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Why everyone hates the IT department

Posted on 25 Nov 2011 at 10:36

IT workers are treated with thinly veiled contempt in many organisations - Tom Brewster finds out why

Traffic wardens, tax collectors, lawyers, (ahem) journalists... the list of occupations that inspire contempt among the public they serve has a new addition: IT support staff.

“Everyone hates the IT department,” an executive with storage and data-recovery firm EMC told us recently. But why is there so much antipathy towards a department that is, after all, designed to help and support workers?

Often interred in the basement, trapped between the rack servers and a bank of screens, the IT worker is cut adrift – both physically and psychologically – from the rest of the company.

Afforded little more respect than cleaners, the widespread belief that IT isn’t an essential part of an organisation is belied by the fact that companies need IT to function. It’s the first department to be blamed when something goes wrong, and the last to be credited for success.

IT is still seen as a bit of a dark art, and some like to cultivate that

So why is IT the most maligned department? Why is there such a disconnect between the enterprise and IT for so long? We try to find out.

A breed apart

One reason for the disconnect between IT and the rest of the company is that IT actually takes pleasure in being different. Like any clique, many in IT enjoy being part of a close-knit gang with their own quirky traditions and interests.

“IT is still seen as a bit of a dark art, and in some ways, technology people do like to cultivate that,” says Katherine Coombs, IT director at outsourcing provider buyingTeam. “Technology is a thing that they don’t need to build into the business too heavily. Sometimes, it suits people for there to be a clear line between IT and the rest of the business.”

In some respects, separation isn’t only desirable, but necessary. Other departments don’t need to know what’s keeping things ticking along in the basement. Why should the accounts team care what’s keeping the datacenter cool, or how the storage arrays are organised? They only want the equipment they use to work.

“Does the person who is handling the backup tapes, and programming bits and bobs behind the scenes need to integrate with the rest of the business? Probably not, because that’s an internal IT operation,” Coombs adds.

It’s when the two are forced to come together, however, that the classic worker vs IT relationship begins to unravel. The service desk is where the first seeds of antipathy are sown. The scenario is a familiar one: worker A has put in a request to IT as his desktop has collapsed under a pile of error messages, none of which he’s bothered to jot down before repeatedly clicking OK.

He waits for a couple of hours with no response, eventually calling IT to figure out what’s going on. A disgruntled IT worker, distracted from his gargantuan list of tasks, says he’ll check who’s dealing with it, since it isn’t in his remit, before telling worker A that someone will be up soon.

When that someone doesn’t appear instantaneously to conjure up an instant fix for his ailing machine, worker A sits back in his office chair and begins spewing out vitriolic curses about IT’s inadequacies to workers B through Z, who join in with their own woe-filled yarns. Thus, employees’ hate of IT is further fuelled by this unjustified ire.

Andrew Corbett, director of the UK IT Association and an IT department worker with more than 25 years of experience, has seen his fair share of broken relationships with workers.

In some cases, he found employees refusing to use the name “helpdesk”, claiming the “help” prefix didn’t apply. “There’s quite a lot of antipathy,” Corbett says. “There is the feeling that IT is almost like a priesthood, living in an ivory tower far away and you have to go to them on bended knee. The sad thing is that they usually mean well.”

What’s more depressing is that in the majority of cases, it isn’t the fault of either IT or the employees – it’s the fault of bureaucratic, convoluted, impersonal systems installed by management, which are left to spawn imbroglio after imbroglio rather than be replaced.

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User comments

The main reason no one like them is there default setting of you can not do instead of how can we make it work for you.

When ICT departments and the main organizations get there head arould this then things will change

That why in the NHS any one that can afford it is say $$$$ off to the ICT staff and buy and using there own Apple kit off the N3 network

Mark

By mprltd on 25 Nov 2011

A slightly different view

In the last eighteen months I have had repeated experience of IT departments making changes to systems that impact on the way I and others deliver our part of the business without any consultation.

A good friend who is an IT professional states that it is typical of IT departments to have a narrow focus on the hard technologies and fail to consider the operational aspects and the outcomes for their clients (i.e. their colleagues). He summed up by saying it's all for their convenience not yours.

So if you think the end user is ill informed maybe the best thing to do is start communicating that way you will understand their business and them yours.

By kaneclem on 25 Nov 2011

A lack of understanding from users

IT Support are the front end of IT most users are too thick to realise this often it is inept management that run the business who have asked IT to do impossible tasks they see IT as a cost. I would like to see the two above users try to work one week in IT they have no idea.

By pchealer on 25 Nov 2011

@pchealer second that

I would also add, i don;t work in IT, but IT things are my hobby sort of.. so i sort of speak the same language, and sometimes there is that belief from other staff that IT is so simple and that it takes little or no time to do everything, so when IT are asked to do soo much in a very limited time frame, they get blamed for not completing it. Funnily enough, since i am knowledgeable in some IT aspects, most of the things i can do myself so the IT at my company love me since i usually only bother them only if something is actually wrong, and the users actually do not understand the benefits from an upgrade or other IT things that are being done in the background.. I would say, attempt to have 0 IT in the company and lets see if you can go one hour without hitting a glitch...

By mobilegnet on 26 Nov 2011

Well, here's a list in the place I work

And BTW, I was an IT manager in a large UK media company for several years.

