Picture this. Jeff’s boss came to him as the office manager/in-house IT info point person, and she wants him to upgrade all 100 company computers to Microsoft Office 365 Pro and get everything ready to go for next week, email, documents, everything.
“Sure,” Jeff says. “It’ll be no problem.” He’s updated software on his own computer, and he’s a go-getter. His boss tells him to do something, and he does it. What could go wrong?
He came in over the weekend (hello overtime paycheck!) to set everything up. By 2am on Saturday, Jeff is huddled under his desk, hugging his knees, and rocking back and forth. He can maintain systems and answer questions, but he didn’t realize how big a task he was taking on, and he has no idea if he’s managed to do it at all, much less do it right. He doesn’t know where to find out information on how to fix it or how to figure out what the problems might be.
How the conversation should have gone with Jeff and his boss is like this.
“Hmmm…that’s a great idea, but I’m not 100% sure that I’ll be able to handle the installation.”
“Well, what would you recommend?”
“I think we should check in with our IT support company.”
“Do whatever you need, just make sure it gets done.”
IT support company comes in, they manage the installation with no problem, because this is what they do, and Jeff doesn’t have to explain to his boss why nothing works and why he was found still under his desk, unshaven and unshowered on Monday morning.
Both you as in-house IT and the IT support company have IT in the name, but that doesn’t mean the IT support company is there to take over your job. It’s not what they do. They’re there to help you do your job as best you can.
Let them do the heavy lifting. Let them make you look good. It’s much harder to set up and do large projects than it is to maintain them. Just because you can’t set it up doesn’t mean that you can’t easily maintain it.
Everyday, it’s what the IT support company does. They come in to support you. The seemingly overwhelming projects? It’s what they do on a daily basis. Doing a VMware installation and converting to a storage area network? It’s complex, yes, and it takes awhile to set up. But you shouldn’t have to know how to set it up, tune and tweak everything, and troubleshoot any issues to make sure it works.
Your job can be to maintain it and do the long-term work, not the short-term installation. The goal is to provide support and help you help your boss and your company thrive.