The real meaning of the abbreviation IT in a modern company has long expanded in relation to the original and now goes far beyond the boundaries of information flow management and digital data processing. Today, the area of responsibility of any IT employee also includes everything related to the setup and operation of computer and office equipment in an enterprise or office. In general, this state of affairs is completely fair and rational, but with the expansion of the scope of responsibility of the IT specialist, the load on the employees of the IT department increases, and, accordingly, the time spent on completing the tasks set increases significantly, which leads to an increase in the timing of the work, and many cases to downtime in work processes.

Based on personal experience, I can say that there are two logical ways out of this situation. The first is to expand the IT department, which will entail additional material costs. The second is to properly organize the scheme of work of an existing department. Of course, the second option looks the most attractive (for the head of the department and the head of the organization) — we will consider it in more detail.

In this article:

  1. Responsibilities of the IT department
  2. The position of the IT department in the corporate structure
  3. Outsourcing of IT services
  4. Conclusions

Responsibilities of the IT department

Many companies, especially those on the path to digitalization, rely on the IT department for everything related to the smooth operation of their computer network. The IT department has three main areas of responsibility: managing the company's corporate systems, maintaining the infrastructure, and the functionality of the systems as a whole. In addition, IT professionals work with software and hardware in various areas that allow a business succeed.

Each member of the IT department plays an important role in the company. Some are responsible for multiple areas, especially in smaller companies. In other cases, the company may have only one IT specialist. Here are the main responsibilities of the IT department:

Responsibilities of the IT department

Whether the IT team consists of two people or 20, it seems that there is always an endless list of tasks that need to be solved quickly. Many employees don't realize that the IT team is responsible for much more than just fixing computer problems or helping log in when an employee has forgotten their password.

Administration

IT administrators play an important role within a company and the IT department itself. They are approached when someone needs help with a technical problem or has just joined the company and needs help with new equipment. The duties of an administrator may overlap with those of other team members from time to time. For example, the positions of the system and network administrators may have a similar structure but a different focus. Some general administrative duties include the following:

  • Support for the company's computer infrastructure
  • Help new users with computer and software problems
  • Training employees on new systems
  • Performing software updates
  • Renewal of licenses and other legal documents
  • Tracking current contracts with suppliers
  • Filling in organizational forms
  • Ensuring compliance with quality standards
  • Assessment of potential threats
  • Data storage control

Support

When people need access to computer systems or help with troubleshooting, they are usually referred to a technical support team. Technical support specialists are especially helpful in solving hardware and software problems, although their role in the company does not end there. Another big part of their work is educating people and answering questions about the technologies they use. Here is a list of duties that support staff performs:

  • Installing new software or hardware
  • Selection and purchase of IT equipment and consumables
  • Participation in asset management and IT inventory
  • Assistance in backing up and restoring digital assets
  • Troubleshooting network problems
  • Creation of work logs
  • Process documentation
  • Setting up telephone lines
  • Ensuring documented processes
  • Installation of video and audio conferencing
  • Installation and configuration of printing, copying, and other equipment
  • Provision and installation of cloud applications/services
  • Repair of equipment
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Communications

There are several instances in a business environment where the IT team helps make communication successful between all parties involved. Companies may need to communicate with potential or existing customers through a variety of technologies. Thus, with the development of digital technologies, meetings and interviews using the web are becoming more and more popular. The IT team is trained to assist in the event of technical failures at these important meetings. Here is a more detailed list of IT responsibilities related to communications:

  • Providing point-to-point telephone connections, as well as conference calls
  • Preparing for video and web conferences
  • Email maintenance and troubleshooting
  • Consultations for heads and employees of departments
  • Coordination of security systems, adding and deleting users
  • Providing end-user support for computer applications
  • Create backup copies of data sources
  • Loading new data into the system

Programming

The company's programming department has employees with the skills of web developers, programmers, and possibly other IT professionals involved in creating new programs. The latter often work with software developers and engineers to turn their projects into workable code. Here is a list of duties specific to this area:

  • Development and improvement of business applications
  • Create new databases with productivity software
  • Convert printed and electronic documents to ASCII, HTML, PDF, and other formats
  • Using graphic applications to edit, copy and save data
  • Spreading knowledge about application development languages
  • Programming in different languages such as Linux, Java, JavaScript, C++, Asp.net, C#, SQL, HTML. and PHP
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Company website

In order to create a successful and user-friendly website, you need to follow many steps. The IT team collaborates with different departments of the company to realize a shared vision of how the website should look and function. Most often, the marketing team provides copy and design content for the site and then hands it over to the IT team for development. IT professionals work to write the code, test the functionality of web pages, and help resolve any user experience issues. Here is a list of duties that IT professionals perform on a website:

  • Website layout creation
  • Writing and implementation of site code
  • Website usability testing
  • Support for the company's internal network (intranet)

Application Development

Members of the IT team may work to create computer programs or applications that help the business function better. Business applications are especially useful for content management, employee communication, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning. Developers put applications through a series of tests that ultimately lead to useful tools that employees and business owners can use. Here are some of the main responsibilities related to application development:

  • Turning a software concept into working code
  • Meetings with clients to discuss new specifications and features of the program
  • Creation of program code to perform tasks
  • Writing documentation to help users work with new programs
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The position of the IT department in the corporate structure

The structure of the IT department is also critical to ensure the proper functioning of the business. A poorly designed IT department hinders business, but a well-functioning IT department gives us a competitive edge in our industry. Properly planning and setting up the structure of the IT department is an important step towards the success of our business.

