Business Technology

Holding out for a hero! The resilience heroes in every business

7 min read

30 August 2018

“No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again”. This quote from animated hero Mr Incredible personifies the feeling the IT gets of always fighting battles but never winning the war. Here's how to help them.

The Pixar superhero exemplifies the frustrations we feel when we’re going from one problem to the next, with little choice but to keep moving on. If there’s one skill every business needs, it’s resilience.

This is not down to just one person. In every business, there are everyday resilience superheroes who do their part in making this happen. However, every hero has an Achilles heel – a particular skill or blind spot that needs to be looked after.

Here are characteristics of resilience heroes – and how the wider business should be supporting them.

The resilience leader

Strengths: The resilience leader is a champion of continuity, making sure everything stays up and running while blocking the constant evil threats. Conditioned to think beyond backup, this hero looks at resilience as an “always on” strategy, not just reactionary in case something happens.

The resilience leader serves as the glue between the IT team and wider business, making sure critical data and applications are always accessible to those who need them.

Achilles heel: The resilience leader has to make sure the business is armed against potential threats, with updated tools and training being a huge part of this. However, this is not easy to achieve and our recent research found that 70% of UK employees feel unprepared for the digital journey ahead.

Sometimes resilience leaders feel co-workers are conspiring against their efforts. This hero also has to balance navigating important decisions about the IT production environment with communicating objectives and challenges clearly to the wider business to get their buy-in and cooperation.

The IT optimiser

Strengths: IT Optimisers are the driving force behind digital transformation. They’re perfectionists; you’ll never hear them say “it’s good enough”. They share similarities with Iron Man who’s constantly at work refining his suit to tackle the next threat.

In a similar way, these heroes seek to optimise the potential of people, processes and technologies.

Achilles heel: The increasing risk and complexity associated with ensuring the business is resilient means expectations are often set very high. An essential skill here is to make sure the IT team is prepared to change tack at short notice. They need to be able to predict what challenges might set the business back and be flexible enough to make changes to systems with little or no notice.

The hybrid IT tamer

Strengths: This hybrid is master of the mixed environment. Like the demigod Thor, they have to navigate multiple worlds. With new applications, tools and platforms rolling in it can be challenging for some to keep on top of the changes before knowledge becomes outdated.

Not for the hybrid IT tamer. They’re experts in renovating the old and innovating with the new to consolidate systems and reduce costs, enabling their company to stay a step ahead of the competition

Achilles heel: A key challenge is to get the entire workforce on board with changes to their legacy IT infrastructure. The process of moving some business data and applications to a cloud environment, whether public or private, can meet with resistance. However, it can also open up an opportunity for staff to be upskilled and to manage data and applications more efficiently.

Risk eradicator

Strengths: Faced with the increasing threat of cyber attacks, not to mention environmental and terrorist threats, the risk eradicator needs to make sure they have the right tools in place to ensure vulnerabilities are quickly resolved. Like Spiderman poised to shoot his web in the blink of an eye, the risk eradicator is ready for anything.

These people are the shock absorbers for companies when disaster strikes. You’ll find them constantly at work revamping production and recovery processes.

The shock absorber of the company

Achilles heel: The scale and complexity involved in transforming IT systems to mitigate against threats can make eradicators wary. The increased use of IoT has added a further layer of complexity and the volume of endpoints means visibility is often restricted. Cross-functional engagement and cooperation is critical.

IT innovator

Strengths: IT innovators are one step ahead of the game. They share some similarities with Batman, who works to make sure he always has the latest gadgets to fight crime, almost pre-empting the battles he’ll need to fight. The innovators have a keen eye on wanting to put the right digital workloads on the right platforms.

Achilles heel: While creativity and innovation are at the heart of any business dealing with technology, many have made significant investments in legacy systems. Their mandate is to get leaders onboard with their ideas as early as possible by anticipating the challenges and setting out clear objectives for the business.

The need for organisations to be able to respond quickly to cyber attacks and adapt to changing regulations means that their role as champions of change is now more important than ever. Innovators need to be the link between the IT department and the wider business.

Each of these superheroes are united by their passion for overcoming the dangers of risk and complexity. They need the help of the wider business in order to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. An open dialogue between IT and employees around each individual’s roles and responsibilities when it comes to securing business is vital.

Kathy Schneider is chief marketing officer at Sungard Availability Services.