1. An IT project to implement Citrix - "of course InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator will work perfectly"
2. "It's not possible to get your Outlook email on a smartphone"
3. "You might need CS5 to open RAW files, but you can't have it because we only use XP"
4. The low priority fault you log on a Monday becomes mission-critical by Wednesday as deadline approach
5. "There's nothing wrong with my printer driver, the print-queue has stalled" and no amount of VNC fannying around on my PC will fix it
6. "I can't tell you my PC name (it changes at each login) my computer has frozen
7. Guess what, modern websites don't work on IE6, 7 or 8
8. Who thought it was a good idea to set a graphic artist's swap drive to be hosted at a remote data centre
9. Not fulfilling a request for 6 months but ringing me every month to see if I still need it doesn't make it go away
10. Operator work-arounds because of IT inefficiency should not go into the successfully completed column
11. Buying new laptops, with 8gb of RAM for video-editing then downgrading them to XP makes no sense
12. Honestly, MacBook Pros ARE better for video-editing & cheaper too
13. On what planet is a 17" laptop weighing 4kg or so and a nearly 1.5kg power brick portable?(oh and a battery life of less than a football match, that was a great call)
14. Ever thought about consulting users about what they need/how they work, rather than imposing a one-size-fits all solution?
15. Find out what the users in your organisation do and get someone who speaks the same technical language
16. Take a real "how can I help" approach as opposed to a "how do I get you off my back" approach
17. Individual IT staff should take ownership of a problem and constantly communicate with the user
18. Don't tell a user with a knackered PC to report a fault either via email or via the self-service application on their machine
19. Understand that we know what we want to do and how to do it better than you do
20. Don't have a list of priority users, that just happens to be senior management, who can jump the queue to get things done - I know it makes you look good but boy does it breed resentment to see the boss getting a new PC while our graphic designers are still on Celerons with 1gb of RAM

By daveandrews1 on 26 Nov 2011

Oh, and BTW

At my place, IT put themselves in the dungeon & their manager actively discourages them from talking to users. To "avoid shoulder-tapping" apparently.

By daveandrews1 on 26 Nov 2011

I found that some IT departments, create the problems themselves, lets be honest some just don't have the social skills to try and convey their message properly and seem to be come across as the car mechanics of the corporate world, anything that is asked for is repiled with a sucking in of teeth and it will cost you. I have been on both sides of the fence and understand the frustrations but explaining why you can't have the latest toys or something else is conveyed as I can't be bothered really, you just would not understand or the worst I have come across is trying BWB (baffle with Bulls..t)

By hardyd44 on 26 Nov 2011

Martyn

I work in the Information area for the Royal Navy Headquarters. One way around the problems we have had is to nominate a member per floor. They then have time allocated to walk the floor and ask users about any problems. Users know to speak to that person, helping with trend spotting with individual divisions. Also they get to know the people on the floor and who is difficult because they are not too bright on IT or those that when they ring know what they are talking about. I also feel that too many IT managers are employed for their technical skills and less for their ability to manage (which is the same across most businesses). Management is a skill in its self and needs to be taught and developed. On tip, each business area should nominate a IT dep rep. They have a assigned IT dep member and they meet regularly to discuss problems etc.

By roccoreid on 26 Nov 2011

IT Departments

Having spent many, many years working in various IT support roles the biggest problem faced by IT departments is the retards that all the other departments choose to employ.

Computers are extremely powerful but complex tools capable of performing many tasks very quickly. The average user is stupid.

No joking, I had a user phone up saying their computer was broken: they could type in their User ID fine but whenever they tried to type in their password all that came up was stars.

And there's a woman at my current place who raises a IT support ticket every time she needs to copy a file from one place to another.

It's not all the IT support department's fault.

By mrajs on 26 Nov 2011

I work as an IT Manager but not in our IT Dept, and have to manage several high priority pieces of specialised software.
Every time we have an update to one of the software packages, I have to log a call with the IT Dept, who eventually turn up 2 weeks later (software installs are considered low priority).
I then have to stand over the IT techie, and tell him what to do.
Most IT Depts think that unless you work in the IT Dept, it is impossible for you to know more about IT than them.
I know some companies that are moving away from a central/corporate IT Depts, and employing IT staff directly in their own Depts to overcome the condescending/controlling attitude

By firefox1275 on 26 Nov 2011

@mrajs

Your comments tend to be how the typical IT Dept person thinks.

This is not how you should be thinking.

IT Depts are there to serve the other Depts, whether the user is deemed a "retard" or not.
That is you job.
Without them, you have no job

Instead of demeaning users and bracketing them as "retards", put all your efforts in trying to help and educate them better, so that they don't have to call you as often

By firefox1275 on 26 Nov 2011

@mrajs

God help the people that you serve from your IT Dept.

So, users are "retards" are they? You're a trained accountant? YOu can colour correct and handle muti-layered Photoshop documents? You can generate artwork in Illustrator?

I thought not. You have a very narrow skill set and are there to do a specific job - support the people who do the real work in your company. I've yet to see an IT Dept contribute positively in any way to a company's bottom line. It may reduce costs, though that's arguable in many cases, but it produces nothing, it sells nothing and generates no revenue.

You're the hired help for those "retards" and the sooner you understand it the better for everyone.

