I’ve heard it so often: Modern IT Department… Always had to be great and grazing – most people in this industry just like gadgets :). But I am not going to write about it today, just the opposite. I want to show how the IT department should work in the 21st century, at least from my point of view. And I do not mean a department with dozens of people, each of whom is responsible only for their own area. Meetings about nothing … No. I mean a department that is very cost-effective and at the same time provides all the necessary services.
I mean a small company in which one person, up to two, manages the entire IT area. Someone will say that it is impossible or that it is a job beyond strength. Well, I do not agree 🙂 and in this post, as well as in the following I will successively show how to do it. How to have a modern IT department that can be managed by one person.
I also hope that I will soon be able to add short instructional videos for each topic. This post and all subsequent entries are based on my experiences from the last 2 years.
It’s the user, stupid
In the days when I managed IT departments, I always said that the perfect one is one that you just can’t see it is. It is transparent to the organization.
A long time ago, when I started my first job at the Saint-Gobain corporation, I had to work with people who were users of all the brilliant ideas from the headquarters. Of course, I would not demonize corporations as such, personally 2-3 years spent there at the beginning of their professional career will do everyone good.
It was probably then that I realized that some things look great on tests, but from the point of view of a regular user it is a path through torture. Very often, IT people tend to patronize the end-user, considering him or her a moderate who can’t do simple things on a computer. Well, it’s often not the user’s fault, but IT, which he thinks knows better. And things that are nice to click twice on testing cease to be cool when they are done several hundred times in stock …
A modern IT department is not one that builds a solution that is great only for IT itself. On the contrary. These are solutions that are appreciated by everyone.
The modern IT department is in the cloud
A long time ago I wasn’t a fan of the cloud. I thought that there is nothing like my own server in the server room, and because I dealt with SharePoint, it was a lot of money. Larg farm costs several hundred thousand USD, not including the cost of support. Years went by, and I wondered what to do next because of my age. Finally inspired by, among others by Andrew Connell, I decided to move away from “SharePoint on-premises” to the Microsoft cloud.
Times are changing, which is particularly visible in IT and if someone does not want to wake up with a hand in the potty, they must keep their finger on the pulse. I put it on the cloud a few years ago and today I see that it was a particularly good decision. Especially now, in the time of crisis coming, I have such an internal conviction that the skills and knowledge I have will allow me to stay afloat if something went wrong.
But it costs?
A modern IT department is not necessarily a lot of money. A simple example. For most small companies you don’t need to buy Office 365 E5 right away. The company I work for uses Office 365 Business Premium (Microsoft 365 Business Standard according to the new name) and it is sufficient. Of course, some minimum requirements must be met but it is certainly cheaper than putting several hundred thousand on servers. Of course, I can imagine scenarios where the cloud can be a problem, e.g. for some R&D companies. However for 99% of companies, it is a better solution in all respects, with all its disadvantages.
For me, the modern IT department is Office 365
Someone will ask why? For a quite simple reason, if you have or start a small business, you must manage your resources very sensibly. In the case of Office 365 for a small amount, you get everything you need at the beginning. I don’t want to go into details, just go to the Microsoft website. And someone may like it, others may like it less, but directory services, mailbox, email, Outlook, Excel, etc. is a company standard. As part of your monthly subscription, you have everything you need. And you don’t have to have an army of people to do it. I know what I am talking about because I am doing this alone every day. In a company that has offices on three continents. I will write about it in detail another time. Alright, What about software installation? Who are you installing all these computers in China or somewhere? Do you do it yourself?
Intune or every admin’s dream
Office 365 is great, but it wouldn’t solve the problem of installing and configuring hardware in remote locations by itself. Therefore, the second element is Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS). Of course, there are also different licenses here, but for a start, the basic version is enough. The EMS includes Intune, which does all the magic for me. Because when a new employee appears in an office at the other end of the world, a nice lady in the office gives him a new computer, tells him to turn it on and log in with his work account. And that’s all! All settings, policies, applications will be installed and configured. After some time, the computer appears in the Intune console and I have full control over it. EMS also has some other useful functionalities, but I will also try to write soon.
Where’s the user support?
Modern IT department is not only tools. You also need support in your daily work when the system refuses to obey. It comes down to a remote connection to the user’s computer through a shared screen and an attempt to solve the problem.
And unfortunately, here what we get from Microsoft does not work. Yes, I know you can share your desktop in Teams. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for me. China will be the best example. Well, if someone in China shares with your desktop in Teams, unfortunately, you need quite good bandwidth for this, which will also be stable. Which is the case of China being not at all obvious. What’s more when the need to raise the level of permissions is also problematic. And here TeamViewer comes to the rescue. Let us have clarity. I have nothing that I recommend this application. That gives advice. Works very well with poor connections, in the Enterprise version it installs perfectly with Intune, as well as asking for support is trivial. Yes, I know that there are better solutions, but as I mentioned earlier, the price is also important to me.
And that’s it. In the near future I will try to regularly add entries that will allow the implementation of all these solutions that I wrote earlier. If you have any other ideas, I invite you to comment. If you need help, I invite you too.