Often, that contribution is ignored. The word from the server room is that many sys admins are invisible until something goes wrong.
But once a year, on System Administrator Appreciation Day, they can get the credit they deserve. This year it falls on Friday, 30 July, and the people at www.sysadminday.com are urging the rest of us to show our appreciation.
"Let's face it, system administrators get no respect 364 days a year," claimed the Sysadminday site.
"This is the day that all fellow System Administrators across the globe will be showered with expensive sports cars and large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work. But seriously, we are asking for a nice token gift and some public acknowledgement. It's the least you could do," the site continued, pointing out that many IT staff often work late and over the weekend to keep things moving.
According to Ashutosh Pradhan, one of CNET UK's system administrators, it's important to recognise the contribution that sys admins make in achieving a company's goals. As with football referees, those who do the job well may not attract attention.
"The most ironic thing about the job is that when sys admins are proactive and do their jobs really well then nobody notices them, let alone giving them any credit," said Pradhan.
"On the other hand, if things keep going wrong then they become visible and are under constant pressure."
Click here to see some ideas for presents to give your sys admin.