A look back at IT Pro Day, celebrating those who work continuously to keep businesses operating efficiently.
Celebrated annually since 2015, IT Pro Day aims to thank the IT professionals who work behind the scenes to keep our essential technologies performing and are integral to supporting business continuity.
This IT Pro Day, Top Business Tech assembles ten technology experts to talk about the valuable role of the IT professional, their immeasurable impact, and what we can do to support them.
What IT Professionals Do For Us
“An IT professional’s job is more than just working in the background and fixing bugs,” explains Colin Christianson, Director & Chief Product Architect at Aqilla. “Although a lot of the time it’s behind the scenes, IT pros do everything from troubleshooting, maintaining uptime, monitoring performance, to also designing and testing new software and features.
“This year has been more difficult than ever thanks to the added stress of many organisations having to turn to remote working. Not only will IT pros have focused on their daily tasks, they will also have had the added pressure of helping the business successfully transition to remote working, helping maintain uptime as well as continuing on-going development of the technology. This will have been a lot of weight on their shoulders, so it’s important to give them the recognition they deserve.”
Bob Potter, CEO at SentryOne, agrees: “Many businesses this year have had to rely on their technology like never before to enable them to continue functioning throughout the pandemic. With employees in every industry switching to remote working – potentially something they have never attempted before – IT teams have had to work quickly and efficiently to ensure this is possible. This means that access to databases and applications from outside of the usual office environment has become a necessity.
“To appreciate their efforts, IT Pro Day acknowledges the difficulties of the job of these pros, and encourages all businesses to say: thank you!”
Supporting The New Normal
What’s clear in speaking with these industry experts, is the profound impact IT professionals have had over the last six months. Richard Hamaker, HR Business Partner at Leaseweb Global, said: “We must applaud our IT pros for exhibiting such strong resilience throughout the constant changes 2020 has brought. With the transition to remote work in the wake of COVID-19, many IT pros have had to adapt their day-to-day while working under atypical conditions. Throughout the entire pandemic, IT pros have committed to never stop learning. IT pros around the world have learned with each curveball and thus constantly further developing their knowledge and expertise. This commitment to learning, adapting and evolving has allowed them to continue adding immeasurable value for both end-users and customers alike.”
Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, Director Technical Marketing at Zerto, said: “IT Pro Day comes at a poignant time this year, against the backdrop of a world that has changed dramatically in just 6 months. This has brought new and challenging digital environments and with it, greater cybersecurity risks. All organisations, big and small, are now realising they must prioritise both protection and availability – 24/7/365 – regardless of their perceived level of risk. This can put enormous pressure on IT professionals, whose responsibility it is to ensure the business maintains IT resilience in the wake of any disruption.
“The best thing a company can do this year to support IT pros is to invest in tools that can help them enable IT resilience – combatting downtime once and for all.” Ultimately, IT pros need tools that are easy and simple to use, multi-purpose, work across all types of infrastructure, and are ready to adapt to the ever evolving innovation needs of an organisation. This is critical to ensuring IT pros can focus on adding value – ensuring IT is running smoothly, rather than spending precious time recovering from downtime that could have been prevented.”
Simon Spring, Account Director EMEA at WhereScape, agrees that investment in tools and resources to help reduce the operational pressure and enable IT pros focus on more valuable tasks: “Data automation technologies equip IT teams with the tools needed to design, develop, deploy, and operate data warehousing projects in the fastest time to value possible. Through automation, IT pros can offload the repetitive and mundane hand-coding tasks and use the time saved to focus on high-value work and opportunity, including staying current with evolving technologies and being more strategic in serving the business.”
Addressing The Knowledge and Skills Gap
The widening skills gap has been a concern across the UK industry for many years, only to be affected further still as a result of the pandemic.
Agata Nowakowska, AVP at Skillsoft, stresses: “There has been mounting pressure for IT professionals to keep up with the rapid pace of change – managing added complexities such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technologies, cloud servers and online communications platforms.
“The IT professional role is complex with the specific requirements for technical fluency varying greatly from one company to another. Therefore, IT pros need to continually upskill to keep up with the constant evolution of technology, either on the job, or by studying for an official IT certification.
“This year we should celebrate IT Pro Day by giving recognition to IT professionals for all their hard work to ensure businesses keep going, and by increasing the ongoing support and training we offer people in this essential role. Providing valuable support to IT pros, means they can continue providing valuable support to their organisation in return.”
According to a recent survey, “64% of the respondents felt experiencing the pandemic has given them a new sense of confidence in managing unprecedented change,” says Sascha Giese, Head Geek at SolarWinds. This reinforces “the importance of continually advancing employee skill sets to cope with the unexpected.”
This is particularly important as industries brace for another potential surge in virus cases and indefinite working from home. Sascha continues, “The main peak of the pandemic may be behind us, but as public sector organisations look at preparing for further waves of the virus, it’s the IT pros who carry the responsibility for ensuring technology systems are up to the task. Two key areas come to mind: the potential for extended remote working practices—which typically rely on tech to operate smoothly and seamlessly—and continued ransomware attacks. These have increased markedly since the start of the pandemic and could be particularly devastating for healthcare organisations in particular if they succeed.
“Organisation leaders should work with IT pros to address the need to upskill. To do so, they can invest in the relevant training and resources, thereby helping them gain confidence to take on current and future tech demands.”
Recognising Our IT Talent
“IT professionals can sometimes be overlooked, despite just how vital their presence is,” says Mihir Shah, CEO, StorCentric. “This may be due to the fact that the only encounter most people have with them is when IT has gone wrong. What most people forget is that these IT professionals are the backbone of virtually every successful organisation and work tirelessly to ensure infrastructure is protected, services are kept running, and their end users are provided with efficient ways to work.”
For Richard Cassidy, Senior Director of Security Strategy at Exabeam, talent retention of our skilled tech and IT professionals should be top of mind, particularly at this time. “Year after year, hiring and retaining strong IT professionals continues to be a challenge. According to the latest SOC Report, an undefined career path (64%), high stress (45%) and poor leadership (27%) are among the top reasons why we lose good frontline employees.
“With these statistics and the widening technology talent gap in mind, cybersecurity leaders need to recognise the value in their teams, working harder to retain their talent in the fight against cybercrime. Particularly now, after contending with the giant shift in operations for remote working, and the dramatic increase in the number of cyber attacks, IT pros deserve huge thanks and appreciation for all that they do in keeping modern businesses up and running.”
Saluting Our IT Professionals
To summarise, Craig Fulton, Chief Customer Officer at ConnectWise, shares his thoughts on the significance of IT Pro Day and why our IT pros should not be forgotten. “The hard work of IT professionals should be recognised each and every day, but they certainly deserve one all their own. From system administrators to network engineers, IT support technicians are crucial to business success and lead the charge for technology innovation. Companies need technology to operate efficiently, be productive, and compete.
“As organisations across industries continue to operate remotely, the support and dedication of IT professionals help to keep businesses safe during this critical time and beyond. Initiatives like IT Pro Day allow us to celebrate the vital role of IT professionals and acknowledge the many ways they help organisations achieve their full potential.”