Sure Signs Your IT Department is Overwhelmed

Unless you’re a Chief Information Officer (CIO), it can be difficult to determine how well your IT department is running. Techs are typically never without a to-do list of important tasks, and most people don’t stop to think about IT processes until they face a problem of their own. But if your organization has faced changes or challenges in its operations, the IT department could be overwhelmed. So how can you tell if your IT department is taking on more than it can handle?

Should Staff Be Waiting Weeks for New Equipment?

Techs may have a lengthy list of high-level problems to resolve, but routine replacement of new hardware should not take weeks. If you’re noticing that it takes a tech an extraordinary period of time to answer calls or resolve small issues like software updates, hardware repair and installation or virus checks, it could be a sign that the IT department is under water.

Don’t All IT Staffers Have the Same Skill Set?

Since the recession, IT departments have been forced to do more with less. In many cases, organizations have cut IT staff without having a full understanding of the skill set of each employee. This means that current techs are expected to be servicedesk agents, network security experts, webmasters, systems administrators, and programmers.

But not all IT professionals can do everything. And even if they have the skills to do everything, it’s physically impossible for one person to be everything to everyone. If you’ve recently cut back on IT staff and since noticed a marked decrease in efficiency and problem resolution, it might be time to take a closer look at the operations of the IT department.

 

Are all IT Departments Veritable Ghost Towns?

If you have a running joke around your facility that you can’t reach an IT tech when you pick up the phone, you may have a systemic problem in the department. Just as the marketing department or the billing department is expected to answer their phones, so too should the IT department. If techs are never at their work stations because they are constantly being dispatched out into the sever room or other departments, this could be a sign of taxed resources.

Empty office

Don’t All IT Departments Experience High Turnover?

No. IT pros are in demand, it’s true. But they are no different than any other type of employee. If they work in a stable environment where they are respected, they bring home a competitive salary and benefits, and they engage in work that reflects their skills and expertise, IT techs will not feel compelled to look for other opportunities.

Why Do We Need a CIO? We Aren’t A Large Organization

Unfortunately, IT departments are often inefficient because of a lack of technical leadership. Many organizations think they don’t need a CIO. But would a hospital place an orderly in charge of the surgical department? Of course not.

Allowing non-technological executives to make decisions about technology simply doesn’t make sense. The processes and procedures that the IT department must follow need to be developed by someone with seasoned experience in the field in order to improve efficiency, reduce risk and optimize IT’s value to the organization. If your organization does not have IT leadership, it could lead to increased risk, unnecessary costs and lack or proper planning.

When the IT department runs smoothly, the entire organization runs smoothly. And when your IT pros become overwhelmed, it can have a detrimental effect on all departments. Leadership should take strides to learn more about the operations of the information technology department to ensure efficiency and address any immediate concerns.

Change won’t always come easy, but identifying problems is the first step toward implementing solutions.

Micah Laughlin
mlaughlin@canvasit.com

Micah Laughlin is the founder of Canvas IT and a leader in technology management services, supporting organizations of all sizes and helping them to thrive in spite of IT challenges and organizational changes. His first-hand experience with Service Desk Outsourcing companies led him to create a better way of doing IT outsourcing, the way he’d want it done. Today his philosophy carries on at Canvas IT as he creates a custom solution for each client just the way they’d want it done. Micah’s service desk management philosophy has supported dozens of growing businesses, adding value to the IT services they provide. Prior to founding Canvas IT, Micah spent more than 24 years managing IT operations – with 18 spent balancing the need for open, flexible systems with the restrictions of the highly-regulated healthcare industry.



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