By daveandrews1 on 26 Nov 2011

IT Crowd on TV

"IT staff on TV: How the IT Crowd captured the disconnect between IT staff and office workers"

The 'IT Crowd` isn't even remotely accurate or funny as regards how an IT dept is run.

By Microphage on 26 Nov 2011

@Idiot Users

Coincidently a similar discussion appeared last night on r/tfts, I'll copy in the response I think best summed up my opinion from an IT perspective view
--------------------

We don't think users are complete idiots for not knowing how to set up a server rack, or configure their WAN, or setup their raid array.
We think users are idiots when they don't understand what the start menu is, how to type in a web address, or what right-click means.
We understand not everyone is an IT person. What we don't excuse are users who RELY on their computer every day of their career, and don't understand the simplest of tasks.
I use my car every day to get to work. I am not a mechanic but I understand how to put gas in my tank, change my oil, change a tire, and how to check fluids. I am not a carpenter, but I no what side of a hammer to use, how to use a level, a tape measure, and how to use a saw. I'm not a doctor, but I know to drink more water and maybe some Tylenol for a headache, how to stop bleeding of an open wound, how a tourniquet works, and not to mix pain killers and alcohol.
We aren't asking you to be super advanced with computers. Just learn your basics to do your job. That is 99% of our complaints. We understand our job is to support the users, but turning on someones computer, or how to click File > Save, or what the start menu is is basic stuff.
I don't go to my mechanic and have him put gas in my car. I don't get a carpenter to hang a picture. I don't have a doctor treat a papercut.
I learn the basics so I don't waste my time nor the professionals time. I would expect users to do the same.
I see a lot of people saying we expect too much and to be happy because it keeps us employed. Well when you have users who don't bog you down with simple shit, you get proactive IT staff that get to work on minimizing downtime and upgrading the infrastructure.
TL;DR: Stop pampering ignorant users and blaming techsupport for expecting too much of users.
Happy Thanksgiving IT.

By reddit123 on 26 Nov 2011

Respect and Competence

It goes both ways - a boardroom with respect for what IT entails should be willing to hire people of sufficient competence to deserve that respect. In this particular utopia, not everyone currently working in IT will have a job.

By ARaybould on 27 Nov 2011

There's a book about this.

Heh! I just read a book that deals with this exact subject. He says:

--
IT support personnel ... are stuck between the rock of often-restrictive corporate policies and the hard place that is the users' insistence that they "just fix it, already!"

But it doesn't have to be like that. With a little insight into what this job entails and what your company and its users can do to make that job easier, the "no help" desk can become the IT support powerhouse that you desperately need it to be.
--

Having worked at the Help Desk for a long time, I think some of his points were good. What I don't get is - how is it that the big companies still don't understand the problem and the money they're wasting?!?

(The book is called Information Age Management. I got it through Nook but I found the website and there's a kindle version too:

informationagemanagement dot com

By fedev on 27 Nov 2011

Perhaps if the heads of IT departments

didn't view themselves as agents of Microsoft whose main task is to push the latter's programmes, relations with the rest of the firm might improve....

Henri

By mhenriday on 27 Nov 2011

Narrowly focused article

Unfortunately the article only represents issues surrounding IT in large organizations. People in general don't like bureaucracy, but that is what you get in large organizations, IT or otherwise. That's why I choose not to work in them. In general, the IT managers employed in such organizations are not IT people, hence they don't know how to integrate IT and other departments. The user's main contact with IT is the helpdesk, which is often an outsourced entity that could care less about the company and its users. These are often the major factors that cause grief with users.

In the small to medium business world, IT is a very different animal. As the IT manager (with one programmer), I have the traditional IT duties, but also do a lot of things such as project management (IT and non-IT stuff) and strategic planning for the company as a whole. Users are more integrated with what is going on in IT in this scenario. They are familiar with the technologies that are in use, why they were chosen, and had a say in their selection. A more informed user is a better client. It is a culture of what can IT do to support the company. But at the same time, with IT significantly involved with company operations, we still get the blame for everything, even non-IT stuff. As a result, when someone screws up in shipping, manufacturing, or customer service, it becomes IT's job to fix it. As a result, IT becomes the company babysitter, having to stay on top of everyone to make sure they are doing they're job correctly and backstopping them when they don't. So IT tends to get the short end of the stick regardless of the company culture. That is why many IT folk have the attitudes that they do. 90% of issues created by end-users are almost always issues of commonsense. Something that is extremely lacking in society today.

By ITGuyFromRI on 27 Nov 2011

The New Y2K crisis

Superb article. IT’s role in an organization is definitely a major challenge of the next couple of years and, to a vast extent, an arms race (also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_study
).

Basically:
- IT department is overworked, uses old technologies and practices, did not invest in training and adopting more effective tools and methods. Has very little incentive to change. The less they evolve, the more they lose touch with internal and external realities;
- Top of the food chain to which IT reports not tech-savvy enough to judge of the value they get from their team. They are on the impression that they get the best short- and long-term value. They see a dedicated hard-working team and have no choice but to trust it;
- Users more and more dependent on technology to perform at work. Feel increasingly dependent (and taken hostage) from the IT team (in fact: from technology per se).

