Continuing to encourage and enlighten the IT industry I would like to talk about what IT is up against on a daily basis. I hope this will give some insight to those outside of IT departments that may not understand what IT does or what goes on “behind the scenes”. Some items we are seeing in IT include:
- With the current economy a lot of businesses may tell their staff “we need to do More with Less“
This may translate into cut backs of projects, training or cutbacks on maintenance contracts. These are budget constraints that need to be considered. Just like personal households when the economy is not good, costs need to be cut so jobs don’t get cut. For the IT staff, this means we may have to continue to do laborious tasks to get some jobs done when new hardware of software would have provided a less costly way of completing the same task or project. This can build stress, complaints and lack of understanding int he IT staff that may come out in ways that reflect badly. However, with good explanation and openness between management and staff these items are avoided.
- A maturing workforce
As the baby boomer generation starts and continues to come of the age of “retirement” a lot of people that may be in the IT field are starting to leave. They take with them, decades of experience that needs to be converted to the remaining work force. These skills are not something that can be learned in a couple of weeks. Cross training and DOCUMENTATION, needs to be completed BEFORE people retire and workers with compatible skills to continue these jobs need to be put in place. The skill gaps and reduced staff left by these workers does effect the remaining work force. IT takes longer to figure out what the older workers knew and could do quickly, training and learning the processes and IT networks takes time.
- Training dollars “get re-allocated”
The economy will affect “non necessary” spending. So many times Training is cut or the funds are “re-allocated” for larger projects or more critical items. In the IT industry things change so rapidly that training is the way to stay abreast and ware of new trends, techniques, concepts , software and hardware as well as any applications of these items. When the training dollars go, we end up “running blind” down the IT hallway and sometimes the result is not good. Especially if maintenance contracts get reduces as well because then IT staff may not have the skill to identify and troubleshoot issues then they may have limited time to call for support if any support is left in place. Now there are on-line resources for anything today and the IT industry does utilize these resources. I know I often find myself “Googling” something to see if I can get some answers before or in place of calling into vendor support. If I have the necessary skill set the time to resolve the issue decreases significantly. The learning curve is much lower.
These are just a few items IT is up against on a continuous basis. This is no different that other department in organizations.We just need to make sure we understand and management prepares and communicates clearly with each senior management and IT staff. Communication is good.
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