Most of the time, your technology runs smoothly and efficiently. But there are some days when nothing seems to go right, and suddenly you need someone to help you avoid complete disaster; it is at this point where IT professionals really shine. Except what many of us forget is that every other day, when the technology is performing at its best, these same IT pros are still working hard behind the scenes making it all possible.
On IT Professionals Day, we hear from six IT experts on why businesses should make their IT pros feel appreciated not just today, but every day.
Jon Lucas, Director at Hyve Managed Hosting, comments that: “If ever a modern job role needed more appreciation, it’s that of the IT professional. Diverse as they are, the various roles of IT pros are fundamental to just about every organisation out there,” comments Jon Lucas, Director at Hyve Managed Hosting.
“Many IT professionals are expected to perform minor (often major) miracles as a result of unpredictable technology failures or the most basic, avoidable user errors. This is invariably when they are most appreciated. In reality, IT pros spend much of their time delivering creative and innovate tech solutions which make the world a better place. So, IT Pro Day is a great chance to shine a spotlight on their wider work and achievements, and the fantastic opportunities and experiences a career as an IT pro can bring.”
What IT pros bring to your business
The role of an IT professional can often prove difficult as it encompasses a range of activities and problems to solve, as Scott Parker, Director of Product Marketing at Sinequa, reveals.
“Sinequa regularly witnesses IT professionals accomplishing heroic tasks despite the immense cognitive burden they often face in their profession. By ‘cognitive burden’ I am referring to the extra thought and effort required to evaluate unclear options and make optimal decisions. In other words, when we load our minds with confusing choices and ambiguous terminology, we impose a cognitive burden. It's important to alleviate the cognitive burden for IT professionals, to the extent made possible by modern technology. In honour of National IT Professionals Day, we salute IT professionals across the country for their focus and dedication to the mission of their respective organisations.”
Commvault’s Nigel Tozer, Solutions Marketing Director EMEA, discusses how IT pros ensure that businesses can keep on top of the latest technology innovations and data regulations.
“While many employees are quick to complain about IT in the workplace, IT pros have never had more asked of them. The business can be demanding, asking for everything from uninhibited access to the latest data and apps, through to seamless transitions to the cloud or the adoption of AI. And at the same time, it goes without saying (at least in the business team’s mind!) that IT should ensure compliance with GDPR and protect against hacking or ransomware attacks.
“Delivering on all this is a tall order, especially as IT budgets have been kept flat in recent years. As consumers of IT, we can all be careless and open a dodgy attachment, create redundant data copies and use un-sanctioned cloud services. The same is true at a business level – more data is being created than ever, yet cloud and SaaS use means that data is disparate and more difficult to control or use effectively.
“So, on IT Pro Day 2018, spare a thought for those in IT: you might not feel like you’re in a moving car that’s having a wheel changed, but with the fast pace of business today, that’s pretty much the task that IT are undertaking.”
What IT pros need to succeed
To ensure that these hard workers are supported and well-equipped to carry out this difficult role, employers should be investing in training for their employees to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.
Liam Butler, Area Vice President at SumTotal, a Skillsoft company, explains: “The IT department can be a rich source of differentiation, innovation, and competitive advantage for an organisation, but businesses are faced with a growing shortage of skilled IT Professionals. Mobile, Big Data and cloud-based architectures are creating significant challenges for the entire IT ecosystem, and with scare resources, many IT professionals may find themselves pushed into an area they are not completely confident operating in. In the face of this critical skills shortage, organisations need to be mindful of what they are asking their IT teams to do.
“In his management classic, ‘The Peter Principle’, Laurence J. Peter explains, ‘everything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails.’ It aims to describe a person’s point of professional failure – that people will inevitably rise to their ‘level of incompetence’. There is no reason ‘The Peter Principle’ should apply in modern organisations. Comprehensive training and certifications can help IT professionals stay ahead of the changing technology landscape, while at the same time validating their skills and knowledge. Effective training will not only help to avoid the time, costs, and headaches of replacing scarce resources, it also helps maintain the subtleties and nuances of the IT operations within a specific organisation – providing both continuity and consistency – while ensuring no IT Professional ever hits their point of professional failure.”
Meanwhile Zerto’s Technologist Evangelist, Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, discusses why the tools IT pros work with are vital to their efficiency and success.
“IT professionals are under tremendous pressure to ensure that business technology services are protected and available 24/7, regardless of the level of risk. They are charged with maintaining IT resilience in the wake of any disruption. This can be a daunting task, which was reinforced in a recent survey where 93% of IT professionals said their business have experienced a tech-related disruption in the last two years. Following these disruptions, organisations reported that in around half of the cases, employees had to work overtime (53% of occasions) and there was a loss of productivity (50% of such instances).
“This IT Professionals Day the best thing an organisation can do to support its IT pros is to invest in the right tools to help them combat downtime and enable resilience. This means tools that are multi-purpose, easy to use, integrate simply, work across clouds and on-premises, and are constantly fuelled by innovation to meet ever evolving needs. Tools like this are critical to ensure IT professionals can focus on IT transformation, and not have to burn the midnight oil recovering from downtime that could have been prevented.”
Concluding the discussion, Neil Stobart, VP of System Engineering at Cloudian, reinforces the key message that businesses should take away from IT Pro Day: the importance of acknowledging and valuing the excellent work that these people do across every industry, come rain or shine.
"Being recognised for the good work you do is definitely a key motivator to continue to do well, but if you are only ever noticed for the 1% of the time when something goes wrong, it can be hard to keep your chin up. Welcome to the world of an IT professional. The IT professionals are, arguably, the backbone of any business; they ensure that the IT infrastructure is constantly running smoothly, meaning everyone else can continue with their work and be recognised for their own success.
“At the same time as warding off unexpected downtime and system blips, the IT professionals keep up to date with both the old and new technology that the business chooses to adopt, so they are consistently able to provide support to colleagues. Because of this, IT professionals are constantly acquiring new IT skills and training in order to keep up with the ever changing world of technology and legislations. It can be a heavy responsibility, so this IT Pro Day, it’s time to take a step back and take a moment to really appreciate the IT professionals that work for your company and continually keep it running smoothly."