An IT department is like any other team, it’s greater than the sum of its parts. There are key members of the team, who have skills others rely on, or have been there long enough to be regarded as the living encyclopaedia of the entire infrastructure. All good IT managers know that to keep achieving results under pressure, they need their key team members to be happy, productive, and committed – whilst looking to upskill the rest of their staff to work on whatever business requirement the IT department has to deal with.
The IT department has to deal with pressure internally and externally both to maintain business as usual, and drive innovation. The old saying sometimes still rings true that when you do your job well in IT, people will not be sure you did anything at all. Senior managers often see IT as a large expense, and either think that everything is working fine, so why do they need so much staff, or if things need fixing, why are they paying for so much staff when it’s broken?
The analogy extends best to football, you will see teams achieve great things in one season when morale is high and there is a challenge to overcome such as Leicester winning the premier league, but maintaining this level of performance and pushing on to greater things can prove impossible over a long period of time. You can only expect staff to go over and above on project work, or to fix critical issues every so often, demanding a constant 120% from staff will quickly result in you staff being able to step up to face any new challenge.
It is important to have the depth of staff and resource to keep all plates spinning, whilst innovating and offering new services to the business. A key part of this delicate balance is often a managed service provider, who can maintain your existing infrastructure while you focus on project work with your internal team. This could even be extending to allowing your junior staff to take turns working with a managed service provider on different technologies and issues, to upskill them in that technology so they can take over first line support in house.
Working with a managed service provider who is flexible, able to bolt on services and scale services up and down in paramount to ensuring your IT team is lean and efficient, but not over stretched and unable to rise to the large challenges of projects or major incidents.
risual’s work with Bond Dickinson is typical of this type of agreement, Bond Dickinson have a very competent IT team, and work with risual to deal with their incident management and proactive administration and change, leaving their internal team to keep their toes in the current environment, with the resource to plan projects and work on adding value back into the business. Seeing your managed service provider as an extension of your own department, rather than a competitor can help build a collaborative environment and give IT managers the confidence to deal with any surprises. Read the full Bond Dickinson case study here.