Conclusion:
- Low value, high-maintenance labor-intensive systems.
- Unhappy IT staff, constantly in reactive mode, no leeway (or budget or incentive) for progress and evolution.
- Unhappy non-IT staff because of poor performance), polarized relations… and some passivity.
- Unhappy C-level executives because of poor performance but too dependent on specific individuals in IT team to make drastic decisions.

The solution? I can only see one. The same that resolved the Y2K crisis.

Replacing old labor-intensive systems by “packaged solutions”. Today, Cloudware is that “packaged solution”. And company’s better adopt it progressively than being forced to drastic changes due to sudden budget cuts or resignation of key staff members.

By vkassardjian on 27 Nov 2011

Users Aren’t Stupid

In IT it’s very common to surrender to a syndrome I like to call the Superiority Virus. The network group makes fun of the DBAs for accusing us of imaginary latency, the sysadmins think the network team is full of knuckle-dragging simians and the security team behaves like rock stars playing stadiums while everyone else is just a cover band. Ultimately, no matter which team we’re on, many of us succumb to the tribalism of, ” I’m smarter than the stupid user.” We seem to forget that users and organizations full of them pay our salaries. They justify our existence and without them, we’d be like chauffeurs driving empty limos.

I’d like to propose a truly radical concept, especially because I’ve been just as guilty of this sectarian mindset. Users aren’t stupid; they just want to get on with their lives. If the advent of personal computers and the explosion of the Internet were supposed to be the great democratizers, then why do IT professionals frequently behave like some kind of ruling elite? When the infrastructure sees itself as more important than the human beings or business it serves, it turns into HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As engineers we can easily get caught up in the “coolness factor” of technology. Many of us used to take things apart to see how they worked when we were kids. We were the ones who drove our parents crazy with “why” storms. We pissed off magicians, because we didn’t believe in magic, we wanted to know how they did the trick. This mindset has helped create some wonderful innovations. But when we start to see technology as the end and not the means, it becomes little more than mental masturbation.

Do you have to understand the details of internal combustion to drive a car? When you take it to get an oil change, does the mechanic make you feel like an idiot if you don’t know how an engine actually operates? That’s the beauty of technology when it’s really good. It just works, enabling you to focus on something bigger and more important. When IT professionals forget this, that’s when they become an obstruction to progress, in love with their own hype, convincing themselves that users are stupid. Maybe we should all take a cue from Neil Gershenfeld of MIT, one of the apostles of personal fabrication. He started a class at MIT called “How To Make (almost) Anything” and was surprised to see people without traditional technical backgrounds filling the class. Instead of being consumers, they wanted to be creators and the results were truly astonishing. The Fab Lab became an international movement with groups all over the globe using fabrication and technology to explore creativity and solve real-world problems.

I’m going to offer the following challenge: try to see the big picture of how you’re enabling people to do their jobs and enhance their lives. They will become your partners, providing you with a sense of purpose and vision. This is the ultimate cure for burnout. It’s guerrilla computing, truly revolutionary and radically transcendent. Volunteer or contribute to your local Fab Lab and hardware hacker space. Get people excited about the infinite possibilities for technology improving their lives and the world.

“The message coming from the Fab Labs is that the other five billion people on the planet aren’t just technical sinks; they’re sources. The real opportunity is to harness the inventive power of the world to locally design and produce solutions to local problems. “ – Neil Gershenfeld

By MrsYisWhy on 27 Nov 2011

We all work for the Benefit of the Business

I recently left my company as I got another job for progression reasons and having a poor manager. When I started the job no one liked IT, it was a shock for me! In three years I tried to change this as I felt having good relations with other departments is key for a service department like IT and I feel I have succeeded.

Users said how much they appreciated the work I had done and the way I interacted with them, they are so worried about what would happen once I left and how the department would take a step backwards. The normal past stories of unhelpfulness, arrogance, no social skills and trying to baffle people with technical jargon.

IT people aren't the most sociable people and being sociable is a skill and being able to help users at different levels and having patients, we need to work on this and not hide in the corner. It’s also not black and white behind the scenes we have to work under constraints, deadlines and keep the infrastructure ticking along 24/7, there is a lot of pressure and IT never does 9-5.

At my job I had to do everything from 1st line issues to 3rd line, from somebodies laptop won’t switch on to installing and configuring servers. IT is getting more complex and there are never enough budgets for training so how are you supposed to do your job properly, we are as frustrated as much as users sometimes.

I think you have to see if from both sides, IT is about innovation and improving the infrastructure and keeping up with changes but at the same time stability is also very important. We need to make sure things work 99% before deploying them and all the support mechanisms are in place when we do make changes.

On the other side of the coin users need to use more common sense (there are plenty that do) but at the end of the day it’s our job to keep things working even if it’s the most trivial issue.

Also we don’t keep users informed about all the changes because most of the time we get orders from the management and time frames are tight. We have to take orders just like everyone else and sometimes you can’t tailor for individuals but you should do your best to accommodate everyone as this does help build confidence and relations with users.

We in IT are expected to know everything give us a break sometimes; there’s a lot going on and we try our best, just like every department we can be under resourced and cant always deliver the best solution because of budget restraints which are not in our control.

The best way forward is if your not happy with your IT department just like if your not receiving the standard of service you expect complain!!! Unless they are under resourced and badly managed something will get done.

