First, I’d like to give you some quick perspective on the viewpoint from which this blog series (Reactive vs. Proactive IT Operations) will be written: I’ve been involved in IT operations management for over 11 years, nine of them leading enterprise-grade technical operations across small and mid-sized businesses, with larger operations in manufacturing and e-commerce.

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In addition to the technical knowledge and experience I’ve acquired, I’ve had the opportunity to lead multicultural teams through both success and failure – yes, failure; is as valuable as success when learned from – but of all the things I’ve seen and done in the IT industry one thing surprises me the most—something so ‘normal’ yet so detrimental to businesses’ operations and bottom lines:

There is constant firefighting between most companies and their IT departments.

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    A stressed in-house IT guy.

    It’s too common, and it makes a significant, measurable impact on productivity across all business operations, even going so far as to affect your interactions with customers, suppliers, and partners.

    We dedicated this series of blog posts to highlighting the difference between reactive and proactive IT operations–to help business owners/leaders improve their information technology operations.

    Trust me, when things aren’t running like clockwork internally, your customers and partners will eventually notice. Suddenly, things aren’t running smoothly externally, either. What now? This is the break-and-fix model, and it simply doesn’t work because it requires these problem scenarios to occur.

    Why is a Proactive IT Operational Model Universally Superior?

    Over the years, I’ve worked under both operational methodologies—reactive and proactive. Let me state clearly and confidently: the latter is by far the best model for any company of any size, always. It just makes sense to prevent problems before they occur. Yet for some reason, proactive IT operations remain less popular (and less understood—coincidence?) by business and even technical professionals.

    Whether you’re a small, medium, or large enterprise, the operational model you choose for your technical operations has a direct impact on your business’s bottom line, not to mention your employees’ morale. No one wants to work in an environment where computers are constantly infected with viruses, running slow, crashing, etc. And no one wants to do business with such an entity, either. Internal tech issues make a direct impact on all operations, including external interactions.

    A tech support lady.

    Of course, neither business owners nor leaders want to see their bottom lines impacted or their employees, suppliers, or (worse) customers frustrated by computer issues.

    So then, why all the friction between IT departments and seemingly everyone else?

    Well, it usually results from problems that are easily corrected or avoided entirely. That’s the trouble with reactive IT operations: it’s a break-and-fix model that, by definition, requires systems to fail before problems get solved. The weak link in the chain impacts your business’s overall performance and even ability to generate revenue, and your people need fast, stable solutions to resume normal operations.

    Unfortunately, that just isn’t possible in a reactive operations model because, for action to be taken, you already need to be in some sort of damage control/recovery mode. It’s a high-pressure trap that positions people (and systems) in problems by definition.

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    Why is This Happening?

    It is extremely common for organizations to fall into the pressure trap: acting fast to resolve a disruption, reacting to a problem rather than stopping, analyzing, and implementing a solution that not only corrects the deficiency but also prevents it from reoccurring.

    This is what I call solid, sustainable evolution.

    And this is nobody’s fault – not the company’s, not the leaders, nor the employees. It’s the status quo, and breaking it is everyone’s responsibility. When the unexpected does occur, stop, acknowledge a problem exists, and vocally advocate changes that will benefit everyone as a whole.

    Of course, for this to happen, maintaining an open company culture is critical. Again, I will not mince words: this is the responsibility of business leaders. Failure to nurture an open culture where everyone’s voice is heard equally by default will stop any type of evolution, burying your company in what I call a chronic state of inefficiency and involution.

    What Does it Mean for Your Business?

    In this series of blogs, Reactive vs. Proactive IT Operations, I will be outlining the specifics of the reactive model and how it looks in the wild. Later in the series, I will do the same for the pro-active model, describing its function and appearance.

    We’ll compare each model’s pros and cons—neither is perfect, as with anything in life—its relation to short- and long-term business objectives, and how it can impact or contribute to the bottom line both from within your company and through interactions with third parties.

    In the near future, I will launch a more ambitious blog series (From Reactive to Proactive IT Operations) providing guidance on progressing from a reactive to a proactive IT operational model. This series will consider the critical and interconnected roles played by technology solutions, business culture, leadership, and human resources, detailed planning and vision, and good old perseverance in effectively transforming a reactive model into a proactive culture.

    For now, if you’re ready to implement a proactive IT operational model, get started now by clicking on the banner below.

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