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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Convince Management To Hire More IT Staff?

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the make-them-cover-the-help-desk dept.

IT 383

An anonymous reader writes "I work at a manufacturing company. We have roughly 150 employees, 130 desktops, 8 physical servers, 20 virtual servers + a commercial SAN. We're a Windows shop with Exchange 2013. That's the first part. The second part is we have an ERP system that controls every aspect of our business processes. It has over 100 customizations (VB, but transitioning over to C#). We also have 20 or so custom-made support applications that integrate with the ERP to provide a more streamlined interface to the factory workers in some cases, and in other cases to provide a functionality that is not present in the ERP at all. Our IT department consists of: 1 Network Administrator (me), 4 Programmers (one of which is also the IT Manager). I finally convinced our immediate boss that we need another network support person to back me up (but he must now convince the CEO who thinks we have a large IT department already). I would like them to also hire dedicated help desk people. As it stands, we all share help desk duties, but that leads to projects being seriously delayed or put on hold while we work on more mundane problems. It also leads to a good amount of stress, as I can't really create the solid infrastructure I want us to have, and the developers are always getting pressure from other departments for projects they don't have the manpower to even start. I'm not really sure how to convince them we need more people. I need something rather concrete, but there are widely varying ratios of IT/user ratios in different companies, and I'm sure their research turned up with some generic rule of thumb that leads them to believe we have too many already. What can we do?"

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One word (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593065)

Quit.

Re:One word (5, Insightful)

flyneye (84093) | about 9 months ago | (#45593387)

Two things; Never go to management with a problem, go with a solution and show them the money they'll make/save by implementing your solution.
Then, if it doesn't work, it's safe to forget it. Management doesn't want to think, but, they do want to make money, if it doesn't increase profits,don't hold your breath.
That IS what business is about; profit.

Re:One word (5, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 9 months ago | (#45593471)

One way to indicate to upper management - change the priority to the other projects and let things like printers and network problems go unresolved and state that it won't be fixed until we have achieved milestone Y for project X.

When the CEO comes in and rambles about printers not working - then let him choose between printer and a penalty for not meeting deadline for project X.

Re:One word (-1, Troll)

flyneye (84093) | about 9 months ago | (#45593563)

Uhm, yeah, and when the board turns him loose for frivolous decisions, cuts bonuses to make up for extra personnel, I don't think you'll care too much about hiring extra IT guys. Get the present ones OFF the video games, Off Slashdot and back to WORK and you won't NEED more personnel to screw it all up.
Nice scenario for a T.V. episode though, is that where you got the idea?

Re:One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593605)

Outsource.

Re:One word (4, Insightful)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about 9 months ago | (#45593615)

1) Quit and get the outsource contract.
2) Bill them twice what you earn now.
3) ???
4) Profit!

Re:One word (1)

jblues (1703158) | about 9 months ago | (#45593701)

That was my immediate thought too.

To be honest your boss is right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593085)

For such a small organisation with so few systems you actually do have a rather large IT department. Though 1 admin is always a little to small as you do need someone to back you up as even the best people get sick or need holidays.

Re:To be honest your boss is right (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#45593343)

no.

just label 4 of the guys as part of the factory production team. that's what they are.

Build a business case (5, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 9 months ago | (#45593087)

Standard way of doing it:

- Outline what's wrong with the current undersized staff, where are the bottlenecks, what's being held up because there aren't enough people.

- Explain how this hurts the company's bottom line.

- Explain how hiring another person will solve the current problems, increase efficiency, and in the medium to long term, increase revenues more than the cost of hiring this new person.

If your case is well built, it'll be self-explanatory. If your boss/manager is reasonable, they will see the benefit of hiring a new person. If they don't seem to see the benefit and refuse to see the logic of your case, either

1/ you haven't built a good enough case (your fault)
2/ your boss is a jerk and you should quit
3/ something fishy is going on at your company (such as the company having run out of cash and being unable to hire, even if it'd make sense) and you probably should quit as well

Re:Build a business case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593119)

4/ something else in the company is even more urgent than this.

Re:Build a business case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593167)

4/ something else in the company is even more urgent than this.

See point 2.

Re:Build a business case (3, Funny)

ruir (2709173) | about 9 months ago | (#45593139)

And if you dont have time or inclination for this, ask them to hire an external consultant to help you.

Re:Build a business case (5, Insightful)

Brownstar (139242) | about 9 months ago | (#45593155)

That's a start.

But from my experience the request will be taken more seriously if it is driven by the business teams, rather than the IT staff.

> the developers are always getting pressure from other departments for projects they don't have the manpower to even start.

Get the other departments to pressure the CEO to hire more IT staff, so that they can get the projects they need, and will be in a better position to explain what the ROI for the projects they want will be to the company than you will be.

If they can't justify the ROI for the projects, then if they're rational, which I realize isn't always the case, they will back down from requesting additional development that they can't justify. Which will pull some of the pressure off of your team.

Not sure how costs are split in your company, but if each department has their own budget, convince them that if they want more projects to be built, they need to allocate some of their budgets to the IT side of the organization so that you can hire the staff required to deliver those projects to them.

Re:Build a business case (2)

ruir (2709173) | about 9 months ago | (#45593233)

It is obvious just from reading the test: - the poster is the network manager, so no systems for you; - from the size of your machines, you need 3 Windows system administrators; - you also need at least more two people, one for the network, and other for the systems. - The IT Manager should , in the middle, long term , move to management, and hire at least one programmer more. - you need helpdesk people too. At least 2. And them management thinks you are small. For the size of your organization, you need at least more 7-9 people. Maybe more, if you say you need more programmers.

Re:Build a business case (5, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | about 9 months ago | (#45593691)

130 Desktops and max of 28 logical servers and you need 3 windows systems administrators!? Cross train the IT manager or programmers, or contract with a local outsourcing team to provide backup. I've found small local IT services shops can do basic systems management at a reasonable cost, and work well when paired with a knowledgeable person on the client side. You be the smart guy, and leverage a local services team who probably have a CCNA, Windows Server admin, SAN admin, etc. on staff.

The average IT spend as a percent of revenues is around 2-2.5%. That varies depending on industry (tech industry is much higher upwards of 4%), but it's a good starting point. I'd look at where you are at now as a benchmark. As others have mentioned, you need to make a business case. What projects are being delayed, by how much time, and what is the effect. If the effect is that the company misses $200k in revenue or increases production costs, you can probably make a case for additional help. If the effect is the floor manager gets grumpy because he really would like this thing, you probably aren't going to get additional help, nor should you.

Re:Build a business case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593283)

That's a start.

It's a start? It's how to talk to your boss 101. You tell them what you need. You tell them why. They say yes or no. If you are sure the answer should be yes, but they said no, you failed in telling them what or why.

