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Running a Lean IT Machine: Tactics to Keep Your IT Staff and Employees Happy

December 6, 2022 No Comments

by Amol Dalvi, vice president, product, Nerdio

IT organizations looking ahead to 2023 face a number of influencing factors: mixed reports on next year’s economic health, the need to strategically hire skilled IT staff amid a ‘talent gap,’ and ever-evolving remote workforce environments and related IT demands. Add to this a report from Robert Half Talent Solutions that found 52% “of technology employees are actively searching for a new role or plan to by the end of the year.”

Notably, the IT market continues to be a high demand sector, with database administrators, information system managers, network architects and system administrators at the top of the list, according to Robert Half. It’s reasonably certain that 2023 will be a combination of striving to keep skilled IT professionals on staff and making careful decisions on new hires as the global economy unfolds.

All these factors indicate the need for organizations to retain high-value IT staff and, in parallel, improve systems and practices to make the best use of IT’s time. While the expectation is organizations will hire for new roles and workforce replacements, there likely will not be a surplus of IT professionals, with the unemployment rate for computer and information systems managers at 1.6%, Robert Half reports.

Running the Best Cloud Computing Environment

Since many organizations now essentially operate as remote/hybrid workforces, relying often on as-a-service (AAS) models, making all cloud-based workflows more streamlined will go a long way to delivering a better environment for both the general workforce and IT teams. A few actions to take include:

Use Automation to the Max. IT can significantly save time by using automation to deploy new cloud environments or users, and by using auto-scaling to better manage the use of VMs and other cloud resources. In Azure, for example, auto-scaling saves overhead by freeing up system operators who otherwise would need to decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to scale VMs in or out. It is also possible, using certain cloud management platforms, to enable user behavior analytics and integrations that can auto-scale based off user behavior and demand.

Put Central Management to Best Use. Due to the ebb and flow of the remote workforce, with more people working varied schedules to meet family and personal work-life balance needs, the best way to manage this complexity, and support user needs, is to automate tasks and centralize monitoring and management.

Ideally, pull together as many aspects of cloud compute management under one ‘roof.’ In the case of Azure and Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), the recommended goal is to centralize management of workspaces, host pools, application groups, RDP properties, session time limits, storage, FSLogix, and more. Using a consolidated dashboard, IT can look across the hybrid environment and record and analyze usage data relating to host pools, total CPUs, active and concurrent users. This provides a clearer view of either unused (costly) resources or user groups that may need more VMs due to critical workflows.

Promote Self-Service to Benefit All. Self-service software comes in many flavors and can make remote workers more satisfied and productive and give IT more airtime to do high-value tasks like analyzing cloud compute costs and pinpointing budget waste. Microsoft has a number of self-service features. Users can self-discover applications from a MyApps portal without needing IT time. They can pull from the Azure AD Gallery or applications added by admin consent, among other ways. Administrators can also allow a designated employee to grant application requests for their team, freeing up even more IT time. Using third-party software, users can also use their Azure AD credentials to restart their desktop VM, manage their own sessions or start a session host.

Remote workers also enjoy self-service applications that enable them to request access to datasets they’ve discovered in Microsoft Purview. Notably, for teams working on a time-limited project, or putting together a new team for an initiative, this will allow adding a person and giving access to specific data they need for the task.

Combine Self Service with Education. Employees want to use self-service not only to avoid help desk requests but because they want control over their workday. If an employee wants to request data access at 8 p.m., for example, self-service is the best answer. Organizations, IT, HR, and managers can help make self-service a success by clearly communicating any new applications that are now available and offering guidelines on use. Some applications are more intuitive than others. Having a community chat room is a good way to trade tips. Whether it’s password resets, application access requests or data discovery, education and sharing tips will promote productivity while reducing IT time.

Clean Your Asset House. Lastly, ensure IT is not spending time on management or security updates for assets and applications that should be out of service. Also, conduct a review of cloud storage costs and determine what data may not need to live in the cloud and could be housed on premises. The goal is to use IT resources to support business strategy and to deliver ROI, eliminating tasks that do not enable growth.

A Lean but Doable Future

The best approach for 2023, given the skills shortage and changing economy, will be to retain skilled IT professionals while strategically hiring for new ROI-focused positions where possible. Employee retention, for remote workers and IT, will require a lean, self-service organization with IT called upon for developing a longer-term digital strategy and focusing on high value tasks. The combination of empowered employees and careful use of IT teams will strengthen your organization’s position for the future.

About the Author

Amol Dalvi is vice president, product, at Nerdio, which empowers companies of all sizes to deploy, manage and optimize virtual desktops in Microsoft Azure.

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