I enjoy delivering good service and having high expectation from the IT department. Seeing IT help people work more productively and not be a hinder and frustration in there life but make there job easier.

We should be working work together for the benefit of the company. Lets not get into silly arguments about who brings the money in etc were all part of one company and we have the same goals.

By Arfan on 28 Nov 2011

@ daveandrews1

"You have a very narrow skill set and are there to do a specific job - support the people who do the real work in your company."

I wouold take very specific issue with IT people not doing "real work" - particularly as you state you were an IT Manager.

I wonder how the cleaners, security, catering staff, etc would feel being told by the desk workers that they don't "do real work"? I also wonder what their attitude to their co-workers would be who exhibit such disgraceful attitudes?

Based purely on that statement, I would say that as a manager you would have been a poor one - especially when one takes into consideration that you are talking about your own team(s).

By bioreit on 28 Nov 2011

its IT Support that they hate

Please dont broad brush the whole of IT, Lets face it, its not the it Department that people dont like it is the IT support department.

IT support is the big issue employing people at the first line of support that can only follow predetermined routes to resolve an issue before passing it up the food chain. IT support personel are usually not the best at talking to users as they are concentrating on fixing the issue. The other issue is that people only talk to them when things are going wrong, so there bound to not like them.

The Development side of things people generally like as you make their life easier, and when you do talk to the user, your discussing there job their stuff not what the problem is.


How to resolve this issue employ people with people skills, set up your network properly, with plenty of redundancy, have spare machines ready for users to move on to, have your users data backed up not just what they put on to the server, ensure you know how the users are working. Oh and most importantly and in plain english (or what ever the primary language is) keep user informed of what is going on and the path your going with, for all updates and improvements. Users dont need the tech info just how it will affect them, and how it will improve things for them. its that simple

By flukywotsit on 28 Nov 2011

Great article and comments!

Really enjoyed reading it and given everybody's reaction, it's obviously a subject everyone who either works in IT or has to work with an IT department feels very passionate about.

Having worked in IT myself for the last 17 years in desktop support, network support, as a consultant, project manager and more recently as a business analyst, I can understand and agree with almost everything everyone says up there as I have worked in IT and then as a user of IT.

It does come down to what the business wants but also what IT can provide given its resources.

Ultimately it all has to start right from the top - the CEO. If a CEO is complaining about the poor IT function that they have, then they're not doing their job properly. They should be FULLY supporting the IT department and give it as much importance as all of the other departments.

First of all you have the company mission statement and strategy. Once these have been clearly defined, the IT strategy should be next, which should be closely aligned to fit with the company's strategy.

This will start to indicate which direction and shape the infrastructure should take and what would be best-suited for the IT systems.

You then start to split IT into two parts - the ever-evolving roadmap of where the IT systems should eventually end up (what sort of architecture) and the day-to-day business as usual stuff.

With the former, this is usually done as a series of projects, each with their own budget. With the latter, you have the day-to-day firefighting support and maintenance.

From personal experience, the BAU desktop support is utterly thankless and it's very easy to become dispirited and unmotivated - that's the challenge of the IT manager to perhaps sweeten the thankless tasks of support with perhaps giving the IT staff the opportunity to work on different projects.

To delve into more detail, in a bigger company you have Service Delivery Management that would set the Continuous Improvement Programme for IT systems that need upgrading, look at IT processes and how they can perhaps be streamlined to be more efficient (particularly if they involve parts of the business for approval, e.g. procurement, new starters, etc).

It's such a massively complicated subject that the old "IT department" model simply does not work anymore. Senior execs have to realise that to have a fully-functioning company, they cannot skimp out on investment and training - and it's not about having the latest technology that they can brag to other execs in other companies about, but having an efficient, well-oiled service that ticks along happily and is given the same recognition and support as all of the other parts of the business.

Anyway, that's my £0.02 worth ;^)

By mrmmm on 28 Nov 2011

It's all on management.

Yes, most users have the aptitude of a wet rock. That said, supporting *Them* is the job of IT. Pride yourself on legendary support and you'll help change the perception. Being the condescending asperger's type of professional will do nothing but raise the ire of your colleagues toward you. I have seen departments squabble over little things like HD replacements and memory upgrades. Always err on the side of spending the 100$ and satisfying the end user. You'll find your life MUCH easier. Also, being honest goes a long way. If you're not going to be able to respond to their ticket for three days, tell them, and tell them who they need to contact to escalate. Users are as cool to you as you are to them.

By Goober on 28 Nov 2011

Agreed

Executive management are the people to blame for ALL the above issues.
They know nothing about IT and don't support it / provide enough resources to it.
I am in a small company and it’s terrible. So business size isn't the main factor here.

@DaveAndrews1 – you are no better than the person you’re responding to. In fact you have no business being here.

'IT wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for users' - RUBBISH - the business exists because of IT allowing it to function more efficiently.

Reddit123 makes an excellent point. And users are stupid if they can’t remember how to ‘right-click’ after I’ve shown them.