I was waiting for someone to say ROI (5, Insightful)

Pollux (102520) | about 9 months ago | (#45593669)

ROI: Return on Investment

I had the displeasure of working inside Walmart stores for four years. (Thankfully, not for them, just in them.) They printed on every one of their distribution packaging boxes at the time, "Collapsing this box and sending it back saves the company $0.11.) Now there's ROI as simple and as plain-as-day.

How much time is lost due to computer or program downtime? How much time is lost due to broken code? How inefficient is having programmers share in tech support duties? How much money is this costing the company? Tell the company what they save by hiring another employee, and they'll make it happen.

Re:Build a business case (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593213)

Nonstandard way of doing it:

- Ignore the issue. Assume you can handle everything thrown at you. Overwork yourself trying to get everything done.

- Burn out. Collapse under the workload. All IT work grinds to a halt due to lack of sane employees. This might or might not convince the management there could be an issue somewhere.

- Snap. Apply violence, preferably to inanimate objects. Property damage and blood spatters do tend to get the management's attention very quickly. Carefully explain the issue at hand while they're still listening.

My direct superior went down this path. He doesn't work here anymore, but his little outburst did result result in our boss-type-people finally fixing pretty much everything he had been complaining about for years.

Re:Build a business case (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about 9 months ago | (#45593385)

A lot of people just overwork themselves trying to get everything done... If they succeed, then management think everything is just fine and ignore the fact you've been working twice your contracted hours to get everything done. As far as they're concerned, the existing staff are achieving everything required in the contracted hours and they have no need for extra staff. If you keep working like this it creates precedence and upper management will expect things to continue the same.

They will only take notice if there is an obvious problem, ie projects getting delayed and other areas of the business complaining about the delays.

The problem is if you suddenly stop overworking yourself and doing so causes these delays, management won't accept that you were overworking before, they will assume that you were doing your contracted hours before and are therefore slacking now.

Re:Build a business case (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593219)

Sometimes you can't convince someone that Saving / Increasing efficiency is more advantageous than spending money on areas that increase revenue.

My last company I worked for was in the same situation. I was only there for a little less than a year.
I was the Director of Communications, but also network admin, web developer, seo, tech support, access control, and repair the flight simulators ect.
We had a staff of about 200 on average I was the only person who handled any of the computers.
This CEO in particular would cut any corner possible and when he rarely spent any money it was on something that would generate a profit.
When I joined the company everything was outdated and in disrepair. I have pictures of the wiring messes ect.
The money was good for the location but still under the national average.
After a short time of collecting proposals out outsource the upgrades, I created my own internal proposal.
I took how long it would take me to complete each project if I could work only on that, then I tripled it.
I turned in the proposal and it sat on the desk for about a week. While it sat I began doing interviews with other companies.
After the second week we had a meeting about his decision to purchase more planes and put everything else on hold.
Normally I would want to jab for more money at this point but I rarely enjoy working for a company that is so focused on the bottom line.
We parted amicably but that was by far my shortest stay at any company.

Re:Build a business case (2)

Bert64 (520050) | about 9 months ago | (#45593459)

The problem is that upper management rarely understands IT, they see it as a necessary but unwanted cost and will try to minimise it. They also rarely see any downside to minimising costs.

And then those who do understand IT are generally not very good at explaining things to those who don't, or they create the wrong image (geeky etc) which causes upper management to disrespect their opinion.

Plus the inherent complexities of the problem...
Someone who is extremely competent will be able to keep a system running on a low budget, but not everyone is so competent and the typical people doing the hiring aren't qualified to judge IT competence, plus while a lot can be done with a small budget and lots of knowledge there is still a limit...
Also its possible to make a lot of extremely poor decisions in IT and simply get lucky... You can do with no redundancy, no DR plan, poor security etc and if your lucky nothing will go wrong and you won't get hacked. A lot of companies are in this boat, basically riding along on luck with a highly risky setup.

Upper management focuses on the bottom line because thats what they understand, it is their core business and they founded the business or were hired into a high position in it specifically because they understand it... They often don't understand other areas of business, and will often trust the wrong people (ie salesmen instead of their own staff) when it comes to matters they themselves don't understand.

Another serious problem is short term thinking... Your existing IT system may be slow, unreliable, clunky, but it limps along and the staff are familiar with it... If you replace it, users will have to get used to the new system, a new way of working and probably a new set of bugs to work around. A new system may cost a lot to implement, may result in a long period of reduced efficiency as staff get used to it etc.

And then you have history, many IT projects promise to deliver all manner of amazing improvements, but the reality when implemented can often be a system which is worse than what it replaced. This happens in a number of ways, external salesmen talk up a product which is nowhere near as good as they claim, the purchasing decision is made by upper management or by IT without any involvement of the people who will actually be expected to use the system.
And on the flip side, those people expected to use the system will often resent and resist change simply because they've had experience with poorly implemented systems in the past.

So you have a lot of hurdles to overcome implementing a new system, and although the end result *can* be a significant improvement, often it's not and in the short term there will often be a negative impact to the bottom line.

Re:Build a business case (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593259)

As a simple version of this: just log activities of the IT staff for a month or so.
Make sure you do it with sufficient granularity (that's tricky) and then highlight what time is spent on help-desking and solving other people's problems, and (in a different color), what time is spent on actually improving things.

Now your business case, assuming the logged period is fairly standard, is evident: here is how IT is forced to spent its time, and here is what is left by the wayside.

There is no business case. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593363)

From the OP:

I would like them to also hire dedicated help desk people. As it stands, we all share help desk duties, but that leads to projects being seriously delayed or put on hold while we work on more mundane problems.

IF getting the projects done were THAT big of an issue, the CEO would be solving the problem. And...

... I can't really create the solid infrastructure I want us to have, and the developers are always getting pressure from other departments for projects they don't have the manpower to even start."

Pressure from other departments? And? Here's what you say, "Talk to my manager. I have no say in that."

It's obvious to me that there are plenty of resources for what this company needs.

I keep seeing that HE wants them to hire dedicated people and HE wants an infrastructure that HE thinks they should have. The OP is incorrect on what he thinks his company needs.

Re:Build a business case (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593383)

Wrong. That the standard way of getting it rejected. Don't ever try to outsmart a manager when it comes to "managering". They don't care. IT only costs money, and adds no value (execpt when IT is not working, then it has to, pun intended). There have to be VISIBLE problems, service affecting, a-150-employees-including-the-ceo-cannot-work-because-the-windows-domain-controller-is-on-fire-level-problems. Then, MAYBE, when this has happened a few times in fields wher there is documentation that you told managment again and again, "this-windows-domain-controller-will-catch-fire", you get more staff. Not when you just yell "fire", and staff works at 120% level.

