IT Addictions and How to Overcome Them
Technology addiction is real. It manifests by people sleeping next to their smartphones so they can grab them the first moment their eyes open, feeling unable to stop checking email, and so on.
Nicely enough, IT professionals can develop all the technology addictions that civilians do…but we have a bunch more, besides. They develop because of our profession and its lures, but they can easily turn into perils of the profession.
Here are some of the many addictions that IT professionals can succumb to plus how to cure them.
1. Data, data, and more data
Data is a wonderful thing. But given our impressive capabilities, it’s very tempting to want to gather data just for the sake of gathering data. Data can become an end in itself. In fact, CIO quotes a survey mentioning that the average IT employee spends 20 hours or more per week gathering data, but over 40 percent of companies don’t actually make use of it.
The cure for this is actually simple. Data collection should have a specific strategic purpose. Your company, and your department, should have ready answers to the question “what do we keep?” and “why do we keep it?” You should also know the answer to “how do we use it?” If you are collecting data and have no idea what the answers are, stop doing it.
2. Artificial intelligence
There’s no question AI can do some wonderful things. It may, in the future, be able to do even more wonderful things.
The problem is, AI is perhaps the most overused buzzword right now in IT — and maybe in business overall. Just like data, AI can work magic in some contexts, for some uses. It is not an all-purpose magic wand, and thinking it is can lead to drastically wrong decisions.
Some firms, for example, find that AI-driven chat and customer service functions can improve their productivity drastically. But the productivity does not continue into marketing operations or other areas where AI may not be able to replace humans.
The solution to this addiction? Run small scale pilots for projects where AI is likely to improve something. If it does, full speed ahead. If it doesn’t, you haven’t doomed the ship.
Infrastructure can be addictive in somewhat the same way a large and cool car showroom is. There are large machines. They blink. They convey a sense of massed power. They make IT professionals feel that they are in a special, even sacred, place.
The problem with infrastructure addiction is that infrastructure is increasingly less important than the cloud. Physical infrastructure will be losing primacy in the future, in favor of cloud computing.
So, the solution? Put your infrastructure more and more in the cloud.
It’s the app that took over communication in many IT departments. Lock, stock, and many, many smoking barrels. It’s easy and convenient, and in many companies, employees made tons of channels. They ended up being used as resource sites in addition to chat modules.
Don’t let yourself or your employees become addicted to Slack. It can become an all-purpose communication site and time suck for productivity.
First, set a limit on the channels that can be created. It’s also a good idea to set a limit on who has access. Second, don’t allow it to be used as a resource for material that should be looked up or verified elsewhere. Third, encourage people to talk in person or on the phone.
As more firms become digital or move their digital products to the fore, you’d think that would be good news across the board for IT, right?
Well, not necessarily. Expanded importance can actually exacerbate turf wars that exist. It can also lead to organizational infighting that would put the Civil War to shame. Especially if a digital department or marketing technology department is added that’s separate from IT, battles for control can be all-consuming.
Don’t let yourself become addict to battles for control. Give up the idea that you can control everything in a company that’s growing. Be transparent and committed to teamwork.
Here at Nesco Resources, we hire skilled IT professionals fully dedicated to productivity and teamwork. By hiring them, we help you maintain a professional and productive environment at the cutting edge of IT. Contact our company today for additional information.