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Reporting to Managers not "IT Aware"

By murraym ·
I could use some opinions on how to improve this situation. I'm a seasoned IT professional with considerable large corporate IT department help desk and project management level experience. I?m currently working in a smaller 60 person "creative and marketing" mixed platform environment which had been largely ?IT neglected? for the last five or so years. I am the only IT support staff in support of the infrastructure. I report to a VP/Ops who I regard as fair and open minded but not "IT process aware". I also report dotted line to the CFO who I'll categorize the same way.

Over the past year (my first year) and with the company?s blessings, I began the process of modernization at the network, desktop and server level WHILE breaking away from one corporate network to establish a new WAN to assimilate a new remote office (due to acquisition) with it?s own Exchange Server. To cap off the topology, I also implemented a second Exchange server locally. Read between the lines for all planning and transitional considerations in-between.

So here's the problem: I?m not sure my managers understand or appreciate the amount of:

- work involved
- risk involved by not allowing adequate time to plan.
- value offered by sound IP implementation through best practice.
- care (and expertise) needed to pull off this much churn without interrupting the business flow
- research and resources needed to keep up with technology trends

What resources or training techniquescan I implement to better train my managers about IT complexity, process and implementation?

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No interest

by jeffz In reply to Reporting to Managers not ...

Many managers don't care or have no interest about how it works, and what it takes to get there, as long as it works. You said yourself that the network has been neglected for years. Unfortunately, the system had to have failed, and then "reborn" before their very eyes for them to appreciate the time and work it took to get them to where they are today. It seems like the appreciation that you?re looking for will probably come from the users before it comes from the management.

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Communication the key

by timwalsh In reply to Reporting to Managers not ...

On the one hand, it sounds like you might be in an ideal situation for an IT person: no one else really understands what you do; they realize this; as long as things continue to work, they accept your recommendations without many questions.

On the other hand, you have a situation that can be every IT person's nightmare: no one else really understands what you do; unless things break, they get no visibility on how complex a job it is to keep everything working properly.

I would say the first step would be to sit down with your direct supervisor and have a frank discussion about your dilemma. Make sure he understands that you are not trying to make your job seem more important than it is, but you do want to make sure he (and the other managers) understand that you really are earning your paycheck. Try and sound him out on what he feels is the level of knowledge he and the other managers have about your function. Ask him if he thinks there is anything you can do increase that level of knowledge (info papers, classes, recommendations for reading, etc.) (if he thinks it is necessary). Ask him if it would be appropriate to submit periodic status reports on work accomplished to maintain your visibility.

One of several things may happen:
1. He may dispel your fears by telling you that while everything you do is not understood, it is understood that you do work hard to keep everything operating, and that hard work is appreciated.
2. He may tell you that the only opinion that matters is his, and he understands enough to know the complexity of your job.
3. He may agree that that some sort of education program is needed and suggest the topics to start with (as well as the suggested level of detail.

Since you've been there a year, have you had any sort of performance review? If so, what this review says (or doesn't say) may also give you insight about the level of understanding of the

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Part 2

by timwalsh In reply to Communication the key

(Sorry, part of my answer got cut off. Here is the rest.)

complexities of your job.

I would not spend time trying to create an education program without ascertaining the true needs (or desires) of the people you feel need the training.

Forcing information that may be perceived as being either too technical, or not needed on anybody can tend to backfire on you.

Good luck.

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Reply to Tim from Article Originator

by murraym In reply to Communication the key

Tim thanks - this is good feedback. In answer to your question, I have not had a performance review yet (I've asked for one but I'm told they'll happen in mass by the end of Jan). In all fairness, there seems to be a growing "awareness" that perhaps IT is, or should be taken more seriously - i.e. I'm more than just the "come here and fix this PC problem person". But we have such a long way to go. It would just be nice if there were a "Guide for IT Managing - Managers" available somewhere. I guess perhaps by now I could write one. I will consider you feedback carefully.

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you are not alone

by talleywho In reply to Reporting to Managers not ...

i think the majority of us feel this way, especially from going from the jobs we had in the boom, to the jobs we have now (whether this be an actual job transition or redifinition).

We are Wizard of Oz to these folks. Communication is key, but your company may simply not be what you are used to (or the one for you).

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Try Branding

by Oldefar In reply to Reporting to Managers not ...


Sounds to me like you need to develop your "brand" in IT for your customers - the staff and management of Emergence.

There are some interesting concepts your firm has developed. Using the Emergence Web as a source, you need to align your values and competencies to your customers needs, interests, and expectations. Begin with a distinct value proposition, then develop a strategy that addresses the relevant business implications for each aspect of the operation.

For my unique input, I suggest you consider how IT supports the five business currencies of your management - time, money, security, knowledge, and prestige.

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Managers not IT aware

by gspr4213wi In reply to Reporting to Managers not ...

First business runs based on profit. Typically, IT is considered a burden (does not make money but rather spends it). I would suggest that you emphasize how you are helping the bottom line. You may want to show your management how the business would/ could be impacted by not doing these upgrades. They understand P & L or they should not be in those positions. I think we would agree that testing in production is not a good idea and there is a cost involved if you bring something down, cutting production, if you did not properly test the new iplementation.
Keep in mind though that it makes no sense to test for 3 weeks at a cost of 300k if the potential disruption to production (with less testing) is 10k.
If you can get air time with your managers to explain or show them the project plans, the cost benefit analysis that you have done, it will show them that your are very concerned about the bottom line, (as they are - it should be dear to their heart) and will enlighten them as to theeffort you are putting in to protect and enhance the business.



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