Internal IT teams have two primary roles: troubleshooting and managing projects that support growth. More often than not, for many IT professionals, the short-term problem solving can impede the implementation of long-term projects.
Problems and new challenges can originate from many sources: internal customers, external clients - when IT is supporting activities outside the organisation - and issues within the team. Developing solutions is the unenviable task of the IT team leader.
How an IT team handles short-term issues has an impact on their ability to deliver on far-reaching internal projects. Limited capacity should not reduce creativity, but it can cause project backlogs. In this article, we consider a few scenarios familiar to IT teams and suggest ways to overcome short-term issues.
#1: Hiring and retaining talented IT professionals
This is a short and long-term issue. Not having the talent an IT team needs affects every project, from troubleshooting to new technology deployment. It is a challenge that IT leaders, tech entrepreneurs and startups are facing every day. Globally, those with IT and software skills are highly sought after, with competition for talent fierce, making it more difficult for internal teams to recruit those with experience.
The solution is to make recruitment an ongoing project. Even if you aren’t always actively recruiting: Publish information on a regular basis about your business. Get potential new recruits interested in the projects you are working on, the technology you work with, and your employee brand and culture.
Continuous employee branding creates an inbound talent pipeline. No one wants staff to move elsewhere, but some employee turnover is to be expected. Next time this happens, you won’t need to put out an urgent hiring call: Instead, you will have a database of recruitment prospects who could solve your workload capacity issues quickly.
#2: Balancing BYOD & security
Over the last few years, IT budgets have gradually shifted from hardware to software. Whenever possible, staff want to use their own devices (hence the Bring Your Own Device trend) For IT teams, this is creating short-term security issues, especially when new team members join since each represents a potential new security threat.
One way to limit the threat factor and reduce the short-term impact on IT workloads is to coordinate with HR to factor onboarding devices into the training and recruitment process. Make sure this is done on the first day someone joins the company. Integrate their devices onto the company network, to ensure they don’t pose a security risk.
#3: Ticketing capacity and SLA issues
Each team has a limited number of hours, including IT, even when other teams expect miracles performing. Too many short-term issues, such as faulty systems, network problems, hardware faults get in the way of long-term project implementation. Urgent problems always trump bigger projects.
One solution is to outsource Service Desk functions. IT teams that work with external service desk teams are far more efficient, agile, better equipped to manage long-term projects that generate outsized value, compared to those who attempt to juggle both. It is far easier to focus on change management, digital transformation, new software rollouts, and creating a robust IT architecture when service desk tickets are sent through to a dedicated team with the capacity to deliver within agreed SLA’s.
IT teams with the ability to think long-term are a valuable asset. This also makes it easier for them to react to immediate needs, plus hiring talented team members is easier when they are working on more interesting projects than getting emails set up and solving connectivity issues.