Re:Build a business case (2)

Ice Tiger (10883) | about 9 months ago | (#45593449)

Don't forget to include the opportunity cost of the current setup. People not working on projects that might lead to business outcomes that enhance the bottom line etc

You also might want to consider shifting anything that doesn't add to the bottom line out the door, for example use O365 instead of local Exchange as that will mean less person hours spent on a commodity service rather than something that differentiates the company in the marketplace.

Re:Build a business case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593721)

"If you were doing your job properly, we'd not need more people to do those things you list on your paper."

One Word: Spreadsheet (2)

thesandbender (911391) | about 9 months ago | (#45593091)

The simplest, and most effective way to get what you want is to prove that your staffing approach will save man hours/time/money. That is your only effective recourse. If you can't do this you are SOL.

Re:One Word: Spreadsheet (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 9 months ago | (#45593289)

The simplest and most effective way is to let a few services go down for a few hours due to lack of maintenance and explain that you're too busy to get them all up again in short time.

Hire more temporary desktop support people? (2)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | about 9 months ago | (#45593093)

If you are stuck between mundane (e.g. boss's email not working) and serious (e.g. database servers are not responding), it may be wiser to offload that part at a lower cost per employee (instead of a network admin to be a backup while you work on help desk issues)?

I've seen the problem where expensive servers are never installed (they sit unplugged for months) because people are busy fixing email client configs...

Re:Hire more temporary desktop support people? (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 9 months ago | (#45593135)

Often then not, helpdesk gives more trouble instead of less. They need to be properly trained and groomed. It is not a magic solution.

RE: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593097)

I think you should write down your job responsibilities and figure out the high priority ones that add value to the company, and the less valuable ones that you can offload to a second person or dedicated help desk.

Adding extra staff reduces profitability, so you need to convince your manager and help him convince the CEO that the benefit of freeing up your time to do higher value activities will:

a) Increase efficiency
b) Reduce cost in the medium term
c) Increase reliability or security i.e. preventing hacking incidents etc.

Also, you could calculate your average hourly salary and see whether freeing up your time would justify hiring a new person.

speak to them in the language they know best (3, Funny)

yanyan (302849) | about 9 months ago | (#45593099)

A lot of graphs and charts showing correlations between more IT staff and productivity, revenue, downtime, and output. :-)

Quit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593101)

Get another job.

Change jobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593103)

Your management is so far out of reach of reality that you'll always be taking the strain of making ends meet while getting yelled at for it. The only wakeup call that will work is if they have to actually go shop for replacing their IT team in order to get their shop back into working order.

They'll not believe you before they have been forced to look for alternatives.

Look for a company that has already left the stone age and no longer confuses the workload of IT personnel with typewriter mechanics (who have a comparatively light work load regarding the machines that are in good working order as they are not supposed to reconstruct and extend them).

Ditch Windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593109)

You'll get by with a small fraction of staff if you upgrade to a sensible infrastructure and ditch Windows. Most of the existing IT staff won't be able to be retrained so you'll have to let them go and hire in skilled workers instead. That's a little hard but worth it to get quality. They and you will get a lot more done without the constant maintenance that Windows requires just to stay running.

Re:Ditch Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593617)

First moron post: you win.

What I learned today (0)

ketomax (2859503) | about 9 months ago | (#45593113)

The famous Soulskill is a Network Administrator.

Learn your place (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593123)

Your boss is there to give you orders, not the other way around.

Just because there is more work to be done than you can do, doesn't mean there is money available to pay another worker.
Even if the money is there, spending it on work may not increase overall profit.

Re:Learn your place (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 9 months ago | (#45593159)

And in the end: do not let it give you stress. You are not running your company. Just make sure that the risk of their current decisions are communicated, don't assume they know.

Otherwise ask for a longvacation in 6 months. If you come back and things still are running, you worried too much. Also the fact that the lead IT mananger is a programmer is a bit worriesome. ..

I was in a similar role (5, Insightful)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 9 months ago | (#45593125)

I used to work for a company with 150 machines, 10+ servers, few lazer cutters running windows (of all things).
Programming was outsourced.

That job required 1 IT engineer, and, 1 IT manager.
We also operated CCTV systems, when requested by management.
Onsite callouts to external users, etc etc.
Yeah, it was a family run company. You know the kind, workload piles up whilst you prioritize the family members requests (no matter how silly they were).

It sounds like you have the numbers, just in the wrong place.

"We also have 20 or so custom-made support applications that integrate with the ERP to provide a more streamlined interface to the factory workers in some cases,"
Theres another problem right there. Sounds like your programmers are simply throwing out quantity, instead of one quality application. It will bite them in the ass later down the line.

I honestly think your company should only have 2 programmers, 2 IT engineers.
I wouldnt be surprised if they sacked the extra programmer and made the IT manager focus on IT, instead of programing.

Re:I was in a similar role (1)

HansKloss (665474) | about 9 months ago | (#45593199)

Mod parent up.

4 programmers for company of that size, it is a joke. 1 programmer + 1 IT with extra work outsourced as needed.

Re:I was in a similar role (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#45593443)

you're forgetting that programming was outsourced.

these guys apparently are developing the factory management system, the programs that work as the management layer in the factory(that would have been many foremen and secretaries in the old school) - they're important part of how the factory works.

of course, you could say that "the answer is to outsource the programming". how cheap that's going to be though(potentially very expensive, erp consultation rates are ridiculous)..

You are barking at the wrong tree (4, Interesting)

ruir (2709173) | about 9 months ago | (#45593129)

The point you have to make is not you need to hire more people, it goes beyond that. Point 1) document the time you are "wasting" with tasks bellow your competence. Point 2) do the math, show them how much they could save, both with productivity lost in important projects, and most importantly, how much they could save shifting more mundane tasks with cheaper people. Point 3) Document the expenses with outside contractors (if any). Point 4) Make the case for outlining responsibilities and areas of competences. People dont ask airline pilots to pick up trash, or give food to travellers, well again, because their work is expensive. Also, people dont expect taxi drivers to be able to fly a jet. Point 5) Learn to say no. Either when you dont have competences or time. Point 6) Learn when how to say I dont know. Point 7) Know when it is time to outsource some services, either in complex or lengthy tasks.

Re:You are barking at the wrong tree (4, Insightful)

ruir (2709173) | about 9 months ago | (#45593191)

And dont forget also metrics standard in industry. From the top of my head, normally is an administrator for every 50 windows machines. I can be wrong, research about it, put there known names, like Gartner. I personally think they spew bullshit, but management loves numbers and metrics.

Re:You are barking at the wrong tree (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 9 months ago | (#45593217)

Point 2) do the math, show them how much they could save, both with productivity lost in important projects, and most importantly, how much they could save shifting more mundane tasks with cheaper people.

