The invisible heroes of IT

Team of IT professionals in office at desks with laptops and headsets responding to service enquiries from users

IT as unsung heroes? Really?

Who are your heroes?

Growing up, maybe your heroes wore capes and fought crime. Maybe they were the characters you found in books and on TV.

Right now, in the middle of an unprecedented challenge to our health and wellbeing, you'd probably say your heroes are nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, supermarket workers, delivery drivers and cleaners – which is undoubtedly true. I’d like to highlight an often invisible group of people who have a part to play in this crisis. I’m referring to IT professionals who have been working under difficult conditions to meet the needs of a drastic near-overnight change in the way the world works. They are the people who are managing our teleconferencing, IT networks, infrastructure, applications, and customer care and support. These invisible heroes of IT are the service desk analysts, IT operations people, cyber security specialists, and many others who are instrumental in enabling us to continue to work, communicate and connect with each other, including our health and wellbeing heroes.

Many IT people have worked around the clock to make sure they can support us. Service desk analysts are confronting a new and changing landscape filled with questions they've never had to consider before ('what is the company policy on Zoom? Do we support it? CAN we support it? What priority do we assign the ticket?'). Operational staff are developing ways to ensure we can effectively work from home using hardware and software that, previously, you'd have to be at work to access. Plus, IT service continuity planning is critical right now.

But beyond that, our healthcare, logistics and supply chain systems, from the essential supermarkets and pharmacies to the medical test systems to patient records are all computerized and rely on these IT professionals.

These people are also frontline heroes.

IT staff members are working in the background to make sure the technology we need is there, keeping the lights on, or managing the technology that collects, collates and disseminates the vital information we need to keep us safe at work and online. Most work done today relies on technology in some form, even if it's just for payroll and backend tracking. That technology needs to be stable, usable and functional. How do we make and manage information technology that is functional? Through the efforts, skills and dedication of IT individuals and teams. When I ask IT teams how they think the business sees them, they typically answer with negative statements. Like, 'they complain we're too slow to respond to problems' or 'they think we don't understand their needs'. The divide between business and IT has been too great.

Now, we can see how truly connected both those worlds are.

So, the next time I train ITIL® 4, I'm pretty confident that the answers will be more positive. 'Our IT team is amazing!' or 'they supported us during our transition to online work' or 'they picked up our new software and connectivity needs'. How about you? How will you be celebrating your IT team in the future?

If you work for a supermarket, a delivery company, or a hospital, and you see a member of your IT team, thank them for the hard work they’re putting in to keep things running. But don’t shake their hand.

Join me in saluting our IT heroes!

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