Since the economic down-turn began in 2008, every department has had to deal with cuts, but none perhaps more so than IT Ops. But part of the problem could be that you don’t do a good enough job of communicating what you do and why it’s worthwhile.
Maybe management really doesn’t get that you are keeping the servers running because they are. If that’s the case, easy place to cut, right? And if you aren’t explaining your value, how are they going to know?
I don’t want to start an IT Ops bitch session here, but there’s an element of truth to all of this. IT has been cut and cut again over the last several years. Perhaps the value of your fellow employees who are no longer with you didn’t become apparent until they were gone. Then suddenly there is more server down-time. The upgrades are behind and the new projects aren’t getting done at all.
If your mission critical applications and the company web site you rely on for an increasingly large percentage of your sales have had a bit more down time lately, perhaps it’s not entirely a coincidence. If you keep lopping off bodies, and the same amount of work needs to be done, sooner or later it’s going to have an impact.
The problem is that most people don’t understand what you do. If you try to explain it to them in technical lingo, they gloss over and don’t listen. It’s hard for most techies to bring it down to a level the average non-technical person can understand, so the result is most people in the organization — even the ones who set your budget — don’t understand what you do or why it’s valuable.
And that’s a serious problem for you. You can say you need more help, but you have explain it within the context of the business. Why should you get more budget — well, because if we don’t have the people to monitor the boxes and the applications, and these things go down, it’s costing you real dollars.
And it takes a staff to get this done in a large organization. These tend to be big data centers with lots of monitoring software. There needs to be a team of people involved and the fewer people there are, the more likely something falls through the cracks.
So try to keep the technical jargon to a minimum and talk in terms of business problems and solutions. Your problem is keeping your company web site running, especially during the holiday rush when your company makes most of its money for the year. The solution is to have enough people involved so that if something goes wrong, you can attack the problem and solve it immediately before it becomes serious.
The days of being a black box where what you do was invisible to the organization have to be over. Being opaque doesn’t show your value. It hides it. You need to find a way to highlight what you do and the value it brings to the organization, or you can’t complain when nobody gets it.