Tech Thursday: The Well-Staffed IT Department – Part 2: Administration

Tech Thursday: The Well-Staffed IT Department – Part 2: Administration

Last week, we started looking into what it takes to fully staff an IT department. We covered some operational roles, such as help desk, engineering, and security compliance. In this article, we’re going to get into some more advanced roles, which you’ll need once your organization and IT team are ready to grow. These roles are less technical and more administrative, but they are key to organizing a larger IT staff.

Project Management - To Build and Scale

Once several teams are operating in your IT department, it can be a challenge for all of them to work together smoothly to accomplish large projects that touch multiple disciplines. For example, the rollout of a new workflow product may involve server hardware provisioning, configuration of the service itself, and user training and support. And while an experienced IT engineer can certainly steer the project to completion, having a dedicated IT product manager to keep an eye on things like budget, deadlines, and documentation can help to execute complex projects more efficiently and less expensively.

Inventory and Licensing - Keeping Track of Stuff

Again, the benefits of having dedicated inventory and licensing staff become apparent when it’s time to scale up. Inventory deals with not only keeping track of existing assets, but is involved in procuring new hardware in a cost-effective way. Also, inventory deals with managing the lifecycle of your hardware. This ensures that you’re able to utilize hardware to get the most value, and that it’s replaced before it becomes a burden on your company. Also, e-waste disposal laws have become more complex recently, so having a team that can ensure that hazardous materials are disposed of in a safe and compliant manner is a real asset.

Licensing performs a similar role to inventory, but in the software, rather than hardware, world. As your company grows, you’ll be able to take advantage of volume licensing programs from Microsoft and other vendors, and having an inventory team to negotiate these deals can be a huge help. Additionally, steps must be taken to ensure that you’re in compliance with these agreements and other software licenses, which the licensing team handles as well.

Business Information, Analysis and Reporting

Finally, the last piece of the IT “puzzle” -- and often least-understood -- is information, reporting, and analysis. But, when implemented properly, this team can form a smooth interface between the IT department and the rest of the business, helping it to function more smoothly and efficiently. Also, this team can help to identify ways to improve business processes as a whole, helping you to offer better products and services to your customers while decreasing costs and overhead.

The BI team is often headed up by a CIO, who helps to make sure that the insights created by this team are able to benefit the business as a whole. An information manager oversees the day-to-day work of the business analysts, process modelers, systems analysts, and application designers that make up the core of the BI team.

So, with our entire IT staff filled, the question is -- how should my business fill these roles as it grows? In our next article, we will look at how IT teams tend to evolve naturally, and what you can do to make sure that your IT department can grow strategically to benefit your business.