Get the Most of Your IT Department

September 14 2012

No one needs to tell you the IT Department is necessary in today's work environment. Our computers do crash (sometimes with alarming frequency), and few among us are capable of making more than the most rudimentary repair.  This is nothing to be ashamed about; IT people exist for that reason. And their job is not an easy one.  Since so much of what we do in enterprise today requires at least some IT input, we can be lost without access to our computers.  If several devices go down simultaneously, IT personnel have a lot to do in a short time.  We need to respect their function, because without it, all would be lost.  The day-to-day operations of many firms depend on IT doing its job correctly.  Keep that in perspective when you can’t print out an email or your cell phone answers you with static or nothing.

IT Department Responsibilities
Since few of us really understand what makes IT work, much less what to do when something goes wrong, miscommunication with the IT Department is more the rule than the exception.  Even as we labor to make sense of IT problems, explaining the issue to IT workers may only lead to more confusion.  Let them do their job, without too many interruptions, or the kind of workplace "curiosity" that too often leads to gossip instead of enterprise.  The behind-the-scenes systems' maintenance and repair ensures each of us can email, browse, research, engage integral corporate functions and otherwise communicate correctly.  The best strategy for getting the most from your IT-Department is showing appropriate deference to their expertise.  Start every call or email to IT with, “Hey, I know you’re really busy, but if you get a spare minute….” You’ll likely get faster service than if you insist that your problems are their most important.

Management and IT:  Working Together
Transparency – plain communication between management and IT-personnel about the Department's decision processes and performance -- lead to optimal use of the organization's technology.  C2 notes three key areas where clear communication is essential:

  • Prioritization – Not all IT-work involves you or your people.  Other departments need IT-services as well.  Accurate assessment of which projects are most valuable to your organization generates appropriate prioritization of IT-assignments.
  • Accountability – Enacting reliable IT-methodologies (ITIL® best-practices?) ensures people understand the purpose of each step of what's been done, with processes assuring everyone's responsibilities are delineated and measured.
  • Risk Management – Delivering updated IT services – enhanced system functionality, expanded platforms or mobile devices – entail additional complexity; introduction of newer or nonstandard software or applications impose extra IT-costs and risks.  Management needs to understand IT-personnel have a better realization of these drawbacks.  Take their advice about potential downsides to upgrades, and allow them to optimize the process as they decide. 

No organization will ever rid itself of IT-problems.  Although the machines IT-people deal with are unfeeling, they themselves are not, and shouldn't be subjected to your frustration or anger about failed apps or other malfunctioning.  Inevitably, that's probably more your fault than theirs.  Since they repair the often complicated devices that make your work possible, show them rightful deference.  Develop useful personal relationships with them.  IT-people must explicitly contend with crashes and other problems an ongoing basis, and require the space to resolve your issue.  Even if its takes more time than is convenient, they'll get you running again.  C2 has both IT-personnel and policy programs available to help your firm deal expertly with these issues.  Please visit for a good representation of excellent IT services.