Over the next several days, while many people are slurping down eggnog, exchanging gifts with loved ones, and festively greeting 2014, the ones who keep workplace technology humming along will be on edge.
Similar to police, firefighters and nurses, the IT administrators of the world are always on call. They accept that their good times can be shattered at any moment by a call to action.
A holiday survey of more than 140 IT professionals conducted by network monitoring software vendor Ipswitch found that 46 percent will be on call this holiday season. Most of that time will be spent helping users who are having problems accessing their network remotely (51%), are grappling with poor app performance (26%), or have forgotten their passwords (17%).
Nearly one in three survey participants reported experiencing a major network outage during previous holiday seasons.
“Even the holidays can’t provide a brief respite for many hardworking IT pros,” Ennio Carboni, president and general manager of Ipswitch's network management division, said in a statement. “They may be giving up downtime with friends and family to make sure your networks have uptime.”
Even if they don't actually get summoned, 56% of surveyed IT admins admit they'll be thinking about work anyway. That said, when they're not thinking about work over the holidays, they'll be compiling wish lists.
For starters, they'll be fantasizing about the things that would make their professional lives happier, such as receiving appreciation for their hard work, which 37% of survey respondents said would boost their spirits. But they also want users to help make their lives easier, with 34% wishing users would simply reboot their machines before asking for help, 15% wanting users to share what apps they've downloaded to their company-issued laptops, and another 14% interested in knowing what devices users are connecting to the wireless network.
Happiness isn't all they seek, though. Empowerment is also on the wish list, according to the Ipswitch survey. Specifically, 38% would like the ability to choose and buy the technologies they need, while 19% would like recognition of how tough their jobs are.
[Get advice on reducing unplanned downtime in "Tips For Preventing Data Center Outages."]
It's no wonder IT admins are looking for relief, given how much time they spend reacting to user problems. In fact, 39% said they spend between 40% and 60% of their time doing so, while another 21% said they spend more than that. Not exactly the focus on innovation and bottom-line contributors enterprises are looking for.
Hence, it's no surprise that their New Year's resolutions focus on addressing that troubleshooting-dominated workload. A whopping 56% said they want to spend less of 2014 dealing with network problems, while 33% seek beefed-up IT security measures and 11% would like to reduce the occurrence of network problems created by the BYOD phenomenon.