Appreciating IT’s Thankless Tasks

Introduction

We have an IT team at our company. Most mid-to large-sized organizations do; even small companies usually have “an IT guy”. I know who they are here. I got my new, larger SSD (solid state drive) from them; they gave me my eagerly-awaiting smartphone upgrade; they help me with troubleshooting issues; they advised when the core systems needed to go offline for a vital update. These are smart, busy folks.

They’re so busy, in fact, that they have to prioritize carefully. They aren’t always immediately on hand for everything. After all, an always-on server outage that runs core systems is more business critical than a call about a cell-phone battery that doesn’t last as long as it used to. But the accepted wisdom is that while IT believes it is delivering value, customer satisfaction ratings are less positive. In fact, studies show an alarming rise in IT backlog, which will do nothing to help its reputation.

Such negativity, however, cannot be the whole story. After all, consider the value IT helps organizations deliver. Without a functioning IT infrastructure, most organizations would just grind to a halt.

So the question then becomes, for the IT administrators, what’s taking the time and effort, and what can be done to fix it? Let’s look at three key areas:

Keeping customers satisfied

Challenge – servers, printers, mail, files, desktops, mobile devices… multiplied by the number of employees. Just the basic day-to-day of keeping users’ systems active, current, connected and collaborating is anything but trivial. Employees need to be able to securely share files to collaborate effectively, and when they travel to a different office, they need to connect to the network, access their files on corporate servers, and print.

Micro Focus View – Dealing with all those requests can be overwhelming. Simply *receiving* all those requests can be overwhelming, let alone actually resolving them. If the organization doesn’t already have one, an IT Service Management tool can help relieve the pressure, and provide the end user communications and transparency that can increase satisfaction ratings. And with that in place, you can look at solutions to:

When machines retire

Challenge – remember the last time you updated your home PC? Backing things up, uninstalling, reinstalling, setting up, rummaging for long-forgotten passwords and serial numbers, buying new software, and deciphering cryptic error messages. It was less straight-forward than you’d hoped, and took days to complete. Now imagine that for every PC in your organization. Who is doing that? Correct – the IT administrators.

Micro Focus View – Of course end users look forward to new laptops and smartphones, but rolling them out to dozens, hundreds, or thousands of employees doesn’t have to be an IT administration nightmare. Organizations that have mastered this process take advantage of specialized tools and solutions that can:

And when the subject is corporate servers, not endpoint devices, it’s even more critical to get it done faster, and to get it right.

When machines expire early

Challenge – a scheduled upgrade of servers or desktops is at least a planned event. What’s harder to manage and control are unplanned outages; they don’t happen on anyone’s schedule, and somehow seem to happen at the most inopportune times. Sure, there may be a disaster recovery plan for the data, but the whole environment? Even if the data is protected, sourcing and standing up new servers to restore a functional environment can take days or weeks.

Micro Focus View – Whether the environment comprises physical servers, virtual machines, or a mix of both, getting back to business as quickly as possible is a major priority. Troubleshooting what went wrong can prolong the outage, and is best left until after services have been restored. Options for whole workload disaster recovery – in which the entire server workload, including the operating system, applications, and middleware, is protected and can be quickly recovered – include all-in-one physical hardware appliances and disaster recovery software solutions, each of which can recover servers and get users back to productivity in a matter of minutes.

Conclusion

The administrative burden involved in IT operations is a significant ongoing task, and not always a well-understood one. Automating and improving the efficiency of these vital activities is a critical task and can free up IT time and investment for more visible projects.

Micro Focus’ broad range of IT Operations technology is designed specifically to ease the administrative burden, be it operations management, workload migration or disaster recovery. Our studies reveal a huge saving in the time taken for each task. For more information, visit Micro Focus.com.

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