Calling out for an IT Hero!

System Administrators are unsung heroes, whose contribution to the smooth and efficient running of any organization is too little understood and too often overlooked. In honor of their work, Lansweeper organized its first IT Hero Awards celebration last year. Chief Marketing Officer Roel Decneut explains why it is important to raise awareness of the work SysAdmins do, how the awards help to achieve this goal and why they are returning this year.

How did you conceive of the SysAdmin Day Awards?

"There are many people without whom organizations simply wouldn't run, and often their work goes unnoticed and therefore underappreciated. In the complex world of IT with ever-changing requirements and possibilities; IT teams are often hard-pressed to keep up with the many demands placed on them. At the same time, they not only ensure the business can continue to operate, securely, in a hybrid world; but they continuously support greater demands as efficiently as possible. We think of these people as IT Heroes, and many of them started as, or still carry the job title of System Administrator. So on this day, we want to acknowledge all of those behind-the-scenes IT Heroes who keep our world spinning and give them a well-deserved Thank You.

The importance system administrators represent to organizations is so often underestimated. Because they are less visible, they are often taken for granted. And the only time we think about them is when the network goes down or when a colleague's computer is not working as intended. But they are busy every day to keep the network running smoothly. The SysAdmin Day Awards are a way of saying that we do see them. It doesn't hurt to turn the spotlight on them once in a while and say: thank you!"

The importance system administrators represent to organizations is so often underestimated. Because they are less visible, they are often taken for granted.

Roel Decneut, CMO at Lansweeper

What is the procedure for awarding SysAdmin Day Awards winners?

"The essential part to understand here is that we are merely facilitating the process... all the nominations come from the community, and in the end, that same community also acts as the judge. We merely create the format and forum to enable this. We encourage anyone who has a great IT Hero story to share it; we catalog the nominations and make a selection based on the magnitude of the challenges they overcame or the impact they had on their organization and then we let the community vote on those nominations.

We receive many nominations and then assess them against a set of criteria to form a shortlist. This list is then published online for the community to vote for whom they think the winners should be. Fellow sysadmins are best placed to judge the complexity of the tasks undertaken and their meaningfulness, along with the customer-facing teams. Every story is different, and everyone will have their own personal favorites, but the winners will be those whose experiences and achievements resonate the most with their fellow colleagues. And they can share that victory with others outside of the community as well because when they send in their applications, they can select a charity to donate 1,500€ to. This really adds to the importance of the event."

What type of stories did you receive?

"They range from those who have found a way to cut company costs, to those who have made it possible for an organization to keep operating in times of crises. The Covid-19 pandemic serves as a good example of the latter. It had a huge impact on nearly all businesses and on every business level. Homeworking was suddenly a necessity and companies had to organize short-term IT solutions to stay productive. The system administrators were on the front lines because they needed to ensure that companies could keep going."

SysAdmin Day 2021

Celebrating the Heroes of IT

We're celebrating the Heroes of IT. Join by voting for your favorite IT Hero of 2021.

Do any stories for you stand out in particular?

"Yes, one company at a moment of crisis found itself suddenly needing to move locations over a single weekend, and the system administrator was able to ensure that the firm's functioning and its security was not compromised in any way. Also, an institution in an underprivileged area with the aid of its IT team was able to achieve really beneficial outcomes for the local community, and not just for itself. The starting point of assessing any nomination is to look at the impact of their activities. If, for example, we examine the activities of last year's winner, the IT team over at the Minnesota-based company DTN, the impact was tremendous despite difficult circumstances.

Because of the highly critical data, DTN provides its customers around the globe, and because of the challenges of the pandemic, the IT team had only one week to roll out various large-scale projects. One week to acquire a full overview of nearly 1,500 IT assets so that they could set up a VPN, deploy Office 365 company-wide, teach non-technical employees to work with new laptops and software, secure the network for homeworking and write up reports for management. An impressive feat that had a major impact not only on the company at large but also on every one of their employees and all their customers. A testament to the power of good IT management, but also to the impressive things people can do when they face hardships together."

How will this year's event differ from last year's?

"It will remain an online event because our customers are found all over the world and we want to continue to foster that sense of community. But this year we want to pay special attention to IT heroes who use Lansweeper not just in one particular way, but who apply the collected data to multiple use cases. That can range from mitigating cyberattacks, wielding data for ITSM or using the data for any sort of upgrade or migration project that had an impact on business continuity, efficiency, CSR, and so on - or even combinations of the aforementioned. For example, a sysadmin used his ITAM tool to not only increase company efficiency but also to decrease power consumption, thereby making a positive impact on both the company and the planet."

Over to You...

We encourage you to nominate your IT team or system administrator for the SysAdmin Day Awards by sending in your application with a detailed story of why you think they should be recognized as IT heroes. Nominations will be open from June 14 to July 2, with selections being made before July 12. Voting will then take place, closing on July 24 ahead of the announcement of the winners on Sysadmin Appreciation Day, July 30.

SysAdmin Day 2021

Celebrating the Heroes of IT

We're celebrating the Heroes of IT. Join by voting for your favorite IT Hero of 2021.

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