Growing businesses will at some point consider the possibility of recruiting an internal IT person or team. There are a number of drivers; the growing cost of technology and associated services, the increasing demands of the users, the criticality of the infrastructure and applications and the need for trusted guidance on future technology investments. These drivers are very broad in range and many assume that one person will manage all of them.
This assumption could not be further from reality. When it comes to recruiting an internal IT resource, it’s important to consider the competing expectations from within the business.
The executive will expect:
- Advice to the board on strategic direction for the IT department
- Management and support of complex infrastructure and multiple suppliers
- Accountability for technology performance and security
- 24/7 support of senior users
The various business departments will expect:
- Line of business application support and advice
- Accountability for performance that impacts their department
The users will expect:
- User assurance – general advice and support for user level issues, password changes etc
- Management of printers and peripherals
- Crawling under desks and plugging in cables
The suppliers will expect:
- A skilled buyer
- Decision making
The budget for the resource is often based on efficiencies measured against the existing cost of support and/or the anticipated cost for increased service levels. This in turn determines the level at which the business recruits and leads to a dichotomy. A tech only qualified deal with low level problems will not be happy advising the board. Conversely a strategic head will not be happy crawling under desks. The compromise is to pick the middle ground; an IT manager who can manage the technology and keep most people happy, most of the time. Loved for being at the beck and call of the executive 247 but loathed for not producing the strategic IT plan. Ultimately their brief is too wide to perform successfully.
There is good justification for an internal IT resource in medium and larger businesses; when you cross the 50 user mark it can prove very cost effective. However, before you take the plunge you need to consider, in some detail, a plan to get it right and avoid those frustrations.
Things to think about:
- Set out the expectations of all stakeholders/departments
- Place them into groups that you feel could be reasonably dealt with by one person’s skill set
- Budget and recruit accordingly
- Plan on how you will fill the expectation gaps
There are few things more frustrating than a team member who fails to deliver as expected. You have a great person but they are just not doing what you want them to do. If those expectations are unreasonable then eventually that person will be dismissed for something that was not their fault. Think carefully and test all the assumptions that have taken you to the point of hiring. Then plan to get the right person on the bus and have the right seat available for them.
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