Are you so responsive to requests for help that you’ve set the expectation you will always be available? Reset that expectation with your internal customers, so you can make time to check your sources regularly and keep up to date. Communicate the importance of that activity. It prepares you to provide greater support to business units and end users. For business units, you are more informed about the coming changes, the level of impact to current and future productivity. While discussing their needs with business leaders, you will have increased awareness of what is possible and what will be possible in the near future. A business unit may be forming a strategy to change the way they work. By keeping yourself up to date with coming changes, you can advise them on the direction to take and the technologies to incorporate into their strategy. It seems obvious, but if we don’t make time to be aware of coming changes, we do our internal customers a disservice.
However, you don’t need to know about every change. It is too much for an individual to know about all changes. If you are the sole IT Admin in your org (in other words ‘you are IT’), talk to the people you support and focus on what matters most to their productivity. But do take a look around occasionally at changes to other productivity tools and services.
Keeping up with change doesn’t need to be burdensome. Just prioritise your focus areas to that which will give the greatest benefits to productivity in your organisation. Make the time to keep up to date. Block 30 min in your calendar each week if you have to and keep those appointments with yourself. Once you’ve formed the habit and reset the expectation with those you support, you’ll be better prepared to lead change.
Even when you’re the sole IT Admin, make time to participate in an online community and build a professional network. Engage in that network regularly. Make sure that while you visit that you ‘give’ as well as ‘get’ help. Exchanging observations and assistance will help you begin to build an inner-loop of trusted connections. They might also be the sole IT Admins for their organisation and together, you can keep each other up to date with your observations and findings.
When two or more are involved in supporting Information Systems, divide and conquer. Assign focus areas for your team members to keep up to date. At the macro level, focus on the areas of Communication, Collaboration, Coordination, Connection and Security technologies. Someone focusing on Communication would be reading, watching and listening to updates about email, and real-time communication tools such as Skype, Microsoft Teams or Yammer. The Coordination focus area would be interested in updates for Planner, Project, Staff Hub or task-based services such as ToDo.
Like the sole IT Admin, your team members should engage in online communities to build their network of experts and increase their sources for information.
Don’t make any more excuses. Block out a regular time in your calendar to check for updates and check in with your peers and professional network. It’s time well invested.
Cloud-based services are changing the way we work, and the way those services are built, maintained and delivered. Follow along this new blog series as I discuss the ‘Evolution of the IT Pro‘ in the context of Microsoft 365, User Adoption and Change Management.