As technology becomes a more integral part of the business landscape, employees everywhere are becoming increasingly dependent on IT departments. Businesses everywhere are starting to recognize just how much of a valuable company asset IT departments are. If you haven’t already formed your own dedicated team, you’re going to want to do that now.
But you can’t just settle for the first computer expert that comes your way. You need to hire the right people and create the right positions. It takes a lot of strategic planning to design a successful IT structure. If you need a place to start, here are the keys to building a thriving and productive IT department.
Delineate roles and responsibilities
Before anything else, the most important thing to do when building your IT team from the ground up is to delineate what roles and responsibilities the people on your team will fulfill and how each person will support the bottom line of your business. You want to hire people purposefully, not haphazardly, so these roles will serve as a guide that will steer you towards the best possible candidates for the job. The following are just some examples of the most important roles you need to have in place:
- Systems Engineer: Systems engineers are responsible for monitoring and overseeing all installed infrastructures and systems. They integrate business solutions and applications with cloud-based tools, as well as install, configure, and maintain operating systems and software. Requirements for this role include a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, or any related field, as well as years worth of experience in software development and engineering. Receiving a certification from Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) or completing a Cisco ACI online training course is a huge plus.
- Project Manager: Project managers are responsible for planning and coordinating the IT department’s projects, budget, and timelines for each fiscal year. These initiatives have to directly align with the overall goals and bottom line of the business. Excellent leadership, time management, and communication skills are needed in order to succeed in this role.
- Desktop Support: Desktop support offers troubleshooting for issues regarding software, hardware, and networking. They’re also responsible for installing, configuring, updating, and maintaining hardware and equipment. This role is less technical than a systems engineer’s job and requires more interpersonal skills.
Hire the right people
Once you’ve identified the roles that need to be filled, you can start hiring people with suitable skills and credentials to occupy those positions. Certain responsibilities need people with excellent interpersonal skills, while other duties require more technical prowess. However, at the core of all high-functioning IT departments is balance. You’ll need different kinds of people who can fulfill separate functions, but who can all come together as an efficient team at the end of the day.
Take your time during the interviewing process, and don’t just go for the first few candidates who fit the bill. Always remember that they shouldn’t just have the relevant skills for the role, they should also align with your company values and company culture. Just because someone has the requisite experience and specialized skills for the job doesn’t always mean they’re right for it, particularly if you don’t think they can work well with the rest of your team.
Invest in resources and equipment
Devoting time and effort into finding the right people for the right roles won’t mean much if you don’t provide them with the necessary resources and equipment to do their job effectively. You’ll need to find a supplier who specializes in the necessary hardware (computers, a physical workspace, power supplies, storage devices, etc.) and software (high-speed internet, database management systems, cloud services, etc.) needed for an IT department to operate.
Standardize your hardware and software
When they first come on board, the members of your team will likely have their own individual preferences when it comes to what particular software and hardware they want to use. It’s important to limit the technology that everyone is using and make sure everyone is on the same page. This reduces confusion, boosts efficiency, and saves time and money on maintenance procedures.
Automate what you can
IT departments can waste tons of valuable time doing manual tasks that can otherwise be automated. Automation can result in an increase in overall productivity and lots of time and money saved. Tasks that can be automated include running spreadsheet reports, software and service requests, data encoding, ticketing systems, and data re-entry.
From software installation to technical support and troubleshooting, the responsibilities of an IT department are extensive and far-reaching, helping to expedite business operations and further the bottom line. Keep these five elements in mind when building your own IT team and you’re well on your way to success.