In many companies the IT department tends to fill a largely maintenance-based role - ensuring that everything is running smoothly so that your work can be done quickly and effectively. However, spending so much time just keeping things ticking over doesnt add a great deal of value to your business, particularly if its eating up a lot of man hours. Replacing your in-house data centre with managed hosting will free up your IT team to engage in more strategically innovative projects.
It may be the case that the best use of your IT department is to re-deploy them to other areas of your business. This does not mean demoting them or forcing them away from the career path they have chosen. Offer them training opportunities that allow them to add new skills that you can use in your business - such as SEO, development and graphic design. As more and more businesses come to rely on a strong online presence, having a team that can handle the various aspects of digital marketing is an invaluable asset. You may also find it useful to have one or two IT-savvy members of staff who can operate as liaisons between your internal teams and new service providers.
However, theres no reason an IT department cant continue to thrive. In fact a recent study by UK IT Placement firm CW Jobs concluded that more IT jobs are likely to be created as a result of the rise of cloud computing services such as managed hosting. 75% of the 1300 IT professionals questioned thought that cloud computing skills would make them more employable. If your company does invest in cloud hosting, it is true that the nature of your IT department will probably change. This does not need to be a negative thing though. In fact it can be an exciting opportunity to move the department into the forefront of developing your business and driving revenue.
Remember that utilising managed hosting solutions is not an all or nothing decision. You may have certain aspects of your business that you prefer to keep in-house. This means youll still need an IT team to manage your internal servers, but by outsourcing other applications youre cutting down on the time they have to spend on this - and the amount of cash you have to spend to facilitate it.
Ultimately, the key to ensuring that your IT department doesnt just survive, but continues to move with the times and evolve alongside the rest of your business, is to move away from maintenance and focus on innovation. E-commerce, digital marketing, social media and many other key elements of running a company in the 21st century could all become exciting, rewarding and profitable projects for your IT team with a little time and investment. Far from rendering them obsolete, cloud hosting offers your technical staff an exciting opportunity to make a positive investment in their careers.
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