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  • #2092718

    Improving the image of our IT department


    by nettek ·

    Since our previous IT Director resigned, the remaining four IT staff (one of which does only telecommunications) have been self-managing. After over a year had gone by, my company finally hired a new Director (I work for a nonprofit whose administrators do not realize or appreciate the immense technical infrastructure that surrounds them). He found departmental moral to be low, departmental organization had decayed, and the image of our department around the company is less than glowing.

    To give you some background, we support more than twenty locations with a total of 300 PCs, 14 servers, 10 routers utilizing a frame relay WAN, our own email system, and our own web site. I believe that we are very understaffed, and because we are understaffed our service is reactive rather than proactive. Another problem is that our entire department is housed at one location. The only time employees at another site have contact with us is when there is a problem, or when we are doing an installation of some type. I believe that many employees view us as they would an outside vendor, even though we are fellow employees.

    While the new Director is actively working to restructure and organize our department, one of the things he feels is most important is to improve the image of our department around the company. He has asked his staff to come up with ideas on how to do this, and now I am asking Techrepublic users. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    • #3870464

      Create a Web Site

      by duskos ·

      In reply to Improving the image of our IT department

      Suggestion 1: Create Web Site

      Creating a web site would be a good starting point.The software is free if you are already using Windows NT. Even if you are using Win 95/98 there is personal web server available which is free.

      What to put on a web site
      a) What’s new. There’s always something new.
      b) Who’s there. Introduce some people who are popular for something, who are doing good jobs, who are great persons etc.
      c) Your recent projects
      d) Online telephone directory. Put some often used phone numbers on web page. You can include some favorite food places or hanging places, good shopping etc.
      e) Create online library. There are always some forms, quality manuals, instructions that we would like to refer to from time to time and they are usualy not handy.
      f) Have tech support page with latest utils like winzip, acrobat viewer, internet explorer and latest antivirus definition files etc.

      How to make web site?
      You don’t need to have flashy site. The usefull one would do. In my firm we have one which consists of topics A to Z. It consists of links which point to various directories. Sometimes in these directories we don’t have a web page, but we simply list the contents of that directory. Users then download files which have descriptive titles. We have a nice sky background on our home page and everyone is happy because we have expense claim forms, fax forms, travel apps forms, picture galery etc.

      To be continued …

    • #3870463

      Part 2

      by duskos ·

      In reply to Improving the image of our IT department

      Suggestion 2: Document your work.

      I don’t mean just documenting hardware and software inventory and various configs.
      Instead of just running around, get organized. Let customers tell you what they want. Write this down in your workorder. Come whith this workorder to the customer. When the work is finished, have the customer sign the workorder. Give the customer original and you keep the copy. With this approach they will value your work more. Each month publish statistics and present them to management. Let it be the basis for obtaining new equipment, software, tools, (rise) etc.

      Suggestion 3: Get the tools for the job

      Obtain some disk duplicating software like Symantec Ghost. This will make your interventions easier and faster when you need to recreate user’s PC from scratch.
      Get some remote control software like Netmeeting 3 (comes free with Internet Explorer 5.5) or Symantec PCAnywhere (I use that one). You can help users with their problems remotely instead of visiting.

      That should keep you busy for the start. Perhaps this would present you as competent, professional and motivated crew.

    • #3869791

      Understand and Meet Users’ Needs

      by wayne m. ·

      In reply to Improving the image of our IT department

      If your department is getting a bad image, it probably indicates that it is not meeting your users’ expectations. You need to find out what the users want and make changes to provide that type of service.

      Go out and talk to 10 – 20 users; push for at least 20, but settle for 10 if need be. Make sure you include several of your most vocal critics. Meet the users one on one at their work locations and listen to what they have to say. Do not try and justify anything or explain how the current situation came into being; just listen to what they have to say, no matter how painful it may be. Collect the information, prioritize it, and start resolving issues one at a time. Only by acknowledging and fixing these issues will your department rebuild its image.

      A final note. You can provide good service even in an understaffed situation. You will need to prioritize incoming tasks and provide users with accurate time frames for addressing their issues. For most users knowing when aproblem will be resolved is almost as good as having it resolved immediately.

      So, go out and talk to your users. Ask some open ended questions and listen to their answers without getting defensive. Some of their comments may be quite painful, but those are the things you will need to address to rebuild your organization’s image.

      • #3868773

        Good luck

        by pallan ·

        In reply to Understand and Meet Users’ Needs

        I’ll get to the last step first. Wait. A long, long time. It can be done, but people seem to have a long memory for IT problems.

        I work for a not-for-profit of comparable size IT-wise. Technical support is handled by 2 people – me and my helpdesk tech. My first question is why are you behind? Get caught up. Stop spending all of your time running around putting out fires. How to accomplish this is a topic far too complex to discuss here.

        When I came on board here the situation wasmuch as you have described. Systems failing, long waits for tech support, and department spending was ridiculous. The helpdesk tech, the CIO, and I all started here within the span of a month. In the year since, tech support has calmed down and IS became the first department in the Agency to meet the budget guidelines for the current fiscal year. Despite this, staff still dwell on past failures (which didn’t even occur during our tenure). All we can do is to continue to serve well and hopethat eventually our reputation will be cleared.

        If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

      • #3868770


        by pallan ·

        In reply to Understand and Meet Users’ Needs

        I responded to the wrong comment. I meant to respond to the root comment. My apologies.

    • #3882582

      Image Improvement

      by hardy utley ·

      In reply to Improving the image of our IT department

      I’ve been in the same situation myself working for a number a companies. Typically I like to take the initiative and go talk to your ‘customer’ that is your user base. If you have a less than glowing image there is usually a number of issues thatare causing it. If you are understaffed and you can’t get additional staffing then one of your issues is utilizing your current staff the best way possible.

      I tend to concentrate on these key points;
      1. help desk support with specific (and realistic) resolution times.
      2. completion of any systems changes so that there is NO system downtime and no affect on the user
      3. having a specific contact to field change requests for the network (new software, hardware, etc).

      Getting the customerto understand where they stand on getting their issues resolved really helps.

      Last thing, doing everything you do right the first time. Rework hurts everyone; the customer has a low opinion of the quality of your work, and you take twice as much time to complete the issue.

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