Are You Taking the Right First Step with Your IT Management? – Do IT Right: Part 1

Welcome to “Do IT Right,” a 9-part series on how to succeed in the most important areas of IT management.  In this series we introduce you to Simmons & Hawking, a fictional law firm that is scaling up its outdated IT infrastructure, and the relatable challenges faced by their IT stakeholders.

Despite a wealth of experience and vast knowledge, Ethan is still nervous about tackling such a large IT endeavor. The entire organization is relying on him, but he knows he can’t do it alone.

It’s the biggest moment in Ethan’s career yet. One year into being the IT manager at Simmons & Hawking, one of the top 50 law firms in the nation with over 750 lawyers, he’s been tasked with updating their aging IT infrastructure. The company has tripled in size in the last five years, and now it’s time for their technology to scale with it.  Ethan is excited to take on this challenge – but if he’s being honest, he’s also petrified. It’s a huge task, and one he wants to get right.

Ethan is a hard worker so he doesn’t hesitate in getting started. Immediately, Ethan begins assessing the existing infrastructure, understanding the needs of each department, and sourcing new software, services, and providers. He spends countless hours researching, demoing, and being pitched on endless solution options, and every week he’s presenting what seems like an always-changing budget proposal to his boss. After two months of 10+ hour days and working weekends, Ethan is inundated with options but still no more clear on the direction to take for his firm’s IT strategy.  

Between finding the right solution, staying within budget, and meeting everyone’s needs, Ethan just can’t seem to make it all line up.  He is frustrated, and with no course of action in place, Ethan’s superiors are starting to get antsy, too. If implementing a new IT infrastructure is this hard before even getting started, Ethan is starting to question if he can even accomplish the task.

Unfortunately, Ethan could have avoided this sense of helplessness and aimlessness by making his first step the right one.  Think about it…

Building an IT infrastructure is sophisticated, yet it’s easy for a lead like Ethan to get swamped with choices and make their process less than organized. Introducing a sound solution design strategy is key to starting your IT journey down a smooth path.

Would you build a house with no blueprint?  No. Would you cook dinner for guests without a recipe?  Probably not. Would the Warriors play a team without a gameplan?  Three NBA championships in five years proves they don’t. Why, then, would Ethan – or anyone for that matter – consider building an IT infrastructure without a detailed plan in place?  This vital step in IT management is called solution design, and if you’re building out or revamping any aspect of your IT strategy, it should be your first step.

Embarking on any project, let alone something with endless options such as creating an IT workflow, is daunting.  What you build needs to work, be easily adopted, and be affordable–and the key to that is solution design. It’s what will help you, the trusted IT lead and expert, find the right path for your organization.