Are you with Marvel or DC? Avengers or Justice League of America? Iron Man or Wonder Woman? Regardless of your allegiances, these teams of superheroes can serve as a great model for enhancing your corporate IT structure.
CEOs understand that IT staff members and their functions are tied in directly to business success more than ever before. About 90 percent of CEOs are in the midst of changing how they use technology to deliver on stakeholder expectations, according to this year’s 19th Annual PwC CEO Survey. However, IT responsibilities and challenges are becoming increasingly vast. Specialists need to become generalists, and generalists need to become specialists.
So what many companies need is a richly talented team of dynamic agents of change— the kind of staffers who are among the best of the best in key specialty areas and at managing the newest technologies, but also bring urgency, enthusiasm and the ability to be a team player to any challenge the departments confront.
And while there are many options for designing your organization’s IT structure, here are some characters from the IT League of Heroes you’ll want as part of your team:
Captain Connectivity (Network Manager)
Faster than a speeding gigabit broadband connection, he’s able to leap any network challenge in a single bound. He’s the champion of all things connected in your organization, whether it’s internal connectivity (when he’s often assisted by his faithful sidekick LAN Lady), or the external high-bandwidth pipes connecting your various branches to one another and to distributed data centers. He’s always on watch to dynamically manage the bandwidth your company uses and needs.
Mobility Man (Chief Mobility Officer)
After an important call was dropped that cost your company a customer, he took a vow in the 1990s to seek out strong mobile signals and to enable employees to have mobile access to corporate data, improving productivity whenever possible. Now he roams wherever your customers are, increasingly using mobile devices to interface with your company on the internet. Wherever your employees are working from mobile devices, he keeps all calls connected.
Virtual Commander (vCIO)
He’s the newest, somewhat mysterious, member of our League of IT Heroes. He was once just a mild-mannered CIO who went to work and punched the clock every day, but one night while working late on a classified project for the President of the World, he figured out how to upload himself into the network. Now, from his top secret headquarters in the cloud, he leverages his virtual capabilities to help overtaxed IT staffs organize big projects, manage their growing lists of vendors and strategize their vast array of software licenses. If you need him, light up your “V” signal— or just e-mail him—because that works, too.
Software Sorceress (Senior Programmer / Chief Software Analyst)
She’s also known by her alias, the Mistress of All Programming. As implementation of all kinds of software becomes more distributed across your organizations, she can weave the necessary spells to keep it all under control and updated as necessary. She speaks several programming languages fluently and can switch from Mac to PC and back again in a flash.
The Ops Guru (IT Operations Manager / SysAdmin)
(Please read the following in your deepest, most movie trailer-y voice.) In a world where everyone wants everything five minutes ago, but no one wants to think about the architectural underpinnings, systems and processes involved in making it happen, The Ops Guru is the last line of defense between organized and chaotic. Together with his team of architects, he envisions IT structure, then makes it happen and keeps it from falling apart.
The App Avenger (Applications Architect)
There’s an app for everything, or at least there can be, according to her. Before joining the team, she was the sometimes nemesis and general thorn in the side of the Software Sorceress, who she argued needed to make software more interactive and designed around user-executable functions. Now, she often teams with Mobility Man to provide customers and employees with apps for a variety of devices and operating systems.
Web Woman (Website Manager)
A member of the ancient race of Amazon warriors— seriously, she used to work at Amazon, so her Web cred is bona fide— Web Woman challenges the idea that managing a Web presence is a routine job nowadays. She’s the champion of easy navigation, engaging but not overwhelming video animation and always-functioning customer support features. She teams with Captain Connectivity to make sure the website never goes down.
Dev Boy & Dev Girl (Development Engineer)
As IT undergoes transitions to enable business success, the programmers in the trenches are the ones our heroes rely on. Capable of writing code at superhuman speed and working unimaginably long hours that would fry the brains of mere mortals, the source of their super powers is caffeine. And sugar. And youth.
The Master of Disaster (Disaster Recovery Specialist)
No one knows his real name, or where he comes from, but they know he’s got a plan for when disaster strikes. He’s particularly effective when teaming with Virtual Commander. So whether there’s a natural disaster or security attack, the Master of Disaster is one step ahead, ensuring system redundancy, data security, rapid recovery and high availability— and even an alternative workspace, if necessary.
The CRM Maven (CRM Analyst)
Because so many companies aim to enable positive customer experiences, customer relationship management systems ensure they happen as planned. The CRM Maven monitors and reports data on interactions with all customer-facing systems and apps. She ensures customers don’t confuse anyone on the team for villains instead of heroes.
Cyber Securer (Network Security Manager/Cybersecurity Analyst)
She’s a reformed villain. So this is sort of like when the X-Men enemy Scarlet Witch turned around and joined the Avengers—if you really wanted to know. A former hacker, she knows all the cyber tricks the bad guys try to steal your data. She absolutely loves to encrypt things and is also a big fan of firewalls and multi-factor authentication methods.
Big Data (Data Analyst)
Sometimes a sidekick of CRM Maven, he’s a master of analytics, managing the systems and process for synthesizing the increasing piles of data your company collects. In a flash, he can turn it all into easily-digestible reports, customized for every department in your organization.
Agents of HELPDESK (Helpdesk Tech)
It’s not an acronym like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We just like the way it looks all capitalized. Also, unlike the Marvel agency, it’s not a covert group at all. Instead, it’s a collection of likable, really friendly people who just want to troubleshoot any IT problems employees or customers are having. They also support new members of the organization by outfitting them with the costumes, er, IT tools they need to do their jobs.