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December 22, 2015updated 17 Oct 2016 11:54am

Christmas: Situation Normal

By John Oates

At this time of year it is all too easy to get a bit moody over Christmas drinks and reflect negatively over the past year.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of criticism of yourself and your department.

And there’s nothing wrong with writing a little Christmas wish list of things you’d like to change for next year.

But you don’t need to go all Scrooge in ‘The Christmas Carol’ about it.

Set aside a bit of time to think about what’s actually worked well this year and pat yourself, and your team, on the back.

If you’ve made it through the year without a major data breach you’re already doing better than IT directors at a lot of big companies.

If you’ve made it through 2015 without sizeable downtime and unavailable services then you deserve at least one more glass of champagne than IT bosses at Skype, Amazon Web Services, Yahoo! Mail and VMWare. And that’s just the four that first come to mind.

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The trouble with looking back is you tend to forget the times when life just carried on as normal.

You’re not likely to get a call from a department head thanking you for a month, or even six months when the meeting room booking system worked without interruption.

If you’re running services properly no-one is going to notice the upgraded firewall or backup storage server, because life continues much as it did before.

But for all the noise about innovation and driving the business forward that remains the real and central job for enterprise IT.

No business can do anything unless IT keeps the lights on and the web servers, email services, data storage and a dozen other services up and running.

It’s not glamorous and it won’t get you mentioned in dispatches but it is this bread and butter work which makes up most of what IT does.

And it is certainly the bit which makes the most impact on the most staff within your business.

So take a moment to think about what’s gone well because no-one noticed it. Go and thank the help desk team who deal with the dull old password changes and other queries from staff.

Everyone remembers to thank and congratulate the crack team of developers working on the cool stuff.

But is too easy to forget the people doing the bread and butter work – which almost by definition we don’t have to think about unless it goes wrong.

Because it is exactly that unglamorous graft that keeps the rest of the business working everyday of the year, even at Christmas.

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