Your New IT Role: 6 Steps to a Successful Transition
Do any of these descriptions fit you?
- You've just been asked to take on IT at your company but you're not actually in IT?
- You're new to the IT field and want to set yourself (and your employer) up for success?
- You've been in IT for a while, but you just stepped into a "messy" environment and you're not sure where to start?
Whether you're in IT or not, taking on a new role in any environment can be intimidating. Add end users and managers into the mix who have potential to get very grumpy if their technology isn't running smoothly, and the challenge gets even more daunting. But, it doesn't have to be. As you move into your new IT role, here are six steps to make your transition successful:
1. Assess Your Environment
Gaining an understanding of your company’s existing technology environment will provide important insight into what is ahead of you in your new role. Begin with a physical inventory of the company’s existing technology – including desktops, laptops, servers, printers, as well as the applications your company has licensed (as well as any active service licenses and agreements tied to your hardware or software).
Your users are another critical aspect of the company environment. As Maxime Trottier, a director at Devolutions, suggests, “The ‘I’ in IT is more important than the ‘T.’ And the best place to get ‘I’ is from people.” Talk with your business users and seek out super-users – those who have honed their skills in certain applications who may be able to help you provide support to others. Most importantly, learn how users are working with the existing technology; how well that technology supports their needs and business goals; and what tools could help them do their job more effectively.
A Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) can help complete an in-depth 360-degree technology assessment. A good assessment will provide you with a clear understanding of your IT network, your end user's needs, and a roadmap with actionable steps for getting your company's IT environment back on track.
2. Plan Your Attack
Once you’ve determined the key aspects of your environment, it’s time to prioritize. Ongoing tasks typically include regular maintenance, patches, and upgrades. Projects can run the gamut, ranging from cabling and Wi-Fi to new desktops.
Some questions to consider as you sort projects and tasks into categories from “critical” to “nice-to-have:”
- Which projects will have the most impact quickly?
- Are the project-related tasks easy to accomplish – and are they within your skillset or will you need outside help (your MSP, perhaps)?
- Have you budgeted appropriately?
- Is the best solution onsite or cloud-based?
These questions (and more) would be daunting for someone who is new to the IT field or is facing a complicated IT environment. Again, we'd recommend partnering with an MSP who can help you plan and execute within a reasonable timeline and budget.
Learn how to leverage a Managed IT Services provider with our free eBook.
3. Are You Prepared?
Many companies are under the false impression that they are immune to system failures, evidenced by the fact that 73% of companies today are unprepared for a disaster.
Surprisingly, weather accounts for just 15% of disasters. The majority of causes are software/network failures (54%) and human error (41%) – ranging from erroneous command issuances to purposeful malicious actions.
If you do have a data backup and disaster recovery (DR) plan in place, remember that your technology systems, settings, and users change constantly, so make sure that you review – and test – your DR solution regularly, and don’t just expect it to work when it’s needed most. DR is a critical strategy. Call on an MSP or IT service provider if you need some guidance or specialized DR skills to get the job done.
4. Not Prepared? Start Planning – and Implementing
If your organization does not have automated data backup or a disaster recovery plan in place, don’t become a statistic – get to work! We recommend a hybrid cloud solution where your business can have access to local backups but also redundancy in the cloud, should disaster ever strike your physical building.
5. Lock IT Security Down
Our digital world provides significant opportunities for organizations – and criminals. Even if you’re not in a highly regulated industry such as banking or insurance that mandates security compliance, make sure IT security is a priority and get your company on board with security best practices.
One place to start is with security vulnerabilities which unnecessarily put your employer at risk for security breaches. You'll want to assess these vulnerabilities and put together a plan for mitigating them based on the level of criticalness. An MSP has the necessary tools and manpower to complete a security assessment of your network and help you manage them in both the short term and long term.
Inaction based on the assumption that criminals want nothing to do with your small company can lead to a data breach. Security implementations usually require specialized technical skills. Get the experts to help you – call an MSP or IT services provider and fast-track this priority project.
6. Don’t Go IT Alone
If you’re new to your technology role or if IT is an additional hat you're now wearing, you likely don’t have the skills to field every issue that comes along AND successfully accomplish responsibilities 1-5 listed above. Additionally, your company may not have the budget to cover an investment in hardware and/or software that’s critical to the business (think cloud storage, security, backup, etc.).
Don’t go IT alone! Partner with a Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) who will “have your back,” and that can fill-in any missing critical skills, as well as provide routine remote services (like server monitoring) that will free you up to focus on bringing your IT environment up to snuff. You’ll spend less time juggling responsibilities and figuring out problems/fixes – and more time delivering technology that works. Plenty of internal IT staff and leaders partner with an MSP that can augment their team. Greenbriar Equity's Groups IT Director is one of them:
Oh, and one other perk. An MSP can provide you with backup support, affording you the luxury of a seamless transition should you want (or need) to take that occasional vacation – without interruption.
Not sure how to pitch an MSP to your boss? Contact us, we can help with that.