IT Appreciation Day: Recognizing the team behind the screens
“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” This is probably what you hear from your IT team when your computer isn’t functioning as it should. Often, we view our IT teams as the people we call when the Internet is running slow or we’ve lost an electronic file. But, they provide so much more.
To celebrate IT Appreciation Day on September 18, we sat down with Technical Safety BC's Phat Tran, leader of IT shared services, and Dan Rausch, application manager, to learn about the latest IT initiatives.
Working Hard Behind the Scenes
“Most people are unaware of everything we do on a daily basis and what makes all our systems run smoothly,” said Dan. “It’s only when things go wrong that our team gets attention!” he added with a laugh. “We do a lot. We are essentially security for our networks.”
Each day our IT team monitors malicious activity and maintains our network security. The team has installed spam filters, which stopped over 20,000 suspicious emails over the last three months. Phat personally installed and customized a geofencing system, which prevents anyone from outside of North America from using our online applications.
Empowering and Innovating
The IT team also created our recently launched online services portal, which to date has helped BC contractors pull over 109,139 permits since last June. Additionally, they’ve built a system called Starlite which has enabled all of our safety officers across the province to quickly pull up information about a job site, inspection, or contractor, in seconds, helping them complete inspections more efficiently.
So how does our IT team get involved in all these projects? “Empowerment," Phat explains. “We encourage our team members to get out and physically talk to their colleagues in other departments. It’s mandatory for them to go out in the field with the safety officers, listen in to calls in the contact centre, meet other employees to understand their pain points, and how they use their equipment and software. We strive to understand how our company interacts with the general public and how can we improve on that experience.”
A Culture of Collaboration
To accomplish this, IT leadership actively encourages the team to brainstorm and work on ideas that could potentially benefit the company. For example, once a quarter, IT holds a Research Day. This is a chance for team members to spend an entire work day on a project they are passionate about. Then the ideas are posted for the company to see. Some of the Research Day projects end-results include a smart phone check-in for office guests, a jurisdiction look up for clients to see which cities we issue permits in, a fast permit for small jobs, and virtual log books for pressure welders.
After getting a chance to sit with our IT team and learn exactly how they are moving our company forward, working to deploy innovative projects, while assisting our company with the small things like where to plug an HDMI cable in, I have much more appreciation for what they do.
On September 18, make sure to thank your IT team, and take some time to find out how they are helping your company move forward.