In the early years of IT, computers were used exclusively in accounting. As a result, the IT department often falls automatically into the finance category. You may encounter this in some older companies. But usually, the IT department is a separate organization for which the CIO is responsible.

It is critical that we have a good IT infrastructure in place to stay competitive and mitigate project risk. The CEO knows how to run his business, but the thought of organizing and structuring an IT department can be overwhelming. The size of our company plays a role in this. Are you small (less than 25 employees), medium (25-100 employees), or large (more than 100 employees)? Let's talk a little about the structure of the IT department in different size companies.

The formation of an IT department is a key task that depends on the number of employees of the company/enterprise and the characteristics of the network infrastructure. And it cannot be decided separately from the identification of areas of responsibility — more on that below.

First of all, it is determined how many IT specialists are needed to service the company's resources. In this case, "resources" is the number of working places involved, that is, places equipped with computer technology.

In world practice, it is customary to use a ratio of at least two employees of the IT department per 100 users. At least two means that two people can handle the maintenance of the company quite well. Of course, nothing prevents hiring additional specialists sometimes, it is even necessary, but it all depends on the configuration of the company's IT infrastructure and equipment, as well as on the level of training of IT department employees.

For small business

In a small business with fewer than 25 employees, it is normal for each employee to perform multiple tasks. In this case, simple day-to-day IT issues fall to the person with the highest technical expertise in the organization. The people needed to provide an adequate level of asset protection and IT security are usually hired from an outside consultant's office. IT and cybersecurity can provide a well-equipped managed service provider (MSP) or a managed security service provider (MSSP).

There is usually a SaaS application, so on-site technical support should not be minimal.

Corporate structure for a small business

For medium business

In medium businesses, it is very common for someone to have the title of IT, but they also provide important support in providing services to their end customers. When weighing "Should I take care of the client or update IT security patches," working for the client almost always takes precedence. This IT professional is usually reactive rather than proactive. A company this size greatly benefits from a managed service provider (MSP) or a managed security service provider (MSSP).

For large business

As the business grows, more people are needed to fill key positions and roles in the business. Be it employees or trusted freelancers. As a business grows, so does its dependence on IT. Businesses must remain productive, flexible, and secure. IT is critical to keeping companies active, competitive, innovative, and ahead of the curve. Failure to perform IT can limit the growth or survival of a business.

For a correct interaction between IT specialists within the company, it is recommended to keep a list of actions and settings performed by each of them individually.

Corporate structure for a large size business

To provide visibility, you can use an internal Web portal or forum to which ordinary users have access. In this case, over time, a knowledge base is formed, containing all the recommendations and instructions for using programs and equipment. In organizations with more than 200 employees, it is more expedient to use a microblogging system that can display notifications to users on a computer screen — this makes it possible to promptly notify employees about server reboots, failure of any shared printer or copier, and other failures in the organization's public equipment.

Outsourcing of IT services

IT outsourcing is the transfer of functions for the administration of the company's computer infrastructure. This includes maintenance of SCS (structured cabling systems), maintenance of computer equipment and peripherals, modernization, and software configuration;both remote administration and visiting system administrator.

The widespread introduction of modern technologies into business has led to the need to create IT departments in companies with a developed computer infrastructure, which in turn has led to an increase in the cost of maintaining them. To a greater extent, financial difficulties fell on the shoulders of small businesses. As a result, as the practice has shown, it has become very profitable for small and medium-sized companies to use IT outsourcing services rather than hiring administrators and IT engineers.

A typical set of computer park subscription services includes the following:

  • setting up and updating the hardware (hardware);
  • setting up and updating the software part (software);
  • creation and support of the system of security and safety of data;
  • periodic preventive and diagnostic measures in the hardware and software of the computer park in order to prevent emergency situations and identify "weak links";
  • repair or replacement of failed equipment or its modules;
  • unlimited volume of telephone consultations.

Practice shows that the transfer of computer park maintenance to outsourcing provides not only significant cost savings but also leads to an increase in productivity due to more qualified, high-quality, and efficient actions of the contractor than regular staff. 


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Conclusions

Instead of a conclusion, I would like to draw an analogy between an IT system and a car. Good and timely service is necessary for any car, but, unfortunately, it will not make your car better. In order to improve its performance, you will have to turn to a tuning studio.

As for maintenance, here you need to decide whether it makes sense for you to create your own car service to service your car or is it better to entrust this business to some specialized car service. You can be as skeptical as you like about outsourcing, but it has already become a reality. In almost any more or less large company, copiers and other peripherals are serviced by an external company. Besides, you use telephony and the Internet provided by your telecommunications partner, don't you? The presence of e-mail, file servers, and other "infrastructural" things will not give you any competitive advantage. So it might be better to concentrate on creating your atelier for ''tailoring'' business systems for your company, leaving yourself the most creative, interesting, and responsible role — the role of a fashion designer, and give the sewing process ''outside.'' So you will be a trendsetter, and your competitors will only have the opportunity to repeat your style, which will already be outdated for you by that time.

Now more than ever, it is important to have a ''perfect'' IT department that will be ready to meet the needs of the business and, in some ways, stay ahead of them. In this article, I tried to show the general features of such a structure that will help you do this. Not everything is rosy in the world of outsourcing, and you can’t get away from contract administration and quality control, and prices, but that’s another story…