By BaseII on 28 Nov 2011

Hmm, interesting topic. I head an IT support group in an academy (fancy name for a school) and unfortunately there are users who would try the patience of a saint.
We had one user who came and demanded access to cookies and proxy settings on their supplied laptop. As laptops are locked down we wondered why the user needed access to these features. What was soon evident was that the user didn't have a clue what either cookies or a proxy was. It seems that when trying to access Facebook at home the browser had reported it needed access to cookies and proxy settings needed changing. Of course we sent this user on their way.

It really does make me think when a user logs a call and you investigate and the device isn't plugged in or switched on. I can only think at home they are sitting in the middle of a load of non functioning devices.

By bazzer on 28 Nov 2011

Man you guys have it easy.

I was an IT Technician for 2 years and I live in South Africa. You may think South Africa isn't that bad. Most people think of Jo-Burg, Cape Town or Durban and for that part of the country you are perfectly correct. The rest of the country however is technologically impaired. They mix up their terminology. Badly!!
Most people from here don’t know that the Internet and IE are two different things. So when someone tells you that their Internet is not working, most of the time there’s something wrong with the browser.
Some people call their screen, the computer and the computer case the CPU. So if someone comes up to you and says “the computer is not doing its work and the CPU didn’t show up.” It probably means that the computer doesn’t get power and the screen is fine.
There are a lot of examples I can give, but the point is that these business types who can’t even understand BASIC computer terms still put the blame on us when something goes wrong and not on the things they do while not understanding what everything on the screen means.

By MrZedSven on 29 Nov 2011

Retarded article

Not sure which decade the author of this article is living in. Have you ever worked for a technology company? This type of company is not only comprised of an IT help desk. In fact, all departments are there to support IT and the technology. The help desk is just one small part of the operation. You do still get a bit of old school attitude from long in the tooth management, who tend to look at everyone as a tool, but these are dying out and generally speaking there's a lot of respect for IT professionals.

By AnotherScreenName on 29 Nov 2011

Users "retards"?

In my experience (having attended courses and meetings with colleagues across several business functions including IT) some of the IT staff leave a lot to be desired. In all organisations though you will get a mixture of abilities and personalities (sadly some appear to lack both!). For IT staff to describe users as "retards" reinforces the reasons why people hold them in such little regard. You are in a service industry, the customer is always right!

By russell_g on 29 Nov 2011

"Superiority"

The evil auto mechanic will sell you service you don't need, because you don't know any better.

The awful IT guy will lie to you, because he assumes you're not smart enough to realize it.

By oh_my on 29 Nov 2011

"Superiority"

The evil auto mechanic will sell you service you don't need, because you don't know any better.

The awful IT guy will lie to you, because he assumes you're not smart enough to realize it.

By oh_my on 30 Nov 2011

You get what you expect.

IT Departments are certainly misunderstood by many, but the misunderstanding largely comes from ignorance. That cuts both ways. Non-IT staff need to appreciate that IT Departments need to be run efficiently, within a budget, to a given set of guidelines while maintaining a standard of service delivery. Help Desk support aside, they also need to spend time maintaining and upgrading existing systems, as well as planning ahead to make sure that systems working well today continues to do so in the future. On the flip side, IT staff need to have a good understanding about what their non IT colleagues are doing, how they work, and the daily chores and aspirations that they have in order to offer a good service. IT departments have a poor reputation, and conversely IT staff have low opinion of other staff, when this level of collusion is not in place.

Any company that keeps it's IT in the basement, either literally or proverbially, needs to get over the idea that the IT Department are simply a maintenance department. IT are not (solely) a service industry, and staff are not clients. From a help-desk perspective, IT tech's are, or should be, facilitators who 'help' their non-IT colleges. That doesn't mean they should be expected to follow every whim with a grin.

Martin Ferguson offers the view that the role of the IT department needs to change. I would suggest that the role the IT department plays in a company is largely dependant on the role it's asked to perform, and the level of support it's provided with from senior management. CEO's who expect IT departments to be 'boiler repair men' will get exactly that. CEO's who have higher expectations, and support their IT departments accordingly will have strategic partners instead of over-worked, stressed out, stroppy fire-fighters.

By tomsteemson on 30 Nov 2011

Communication

Funny to see all of the comments. I think it helps somewhat for us to have a sense of humor about the situation. My team was called the Labor Goobers since the app we supported was Labor and we called the user analysts - Useless analysts. It was all done in fun and got great things done.

By ITGoober on 1 Dec 2011

@ russel_g

"You are in a service industry, the customer is always right!"

Except if the customer is rude, insulting or abusive, the individual reserves the right to refuse service. Quite a few customers in my experience (of my previous jobs in pubs, clubs and shops plus observations of fellow customers now) need to be sharply reminded that "customer" is not a master and that the "employee" is not a slave.

I have seen and personally experienced shocking behaviour from some customers who seem to think "the customer is always right" means "I can insult and physically assault you and if you complain or do anything other than take it, I'll kick up a fuss and get you sacked for being impudent".

By bioreit on 1 Dec 2011

No win situation

The focus of the article is on the operations/ help desk support area of IT. In this area there is no upside. If you do a great job; well, that's your job. Any problems or mistakes, then you're a failure. There is nothing you can do except try to provide the best service you can afford.

If you want plaudits you need to be working with the business to help it succeed in the market (and, no, I do not mean implement a CRM). Only when you make a positive difference to the org's strategy and success will IT be valued. Simple

I wrote about this in a short book called "The IT Value Pyramid" which you can get at www.totallyoptimizedprojects.com

By JedSimms on 2 Dec 2011

I'm a fifteen year old 15 teachnician....

