How to Deliver Unfailingly Flawless Technology Access
One of our biggest commitments for our clients at Forthright Technologies is to deliver 100 percent uptime.
We strive to reach full functionality at all times, surpassing many other organizations’ goals of three nines or five nines.
Our focus is on providing an optimal experience for your users, no matter how complex your IT infrastructure’s pieces are.
It’s a tall order. Let’s take a look at how we get there with three basic steps.
Know Your Business.
We all know business leaders care the most about getting the work done, not how we get the work done. Understanding which tools or tricks work best at the moment isn’t a priority. Focusing on outcomes is.
The first step to ensuring 100 percent uptime is to understand your business and its services and applications. It’s critical to study how software provides business outcomes and produces revenue.
As an IT staffer, understanding how programs work together and what leaders consider the most important should be at the forefront of your decision making.
Go beyond simply knowing the software your colleagues use. Software solutions are tools that help businesses work toward an objective.
What’s more important is to understand how your software services support your business objectives and attributes. Then you’ll be able to speak the same language as the leaders in your company.
For example, senior leadership will understand the idea with words like “payroll cannot be processed,” instead of computer XYZ with software ABC is down.
In short, effective IT leaders must connect with end-users, colleagues, and company leadership. Remember to speak to services, never servers or software.
Know Your Tools.
There are thousands of great tools available for IT programs. However, not all tools are created equal, and not all are a good investment for your specific business needs.
One tool that we’ve found helpful for every client is a management tool called Control Up. We use the tool ourselves to leverage SLAs for our clients and manage our SLAs for managed services contracts.
In short, the tool logs into the network every five minutes and gives outputs on whether the system is working, its speeds, and any changes occurring.
It’s an automated, proactive way to alert our management teams of concerns before end-users reach out to us. It allows us to mitigate technological problems before they affect employees or business outcomes.
Knowing your tools allows you to become proactive instead of reactive, correcting issues before a work stoppage occurs.
Know What and When to Automate.
First comes problem resolution, then comes automation. Always address and mitigate the incident first, then think through automation opportunities to ensure the problem doesn’t plague you going forward.
Automated solutions are a great idea to add to your workflow when a sequence of events occurs. Think of it as a resolution for a certain specific sequence of events that happen. Even if it only saves a few clicks, automation can end up freeing up bandwidth for more strategic planning and projects.
Start simple when considering automation. Initial ideas for automation include autoscaling, up/down schedules for cloud environments, and data governance to save storage space.
Embrace Effective Change Management.
Effective change management encompasses known changes within your IT environment. And it can make or break your success as an IT professional.
If your change management plan only includes an approver and a task performer, you’re falling woefully short from a business strategy perspective.
Instead, include clear, defined criteria for success — understand the outcome of the change. If you can’t articulate the outcome and criteria, perhaps it’s not a good adjustment to make, and your time could be better spent elsewhere.
As part of planning for change management, define the change process, which configuration items will be affected, business service impacts it will have, which staffers perform the change, who tests it and how we gauge the standards for success.
Also, include contingency plans. If the testing doesn’t work or criteria are not met, think about a rollback plan.
Also, include a process for emergency change orders that bypass intermediary steps like manual approvals and testing scenarios. This will be helpful for urgent items like zero-day attacks and immediate business needs.
Adopt Effective Problem Management.
Problem management is important for unknown surprise incidents in your environment.
The most essential facet of effective problem management understands causation.
Identifying patterns and developing responses is key to effective challenge management. Consider using automated monitors to see issues proactively instead of waiting to hear from end-users.
Strong monitoring tools will consolidate notifications and correlate events, linking trends that IT staffers need to mitigate. Addressing causation with recurring problems is key to achieving 100 percent uptime.
Focus and Be Proactive.
All assets require maintenance. Think of your IT infrastructure like your home – it requires upkeep, oversight, upgrades, and proactive problem-solving.
As IT professionals, we must prioritize issues while also balancing routing maintenance.
Understanding your capacity helps you consider what tasks you should perform yourself. As with any project, there are limitations to what you and your internal staff can do. Prioritize your tasks based on business service impacts and the impact on revenue.
Consider outsourcing to expand your team’s capabilities. In the homeownership example, hiring a cleaning team, a meal service, a pool maintenance man, and a lawn service will free up the homeowner for other tasks.
Also, focusing on what you are passionate about or have a natural talent for — and outsourcing what you’re less familiar with or what the least enjoyable tasks are for you — may improve job satisfaction and performance.
Plus, offloading creates achievement opportunities for strategic thinking and leadership instead of firefighting. This can give clout to your budget requests and build credibility with key business stakeholders.
Find the Right Partner.
At Forthright Technologies, we have built our business around optimizing your application delivery and supercharging your end-user experience. We place your colleagues at the top of our priority list, and our goal is to provide a seamless, easy-to-access corporate IT infrastructure.
With our six core service offerings — plan, build, expand, support, run, and secure — we can meet the needs of any offloading strategy.
Please send us an email or give us a call to open a discussion today. We would love to discuss how a partnership with your business can protect your productivity and uptime.