Make sure to show them that there is more work than the department can handle now. Otherwise: out you go, in comes a cheaper replacement taking over everyone's mundane tasks, and your not so mundane tasks are taken over by the higher qualified people. After all, if you have work for five people, it doesn't make sense to hire six. It may make sense to replace one with someone with a different skill set, and re-organise the work.

Re:You are barking at the wrong tree (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 9 months ago | (#45593351)

That is if and only if he's working for a shady company. Although such things do happen.

Re:You are barking at the wrong tree (0)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | about 9 months ago | (#45593681)

But don't forget about: Point 8)

Learn

How

To

Insert

White

Space

In

Your

Documents.

If all you do is write long run-on sentences, then point 9) you look like an idiot and more to the point, Point 10) no one is going to bother reading them no matter how interesting and insightful it is. You could write things all day long and even though it might be spelled rite and ain't got no many atrocious grammar missteaks, as long as no one reads it then all you've done is waste both your time and theirs. Also, you've increased global warming by breathing and expending energy while you wrote your War and Peace masterpiece and it didn't make any difference in the long run. So in other words: white space on the page is just like air in your lungs, if you don't have any white space in any or your paragraphs you should just stop breathing while you write it so that you remember not to do that. Blank space also creates a slight sense of restfulness for the eyes since you don't have a giant wall of black text staring at you that you have to parse. Instead of having a massive square of text, you might try a more artistic approach [ioccc.org] for your choo-choo (See marshall) [ioccc.org] . If you just don't care though, you can write as much as you want, even try to write the Great American Novel. All you're doing though is taking low-paying jobs from a million monkeys [wired.com] , and now-a-days putting them on the unemployment line since they're people [nbcnews.com] too. I suppose that's better than being served up as Soylent Green, though. And yes I know that in slashdot you can make things look as pretty as you want in the Comment section, but if you don't delimit them and add the internal markup, then you end up with stuff that looks a lot like this, I'm the only one still here, aren't I? Gee, this is just like back in grammar school when I was the last one picked for dodge-ball, as I couldn't dodge very well. That mean old Tommy always kept picking on me and throwing the ball as hard as he could; he even broke my arm one time and then stood over me and laughed and laughed. I hated him, I've hated him for years. He was always better than I was in almost everything, but just exactly like you he didn't bother to use white space and paragraphs while writing and ... TOMMY? TOMMY, IS THAT YOU?!!? I'm going to find out where you live and we'll just see how you like to be hit with a wrecking ball instead of a hard rubber ball.

So use white space or a wrecking ball [youtube.com] might soon come your way. Oh, and those are all good points by the way, once you find them.

time and cost details (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 9 months ago | (#45593131)

You should have timesheets detailing everything you actually do, a list of tasks that need to be done as well as time estimates against them. Present that as your business case. Remember though staff are very expensive, for such a small organisation that is actually a lot of developers but maybe 1 too few admins, perhaps they should also be looking at utilisation of more off the shelf stuff rather than extremely expensive customisations.

Managers talk Dollars (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593141)

For getting support from managers, you need to take talk a language managers understand:

* Return on Investment for infrastructure improvements
* Write-off rates on existing and new equipment--and the effort required for replacing them.
* Risks involved with having out-dated infrastructure--preferably expressed in dolar amounts.

This all boils down to getting actual figures / accurate estimates for the amount of funding involved in supporting the infrastructure, servers and desktops at acceptable levels of continuity.

The programming members of your team need to be assertive and explain the planning consequences of the demands placed on them, so that management can make informed decisions on priorities. When the priorities are clear, the programmers need to stick to them and refer people who do not like that to management instead of trying to please everybody.

talk business (5, Informative)

Tom (822) | about 9 months ago | (#45593149)

Been there, done that.

When you talk to managers, you need to talk business. Throw every reason you think important into the trashcan. Then build your case from the ground up as a business case. Show that it saves the company money or increases productivity. Basically, make the case that your proposal == more $$$.

If management has ever complained about IT being slow or unproductive or their new iPad taking a week to set up - that's your door. Show them how productivity would increase with the expensive IT guys doing the IT work and lots-cheaper help desk guys doing the cheap work. Make sure to use the word "waste" a lot, because it's a red flag to managers - you they leave with the fear that they are wasting company resources unless they follow your proposal, but without you having said that directly, because they have to think they came up with that conclusion themselves.

And read up on the bikeshed problem - include some trivial, easily understood parameters in your proposal that management can discuss and decide upon.

And finally, understand that there may be reasons you don't know about that could lead to your proposal being rejected no matter how good it is. I once got a project rejected that everyone agreed was good because the company was about to merge with another one and nobody wanted to make a decision in that order of magnitude (a few million) because management had already begun the "there's one of us in each company but only one position in the merged one..." game.

Some ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593157)

Senior management needs evidence that the company needs the additional staff. Focus on presenting why they should hire them: What will happen to business if they don't (risk of stopped production, loss of data, projects being late) and quantify, best in lost money. Get numbers ready for the different aspects.

Help Desk: Check how much calls you get per day/month, how much work this involves. Put together a list of tasks that are common and could be solved by a help desk person. Get familiar with ITIL/different support level methodology.

Network: make clear what single point of failures mean to the business.

In general: Come up with the risks and description, not a solution you want. What is needed is that the senior management realizes that there is a challenge, maybe another solution (external providers for tasks etc.) might also be suitable.

In short: (1)

andrea.sartori (1603543) | about 9 months ago | (#45593161)

Q. How Do I Convince Management To Hire More IT Staff?
A. you don't.

Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593169)

Hahahahahaha!

Wow, you guys must suck cock all day. I have the same (minus Exchange, because let's face it, it sucks) and 600 employees. We only need two techs, all programmers are outsourced. If you need more people for such a small shop, you are a fucking idiot. The CEO is right, no more techs. Infact, he should fire the lot of you.

It is huge IT (1)

HansKloss (665474) | about 9 months ago | (#45593177)

For that size? 4 Programmers???
Fire 2 developers and hire 1 temp for occasional network staff.
I know Network Admins that manage 1000-5000 workstations. Easily.

Do not personally absorb the pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593181)

Actually as long as there is no pain for the business or your boss, then he will hardly add resources and therefore increase costs.
So IF the load is really to high to sustain it, then stop doing excessive overtime, covering blown milestones etc. Then management will realise that they need to increase staffing, hire contractors, offload duties, etc. But it is certainly their responsiblity to choose which way they want to go.

Resources tend to be scarce (4, Interesting)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 9 months ago | (#45593197)

In addition to the IT department wanting more people, probably shipping, accounting, sales, and just about every other group in the company wants to hire more people. And everyone probably has a good reason, a clear benefit or savings to the company if they get the people they want.

