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IT Spring Forward

Back to the future in the late 80’s, I started with a company that did automatic identification (bar coding) and data collection for Fortune 500 manufacturers and distributors. At that time, single hand laser scanner and data terminals started at nearly $4,500 and label printers at $7,000.  My first day was spent cleaning and organizing. The kids may not be in bed, so to put it politely there was debris everywhere. Files and software on the computers were even in more chaos.

The job was to bring some technical and business analysis, along with software development to what was previously limited manufacturer demos for scanning and labeling. The company had Billy (not his real name) who worked part-time after hours and had done some minor software tweaks and loved the hardware. The problem was that Billy was just plain odd throwing often expensive things around like a monkey, rummaging through every drawer in the company, and in a few lucid moments breaking a full suite of demos that had been restored.

So the second day, I went to the owner and told him it was either me or Billy. It could have been over with dismissal as some punk kid. Instead opportunity abound working with some of the most well-known customers in the nation and the ever-changing wave of leading manufacturers and latest hardware and software over the last 20 years. Looking like you know what you’re doing sets a tone and only helps to build trust, along with solid action.

Q1 one is done and gone, so you can continue status quo with your lost hour of sleep or spring into action. Clean off your digital and physical desktop, donate or disperse that bone pile of miscellaneous technology, delete or file the myriad of haphazard files in your user folder, and do some real work and re-establish your priority and project list.

Now, what is it that you and/or your IT staff spend the most time doing or costs the organization the most? If you have no case history and use gut feel, that’s another problem – but  a start for now. Rank the task/project list and put columns for start and end dates, cost for products and support, and yes/no for management buy in or approval. Now be realistic about effort and available time. Then be further pragmatic of what management will accept.

You’re all cleaned up and ready to perform. Pick the one thing that is a win-win-win for lowering organization cost going forward, improving your productivity, and hopefully learning something new. You’ll have a double sense of accomplishment and many of the answers are getting easier with cloud computing, online backup, and managed services.

Some things management will not understand or may choose to gamble with high risk. Let it go as it’s not something you can control and you’ve done your part by bringing a problem/opportunity to their attention. After you knock out one project, move onto the next. One thing is for certain like everything in IT, you’ll be doing this routine next year. If the project list hasn’t changed significantly by then, serious reflection is in order. Step up, continue as usual with no grounds for complaint, or move on.

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