Red Hat and IBM offer "thoughtful reopening" tips for IT teams

Economic uncertainty and fewer employees will present numerous challenges as IT teams head back to the office in the weeks ahead. IBM and Red Hat representatives have curated a series of tips to assist with the transition.

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In recent weeks, many companies are beginning to reopen their workplaces and bring employees back to the office amid the coronavirus pandemic. A recent article co-authored by representatives from IBM and Red Hat North America offers a series of tips for IT departments as organizations reopen in the weeks and months ahead. The article titled "Thoughtful Reopening" appeared on IBM Garage earlier this month and uses common themes based on client experiences to outline various reopening approaches to assist IT teams with the transition process.

"By being thoughtful in how projects are restarted, how teams are reformed, and how priorities are reassessed, at the end you may be able to find yourself in a better position than you were prior to the shutdowns," explained the authors of the article.

Automating IT procedures

Digital transformation and automation have accelerated due to the coronavirus. The authors of the report suggest IT teams may want to consider automating "common IT tasks" as part of the reopening process. The authors detail how many organizations are maintaining existing systems with reduced employees, placing IT teams in an "unusual position." To assist with this increased workload, the authors suggest automating tasks such as "patching middleware and operating systems, release management, and setting up and tearing down environments." Automating these tasks could increase productivity while reducing stress and the risk of human error, according to the authors.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Common platforms could be advantageous

Thriving amid economic uncertainty and hiring freezes often means maximizing the most of the existing tools at one's disposal. Rather than adding duplicate tools or ones that exist as modest upgrades, the authors suggest the standardization of runtimes, tools, and approaches bundled with a platform. The advantages of this approach include reducing redundancy licensing costs,  expedited training time, and enabling "a broader pool of relevant expertise within your organization."

Tidy up the "IT toolbox"

With a reduced number of staffers on hand, previous workflows and solutions may either no longer be effective or feasible as organizations begin to reopen. Situationally, the authors suggest incorporating "flexibility to reallocate teams and change team sizes and structures to cope with the increased workload on a smaller staff." In particular, this could involve standardizing a "small number of platforms, operating systems, and middleware enabled by a fixed library of tools becomes even more critical."

SEE: Big data's role in COVID-19 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Incorporate open source techniques

Similarly, maximizing available assets could also mean taking advantage of an open-source approach to information sharing. The authors suggest enabling more IT team members to "wear several hats" by disseminating information via an open-source model "predicated upon an open, collaborative mindset." By doing so, individuals can create "self-organizing teams around specific projects with contributions throughout the industry."

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