As the company can't invest in all of these projects (and hire all those people), they'll be careful before they add staff to any group. This is pretty standard. It's not enough that you say "I need more people so we can finish projects on time and get a great network infrastructure." You have to be able to say "lack of IT staff is hurting X groups and costs the company $X"

Why not look at it another way? Instead of asking for more people, look at the issues being brought up with help desk work. Are you spending 8 hours a day resetting passwords? Maybe you can give the users the ability to reset their own passwords. Or maybe some training will pay off dividends and allow people to make less help desk calls. Cut down on the help required and you can effectively have more time for other things (without needing to hire someone else). You'll look like a hero. Just start tracking what type of issues come in and you'll be able to use that to build your case to management.

You don't ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593205)

Your boss is "also a programmer" this means that in a 150 person company they decided not to have a real CIO.
He will not get the cash, and most probably not even ask.

The only thing you can do it select the least competent of your colleages, hope he or she is also the one with the least social graces, and select that person as the only "user support" person, and whenever somebody ask you to do any support, smile and say that of course you will hurry up and call "I will fetch Mordac the preventer of IT immediatly", and I'm sooo sorry but there is no way I can do it myself I'm flabulating the flobustron right now and if it's not flabulated right the flubeldrak will not goblediglop and my colleages will absolutelly be stuck and the payroll or invoice engine will not work (use payroll for employees and invoices for bosses)...

You might find out that 5 people is actually enough (the ordinary ration would be between 3 to 6 but then you are a microsoft shop so you might be able to justify 7...)
Or the bosses will start to freak out ... and come with a "solution" it might be outsourcing the support function... or hiring a CIO...
but beware of your wishes.... you might get them ...

  Good Luck
      and try to have a job lined up as soon as you can ...

Unbalanced (5, Insightful)

sugar and acid (88555) | about 9 months ago | (#45593207)

I'll be honest, you seem to have a large IT department. You have 4 programmers, and that seems out of whack. Now you are a manufacturer are these programmers actually working on internal business systems (so truly IT), or are they actually involved in developing end user software firmware etc (product development).

If it product development they need to be moved into the development department with the engineers, though the IT manager would then come underneath the product development manager which maybe politically problematic but needs to be done.

If it is just for internal systems development and support, frankly your doing too much customization of your internal system. I think you'll find that the payback with a company the size your described , for automating and streamlining every process, by heavy modifications to the ERP are actually not there. Get the IT manager to fight against further scope creep of the ERP, sack a programmer or 2 and get in more true IT support staff.

Get Good IT People. (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45593231)

I used to WRITE industry-leading ERP software, AND I used to manage 120 offices equipped with desktops at the same time, AND run the cable myself through the ceilings. And (other than writing the software) I did it entirely on my own, until I got overworked and hired an assistant.

That might be a bit less but look at the scale here: you have 4 programmers, programming shit the ERP company should be supplying you already (OUR customers didn't have to know how to program). You need 2 "network support" people although I did all the network support by myself back in the day when Ethernet was just being marketed. We didn't have it yet. It's so goddamned much simpler today I have to wonder what the problem is. If the 8 servers need a lot of maintenance then you didn't do it right in the first place.

Where your company sucks is help desk. Managers, engineers & other hands-on people should not be doing help desk in this day and age. That's just ridiculous. Tell your management to get some decent help-desk software (some good stuff is FREE!) and hire some (relatively cheap) clerical workers or PHONE JOCKEYS, for Christ's sake, and get that monkey off your back. It doesn't belong there.

That's cheaper (and often better) than trying to pay tech staff to handle support. You do need to set up a good Wiki (or similar) for FAQ and answered issues, but at least you have gatekeepers to keep people off your back all the time.

And honestly: if you need 4 programmers to do your ERP, you're buying it from the wrong people.

Re:Get Good IT People. (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 9 months ago | (#45593473)

I should clarify what I was saying: if you're the top guy then some support questions will (and should) trickle up to you eventually. But the key words here are "trickle" and "eventually". You should have a layer or two of (again, relatively cheap) people under you to handle the more routine things.

Explain your limits and how it relates to business (1)

rcastro0 (241450) | about 9 months ago | (#45593241)

You should track how you and your staff spend time for a week or so (a typical week). Then you should point out how much effort (FTEs) mundane support tasks are taking, and how much is left for system development, programming.

When you do that, do point out the extra penalty for efficiency due to constantly have to answer support request. (assuming it is inevitable)

Then list all requests for system improvements, what are the benefits of each when looking from a business perspective (bottom line impact). Do a rough estimate of development time, vs your limited capacity, and thus how long (if ever) the request pipeline will be cleared.

You should then lay three options for management: forsake a part of the $ benefits from improving the system, out source development or hire more staff. You can compare the cost of each alternative to make the decision of easier... (opportunity cost in the first alternative)

Your shop is manpower-intensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593243)

No, not the manufacturing plant. Your IT-infrastructure. You're just really lucky the chief is only smelling a rat at this point, and doesn't have the background to figure out the obvious.

Management's View (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593245)

The managers will be thinking.

"Gee, why can't we hire fewer people to do the same amount of work. We give our workers great benifits. If we could only hire some super performers our problems would go away. By problems I mean this guy who is bugging us to hire more people. More people means less profit. Less profit means less pussy. So lets hire some of the Super Performers from India. They will perform well for more profit and therefore get us more pussy.

Gee I'm glad I thought of that. USian workers are so lazy. I know I will use the money that I saved by hiring Indians to increase my quarterly bonus. "

Don't go there... (1)

Krokant (956646) | about 9 months ago | (#45593247)

First ask yourself what the priority of your CEO is. Does he really care about the IT department, does he see it merely as a cost or as adding value to the company? My experience is that in manufacturing, this is mostly not the case (as opposed e.g. to the financial services vertical). Furthermore, are there real problems with IT being exposed to senior management, e.g. was there a big loss of data that caused the entire factory to come to a grinding halt? Or do you guys do a good job, make sure that everything keeps running (with the necessary overtime, stress, cursing, ...) with just some occasional failure that never even surfaces because it has hardly a financial impact? Unless you will be able to convince the CEO that either his business will increase because of an additional FTE on IT, or that a huge risk of production loss (= financial loss) can be mitigated using additional staff, your chances to convincing him will be nearly zero. I suppose your IT manager has gone over this exercise a few times as well... Tip of the day: don't tell the CEO about your nitty gritty techy projects you want to do, like "creating the solid infrastructure you want to have". They couldn't possibly care less about what you want, they care only about the benefit for the company (which in turn after the yearly numbers have been published, turns into a benefit for them personally).

too many programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593249)

typical... network admin whiner

Business case (1)

nuggz (69912) | about 9 months ago | (#45593269)

To justify spending on any project, you have to explain why it is worth spending money on. This is standard practice for any large expenditure.

It's a simple concept, but it's hard to do well.

