The importance of the IT administrator increases as information technology becomes a more integral part of today’s business landscape. In many organizations, that role is so important, that it has a direct impact on growth, continuity and success. It’s fair to say that the IT administrator is indispensable, but their coveted position comes at a price. Leaders in this role face a number of unenviable challenges on a daily basis.
Grueling Beyond Nine to Five
IT administration is arguably the most diverse job on the roster. For instance, one day you’re overseeing the technical services team as they implement a new analytics system, the next, you’re scouting vendors that can help support the company’s transition into the cloud. Specific tasks vary depending on the organization and its needs, but daily responsibilities may include:
- Managing IT budgets
- Planning and coordinating team projects
- Motivating team members
- Evaluating projects from completion to end
- Updating management on project process
Throw in the need to regularly communicate with clients and personnel from other departments in the most jargon-free language, and it’s clear to see that the typical IT administrator has a lot on their plate. This is often stuff that needs to be handled outside of traditional work hours, too. Depending on what’s required, you may find yourself having to adopt the type of flexibility that accommodates the schedule of a specific project or client.
Luckily, there are quite a few ways to inject some much needed simplicity into this often hectic profession.
Focus on business needs. Although the IT department is deeply embedded in its own world, it is still working for the greater good of the company. Therefore, administrators should make it their mission to focus solely on technology that moves the business forward. Hint: Much of that focus will be tied to the user experience and satisfying customer needs.
Make IT simple. There are a number of technologies that can reduce the time spent deploying, securing and managing IT systems. Whether that technology is virtualization, cloud computing or an ERP solution that streamlines all those systems under one roof is up for debate in the conference room.
Keep systems fresh. Research showing that Windows XP is the second most popular operating system indicates that companies have a hard time moving on. While XP still has its advantages, this sort of mentality can expose an organization to a myriad of problems. By keeping systems up to date, IT managers can consistently deliver technology that is more secure, efficient and just plain easier to work with.
Embrace outsourcing. IT leaders spend a large portion of their day developing new projects and making sure team members meet deadlines. That doesn’t excuse them from recruiting and training personnel, securing the network and identifying technologies that enable the organization to improve. By selling the company on outsourcing, managers can offload some of those responsibilities on third parties that are more capable of handling them and dedicate their focus to other core competencies.
To say IT administrators have their work cut out for them would be putting it mildly. In smaller organizations, they sometimes comprise the entire information technology department, tasked with everything from setting up new servers to running the cabling that connects the network. It’s a tough job, but it should be comforting to know that those daunting responsibilities can be simplified and made more effective. And besides, the IT manger is typically compensated swell for carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders so technically, it pays to get the job done right!