3 Tips For Sysadmins That Will Improve Appreciation Of Your Work (And Your Budget)

The better you do your job, the bigger your problems in the next budget discussion will become! Let’s assume you did a perfect job in the last few months and you have achieved 100% uptime for your network (well, at least your colleagues and your boss didn’t notice any downtimes). Why would anybody agree with you that you need more budget for next year?

I call this the “Sysadmin’s Dilemma”: The better you are doing your job, the harder it is to explain to others why you still need to invest resources into IT in the future to keep your service level up. Of course you cannot willingly degrade your uptime so that the people in your company realize again how important the IT team is in order to get noticed again – a true dilemma.

A dilemma (Greek: δίλημμα “double proposition“) is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable or preferable.

In the past – before you did such an outstanding uptime-job as today – everybody inside the company heard about you and your IT team during all the disasters that happened over time. And your team were the heroes that solved them. But now you have become increasingly invisible.

PRTG MONITORS YOUR NETWORK 24/7 TO TIMELY ALERT YOU TO ISSUES BEFORE THEY BECOME EMERGENCIES.

Depending on the technical insight and understanding of your boss (and/or your colleagues) this actually is a matter of “internal self marketing”!

Tip #1: Get a CI for the IT Department

Invite somebody from your Marketing department for a coffee and ask them to help giving your IT department your own look&feel: make things look a bit fancier and all. Get T-Shirts in that CI. This will make sure you and your IT people will get noticed while running around busy in the office.

Tip #2: Make It a Monthly Habit to Publish an Internal Newsletter

You can do this either by using a blog in your Intranet (we use Confluence for that) or via an email to everybody. This newsletter should include the following sections:

  • Info on new services you will be rolling out soon, with time frames, and how/why to use them, and including expected down times, so everybody gets the feeling they are updated, which is especially important when people have no control over these events.
  • A look back at the last month, all the good things, and the bad ones, too, e.g.
    • Help desk metrics (number of incoming and solved tickets), when people realize the sheer scale of your ticket volume it also helps temper that 2 min ticket reply expectation.
    • post-mortem information on things that went wrong, including what the root cause was, and what you did to avoid this from ever happening again (transparency is your best friend!)
    • Uptime reports for the most important services
    • A list of notable events that you had to dispatch people to keep your company from running into trouble
  • Comments on what is going on in the outside world, and how that may affect you, e.g. how to avoid recent viruses or phishing
  • A recurring section of “What Do I Do If…?” which includes instructions or links for your users when something breaks (or they think they did something bad).
  • A recurring section of “How Do I…?” with links for the most common questions, e.g. “how do I connect to our WiFi?”, etc.

Tip #3: Use Cooler, More Sticky Names

Some IT departments call their service desk “Genius bar”, “Ministry of Ones and Zeros”, or “The League of Extraordinary Service Techs/Engineers”, or “Server Health Investigation Team” (look at the acronym!).

What you want in the end is that everybody in your organization realizes that you and your IT team are still the heroes they used to love.

Do you have additional ideas?!

Please share them in the comments below!

PS: If you like how we think about IT and networks, check out our software PRTG Network Monitor which monitors uptime, usage and performance of networks.

Author: Dirk Paessler

Founder and CEO, Paessler AG

1 thought on “3 Tips For Sysadmins That Will Improve Appreciation Of Your Work (And Your Budget)”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s