"Even in a recession, technology and innovation move at a very fast pace," says Nicolas Dubus. "In the IT department, we need to keep up with and understand any new technologies that emerge, as well as implement the right solutions for the business."
"Providing ongoing learning opportunities for the IT staff is crucial to the growth and flexibility of the organization," agrees Lou Trebino, SVP and CIO, at The Harry Fox Agency. But since training budgets go out the window in hard times, IT managers get creative. "Training can be formal classroom or self-paced instruction, as well as job sharing, 'brown bag lunch' sessions, and shadowing," says Trebino.
The right person for the job
A Network and System Administrator is Nicolas Dubus's number 1 must-have. "It is very important to have someone in-house who is able to solve daily issues, help the users, replace hardware when needed, contact vendors, apply the latest security patches, and stay late when we need to upgrade the network," says Dubus.
Eddie Jenkins and Lou Trebino take a less tactical approach, saying innovation is their most valued skill. "In tough times we need to support innovation. We need to make sure we continue to reward innovative ideas and invest in people who have these innovative ideas," says Jenkins.
For Lou Trebino, a supportive executive team is essential to the success of IT. "They need to see the value proposition of IT and not view IT as merely a cost of doing business," says Trebino.
Nicolas Dubus recommends having IT engineers join forces with marketing strategists. "It is important that different teams within the company spend time together in order to brainstorm, prioritize tasks, follow up, test, and make the final push for various projects," says Dubus. "This will help ensure that the projects we spend time and money on are those that will improve our competitive advantage and bring in the most revenue."
"It's more important than ever to develop a strategy and not stray," adds Eddie Jenkins. "We are working with the leadership team to make sure that each and every project we currently are working on will support the company's overall strategic goals."