Simply identify the benefits of hiring someone, and their value. If the additional value is more than their cost, by the required return, they'll spend the money.

If you spend your time doing other stuff, point out you spend x% of your time doing this other stuff, and if you consider the context switching overhead you're very inefficient. That's often enough to hire a jr support guy.

Hire a Temp (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593273)

Hire a temp, it's usually easier to get a temp approved to knock down ticket times. Make them your Helpdesk person and have them handle basic low profile stuff. Temps are less threatening to management but do this every time you get backlogged eventually it will be cheaper to hire someone than to keep paying a staffing company. At the very least you'll get help to lighten the load even if only temporarily.

Re: Hire a Temp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593665)

Temps rarely help if there is a true resource issue. It takes time to train then. Then once they're trained they have to leave.

standard ERP issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593285)

The ERP with over 100 customizations is the real problem.
Your mangement meets some ERP salesman that convinces them the ERP will fit "most" of your needs.
But its far from true and it requires a lot of people and specific ERP skills to make it fit.
In the end, it works better and cheaper to develop a solution from free software and a few developer to make them fit your need.

Get rid of the ERP you will not need an extra IT staff.

Here's a huge part of your problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593287)

> We're a Windows shop with Exchange 2013.

No good can ever result from the above. Only stress and harm.

You do need more help (3, Insightful)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 9 months ago | (#45593311)

The way I see it - the "IT Department" is really just you because the programmers are more akin to an "Engineering" or Tooling department IMO. Are the programmers providing IT support? If so, this is a double edged sword for obvious reasons.

I have worked in offices only slightly smaller than that company and we needed at least two people most days - and we had the benefit of having outside help for a lot of things (having a high staff turn-over didn't help).

I think it's worth making a business case focused argument rather than a "we need help" based one. Perhaps you should get the help of a manager who is not in the "IT Department" to help build, mentor and deliver the case. This isn't necessarily because your existing IT Manager is incompetent, but mostly because he is too close to the issue at hand and is unlikely to be taken seriously because of it. He also sounds like a typical tech guy - and thus probably isn't quite as tuned into non-IT culture.

Re:You do need more help (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 9 months ago | (#45593723)

Ah, I got distracted while writing my initial reply and failed to re-read TFS to get the answers I wanted. Yes, the programmers are doing IT/support tasks rather than addressing business needs and things are going pear shaped because of lack of focus. Though my solution remains the same.

don't ask for more people! (5, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 9 months ago | (#45593339)

Don't ask for more people! Ask for more money!

Tell the boss you can get rid of the four programmers by using a new super AI scripting system that only you can program. Tell him with the money he saves on the four salaries, he can pay three of those salaries to you on top of your normal one, and he's still going to save money! Win-Win! Next, you need to gain access to your Windows boxes without a gui: Simply install a Russian botnet, with a web based control interface. You can get an old one from any online Mafia surplus store. Next, you can simulate the AI system using a dozen cheap Indian IT professionals who simply do the needful overnight via the web interface. Demonsrate the system to the boss, claiming it's a natural language interface (don't mention the Indians). Make sure you finish the demo with a difficult task which is written in incomprehensible New Zealander slang, to show that the system still has just a few bugs left. When the boss is impressed, ask for another $500k to develop the system, promising joint marketing rights when it's finished. When difficulties arise in the next 6 months, ignore them, claiming you have coding to do and the final version will solve everything. At some point you will get fired. Use the golden parachute you negotiated after 3 months, when you were claiming that Google have been pestering you with job offers twice each day (proved using forged emails).

Now relax, count your money on the beach in Acapulco, and install an experimental version of Arch Linux on your Beowulf cluster of Raspberry Pi's. Log onto the Internets using your satellite phone, and help newbies with their sysadmin questions long into the sunset.

Ratios (5, Informative)

ledow (319597) | about 9 months ago | (#45593353)

I work in inner-city schools. My last job was for independent (private) schools.

We had 380 kids, 50 staff, 50 desktops, 50 laptops, 50 netbooks, 50 tablets. We tied it all in on site, with VoIP phones, structured cabling and also wireless, dozens of apps (some dating back decades), dozens of printers, access control, CCTV, even the boilers were computer-controlled. Every classroom was kitted out with projector, whiteboard, phone, laptop point, printer, and a few bits of miscellany. It was all wired back to 6 servers, and we offloaded quite a lot of external stuff like email to Google Apps.

There was me. Just me. And an independent audit recommend we get someone else to help me but it was going to be just an apprentice.

The computer systems ran everything, including a bunch of legally required systems and the finance (several million pounds a year just in school fees, for instance). Building projects happened every Summer and generally added several rooms and meant recabling large parts of the building every six months or so.

Outside contracting was limited to cable running (not even crimping, etc.) and third-line support. We had a helpdesk ticketing system, regular computer-based exams that affected the children's education if they weren't run properly, an MIS that held stupidly critical information and was in use by the staff every moment of every day.

And, I'd like to reiterate, there was just me. Now, I left because of overburden but that was after 5 years of all the above running quite happily and only THEN (after a staff change) did they try to pile duties like managing the boiler control systems (what the hell do I know about gas boilers the size of a room?), overriding all my freedoms and choices (ordered a VoIP phone - normally £100 and next-day delivery.... six months later, the order still hadn't even gone through the system) and expecting decisions-by-committee where the committees still wouldn't exist six months later.

As such, I left not because of the IT workload but because of the management bullshit that suddenly appeared above me and stopped me doing my job. Several others left with me, and the number of constructive dismissal claims went through the roof.

And you're sitting there with 4 programmers and 2 "general" IT staff on something that I would consider - at best - equivalent, and moaning? My sympathy isn't with you. I made more than 100 customisations to a single process on a single machine, running more than 25 separate major functions which was so funny that I used to label them (e.g. "Fax-to-email server", "Intranet server", etc.) on the side of the machine and I ran out of room on a tower case. Hell, just the copy of Hylafax I was always scared to upgrade because it had so many home-brew patches and configuration quirks that it took a long time to do so from the bare source.

Multiply that up by the various other servers, failovers, etc. and I did more programming on them than I did any other kind of tech support. One of them even had some electronic relay control boards that I had to design and build myself, controlled by that same machine and even controllable remotely via authenticated SMS message (heavily patched gammu installation).

So in terms of your people ratios, I have little sympathy. And you have a LOT of programmers to make your life easier. I spent most of my time chasing external tech support for stupid unresolvable issues in binary software that they refused to update/support. Things like hard-coding the version of Flash required but not being able to recognise two-digit major numbers (e.g. Flash 10), the company going bust 10 years ago, but the software being "vital" to the school's curriculum. Things like software running under Windows 95 "everyone is local admin" conditions but having to deployed in the two IT suites and various standalone and staff laptop machines such that children could run it unsupervised.

