If you have an Enterprise Content Management solution you most likely have a system administrator. This person typically has the responsibility of supporting the users on the system, as well as managing the critical system functions such as software updates, maintaining security, adding additional applications and workflows, training users and being the first line for support. As with most support jobs, this is a thankless position that rarely receives praise, and is almost always blamed when things go wrong. Sometimes I think we should have a special day each year for people in these positions, like we do for secretaries, teachers and other unappreciated occupations. National System Administrator’s Day.
As a reseller of ECM solutions, I am typically asked by new clients what characteristics make up a good system administrator. There are the distinct traits such as analytical and logical, attention to detail, willingness to take advise, ability to multitask and a people person. But having the proper credentials is only part of the pieces that make up the whole puzzle. An equally important piece is to provide your system administrator with the proper tools to be successful and a mechanism for networking with other system administrators to share thoughts and concerns.
We resell a product called FileBound. And while it is not my intent to make this into a commercial for them, there are some things that can be learned by their approach. The first is that they have invested heavily into online training tools for system administrators. Their Upland University contains over 70 training videos and a wealth of knowledge. Available for a nominal annual fee, the site provides all of the necessary information needed by an administrator. The site also allows administrators to review courses and videos to reinforce their knowledge of a specific topic. The second is the FileBound Community. A free, online site that allows system administrators (and any other user) to ask questions, share information, receive updates on the software as well as a host of other things. FileBound also has their technical staff monitor the forums and responds to questions within 24 hours. The ability to collaborate with your peers outside of your organization is priceless.
I often bristle when I hear a manager complain about an employee’s performance, but are unwilling to invest in their success. Your system administrator will only be as good as you allow them to be. Taking advantage of tools such as Upland University and the FileBound Community are two examples of how you can help them to succeed. Invest in their success and it will pay dividends to the entire organization.
And effective immediately, I am making November 15th National System Administrator’s Day!
Jack Arnston is a Principal at The Priton Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.