Proactive, possibly one of the last buzz words in IT yet to be abbreviated! But the question is what does it actually mean? Its ambiguity has left it wide open to enormous abuse over the past few years within the IT industry. It’s become almost a non word with potential clients and employers who often remark: ‘everyone says they are proactive’. As always, IT is littered with neologisms and acronyms, and I’ve been racking my brains for an alternative to ‘proactive’ but I realise that the word is ultimately defined by the person hearing or reading.
If we want potential clients and employers to understand that we are truly proactive we need to explain to them the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how we approach situations, so they can understand the real meaning of the word in an IT context. I for one feel like a minority and want to reclaim the word, and take it back to its real meaning.
Defining the word
But what does ‘proactive’ actually mean? I believe the Oxford Dictionary definition is as good a place to start as any:
“(Of a person or action) creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened:”
So how does this definition actually translate to, in terms of what you need from your IT support and solutions? The companies/ employee need to adopt a new approach, to take control, and lead your IT provision, integrating it seamlessly into your business plan. IT is the tool that enables your business to grow, and if your IT provider does not understand your business they’re unlikely to provide IT solutions that will give you the greatest benefit. They need to ascertain and gauge where your business is expected to be in a few years time, and shape your solutions accordingly.
Too often, IT providers will provide solutions based on bringing immediate benefit, but neglecting any future proofing. I for one have seen competitors and internal staff recommend these ‘knee jerk’ solutions with their restricted vision and growth and they are only fit for the here and now.
In order to be proactive you need to plan solutions that are flexible and elastic. Yes, it’s likely to increase in upfront costs but your over all ROI will be much greater. This approach to solutions in my opinion help’s make IT infrastructures themselves more proactive.
Proactive IT support
By coupling proactive solution planning with a proactive support function, you are able to achieve rapid proactive expansion for the systems in place. Because the solutions that have been planned are fit for your current and future requirements, it’s simple to upgrade when required. This strategy means you are only upgrading your systems not just ripping and replacing them, and you get true ROI from the IT equipment you initially put in place.
Planning for the inevitable and the unlikely
Proactive support doesn’t stop there. You need to be consistently addressing common and uncommon IT problems, adding automation where possible, to limit and reduce down time. This automation will remove the mundane, time consuming issues freeing up time to dedicate to issues that are difficult or impossible to preempt.
You need to constantly assess how you can improve service by always evaluating hardware, software applications, and real world scenarios. Proactive systems can seem like over-cautiousness, but it only takes one disastrous event to make them indispensable.
Working in IT.
Working in IT is exciting, you are always looking to the future, planning the next big leap and how to integrate advancements to improve business. IT is the true enabler of your business, allowing you to streamline and improve your core offerings. A more productive workforce utilises its technology to its full potential. A dedicated proactive IT professional will want to achieve the most seamless and high performing systems available.
The Harmonious IT EcoSystem
The proactive IT professionals key ambition should be to achieve the ultimate harmonious IT ecosystems. Their aim must be to remove reactive IT support and give you the very best platforms to work from. This will be their mission, and if you label it proactive after reading this blog and your perception of the word of ‘proactive’ has changed, I feel we could take the IT industry in the right direction.