We Are PreparedMore than half (61%) of survey respondents felt they were at least “semi-prepared” for the move. But despite having already laid the groundwork they faced a situation where they needed to scale up what they had, rather than invent it from scratch. Interestingly, the poll found that only 34% of IT pros were “very prepared” for the switch to a fully remote workforce. Proof We’re “Built for This” While nobody could have predicted the entire world would be sent home for months, IT doesn’t always require that level of specificity to be nimble. It only takes one experience with a system failure (even if it’s the hard drive on our home computer, where two years of baby pictures were stored. #AskMeHowIKnow) to drive home this reality: technology, while amazingly cool and exciting, can also be incredibly fragile. We start to notice, and even seek out, those vulnerabilities, in an effort to mitigate them. Where possible, we get the business to invest in backups, secondary systems, and failovers. When this isn’t not possible, we think through contingency plans and work-arounds. How were almost 90% of us at least “somewhat prepared?” When our business asked for the ability for a few key people to work from home, many of us immediately jumped to, “What about making it part of our DR strategy? How about in the event of a snowstorm or other weather event?”
We Are AdaptableDespite the fact that many of us were ready for something, almost 30% said that they encountered issues they weren’t expecting along the way. These surprises ranged the gamut from licensing and hardware shortfalls to the need to rush back into the locked-tight-as-a-drum office building to save plants and even fish. Under the pressures of increased use and business criticality, IT pros also discovered applications and even whole platforms not up to the task. We were asked —as the voices of IT and de-facto tech leaders within companies, communities, and especially in their families—to help sort out issues with Wi-Fi signal strength; how to set up desk-based equipment on a dining room table; why two monitors were causing a circuit breaker to trip; how to stay focused during the day; and (conversely) how to avoid working 16 hours at a stretch. The list is endless. Proof We’re “Built for This” On the TV show “The Flash,” the character Leonard Snart (aka Captain Cold) is famous for saying:
“There are only four rules you need to remember: make the plan, execute the plan, expect the plan to go off the rails, throw away the plan.”Snart would have made an excellent IT pro. In a few short weeks the majority of workforces were entirely operational from home. In many cases, this made companies recognize the critical role IT professionals play in keeping the business running and making it profitable, and here too IT folks have stepped up—taking their seat at the table where leadership make the decisions fundamentally affecting how business gets done. As each twist and surprise surfaced, the folks working in IT—individually and collectively—shared their experiences and brainstormed the best path forward. At SolarWinds, we saw this on the THWACK community, on social media, and on the more private chat channels. In response, companies have adapted their purchasing and fulfillment practices; they’ve accelerated their move to cloud-based resources, systems, and solutions; they’ve adjusted the way internal ticket systems and workflows worked. (Although, surprisingly, only 52% believe this shift will accelerate the move to the cloud.) In some situations, especially as the pandemic was just starting to have an impact, we were happy and even excited to share our experience. This was a chance for us to share hard-won lessons with those less savvy. We wrote blog posts, published eBooks, and shared tips on social media. Because one of the truths of tech work is: nobody learns or grows on their own. Everyone was taught by someone else. And in our appreciation for those who taught us, many of us are eager to share our knowledge with others. We in IT intuitively understand what Sir Isaac Newton meant when he said, in 1675:
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”Having once benefited from that heady view, we’re eager to offer the same (or better) vistas to those in our circle.