SysAdmins are superheroes for the IT infrastructure of an organisation. These are the professionals who design, monitor and maintain systems for performance, who gather and assess information to identify and fix potential issues, as well as detect and manage security concerns. The list is almost endless. As jacks of all trades, they do a little bit of everything and end up contributing a lot to everything.
The World Economic Forum has stated that within 5 years, 35% of critical IT Skills will no longer be important. As the world of IT changes around us, SysAdmins are changing and adapting as well. Below are five key attributes successful SysAdmins need as the future of IT approaches.
Adaptable : Automation is bringing about rapid change in the world of IT and demands adaption to new skills and requirements. Automation removes the need for manual operations that were once a core part of the skillset of a traditional SysAdmin. The SysAdmin who can adapt, letting go of those things done through automation, can become more essential and more valuable to organisations by focusing on business issues, bringing value to the business and not just a maintainer of technology.
Business Focused : Data increasingly becomes the life blood for the Digital Business. It is driven by Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud applications and technologies. Organisations are looking for ways to get better insights and find new business models based on it. This requires a business focus from the SysAdmin. Not only do the right technologies have to be in place to protect and manage the data, but more time needs to be spent by the SysAdmin focused on those that want the data and how to best deliver it in the way that they need it.
Organised and Prioritised : Companies are introducing more and more new applications that need to be prioritised. Examples include banks increasingly driving their customer contact through mobile banking applications, purchases made through online portals, and taxi’s booked and tracked through apps on phones. Having a framework to understand what is important and what is urgent is key. There is a difference between what is urgent and what is important. While a mobile app in the past may have been important to think about if it is offline, it is now urgent in addition to being important. Understanding this helps you to determine what problems you deal with first.
Open Minded : Douglas Adam’s once wrote, “everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal, anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it but anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it”. Just because you don’t perceive the value of something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have value. Keeping an open mind is key to finding new Insights or even new business models.
Inventive : Great SysAdmins look for new ways to perform tasks. Using Test and Development activities as an example, we know that organisations often want to do them more rapidly and with more iterations. Maybe today you have systems in place to support this with a level of speed that has been sufficient. An inventive SysAdmin may look at AWS, Azure or another of the Hyperscale providers to offload this process. It could result in potentially massive cost savings and an increase in the speed and opportunity that you simply couldn’t get from your own systems.
The Business Moment
To the SysAdmins out there reading this, this is your ‘Business Moment’. The changing IT landscape means you have the ability to think in a way that could transform your business. Many companies miss it because they don’t have the tools and technologies in place to try out enough of the good ideas. You have, without anybody giving you permission, a role that you’ve inherited to literally have an impact on your business unlike anything that you’ve ever had the opportunity to in the past. You can help your company find it’s ‘Business Moment’, it’s moon shot opportunity because you’ve put in place all of the right systems to make it happen.
July 29th is SysAdmin Day and I raise a glass to every single one of you