If you are an IT director, it’s important you stay current on the latest trends. Tasked with keeping your systems protected and up-to-date, you may find yourself overwhelmed, particularly if you have a team to manage.
Don’t worry; you aren’t alone! As an Albany, New York, managed service provider, we have a lot of experience helping IT directors with too much on their plates. Here are our top tips for keeping everything straight and staying on top of your game when time is of the essence.
Checking in with your team members
How is your team functioning? Each day is an opportunity to see how projects are progressing. This way you can identify any potential problems as they arise.
When it comes to meeting with team members, the importance of a daily huddle can’t be emphasized enough. Getting together for a short while each day is a key part of running a connected and functional team.
By sticking with a huddle at the same time, in the same place, and with the same topics each day, you’ll offer your team consistency and also increase accountability across your organization. For IT, huddles should review:
- Daily ticket counts
- Number of tickets solved same day
- Number of tickets outstanding
- High level project status
Reviewing departmental metrics
What numbers do you need to hit? As the IT director, you are responsible for ensuring that your department is meeting its targets.
Some daily metrics that an IT director should focus on include backup completion, patching status, and where you stand on a disaster recovery plan.
If these tasks are in the works, where do your team members stand on them? They should be able to give you a succinct update that is numbers-driven. For instance, are they 50% done with the creation of the disaster recovery plan? Have they done 75% of the backups?
Tracking these numbers keeps your team accountable and works toward the overall goal of preparedness for disaster.
By reviewing departmental metrics on a daily basis, you can ensure that everyone is on track and address any areas of concern. The IT landscape changes every day so it’s important to focus on your goals as you go along, rather than waiting until it’s too late to catch up.
Working on strategic initiatives
What are the long-term goals of your department? Each day, you should spend some time working on initiatives that will help your department reach its goals.
For instance, have you considered moving to the cloud? If this is a goal that has long been thought of but never acted on, you can begin the process right now. Develop a roadmap that outlines what systems would need to change and what infrastructure you would need to replace to support a move to the cloud. Then, break the goal into smaller pieces and schedule out interim due dates to keep your team on track.
The same overall process holds true for creating network maps. Assign large projects like this to your team over a longer period of time to ensure progress is maintained in the long run. Check in on strategic planning tasks like these in your daily huddle.
Other strategic initiatives could involve anything from developing new policies to implementing new technologies. You don’t have to create new initiatives every day but make sure to focus on the ones you have.
Staying up to date with industry news
What’s happening in the world of IT? Keeping abreast of industry news will help you identify new trends and technologies that could benefit your department.
You can check sites like Wire, TechCrunch, Recode, CNet, or The Verge for general IT and tech-related news. You’ll also want to subscribe to publications specific to the industry of your company. It is important that you stay up-to-date on both IT happenings and laws, regulations, and best practice for your industry.
For instance, if you work for a hospital system, you should be aware of new legislation surrounding the storage or sharing of medical records. You’d need to know if changes were being made to HIPAA laws, and you would also want to watch the news for information about cyber breaches or threats against medical infrastructure.
Staying as close as possible to both IT news and that of your industry will also help you spot potential problems before they arise. If your time and budget permit it, you might also choose to attend industry conferences or take continuing education courses to stay current with IT standards.
Communicating with other stakeholders
Who else needs to know? IT doesn’t operate in a vacuum – you need to be able to communicate effectively with other directors, managers, VPs, and your consultants (like an MSP) in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This includes regular meetings as well as ad-hoc conversations when necessary.
If you work with a managed service provider, you should also check in with them regularly. Ask them to go over daily ticket counts versus tickets solved so you can be sure problems are being taken care of in a timely fashion. Good communication is critical to verify that issues are being dealt with.
Again, being proactive will help you to avoid any potential conflicts and make sure that your department is integrating seamlessly with the rest of the company.
Planning for the future
What does the future hold for your department? As IT director, you need to have a roadmap in place to ensure that your department is prepared for whatever comes next.
Perhaps the most important way to plan for the future is to have a disaster recovery plan in place that takes into account best practices, like the 3-2-1 backup rule and other redundancies where appropriate.
If you’re working on strategic initiatives, like moving to the cloud or switching to a VOIP phone system, what changes will that yield in the day-to-day operations of your company? As you go about your day, think about what you are working towards and begin to integrate tasks that support those changes into your to-do list and the assignments of your direct reports. This will ensure you continue progressing toward your future goals.
Keep a running list of aging equipment and when it needs to be replaced. Ask your MSP to develop an IT roadmap and ensure that roadmap goes at least 8 quarters out.
This includes both short- and long-term planning so that you can be ready for anything. Having plans in place for the future will help you stay on top of your day-to-day tasks by giving you an end goal to focus on.
By focusing on these six things every day, you’ll be able to stay on top of your game and make sure that your department is running smoothly.
Need help with anything IT, cybersecurity, or communications? TAG Solutions can take that off your plate!
We are an Albany, New York, managed service provider with the know-how to tackle even your most complicated business computer or phone challenges.