Storage Station

A bird's eye view of the data storage industry.

How to Make Friends and Influence Key People on an IT Staff

There are numerous ways to get on the IT department's good side today and the rest of the year. You just need to remember them.

It's a sad fact but true: IT managers and administrators—in storage and other areas—at all levels know quite well that what they do can be classified as a thankless job. They work hard behind the scenes to keep systems up and running, and users—whether internal or external to the system—take it all for granted that everything will work effectively on a 24/7 basis.

Valentine's Day is here today, and everyone deserves some extra love and appreciation, especially storage administrators and the rest of the IT department.

Autotask Vice President of Engineering Adam Stewart has been there, done that and volunteered to share several recommendations with eWEEK. These range from creating your own trouble ticket with a priority other than "CRITICAL" to keeping your keyboard crumb-free.

There are numerous ways to get on the IT department's good side today and the rest of the year. Here are some practical examples from Stewart.

Be sweet. We have a busy schedule just like you do, and no, fixing your home computer for free is not listed in our job description. It doesn't hurt, however, to sweeten up the deal every once in a while with a batch of brownies or other homemade treats.

But be careful. While we're on the subject of food, be careful to avoid spilling when eating and drinking near your systems. Soda and coffee, in particular, do a number on laptops. We know love is a battlefield, but your keyboard doesn't have to look like one.

There's no I in "love" but there is one in Cupid. Employees who take the initiative to create a trouble ticket on their own make us fall head over heels. Get the ball rolling, and proactively let us know what's going on. After all, the sooner we know what the issue is, the sooner we can help you get back to work. To really send our hearts aflutter, try using a priority level other than "critical."

Love is a fool's game. However, don't be foolish enough to open emails with subjects like "Increase your performance" or "Wonder Diet." Those subject lines spell IT disaster—and sometimes lots of restoring from backups.

Roses are red, violets are blue; please give us time when you've hired someone new. This means more than just a few hours' notice before a new hire's first day. It takes time to properly set up people's access, so give us the time to make sure they're ready to go.

Love the one you're with. Part of our job is to help make your job easier. Therefore, we need each other to be successful. Don't threaten to outsource us every time budget discussions come up.

Play it safe. Do us all a favor and ask if the software you wish to install poses any sort of security risk. If it does, we may be able to offer you a safe alternative.

As the 1970 movie "Love Story" suggests, love means never having to say you're sorry, but a few extra "thank yous" here and there will go a long way.

Who knows, maybe they will even fix your home computer one day.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...