Cliff T.: OK let’s start by asking the question does a company need to have an IT department? And or another way of putting this question is what kinds of companies and what size companies need IT departments?
Kevin Trottier: Small and mid-sized organizations lend themselves to having a third party managed service as the price/performance of the services versus an IT department can be very compelling. The IT skill-sets required to create a basic IT department like: help-desk, server administration, monitoring, and planning can be cost prohibitive for small companies. For large scale enterprises it makes sense to have members of their IT department be a part of their internal executive team.
Cliff T.: I tried my hand at IT sales back in 2004 not an easy job. One of the things we were told is that it is essential for companies to look at having an IT department to protect the bottom line, does having an IT department do such a thing for a company? Why or why not?
Kevin Trottier: Having stable and reliable IT systems, created by mature IT processes, is essential in protecting the bottom line. Whether the IT functions are provided from an internal company department or a third party provider - mature IT processes ultimately provide the best protection of the bottom line.
Cliff T.: What should an IT department be doing in the first place?
Kevin Trottier: The IT department in a small to mid-sized business should provide two main functions: 1) from the day-to-day standpoint, it should be providing smooth and effective operations of the technical environment and when there is a problem, to fix it quickly and correctly; 2) from a strategic standpoint, determine and then implement the key technology enablers to help the executives hit their goals.
Cliff T.: People think of the IT department as the plumbing guys for the network in a company. However I am sure that there is more to it than that. What exactly is or makes up an IT department?
Kevin Trottier: An IT department for a small to mid-sized business is typically made up of the following skill sets:
- Technologists that help the end-users with their day-to-day needs like, “I can’t print or get to the Internet”
- System administrators that that make sure the back-off systems like, email and data backup are operating and
- Consulting resources that provide planning based on the business needs and emerging technologies.
Kevin Trottier: A challenging area is the fine line between where end-user “training” issues end and where “technical” issues begin. A simple way to overcome this challenge is to develop clear criteria that differentiate between “training” related versus “technical” issues. Presenting a trend-line of these types of issues to end-users at an IT feedback session is a great way to overcome any misconceptions. Trying to give feedback to a rushed end-user in real-time you may run the risk of being the condescending IT guy… ouch!
Cliff T.: How long have you been working in IT?
Kevin Trottier: I have been working in the industry for 12 years in a variety of roles from software engineer, product development, and sales and marketing.
Cliff T.: In your line of work I would think that you get some rather interesting requests related to IT, has anything come your way that just was totally out to lunch?
Kevin Trottier: We had a request regarding a Christmas tree that comes to mind which is out of scope for the services we provide J Our service model provides a complete alternative to a traditional IT department so we often field a variety of requests from business clients that are not always related to the services we provide.
Cliff T.: What kinds of IT challenges get you thinking I know there is a way and how do you begin to find the way to overcoming the challenge presented?
Kevin Trottier: I think there is a challenge; really more of an opportunity around business processes within the industries we serve. Executives at small to mid-sized firms are pulled in so many directions from delivering their products or services, managing staff, and financials, etc. that having a good set of internal operating process can be a really “un-locking” move for them. The IT folks are in a unique position to see the entire operation and develop these processes.
Cliff T.: Is IT a personal thing for people like you who work in it? I ask because many in other trades say it gets in the blood would you say that is true about being an IT guy?
Kevin Trottier: We certainly look at passion for technology in new hires. Technical advancements happen so fast in the IT industry that trying to keep up can be quite a burden if you don’t have technology in the blood.
Cliff T.: I noticed the title of the company you work for Twist, interesting name for a firm. Is that the goal here to offer a twist if you will to the world of IT? And if so what is that twist?
Kevin Trottier: We have a unique service delivery model combining a proprietary IT management platform with our technical specialists. This combination creates an alternative to an IT department as a subscription based service.
Cliff T.: Mr. Trottier I want to thank you for letting us peek into your world. IT is an interesting realm with lots of interesting turns and pardon the pun, twists, I wish you and Twist the best of success.
Kevin Trottier: Thank you Cliff!
Cliff T.: Kevin Trottier works for Twist Solutions a Dallas Texas based computer and IT Service Company. Twist helps companies manage many aspects of their IT including installation and service of servers and desktops. He wrote to us from his office in Dallas. To find out more visit the company site at twistsolutions.com