The IT Department is Useless: 10 Reasons Why that is Not True

What has your IT Department done for you lately? The IT Department is useless, or perhaps it’s just misunderstood. In many industries, Healthcare especially, the IT Department is useless.

At least that is the way it is perceived. The IT department is often times viewed as an obscure group of high paid nerds that sit around surfing the web for most part of the day. IT department staff are sometimes thought of as know-it-all that look down on the less computer savvy, hard-working staff. 

The IT Department is useless because they are never around when you really need them and bug staff with an endless list of protocols to follow. They are also the snitches, the all-seeing eye, making sure you cannot get around to post on your Facebook or respond to personal email. Heck, they are probably watching you right now!  This, of course, is a misconception and while there are some bad apples, the assumption that the IT department is useless is wrong. The IT Department, if anything, is misunderstood.

  • The IT Department is not useless because it is responsible for keeping your computers running. While your own computer may be down for some time, usually, you will have access to some other workstation temporarily.
  • The IT Department is not useless because it is responsible of keeping you connected to applications and services and to the web. While there may be some issues, for the most part, an organization cannot function without these vital business tools.
  • The IT Department is not useless but often times understaffed. If your workstation has been down for days, chances are that it is not the only one; but, there may be only one computer technician per 100 computers…probably more.
  • The IT Department is not useless because IT staff usually serve dual or triple roles in the organization. That is, the computer technician may also be doing some networking and helping out with administrative tasks such as developing IP lists, Software and Hardware Inventory Lists aside from their core responsibilities.
  • The IT Department is not useless. IT staff is very unlikely to be monitoring your internet usage specifically and certainly are not out to get you.  Unless of course, your web activity is causing problems on the network or poses a security risk.
  • The IT Department is not useless because keeping the network safe and stable is of the highest priority. As such, they will look at whatever is causing problems in the network or the workstations that have been recently infected with viruses, malware, etc. If that happens to be because a certain staff member is listening to Pandora or downloading wallpapers then company policy dictates the incident to be reported, thus, making IT staff look like the company snitch. The truth is, our job depends on how well we can do our functions and we are often put in situations in which we either do the right thing and report a vulnerability or turn a blind eye to keep others from getting in trouble.
  • The IT Department is not useless. IT Department staff are often seen sitting around but that is just the nature of the job they perform. It involves a lot of thinking; that is always better done sitting down, sipping a cup of coffee and staring blankly at a computer screen. Rest assured, the guy is not under hypnosis, but is working on resolving your co-worker’s computer problem.
  • The IT Department is not useless. The To-Do list for IT Department staff is endless. There are always assessments to be made, holes to be patched, computers to be replaced, software and hardware to be installed, lists to be made, documentation, reporting, maintenance, etc. They won’t be able to get them all at once so setting up priorities will enable the business to carry on as usual. Ask yourself this question: What is most important to the boss and to the organization as a whole? Sadly, fixing the printer closest to you is probably going to land somewhere down the bottom of the list depending on what else is at stake.
  • The IT Department is not useless and is not all-knowing. Technologies are constantly evolving. Old ones are scrapped and new ones are under development. As such, IT department staff has to perform a great deal of research to stay on top of things.
  • The IT Department is not useless and Information Technology, in some way, is like the healthcare industry. A nurse will not operate on a patient because she is not trained or qualified to do so. A general surgeon will know little about brain trauma and the podiatrist will not know how to do bypass surgery. Likewise, there are many different branches of Information Technology yet the computer technician working on a printer is sometimes expected to do something about EHR’s poor performance or the fact that printers are not working in a Citrix Published Desktop.

Those of us who work in IT usually love what we do. A lot of us like helping people out or at the very least, we like the challenge of solving a problem. We are on your side. What’s the IT Department like in your organization?

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