Couple in heavy web filtering, huge legal requirements (all staff machines encrypted), little financial investiture in software compared to flashy hardware (e.g. 50 Android tablets that have to be individually built and managed), etc. and a policy to replace every machine after its 4th year (at maximum) and staff machines every 2 years, and you end up in a situation where I read your ratios and laugh.

I can't even work out what you're doing that would need 20 virtual servers on 8 physical servers, to be honest.

Try one man, 400+ users, 200+ machines, and less budget than you pay those programmers to keep it all running and buy all your hardware and consumables out of. And I did it happily for five years, with much praise from my line manager, until they forced him out and inserted more management bullshit into my path which made it take 6 months to do the equivalent of phoning up our VoIP supplier and asking them to send a handset.

Re:Ratios (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593463)

Very similar story. 150 users. 100 desktops, 4 sites, 2 states and 2 countries. Servers, networking, programming, ERP, general policy development, IT manager, managing big room sized non-IT equipment with little training, pretty much no budget, remnants of legacy software floating about, little automation and finally, just me.

Re:Ratios (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593663)

Most people cannot perform at that level.

You were underpaid, and I hope your next position was better compensated.

Easy answer (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 9 months ago | (#45593367)

Q: How do I convince management to hire more IT staff?

A: Quit.

Prioritize openly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593369)

Have a meeting with management and explain which tasks can be done and which can't be done with the current staff.
Have a bunch of suggestions how the situation can be taken care of (more staff, lower quality, no support some hours, outsourcing, etc)

All they hear is you asking for yourself (4, Insightful)

HnT (306652) | about 9 months ago | (#45593381)

Your main issue is: in every single sentence you told us you said "I want", "I need" something to essentially make the situation better for you and your co-workers and you want the company to spend money for that. This is completely useless since all they hear is you asking for a favor to make your life and your job easier for YOU, and you presented mildly or barely business-relevant arguments as a justification for that but your main points were presented about YOU and your team. It is not an issue for management if you and your coworkers are overworked as long as things are still running; they will brush that off as "the geeks are just whining" or "times are tough but it will get better". It obviously has not been an issue so far that certain projects got delayed. And "we could do better" is something managers don't care about because it is universally always true even if you are the leader in that area.

You mean well but you are selling it completely wrong. If you really want to work on bettering the situation then you got to learn to play politics and understand business and partially go against what feels natural for a tech. That means you need to establish an actual issue in the managers' minds first. This could mean weeks, months if not years of pointing to an issue when it pops up and showing how it affected the business in a negative way. But be warned, nobody likes bad news and to be constantly nagged, so you will need tact. It could be done opportunistically, piggy-backing a crisis. Bob in accounting not being able to start his Excel fast enough is not such an issue. Losing a client because your infrastructure could not provide the necessary information is a very real cause to do something. The whole network being down and nobody being able to access their emails for two days because your only network admin was sick or on vacation is a very serious business risk to consider. If you have shady ethics then such an incident can work wonders if management really does not understand how serious the situation is of not having a backup admin for vital infrastructure. Managers love their emails, that is a point they will instantly understand.

Don't tell them what they should do, show them the real business-relevant issues and be prepared for them to completely ignore it despite all the sense you are making - running a business means constantly balancing more or less serious issues with very serious issues and crises and often getting it wrong and if there is no money then your issues could be severe but they still might be unable to do anything because there simply is no money. If they do listen, be ready to make suggestions and keep things simple and clear. There is a very descriptive saying, "pictures for kids and executives", that is how simple and clear you should keep it. Never argue with "too much work".

really (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 9 months ago | (#45593389)

You can make any arguments to management that you want, but I've done more with less and I recommend you do the same. Take charge learn your systems and become the expert who doesn't need help. Then go get a new job or start a firm as an IT consultant. Your first client can be the one you leave.

You don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593437)

You work smarter, not harder, and do more with less. I have one IT person for my 200 employees, and she manages just fine.

My 2 cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593439)

If you are not a manager, it is not your job to explain to them you need more people. It is _their_ job to determine if _they_ need more people.

You work your hours, do your duties the best you can. If there is more work than you can do - just tell them, but that's all you have to do.
If there is more work than you or your deparment can do, it is not your problem, it is their problem, you are not paid to do all the work, but to spend your work time working - if it requires more work time, it requires more people :-)
They can argue you can work faster, but unless they can prove it, the ball stays on their side.

Don't let the responsibility shift to you unless you already have it.

metrics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593441)

The usual approach is to make up metrics like average time to respond to problems, costs of network downtime, etc. However you may be more successful just locating the CEO's mistress and threatening to tell the wife

Developers aren't IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593499)

Developers are not IT staff. This is something that should be brought up at the company you work, in order to clearly defining the different roles of IT and Developers. This should help make the problem easier for them to see.

Talk Money (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | about 9 months ago | (#45593503)

Talk money: man hours, capital investment, returns.

Will it profit the company?

This is a language problem. Know your audience, use their language

Restrain your Tech nature. Management doesn't care and never will -- just shut up about it.

What does the company make? (2)

sirwired (27582) | about 9 months ago | (#45593507)

Off-hand, four programmers for a manufacturing company with 150 employees seems a bit high. Is your current application environment really so inadequate or dynamic that you need four people to keep up with the changes?

But yes, a dedicated Help Desk Tech for day-to-day "box won't boot" problems is cheap and effective.

Cost Implications (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about 9 months ago | (#45593511)


This is what your senior managers are often most concerned about.

The way I see it you need to figure out how much it costs the business if function X breaks. If the network fails, how much does the business lose per day.
Let's not forget there is an additional cost if the usual staff cannot do their work, time lost to restore backups etc.

Now factor the cost of getting some adhoc help via an external company in case of emergency. Eventually the network will fail and if you alone cannot fix it you'll need help.

Hopefully you now have some *realistic* and yet scary figures. You need to figure out what sort of resiliency the network has and what is the likelihood of a total catastrophic failure. The less redundant the setup, the higher the chance.

Bring this information to the relevant people and demonstrate how these risks are lowered with additional headcount/equipment.

If you have more than 5 minutes to think about this I'm sure you'll expand on this line of thought and come up with something even more polished.

well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593541)

Fart on CEOs table... always helps.

Programmers make for expensive staff (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 9 months ago | (#45593571)

You need to show how much of your time is being spent on stuff is help desk, desktop support and so on. You then need to document your cost that is being spent on these activities each week in terms of salary plus benefits (HR can get this for you, typically 1.5 times salary). You then need to document your opportunity cost for those things that you aren't working on that the business needs (systems that support business functions).

