Status-quo I.T is a No! No!

By: Joe Sanchez

I'll begin by saying how amazed I am that there are so many businesses and organizations that still don't have any idea where their IT is going. That being said, I'll explain my point. Here's a scenario I have seen far too many times over the last eight years.

Company "A" has an IT department with staff to handle their IT needs i.e. projects, upgrades, support, etc. This department is managed by someone who is most likely a college graduate, but unfortunately, doesn't begin to understand how an IT Department should function. So, he or she, continues on the status-quo path in a state of total ignorance, while evolution guides him or her, or he or she allows the squeaky wheel(s) to determines the IT departments' future.

Status-quo is fine for small organizations, one user with one PC, who doesn't care about computer brand, or server shares, or where the equipment comes from, or how it's configured. They just want their email and Internet to work - Right? This -- however, is no way to run an IT department, period!

If a business or organization is doing anything right, it will grow, and so will it's IT needs and demands. Right here is where the problem of status-quo surfaces. Your IT department makes NO sense to any one qualified except - maybe - the manager or director who is running it. Here's a few good questions to ask them. "What best practices are being used, are they being followed?" "Is a standard model being used, is it being followed?" Models and best practices have been around for a while now, why is your manager reinventing the wheel and not following one?

If you have read this far you've probably already guessed - I admit I have a pet peeve. Here it is. Do you really think hiring a college graduate straight out of school is going to steer your most important method of communication in the right direction? Consider the odds for good verses average football coaches? Now consider your IT Department ... is it status-quo? You probably won't notice there's a problem until it's too late. WOW! How did this happen? You let it happen. Here's a thought ... Is your competition letting their IT department evolve?

Recently, I witnessed this very thing happening first hand. I worked for a local city government's IT department that was run status-quo for years. One day after trying to make sense of it, I asked the IT manager what his vision was for the department. Not surprised, he had no idea what I meant. They had all the brand names for equipment: Dell, Cisco, IBM, but it was just thrown together. The network was slow, the computers were a major security breach waiting to happen because nothing had been patched since 2000, and the users had literally given up calling the help desk because of a lack of resolve for their problems. Ironically, we spent more time discussing mission statements then complete the main mission, support. This is what happens when status-quo is running your IT department. One day, this IT department, and possibly yours, will have to find a vision that will makes sense. Unfortunately for the systems and users, it will be a long hard and frustrating journey. I have since moved on from this job out of sheer frustration... How many good IT people have you lost for the same reason?

If you don't know where your IT is going, be wise and ask for directions or you may find your IT going in circles, while your competition has already arrived and poured their coffee...

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