
10 Issues to Identify
Feeling the dysfunction is step one. Identifying specifically a list of actions to address that dysfunction is step two. Here are some warning signs and some important questions to ask:
- No secure procedural protocols and agreed-upon processes: What are the various access levels and what sort of work do they support? Who can take hardware or data off-site and why? Have we been hacked? Do we have any defence against hacking? These issues are frequently the first and biggest mistake made.
- No strategy for IT to help the business succeed: Are there any discussions about new technology that, if implemented, can move your business forward? Is there any vision for the future? Are they being communicated plainly?
- No budget: This is where being proactive is so important. Has anyone identified where financial support is needed to plan or is money found to react to, or address failings?
- Nothing to base IT costs: Is there any way to track IT costs? Is the cost based on “per incident” or by the hour? Are your IT costs based on achievement or a regular fee? Is there any incentive to make sure problems are addressed and resolved?
- Throwing money at it: Sometimes IT teams aren’t even sure what they are throwing money at, let alone whether it is having an impact. Do you need what IT has invested in? Is it good for the functioning of the company? Does it truly improve productivity or security?
- No accountability (timekeeping): Accountability not only continues to increase in importance it has become job security itself. Again, the IT team needs to solve real problems for the company. It is always a good idea to attribute time to a specific project.
- A lack of compliance: Make sure that you are compliant and prepared for audits by PCI or HIPAA. Drill down on this one. Don’t take anyone’s word for it.
- No plan for disaster or going off-line: Ask yourself some hard questions. It isn’t a pleasant topic, but this is where being proactive is vital. If everything crashed, where would you be? Have you backed up or restored lately? How much time would it cost you to be off-line?
- No data backup: This is one of the litmus tests for your IT team. How is your data backed up? Where is it backed up? Is there a cloud back up recovery plan? When did you last back up? This is both a test of transparency and performance. Do they have a relationship with a cloud disaster or disaster recovery company?
- No documentation: Does your system even exist independently of the IT team? What if your IT disappeared? This could be one of those jaw-dropping, game-over moments. This is not about the IT proving their value by “guarding their territory.”
Operational problems grow gradually, many times catching us off-guard to the point where it is difficult to identify exactly what the cause is. A periodic analysis of systems and processes should be conducted regularly. A proper IT staff should support that.
Anyone in charge of IT knows that their job is to be the connection between the other very necessary competencies and functions of the company, and the technical support of those other competencies and functions.