Systems & Smiles

5 Ways to Transform Your IT From Feared to Revered

The IT guy never made it to popular culture. Try Googling “top 10 movies with an IT guy” or “famous IT characters in cinema or literature” and you’ll end up with a few mentions of a creepy clown and references to that UK show “The IT Crowd” – the one that everyone draws from when they want to talk about this species. As if the bland title was not clear enough – IT Guy – this little exercise leaves no room for doubt. The IT Guy is just not that popular. 

Like someone who has some sort of magical power (making the company logo appear correctly in your email signature), the IT department is feared and revered in equal amounts. But most importantly, it’s otherised – yes, this verb exists. We are treated like someone intrinsically different from yourself or, in this case, the company. And this is particularly true when IT is outsourced. 

How did the IT Guy get such a bad rep? Technology isn’t something most people feel very comfortable with, which causes frustration – and can be humiliating to admit. An IT problem can make you lose days of work or get in the way of you making that tight deadline today. When disaster strikes, who are you gonna call? That’s right, the IT Guy. And you’ll probably be at your wits’ end. 

Growth companies are under huge pressure from investors that expect exponential results in unrealistic time frames – like so many other ambitious startups, they can hardly afford to be slowed down by IT barriers. You already have plenty of challenges so don’t make IT one of them. 

The IT crowd - The IT guy

Here are 5 ways to get us IT people working with you, not against you:

1. Invite us in

You need your IT to be an enlightened collaborative partner to work. Keyword here being partner. Among other things, this means to be invited to internal conversations to fully understand your needs. Only once you invite us in can we be the advisor your business needs and create an IT roadmap to get you to the next level. When working with an outsourced IT partner like Systems & Smiles, it’s particularly important to connect them with each department on a regular basis to ensure they’re in lockstep with the business.


2. Our door will also be kept open

The basis of this working relationship needs to be transparency and communication. From our end, you can expect the same of what we’re asking you to provide. Due to security concerns, industry regulations, company policies, technology limitations and a million other things we have to implement, IT ends up becoming the department that says “NO”. It’s one of the main reasons the IT Guy is so disliked. We do not spend enough time understanding the needs of our colleagues so at the end of the day they’d rather not deal with us. For this partnership to truly work, we won’t just tell you not to download that app, we will explain why that’s not a good move. More importantly, we’ll ask, listen and provide alternatives and training when necessary.

a pair of hands holding the words yes and no

3. Encourage an experimentation culture (with guardrails)

We’ve already talked about how Shadow IT (aka unauthorised apps or platforms) can pose a security challenge in a previous post, but what about creative freedom? Whether you’re a tech startup, a lifestyle brand or a creative agency, experimentation is in your DNA. The concept of Enlightened IT suggests a departure from the centralised control that we traditionally see in companies. This new approach brings in flexibility and visibility to the traditional IT decision-making process allowing your team to experiment with tools that may be useful to their roles out in the open. It’s like a controlled experiment.

Creative firm in London

4. Don't leave your star players on the bench

IT is a team sport. An org chart is like your typical pre-match lineup. You’re gonna see everyone that’s playing listed. If you’ve made a big investment in bringing in a star player that can lead you to victory, would you leave them on the bench? That’s what happens with expensive technology a lot of the times. Your HR managing tool is as important to the team’s success as is Duncan from Finance, if not more – sorry Duncan. Who uses what on a daily basis? Does your staff know how to use the company’s software to their full potential? Your IT support can help break the ice between the technology and assign ownership internally as it makes sense.

The IT guy, Systems & Smiles

5. Accountability pays off

Having visibility of which technology is being used and which isn’t, is extremely important from a financial point of view. An outsourced IT partner like Systems & Smiles can also audit your tech infrastructure and assess where money is being wasted and/or security vulnerabilities are creating risk. This includes the infamous Shadow IT. Why do employees feel like they need to download apps Kamikaze style to do their work? Figuring out the reasoning behind Shadow IT and addressing it will save money that can be invested into purchasing licenses for tools that your team can actually benefit from and pose no risk to your cybersecurity.

MAC apps for creative firms

To finish off my take on successful IT partnerships, I would like to give a shout-out to an unsung hero of mine. A pioneer in modern computing. Doug Englebart talked about augmenting human capability with digital tools. He believed that the “Tool System” and the “Human System” combined are greater than the sum of its parts! Some might call it, Systems & Smiles. 

Need some help putting the smiles into your systems? Book a FREE 30 minute call with a Systems & Smiles IT expert to discuss the best solutions for your company.

S&S Systems:

Our solutions, rolled out in two phases, were game changers for a distributed workforce!. First, we consolidated disconnected platforms into Microsoft 365’s suite of apps. In Phase 2, new processes were designed for a 100% remote workforce in two countries. We automated and systematised all IT, from device purchasing to onboarding and offboarding.

S&S Smiles:

No more hassles keeping track of dispersed hardware.

Security risks of hardware floating around eliminated.

Expanded remote service to include localized repair options.

Cost and time savings.

S&S Systems:

Since innovation is foundational to our client’s business, they totally entrusted us to reimagine their IT from start to finish. We consolidated and streamlined systems, achieved cyber essentials certifications in 3 months, and implemented our zero-touch deployment of Macs and PCs, including architecture industry-specific software needs.

S&S Smiles:

No more friction and frustration, not to mention cost and time savings! IT went from being a nightmare to a dream – and now we’re working on an IT roadmap strategy to evaluate future hardware and software needs as well as optimize their IT infrastructure as they grow.

S&S Systems:

We automated and streamlined all things IT, from device purchasing and management to onboarding and offboarding to core app implementation (e.g., Google workspace, Slack, Vanta) and tackled SOC2 compliance from A to Z.

S&S Smiles:

Zero-touch Mac deployment is now a team crowd pleaser, not to mention the fancy IT and media kit we installed in their posh new offices that work seamlessly, especially during new business pitches! What’s more, no big brand prospect is off the table for our client now that their compliance issues are in-hand.