...and of course I'm always in a bad mood at work. I've sick to death of clients/ customers coming in asking STUPID STUPID STUPID questions! In my whole 7 months of working as a Tech in a local Computer shop for businesses and customers and out of the questions I have been asked in my time, probably only 3 have been decent easy questions and one of them was from a secret shopper! People are ignorent, and seem to expect one to immediatly fix their computers when the only information they give me is "it won't turn on" seriosuly, espically when it's down the phone. Also, another thing which winds me up are people questioning my knowledge of computers and coming up with sexist remarks to me "I'd rather speak to a male" "shouldnt you be busy painting your nails?" . Yes, so what if I am a 15/16 year old girl, doesn't automatically mean I no nothing. Customers come into my shop and ask me if I can actully fix computers (one came in one time and asked that.... as I was building a computer on the desk in front of them). If you ask me, the problems not with IT departments but actually with the ignorant customers/ collegues out there.

By feuerfrei_xx on 2 Dec 2011

Hate IT

I used to manage an IT help desk. One thing I insisted on is that when there was a need to visit a user department the person that took the call came with the visit. It humanized the department so the next call was more personal. The voice on the other end of the phone became easier to deal with. I dealt with the software issues as best I could and if I couldn't resolve them the department I handed them off to did. I made sure of that as when they closed the ticket I called the people back to make sure they were at least satisfied (if possible).

By ps2os2 on 3 Dec 2011

Dave Andrews...

I subscribed just to reply to you.. you're exactly why IT departments struggle.


1. An IT project to implement Citrix - "of course InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator will work perfectly" - Your IT department were most likely instructed to do this as part of a larger plan, based on cost-savings. Anyone with any IT knowledge knows that those apps wouldn't work, or would perform well in a citrix environment. Chances are that the PM identified this and brought it to your management team, who wrote you off as a casualty of cost-savings.

2. "It's not possible to get your Outlook email on a smartphone" It's a security policy of most companies to not allow you to get your e-mails on your personal phone. This is for the protection of company sensitive data. While yes, it is absolutely "possible", this is something again that is mandated by a BUSINESS DECISION.

3. "You might need CS5 to open RAW files, but you can't have it because we only use XP". Maybe the explanation was wrong, but it was more likely that there was no license for the application.

4. The low priority fault you log on a Monday becomes mission-critical by Wednesday as deadline approach.

While this maybe "mission critical" to you, it may not be according to your IT departments definition. These definitions are usually the product of direct input from the business, and are not made up (as most clients assume) on the spot by the person on the phone.

5. "There's nothing wrong with my printer driver, the print-queue has stalled" and no amount of VNC fannying around on my PC will fix it

Often times you will see the agent doing things you think are useless, it's not that they don't believe you, but it is their job to verify with their own eyes what the problem is before escalating to another group. Let them do their job, you're wasting time by pushing back.

6. "I can't tell you my PC name (it changes at each login) my computer has frozen. No, it doesn't, your IP address might change everytime you log in, but your PC name does not. Maybe they ask because a lot of repeat customers have the bright idea of writing it down for the next time they call.

7. Guess what, modern websites don't work on IE6, 7 or 8. Do you have any idea what it takes to upgrade something like Internet explorer to thousands of PC's, in different physical locations, using different OS's, with dozens and dozens of requirements to be met? It is an integral part of your operating system at this point, and having something go awry in an upgrade could be disastrous, so your business justification should be a bit better than: "i don't like this old browser". Stuff like that costs A LOT of money and it takes time. So yes, I know there is a new browser out now, but Ie version X was the newest version when the project began.

8. Who thought it was a good idea to set a graphic artist's swap drive to be hosted at a remote data centre.

Yes that is a dumb idea, possibly a victim of cost savings, but more than likely just ignorance that it's there for performance, and not just as temporary storage.

9. Not fulfilling a request for 6 months but ringing me every month to see if I still need it doesn't make it go away

Would you rather be ignored?

10. Operator work-arounds because of IT inefficiency should not go into the successfully completed column

I dont understand what that means so I can't comment.

11. Buying new laptops, with 8gb of RAM for video-editing then downgrading them to XP makes no sense

Perhaps they were purchased with a future OS upgrade in mind?

12. Honestly, MacBook Pros ARE better for video-editing & cheaper too

They are probably also not part of your company standard. Implementing a different set of hardware and OS would require that your department scale up ALL of their support costs, to accomodate a few people who edit videos. I'm sure they could do it, but given the track-record of cost savings decisions.. what do you think the business said?

13. On what planet is a 17" laptop weighing 4kg or so and a nearly 1.5kg power brick portable?(oh and a battery life of less than a football match, that was a great call). Better/Lighter/Faster things, cost more money.


14. Ever thought about consulting users about what they need/how they work, rather than imposing a one-size-fits all solution?

Do you have any idea how long it would take, and how much money it would cost to satisfy each and every single need, all at the same time? The reality is that needs conflict, and when they do, IT brings it to the attention of your leadership team.. and someone becomes a casualty. Also.. IT doesn't consult with each and every single user on what their needs are, they talk to the leadership team and leaders in each individual organizational group if possible. If your voice isn't being head; either speak up, or realize that perhaps no one wants to hear you.

