By Russ Levanway, CEO
We specialize in IT. And we have spent over a decade working hard to become specialists in IT. However, when it comes to accounting advice, legal advice, insurance, telecom solutions, custodial services, you name it, we rely on the experts.
In some of these areas, we may perform a small portion of what is covered by our trusted experts in-house, but as a rule, I’ve always found it more difficult to manage an area in our company that is outside of our core specialty. Every specialty function has different accountabilities and measurements of performance, and, as a result, we make it a rule to stick to what we are experts at and rely on our vendors and partners for everything else.
So, what happens when necessity creates a situation where you are tasked with overseeing a department that is outside your specialty? I’ve seen this play out in larger companies who have an in-house IT department. In many cases, this department is very small – maybe one or two people, and often report to a non-technical person such as the CFO or COO. While certainly capable managers, it’s very hard for anyone without an IT background to conduct interviews, measure technical performance, and create accountability and transparency around a group of people that are outside one’s own core expertise. This is how more often than not, in-house IT departments are shrouded in mystery, and this is where we come in.
Eating, Sleeping and Breathing IT
The solution to this dilemma is to bring some peer power into the mix. For companies with specialties other than technology, TekTegrity brings ways to assess and measure accountability and transparency to their small in-house IT departments. This level of involvement by a third party might seem threatening, but it’s really not; we aren’t competing with an IT department, but augmenting it. We uncover a company’s IT goals and track progress, constructively assessing what’s being done effectively and ineffectively because it’s our specialty – we eat, sleep and breathe IT.
Bringing in outside IT experts to share their expertise with your in-house IT department provides your IT professionals the opportunity for growth and continued professional development. The result? More support and oversight for your IT team, while improving internal practices.
Accountability is the Name of the Game
Professional development is the “rising tide” that lifts all ships in your company. Consider this: are there other teams which act as small islands within your company that would benefit from more guidance? What can you do to increase their accountability? Is it through conferences and trade shows? Through direct interaction with customers? Through a consultative arrangement with experts? Or professional networking?
Many companies utilize a fraction of the knowledge available to them by only relying on internal people to solve thorny problems. Perhaps this is perceived as less expensive when in reality it often costs more in terms of lost productivity. Tapping into external collective knowledge, and encouraging your employees to do the same, is an incredibly effective way for your organization to grow and stay ahead of key business challenges.