Sunday, 13 February 2011

Paddling frantically beneath the surface

On Hatchet Pond.Image via Wikipedia

As many readers will know, IT at Bristol is currently undergoing a large reorganisation. It's a tough but important time for all IT staff at the University. As part of this, at the end of 2010 I was appointed Assistant Director of IT Services (Infrastructure & Operations). Since then I've been very busy, to put it mildly! However in the new role communicating what's going on is even more important than ever, so I'm going to restart blogging with renewed determination.

The Infrastructure & Operations group provide the crucial foundations which keep IT at Bristol running. We look after the networks, the storage, the telephone exchanges. We build the systems to keep your desktop patched, your email free from spam, and a lot more besides. Staff in the group are the architects, specialists & engineers who make all this possible.

But that description makes us sound like backroom boys 'n girls, and that is far from the case. We are also a provider of services to staff and students. The ResNet service within Infrastructure & Operations is a good example of where a service culture keep our focus on what is important to our customers. Our open event this week with Google, Microsoft and 300 staff & students in attendance is another example, and part of a conscious attempt to say we'll do things a little differently in future.

This works for email, something naturally high profile, which everyone uses and on which everyone has an opinion. But much of what we do is invisible to the people who benefit from it. If the University is a swan gliding gracefully across the lake, then Infrastructure & Operations are hard at work paddling furiously beneath the surface. How often are you conscious, for example, of the terabytes of storage underlying everything the university does? Probably not at all - unless it breaks! 

So we can be invisible when we are doing our jobs well. That's not such a bad thing, but can lead to our staff feeling underappreciated. So remember us in your thoughts. There's even an annual event, Sysadmin Appreciation Day, on the last Friday of July to give you a handy excuse to do so! But no need to wait that long to show us some love. Homemade cakes are welcome at any time...
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: