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Trends Who Will Be Your New Boss?

Under the guise of enhanced efficiency, more and more IT and facilities departments are working together. Some are even joining forces completely to form one department. That raises the question, who will lead this new department? We discussed the subject with TOPdesk Consultant Renske van der Heide and TOPdesk Account Manager Martin Beijering.


How do IT and facilities employees view this issue?

Martin: It is certainly a cause for concern among IT and facilities employees. I have given guest lectures to both IT and facilities management students, and the question came up in both disciplines when we began discussing departmental merges. A facilities student asked, If someone from IT becomes my boss, will he or she be able to understand my problems? And the same goes for IT employees; they can be quite sceptical about a facilities employee leading their department.

and maturity should be the deciding factors when it comes to selecting a new boss. Who has the ability and fortitude to take on the challenge? And what is their reputation? For example, a facilities manager who coordinated a large move on time and within budget should be the more likely candidate than an IT manager who was responsible for the failures of two data migration projects. Additionally, it is important that the candidate is a people person and is well-liked by the other employees they should want to work for the boss, otherwise they will not get anywhere as a team. Renske: A client once told me that their facilities and IT departments were merging, and asked me who should lead the new department. I am of the opinion that, most importantly, it

must be someone who is suitable for the position, regardless of whether he or she works in IT or facilities. You need to have someone who can successfully facilitate communication between colleagues and departments, coordinate appointments with clients and suppliers and conduct themselves in a socially responsible manner. A reorganization means that new positions will be made available; the department head needs to ensure that the right people end up in the right places. Martin: There is also a case for appointing a third person as the new department head, instead of the IT or facilities manager. Appointing an external person, not affiliated with either department, can circumvent the misgivings that an IT employee might have about a facilities employee becoming

So who will it be? IT or facilities?

Martin: The department from which the new boss comes is not the most important factor. I think that the managers energy


their boss, and vice versa.

So the new bosss original department does not really matter?

Renske: Well, you could say that, generally speaking, many facilities managers already have the

qualities that are important in a department head. They are usually quite service-oriented and keep the purpose of their work ensuring that their clients can do their work at the forefront of their activities. For example, they do not provide chairs, but areas in which to work. For them, it does not so much matter if you name something an incident or a call, or if you reach your goal via procedure A, B or C. Furthermore, most facilities managers have a lot of experience with external parties. Tasks such as security, cleaning services, catering and electricity are often contracted out, which implies that a facilities manager is

accustomed to working with suppliers and contractors. You could say that facilities service provision is more mature. Martin: There are two sides to the maturity argument. The AngloSaxon business model asserts that the more mature a given market is, the more work it contracts out. A facilities department contracts out a lot of work, so in that sense you could say that it is indeed more mature. But, on the other hand, you could say that an IT department is more mature because of their process-based working methods and support software. The IT world has been employing process-oriented working methods since the eighties and IT support software is often more advanced than its facilities equivalent although the facilities profession has seen development in both aspects. IT managers often have more experience with process-based working and support software. So, in that respect, you could say that they are more mature.

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And who does the client prefer as department head?

Renske: Whoever becomes the new department head does not matter much to the clients. They are just pleased that they do not have to figure out whether to call IT or facilities when their phones break down. Instead, they have one point of contact that handles all of their calls.