What should an IT specialist do within your business?

What does an IT specialist do and how do you know they doing it?

Sometimes business leaders and managers may be vague about information technology (IT) and not fully understand how to answer what an IT specialist should do. It can be a discussion of ones and zeroes while nodding your head in agreement. Then, your brain searches for the information file, it’s found, it’s empty.

What should an IT specialist do
Information technology and business are interwoven

“Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without them talking about the other”.

Bill Gates

I wrote an article for Tech Financials encouraging business owners to become tech experts within their own organisation. This interwovenness is multiplying, and business owners need to make effective decisions around a key business driver – information technology (IT). 

Suppose you are a business owner, leader or manager who lacks IT specialist knowledge. In that case, I recommend educating yourself in IT for the right questions to ask of your IT specialist.

5 things I want my IT specialist to do

IT specialists are trained in solving information technology issues and must navigate the following areas of IT: 

  • Computer software (like MacOS), 
  • Hardware (best computers for the job), 
  • Networks (how computers communicate internally), 
  • Cloud platforms (like Google Drive), 
  • WiFi set up (does it supply sufficient bandwidth) and most importantly 
  • Cyber security (avoid being hacked)

Below are some examples of what an IT specialist should do within your business and their required skills to succeed.

1. Accurately diagnose problems and deliver solutions through knowledge and research

The IT field is vast and rapidly evolving on an annual basis. As a result, an IT specialist needs to keep abreast of changes and grasp the latest technologies, like operating systems and to explore multiple scenarios and pinpoint the cause of any given problem.

Allow them the time to continually research best global practices and industry standards. We recommend setting aside time one day a week for a briefing session on your organisation’s IT setup. Then, allow him to present his latest research and troubleshoot some scenarios with a quick brainstorm.  With this approach, he can get up to speed on the latest developments, and you can learn more about IT.

2. Maths, telecommunications and interview questions

It is one thing to research and acquire information but how does an IT specialist analyse that information to make sense of it and implement practical solutions?

IT specialists need a big picture and mustn’t get caught in the reeds, fixing full email boxes.

An IT specialist should be good at maths; understand the inner workings of telecommunications systems and have a firm grasp of geometry and statistics. So, when looking to hire an IT specialist these are essential skills. 

Do research and then draft relevant questions and answers to prepare for an interview.

Do research and then draft relevant questions and answers to prepare for an interview then, set up different scenarios, for, e.g. “We get held to ransom by cybercrime. What would your approach be to curtail an event like this”? You would have the answers in front of you to gauge his responses.

3. Planning, communications skills and blueprints

For most IT specialists communicating effectively and integrating themselves into the team can be challenging. They tend to be less passionate about engaging with people and prefer working with systems. 

IT specialists should be comfortable to communicate effectively with colleagues and extract information about a technical issue or take someone through the necessary steps to resolve an issue.

They will need extraordinary patience to work with the less tech-savvy among us and an IT specialist needs a plan to make this work. Let them create a professional blueprint of your organisation’s network and explain this blueprint in layman’s terms to their peers. Likewise, this blueprint is important for new employees. 

4. A troubleshooting guide will save a lot of time

An IT specialist must develop a troubleshooting guide that saves time fixing computers not turned on, needing a reboot or not plugged in. This guide has three positive effects:

  1. Staff feel empowered to solve basic IT problems
  2. No wasting time on ‘soft’ issues
  3. Handed over if your IT specialist leaves
A troubleshooting guide will save a lot of time.

5. An IT specialist should possess skills beyond a qualification.

An IT specialists should dig deeper and become a thought leader in this space at the same time being able to communicate to all stakeholders in a way that makes sense. They also need to have a vision for the business and add value as a key driver of sustainability and growth.

As the business owner, take time to acquire more knowledge about IT and build a relationship with them where you are solving IT-related problems together.