Here’s a blast from the past. Originally published March 14, 2009. This post encapsulates my core philosophies of IT.
I have always been involved with technology. When I was a child, I disassembled it, and usually put it back together. When I got old enough to be gainfully employed, I started working in the technology field. So I think that I have a suitable background to talk about technology. Those of you who’ve been reading here for any length of time must think so to, because you keep coming back.
In this world, we’ve grown amazingly dependent on technology. I realized this at a very early age. We’ve got electronic traffic lights, to keep people moving safely. We’ve got technology that makes sure the electricity makes it to us, and that makes sure the water and sewer keeps flowing. We’ve got technology to keep us warm, to cool us off, and to prepare our meals, and to make sure our food doesn’t rot before we eat it.
But, in many cases, our technology is poorly managed. Poorly designed. Laden with features that aren’t necessary. Planned to become obsolete, so you’ll need to buy a new one.
Technology should “Just Work”. To many technical solutions are too complicated, require unacceptable compromises, or are just not what is needed.
And it’s not just the technology itself that should just work, but the people supporting the technology. They should be able to listen to a user, use active listening skills to help determine what the problem is, and then work to resolve the problem. Technology people tend to come with two axises of ability. We have those who are good “people people”, who are able to talk to others, empathize, and understand the issue(s) at hand, and we have those who work with technology because they have limited people skills but enjoy all the fiddling with interesting bits of technology. There’s a place for each of these types of people, fortunately, but all to often technology people wind up in the wrong part of an organization. On one end of other axis, there are people who are utter wizards with all the details of a particular technology, who seemingly can walk into the room, and simply lay hands on a failed bit of technology, and it will spring back to life. At the other end are the people who support technology through sheer determination. They may not be wizards, and may not have every technical detail memorized, but they persevere and lean on their more technically gifted peers, and in the end, usually get the problem resolved.
In too many technical organizations these days, the practice seems to be to lean heavily on hiring the wizardly technology people, and frequently to ignore their social abilities. While having a few ‘true wizards’ is a necessity, organizations need to work more on the social side of the equation, finding technical staff who are able to successfully interact with the users.
Even if socially adept technical staff require additional support for the technical issues, better managing your users expectations is the most critical part of a successful technology support organization.
Too many technical organizations worry about the technical buzzwords, how big is the server, how fast is the network, and how can we get the newest, biggest, best, when the real goal of the organization should be is “how do we best meet our business objectives, how do we best service our customers”.
On the other side of the same coin, businesses need to look at their IT organizations as more than just a “break/fix” resource. They need to bring IT in much earlier, so that IT can look at what the actual need is, rather than just being told “install this software”. IT organizations have the ability to help determine how to best meet the business need, and may be able to help the company save money, in the process.
- The Kneed for The Knack (avaya.com)
- Why choose a career in Information Technology? (careeradvisor123.com)
- Nurturing The Knack (avaya.com)