Networks and Networking Technology
Your computer network is one of the most essential pieces of your organization today. A network can be setup relatively quickly, however the chance of doing so improperly is rather high. Client-server technology is not rocket science, many people learn it on the job, but there are some basic rules that should be followed in configuring and managing a network. Because technology has gotten easier to use, it makes it look as though entry-level kinds of configurations are functional. The reality is much different although, you don't normally find that out until something goes wrong. Finding out that your network is setup improperly after there is a problem could be too late.
One of the reasons IS IT was formed was to popularize the ideas of best practices for managing Information Technology, and ensuring against loss of information. (Some of this is what is to occupy the Resources section of this site.) IS IT specializes in configuring networks so that they can be professionally managed by non-technical staff.
What does this mean for your organization?
If you are a small organization, you can have an Information Technology system that provides you with the same features (email, Internet access, shared files, shared printers, an Intranet, shared databases) as much larger organizations, without the added overhead of a full time I.T. staff - or the cost of constant consultant calls.
If you are a medium sized organization that needs a technical person on staff to help other staff (streamline business processes, develop templates, macros, custom databases, your web site, or other applications) you can automate Network Administration processes. This will allow your technical staff to concentrate their efforts in these other areas, without concern for the state of the network or trying to learn all that is needed to configure a network professionally.
If you are a larger organization, you can automate tasking on your departmental LANs (which do not tend to change much) and free up your Administrators to concentrate on more Enterprise related issues.
Quality Information Technology staff are scarce, and expensive. Additionally, it is difficult to identify quality technical staff when you have little technical knowledge yourself. IS IT's mission is to allow you to have a professionally configured and managed network without having excessive IT staff. It takes a highly competent technical engineer (who is also business knowledgeable) to design, configure, and expand Information Technology resources for an organization. Once that work is done however, it takes a lower level of technical knowledge to maintain these systems.
In a large organization this is managed by having senior staff with advanced skills, and junior staff working under their watchful eyes. If you are not a large organization, you cannot afford such an arrangement. Mentoring can be a perfect solution for such an organization. If you are a small or medium sized organization whose network technologies do not change very quickly (large organizations tend to have a much higher turnover on technologies), hiring Systems Engineers (MCSE's) to manage your network is costing you too much in overhead. If you are using Systems Engineers to just manage your systems you are underutilizing their talents, and you are not getting your needs met - which almost always are more along the lines of development or database needs. Either way, this is a wasteful situation - either you are going to become frustrated because your Information Technology doesn't "work" for you, or your MSCE is going to leave.
Enhancing the productivity of your Information Technology workers is not something that should be ignored. It is where you will get the best return on your investment. If you I.T. staff can become more productive, they can make everyone else more productive - by developing, or refining, solutions for the rest of the staff. This is where the value of Information Technology lies - in the services it can provide to you.
IS IT does not take the traditional consulting approach of creating an annuity for itself. That is, getting an organization hooked for constant return calls. IS IT seeks to make you a self-sufficient, self-responsible organization. Yeah, I know, that IS pretty different. Though your non-technical staff will not immediately become experienced network administrators, configuring your network properly will increase network stability, security, and your ability to resolve common difficulties in-house, thus reducing the need for consultant calls.
So, how does a "traditional network" compare with an "IS IT configured network?"
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