by Stephanie Buckwalter and Samantha Worsham
A system administrator’s role breaks down into a few essential parts.
A system administrator provides the first level of triage for questions and requests from end-users. Then, the admin routes them to the appropriate internal and external experts. Most importantly, an admin coordinates new efforts, rollouts of functionality and training. By ensuring that all changes and updates pass through one person, you save significant resources in troubleshooting and planning functionality.
Perks of Having an Internal System Administrator
An internal system administrator, one who works for your organization, is an invaluable asset to your system’s health.
An internal resource has better knowledge of your organization’s needs and business processes. They are invested in your organization in a different way than outside resources. Additionally, an internal admin provides consistency, as they know the history behind decisions and how end-users responded to different functionality. This access level between the administrator and the end-user helps build trust in the database.
The system administrator is also the central point for determining priority, especially when multiple departments have new needs for the system. Your admin will advocate for backend or system-wide updates and maintenance that may otherwise be on the back-burner in favor of more visible functionality. Over time, this pays off in dividend, ensuring your system is up-to-date with releases and running efficiently.
Cost saving is another major benefit that comes with an internal admin. With someone to complete basic requests and answer general questions, your organization does not have to engage consultants for every need. Furthermore, having one person to coordinate with any and all vendors mitigates confusion and duplicative requests.
External Resources Still Make a Difference
While internal admins provide many benefits, it is worth noting they do not negate the importance of external consultants. External resources are familiar with your business needs, and can build complex system functionality and provide guidance on best practices.
Managing Multiple System Administrators
Depending on the size of your organization and the amount of end-users, you may find it is necessary to have multiple system administrators, or to implement a steering committee. This works well for many organizations, but multiple designated decision makers is a caveat. In order to resolve this, you must make sure multiple members of your team are not making the same or conflicting changes.
To this end, if you have a team of admins or a steering committee, consider these few recommendations: hold regular meetings to review issues, put a procedure in place for handling urgent issues between meeting times, and confirm that all members of the team are familiar with the processes for completing any requests.