I frequently tell people the answer to this question is a little bit geek, a little bit facilities manager, a little bit office manager, a little bit quality manager, a fair bit project manager and a lot perfectionist (when budgets permit). The best IT Managers are also highly adept business consultants, who know more about their companies than most Managing Directors and Finance Directors. Big up those guys, they’re special.
Certainly that’s how my experiences came about, the thing is being an organisations alpha-geek means that you’re the go to guy or gal for anything vaguely technical, and regardless of whether you are the official IT Manager (if you even have one). If you don’t have an IT Manager within your organisation then the alpha-geeks are the prime candidate for elevation to the lofty status of IT Manager…
Even now at Unleashed I can be suited and booted, talking strategy (at an MBA level no less) one day; in a server room the next day in a hoodie keeping out the cold; and wearing installers combats and a polo shirt, looking for the end of a cable that doesn’t appear on anyone’s building plans, the day after that. The IT guy is undoubtedly the most versatile employee in any business, they have an input in all aspects of an organisation from how processes should be carried out within the bounds of the software the company uses or organising office moves and deciding where desks are going to go.
Heck, even with all the letters after my name, I am still partial to an office move and sorting the mess out and getting stuff ready with the telecoms companies, sorting out back up power supplies, network infrastructure, door entry systems and eventually provision of services to employee’s desks. Sound exciting and interesting? I actually get someone vaguely jealous of some of my comrades when they have some big high profile office moves for their organisations – especially when they’re not roping in Unleashed!
Well, on the flip-side we have the constant nag of users who don’t attempt to do any basic fault finding before sending a flippant email or making an angry call to you. As an IT Manager you’re also expected to be everyone’s mother, but rather than tie their shoelaces or do their ties up, we end up actually having to use the computers for the less IT literate of staff around the business. For me, the IT Crowd was actually vaguely a factual representation of the IT function in most businesses, which as it had the same writes possibly means that Father Ted also had some basis in reality! Drink, Feck, Arse, Girls!
So not only is the humble IT Manager the most versatile employee within a business, they’re also the most picked on, left out and lonely person – wheeled out of his or her cupboard when something vaguely technical is required. Because let’s face it – to us pro’s the tech is actually fairly simple, but most people in the company don’t even want to know how it works, and sadly even fewer ask the simple question: how can we make the company more efficient and effective through the IT?
Sadly, the biggest disappointments that I’ve met in my career have been the managers that have simply been, too scared to look stupid, too supercilious and too arrogant to embrace IT as an enabler and invigorator of a company rather than an overhead that’s no more important than having heating and lighting into a building. I feel sorry for any self-respecting IT Manager who has to contend with this.
IT is a gamechanger, its fast-paced evolution means it can be simply a box of innovation, get the right solution put together buy the right guys or girls and you can accelerate a business from the past into the future. Done badly, it can be an expensive crippling force within a business.
IT is also something that you’ve also got to keep changing and investing in, it isn’t a capital asset that you can afford to buy and leave alone – it needs nurturing, tweaking, upgrading and replacing to keep in line with the pace of change.
I’ve seen far too many companies leave solutions alone, due to excessive cost to change or legacy issues. Well, to be honest, the pain and the price never goes down – so why not adopt a pro-IT approach? Screw it, let’s just get it done. The companies that do, are the winners, the proactive – that are a powerful collaboration between IT and the business management.
I’ve heard a lot of talk of IT calling the rest of the company “the business” recently, and you know what – I’m relatively disgusted. IT is the business or at the very least an important and integral part of it, a fostering of the us and them attitude is not where we should be going, this is regressing to the departmental silos of the past.
Unleashed don’t do IT support, we support IT and in doing so we better integrate IT departments with their company and develop not only technical solutions but new ways of extracting further benefits from an existing IT infrastructure in order to aid the business. If you like what we have to say, why not give us a call, we’ll pop round for a non-committal cuppa – we’ll even bring the biscuits!