When you build an IT team, you likely have many considerations. Yes, you need people with IT knowledge, possibly even in very specific areas. But, you also need team members who can help shape and grow your IT strategy. You want IT employees who can train and communicate effectively, so IT initiatives align with all areas. Many organizations are finding it more effective to stop focusing on specialists and look towards IT generalists.
IT Specialists VS. IT Generalists
You may have previously hired IT team members based on their specific knowledge or to support your strategies. While not necessarily bad, it may not have worked out in your favor. Hiring fewer experts and more generalists may be the route to go. Why?
While experts can be required for certain responsibilities, you must be aware of exactly why you are hiring them. If you need a jack of all trades, will a highly focused expert really be a fit? They may not be able to adapt if they’ve spent their careers working towards a very specific place. Asking a server manager to install PCs or train on your phone system is akin to asking a CFO to assist in your manufacturing department. Specialists have spent a huge amount of time and effort focused on very specific areas of IT. You hire them for that effort and knowledge (likely at considerable expense), so expecting them to go far outside their comfort zone is a waste of time and money.
Generalists on the other hand generally have a strong base of knowledge in many areas and typically have the ability to stretch and adapt more easily. They may be better choices for project management, training and education needs and often are more at ease in internal customer service roles. By having a general idea of many areas of IT, they can be a fantastic resource when developing plans and laying out strategies because they can more easily understand all the moving parts of your entire IT team.
Building A Better IT Team For Your Middle Market Company
Many of the thoughts above are subjective and not necessarily true in every situation or with every person. However, if you find your IT group isn’t as effective as you’d like or struggles in certain areas, you may need to think about building a better team. In many instances, you’ll need less of a complete overhaul than a rebalancing.
If you have specific technologies that require an expert, it’s definitely better to hire a specialist. This can be especially true if your Middle Market company uses a lot of proprietary or heavily modified software. When you know exactly what experts or specialists you need, you should have some gaps. In a perfect world, you’d have a small number of specialists and a larger number of generalists to fill in where needed. Also, consider where outsourcing or contracted IT support could be implemented if applicable.
By focusing on a balanced approach with plenty of IT generalists, your Middle Market company can build stronger, more flexible IT teams.
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