Get Your IT Administrator Out of My Webmaster

I’ve seen several position descriptions lately that meld both IT/Network Administrator and Webmaster* responsibilities into one impossible job. I just saw one come across a list I belong to that included:

  • authoring, posting and managing web content
  • upgrading web site software
  • managing an in-house CRM database
  • providing desktop support for staff
  • managing network backups
  • bringing peace to the Middle East

OK, I made up that last one but the whole thing is still completely unrealistic even without peacemaking. If they find someone willing to take this job, I guarantee that none of those tasks will be done well. Or only one or two will and the others will fall by the wayside completely.

While Nick Carr may be the crankiest guy on the web these days, I do agree that many day-to-day IT functions are commodities and can be effectively outsourced. In this situation, I’d recommend they focus the position on the most valuable activities for the organization and farm out the rest to support companies who specialize in those tasks. Even having CRM and web content in the same position would likely be too much and require very different competencies.

* (Webmaster is an outdated title and concept for web positions these days, but that’s another post.)

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2 thoughts on “Get Your IT Administrator Out of My Webmaster

  1. Hi David,

    First, great blog and associated postings! I was first referred to “Always Done It That Way” and then clicked on your link. Its great that there are people like you who can relate to association issues, while covering how technology effects this sector at the same time. I completely agree with your posting….I am an IT Director for an association in IL (http://www.ilipra.org) and as you may guess, I am responsible for “everything.” I agree with the webmaster/IT admin notion…It sure is tough to do everything at 100 percent at all times. I’ve been fortunate to have a good web development and project management background and completely overhauled my association’s website. Not perfect, but if you saw the old one (everything on one page and you could find the scroll bar), you’d probably agree. Trying to juggle all the admin tasks while also doing web development is nearly impossible. There is simply nothing like looking through hundreds of lines of code for one syntax error and someone coming up to you and saying “My computer won’t turn on…Its important, can you help?” and then finding out the tower was unplugged…

    The hard thing is based on my association’s size and budget, its nearly impossible to add another person to strictly focus on either IT admin stuff, help desk, or web development. Finding a good and knowledgeable person is almost impossible when you can only offer them part-time and no benefits. I’ve seen a lot of association IT people in this same dilemma, but often see them dealing with more consultancies than doing the work themselves. For example, if the server(s) go(es) down, there is a number to call, if the backups dont work, call the same number. Not to pat myself on the back, but I probably put in about 60 hrs a week just trying to juggle the apples and oranges, not to mention the time put in trying to figure out the “unknown” Windows error code in an event log. God bless Google Forums. Just my two cents, but I can surely relate to your posting…

    Once again, great site!

  2. Glad you like the blog, Dean!

    Your experience is a great example of the problem. Everyone perceives the web as important to most operations these days yet leaders are often loathe to dedicate resources to doing it right and instead overload those responsibilities into another existing position. Not a recipe for success.

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