6 Signs Business Technology Is Unhealthy, According to an IT Consultant
How is the IT situation at your organization?
All good, or, you know, a mess?
As an IT consultant, I work with the good, bad and ugly of IT infrastructures, often helping those we’d consider “bad” or “ugly” move towards achieving the title of “good.”
Think “bad” or “ugly” could be used to described how IT is handled at your organization? Here are some signs to watch out for:
Every Modern Business Has an IT Infrastructure, But Some Are Handled Better Than Others
How IT is handled differs from one organization to another. But all IT ecosystems consist of multiple elements, including servers, backups, staff members and leadership. Each of these elements interact to support or detract from one another. Ideally, an IT ecosystem is balanced and well-nourished, both financially and with a good team behind it, with all the necessary hardware and software available. But that's not the case for every IT ecosystem.
6 Signs Your Business Technology Is Unhealthy, According to an IT Consultant
Here are some common signs of unhealthy business technology:
1. You don’t have an IT budget.
This is an early and easy-to-spot indicator of problems in the IT ecosystem, because it can be assessed with a yes/no question: Do you have a budget for IT? It may surprise you to learn that many organizations do not. Then again, you may be nodding your head right now because you work for an organization that doesn't have an IT budget. Information technology cannot be healthy if a budget does not exist.
2. IT decisions are based on whims or emergencies.
Is information technology viewed as a strategic business opportunity, with advance planning and foresight? Or is it handled as a reactive utility? Your organization will never get ahead of its technology needs if it is always reacting to the latest emergency. A healthy IT environment means you’re able to plan and enable yourself to scale your business with stability.
3. Systems run for longer than they were designed.
IT systems need to be able to be supported. Hardware and software have a shelf life and updates are required to keep systems secure and functioning. When systems reach their end of life and are no longer supported by the manufacturer, it won’t be long before they begin losing effectiveness, or at the least fail to integrate with other systems. Because technology advances rapidly, a healthy IT environment is one that can be maintained over time, and that means keeping up with updates and upgrades.
4. Systems are ignored or non-IT people are tasked with fixing them.
A healthy IT environment will place emphasis on maintaining systems. It will have people at their disposal who understand the systems: how to maintain them, how to fix them and what they need. These can be people who work for your organization, or people to whom you outsource IT. All too often, we see IT responsibilities being placed on employees who lack the expertise to maintain systems, and that is when the whole infrastructure begins to go downhill.
5. IT policies are made by the IT team.
You want the IT team involved with IT policy creation, but you don’t want them working in a bubble. Policies and procedures should align with overall business management initiatives because of input from organizational leadership. Is your C-Suite involved in and informed of IT goals? If they’re not, read our post about why IT should have a seat at the table.
6. Recurring system outages occur with no fix of the root cause.
When things don’t work, everyone feels the strain. In an ideal situation, IT will fade into the background of an organization, because everything works. There’s little need to call for help desk support, because proactive IT management takes care of issues before end users are impacted. IT issues are fixed and the causes are resolved. But if ongoing problems persist, and keep happening, that’s a sign that IT is unhealthy.
In any organization that depends on technology – and at this point that’s all organizations – it is inevitable that something will go wrong. With so much to keep up with, burnout is common in IT departments. If workload and strategy are not managed well, everything falls apart. How do you keep things together?
You want to have support available to your team and your systems if and when that happens. This means having partners with a depth of knowledge in the products they have recommended and installed. Everyone has their specialty. No one knows everything about everything, but knowing who to call for help is half the battle.
IT Consultants and a Trusted Partner for IT Solutions
Having a trusted IT solutions partner is essential, whether you have an IT department or not. The value of working with a managed service provider (MSP) like Loffler when building, improving and maintaining your IT infrastructure is bringing together engineers and subject matter experts who have deep knowledge of various areas of IT to design the right solution.
Work with a partner that you trust, who has the right people and offers a solution that makes sense for your organization. If you can explain what your pain points and expectations are, your IT solutions provider should be able to present a well-rounded view of your options and consult with you to decide what is the best, most highly-available, most cost-effective solution, and then implement it.
Ready to get started on the road toward improving IT at your organization?
Chad is an IT Strategy Consultant at Loffler Companies. He has worked in the IT industry for over 25 years, spending 15 of those years in IT consulting. He owned his own IT services company specializing in managed services, small business projects, professional services, IT strategy and planning before coming to Loffler in 2012. Chad has worked with many companies to develop their IT lifecycle and specializes in strategic planning and tactical implementation. In his free time, Chad enjoys traveling with his wife and two sons, playing tennis and reading nonfiction and history books.