If you can do this than you can show how your company is spending by using programmers as help desk staff. It likely won't take very many hours a week of help desk time to justify paying for a couple help desk staff. The biggest thing is the opportunity cost to the business in terms of what you aren't working on during those hours. If the numbers don't add up than it doesn't justify to hire your staff, if they do than it does.

A fine excuse for picking a man's pocket... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593573)

SCROOGE: Cratchit!

BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir? Yes, sir?

SCROOGE: It's too late to have you go to Parthegill's. He'll be closed up for
Christmas like these other fools. We may as well close up the place now.

BOB CRATCHIT: Yes, sir. It IS getting a little dark. Hard to see the figures.

SCROOGE: I - I suppose you'll want the entire day to-morrow?

BOB CRATCHIT: If it's quite convenient, sir.

SCROOGE: It's not convenient -- and it's not fair, either. But I suppose I
can't do anything about it. Heh. If - if I was to stop half-a-crown of your
wages, you'd think yourself very ill-used, I'll be bound?

BOB CRATCHIT: Well, sir, I--

SCROOGE: Yeah, but you don't think me ill-used, when I pay a day's wages for
no work.

BOB CRATCHIT: It's only once a year, sir.

SCROOGE: Once a year! Once a year, indeed. A fine excuse for picking a man's
pocket every twenty-fifth of December! But I suppose there's no good talking.
You must have the whole day. Well, see that you're here all the earlier the
next morning. You understand?

BOB CRATCHIT: Oh, I will, sir.

How to get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593579)

One thing the CEO must understand is that the amount of IT people is not dependent on how many other employees the company has, but on the IT environment they are running.
For your size there should be at least 8 people (6 would be fine if you would not run Windows :-) )
Also one thing to understand is - every position so crucial that it can stop you from doing business must have at least 1 full backup, no matter the actual workload.
You can explain it in a way every businessman understand - how much money you are going to loose if I (you) get hit by a car and die today.
If the answer is anything else then 0 there is something wrong with your department structure..

we are used to design our server infrastructure, storage and network without a single point of failure, so we do not face such situation. Many companies just forget that you have to design you IT department and people the exact same way.

So this is what cloud does? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593593)

It may sound like a cliche but this is a common problem that can be solved by private/hybrid cloud solutions. Everyday IT staff are asked to do more with less and even when we're able to hire more people, the good people are expensive and difficult to find. Automating those day to day tasks and driving automation allows your programmers (and potentially end users) to quickly deploy applications and services without you wasting time on provisioning machines, configuring network ports, and dealing with the applications. I worked in manufacturing for 6 years and could've easily done the job myself (infrastructure, not programming) if I had automation. Taking care of templates and images rather than 20-40 independent VM's is much easier and managing groups of resources rather than individual components would've saved a lot of hours. Find a partner and ask about any of the private cloud solutions available today.

An economic analysis (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about 9 months ago | (#45593603)

Your boss's job is to make sure that the company turns a profit. Why should he hire more people when everything is working fine right now? This might *sound* like a stupid question, but that's exactly what your boss is going to ask. You need to have an answer for him.

You say that projects are getting delayed so that you can put out fires. *What* projects? Could these projects save the company money? Could they reduce risk and therefore prevent a loss of money? Are they necessary for the business to continue operating thus make money? For example, you said that IT is getting pressure from other departments because IT is holding them up. There's a good business case for hiring more IT staff. The other department could get their projects going faster and thus make more money.

You also mentioned helpdesk staff. What are your current wait times? Are you tracking them? If so, pull the data. If not, start tracking them now. If wait times are excessive then that's lost money. If hiring helpdesk staff can help other people get back to work faster then the company can make more money.

Back all of this up with numbers. You don't have to have a perfect analysis, but you should have some kind of rough number to give to your boss.

Are you needing staff or MONKEYS?? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 9 months ago | (#45593613)

when you run your numbers don't forget that you may be able to "sell" the increases better if you can make it as cheap as possible.
start with your Help desk do you have a large number of tickets that could be cleared by a "trained monkey"?? Also for the top end folks think "What will happen if i get run over by a bus or go Full Metal Jacket BOFH?"

your department is fat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593653)

My team - two guys, myself and one other engineer - supports 600 servers. We do everything from development to break fix to purchasing. These are not cookie cutter installations either, as almost every one runs a different application.

I've been trying to find a new engineer for over a year but most of the candidates are incompetent by our standards.

I'm not saying this to be mean, but to read that you support fewer systems with more staff doesn't tweak my sympathy neuron.

For asking such a question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45593659)

I hereby sentence you to read 24 assorted Dilbert comic strips, until you realize the error of your ways.
P.S. Good luck with asking for anything that costs money.

The CEO is Probably Right (2)

unamanic (997477) | about 9 months ago | (#45593675)

Unless you're selling your software, IT departments don't make money. They either save money or increase productivity through automating manual processes allowing the company to fire people or produce more product with the same amount of people. Having an IT department that is larger than 1-2% of the company causes the costs to outweigh the gains. You'll have a hard time making your case unless your company can either monazite the work your IT department does or you can prove there will be very significant savings.

Outsource! (1)

prisoner (133137) | about 9 months ago | (#45593679)

Tons of outsourced helpdesk available these days. We use it to provide 24x7 to our customers that need it.

What exactly do you need help with? (1)

Simulant (528590) | about 9 months ago | (#45593703)


Every environment is different but I tend to agree with ledow.... Based on what you have stated, I would think your IT dept is sufficient in size.

I work at a 400 user company (wholesale/retail) with an IT staff of 4: a developer, an ERP help desk person, a IT director who also manages the ERP system, and myself, the sys admin who handles everything else. We have 30 branch locations a commercial SAN, about 16 virtual servers and 8 or 9 physical ones.

What helps hugely in my case is that the bulk of my users are on thin clients. I've only got one PC at each remote site and maybe 100 at HQ. Everyone else is using thin clients connecting to our 4 RDS server farm. Even so, that leaves 130 or so windows 7 laptops & desktops but I typically only get a handful of calls a week from people with PC problems. As for my servers, I'm actually shocked at how stable and maintenance free they have been - All Dell & Hyper-V. Server 2008R2/Exchange 2010.

I do all the networking, server & SAN management, and desktop support myself, and I frequently wish I had more big projects because I can get quite bored when things are running smoothly. I'm not even a l33t coding admin. Just a competent old-school point and click one. Also I tend do do things cheaply which, ironically, also reduces complexity (in my case). I stay away from the commercial high end backup, system/network management, or security solutions, most of which are geared to enterprises much larger than ours. I stick to free and/or cheap, and for the most part and it all runs very smoothly. The first few years of setup and clean up were a lot of work but these days my network practically runs itself.

What I don't have is an overbearing management structure with unrealistic expectations and requirements, so that also helps a lot. What I do have is 400 people who generally think I'm the best thing since sliced bread and a lot of free time at work.
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