There is a fantastic blog on InforWorld called Anonymous: Off the Record. It offers a venue for IT Ops pros to go and tell real stories of life in the IT trenches anonymously. It’s often not pretty, but what it does is put a human face on IT — and that’s really something you should strive to do more of in the coming year.
The Off the Record stories drive home what you have to deal with from your perspective — like a guy who found out his program wasn’t actually broken. Instead layoffs had left too few humans to deal with the actual problem his program was supposed to solve.
Or the guy who saw the key on the system’s emergency power-off button was loose. He gave it a jiggle — and took down the whole data center.
Too often, it seems, that IT is seen either as a black box where the technical side of the business gets done or it’s a place that people complain about, a department that is an obstacle to the lines of business. Neither is what you should be striving for.
You want to humanize your job, to make people see the value of what you do for the company. You are not an obstacle. On the contrary, you are facilitator. You produce technology solutions to help run the business better, more efficiently and at a lower cost — at least, ideally.
I’ve written here before that as IT moves toward a service-oriented approach where users pay for what they use, managers will understand very quickly that there is cost associated with what you do for them, and when that happens, the value of what you do will become more apparent.
But it shouldn’t be about just dollars and cents. It needs to be about human capital too and the value you and your colleagues brings to the organization. Use company social channels to help humanize your people. Let the company know what you’ve accomplished.
We used to send out memos, then emails. Now we can use internal social tools to keep people informed.
So try to make 2012 a year where you communicate to everyone the value you and IT bring to the company. Don’t be obnoxious about it, but let people know, there’s more to you than meets the eye.
You’ll be glad you did and perhaps people will see what you do without having to read anonymous tales from the trenches.