15. Find out what the users in your organisation do and get someone who speaks the same technical language

So is IT then 100% responsible for hiring interpretters for every type of job function because you cannot elaborate on what your needs are? This is what we have business analysts for.


16. Take a real "how can I help" approach as opposed to a "how do I get you off my back" approach

Based on your comments, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you are the type who is more likely to refuse the help being offered, because the format it comes in is not convenient to you (see #5 again)

17. Individual IT staff should take ownership of a problem and constantly communicate with the user

Please #9 and pick a side.

18. Don't tell a user with a knackered PC to report a fault either via email or via the self-service application on their machine

The option is there, be glad you have it. It's likely used by a lot of people. Now, if you have allowed the agent to do their job, and they insist on using one of these options, they would be stupid. My guess is that it was same behaviour as in point #5 again. Don't call and just say: "My PC is knackered". Let the person do their job.

19. Understand that we know what we want to do and how to do it better than you do

Then why would you be calling? You have just listed 20 things, yet you don't need help? I'm sure you understand *what* you want. But I doubt you understand what is possible within your IT infrastructure given the limitations placed on your IT department. Cost, Security, Corporate policy, technology limitations, and compatability come to mind.

20. Don't have a list of priority users, that just happens to be senior management, who can jump the queue to get things done - I know it makes you look good but boy does it breed resentment to see the boss getting a new PC while our graphic designers are still on Celerons with 1gb of RAM

Why would this have anything to do with the IT department? As a service department, our mandate would be to service whatever is technologically possible within the confines of budget, time and the law. If the business we seek feedback from wants to pay more to have a direct line to IT, then that is *their* decision. You really don't think that the CEO of your organization having "laptop issues" could be slightly more than important than a graphics designer missing a deadline because their swamp file is slow?

Take a step-back and look at the bigger picture, please.

By SemiFrank on 8 Dec 2011

Dave Andrews...

I subscribed just to reply to you.. you're exactly why IT departments struggle.


1. An IT project to implement Citrix - "of course InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator will work perfectly" - Your IT department were most likely instructed to do this as part of a larger plan, based on cost-savings. Anyone with any IT knowledge knows that those apps wouldn't work, or would perform well in a citrix environment. Chances are that the PM identified this and brought it to your management team, who wrote you off as a casualty of cost-savings.

2. "It's not possible to get your Outlook email on a smartphone" It's a security policy of most companies to not allow you to get your e-mails on your personal phone. This is for the protection of company sensitive data. While yes, it is absolutely "possible", this is something again that is mandated by a BUSINESS DECISION.

3. "You might need CS5 to open RAW files, but you can't have it because we only use XP". Maybe the explanation was wrong, but it was more likely that there was no license for the application.

4. The low priority fault you log on a Monday becomes mission-critical by Wednesday as deadline approach.

While this maybe "mission critical" to you, it may not be according to your IT departments definition. These definitions are usually the product of direct input from the business, and are not made up (as most clients assume) on the spot by the person on the phone.

5. "There's nothing wrong with my printer driver, the print-queue has stalled" and no amount of VNC fannying around on my PC will fix it

Often times you will see the agent doing things you think are useless, it's not that they don't believe you, but it is their job to verify with their own eyes what the problem is before escalating to another group. Let them do their job, you're wasting time by pushing back.

6. "I can't tell you my PC name (it changes at each login) my computer has frozen. No, it doesn't, your IP address might change everytime you log in, but your PC name does not. Maybe they ask because a lot of repeat customers have the bright idea of writing it down for the next time they call.

7. Guess what, modern websites don't work on IE6, 7 or 8. Do you have any idea what it takes to upgrade something like Internet explorer to thousands of PC's, in different physical locations, using different OS's, with dozens and dozens of requirements to be met? It is an integral part of your operating system at this point, and having something go awry in an upgrade could be disastrous, so your business justification should be a bit better than: "i don't like this old browser". Stuff like that costs A LOT of money and it takes time. So yes, I know there is a new browser out now, but Ie version X was the newest version when the project began.

8. Who thought it was a good idea to set a graphic artist's swap drive to be hosted at a remote data centre.

Yes that is a dumb idea, possibly a victim of cost savings, but more than likely just ignorance that it's there for performance, and not just as temporary storage.

9. Not fulfilling a request for 6 months but ringing me every month to see if I still need it doesn't make it go away

Would you rather be ignored?

10. Operator work-arounds because of IT inefficiency should not go into the successfully completed column

I dont understand what that means so I can't comment.

11. Buying new laptops, with 8gb of RAM for video-editing then downgrading them to XP makes no sense

Perhaps they were purchased with a future OS upgrade in mind?

12. Honestly, MacBook Pros ARE better for video-editing & cheaper too

They are probably also not part of your company standard. Implementing a different set of hardware and OS would require that your department scale up ALL of their support costs, to accomodate a few people who edit videos. I'm sure they could do it, but given the track-record of cost savings decisions.. what do you think the business said?

13. On what planet is a 17" laptop weighing 4kg or so and a nearly 1.5kg power brick portable?(oh and a battery life of less than a football match, that was a great call). Better/Lighter/Faster things, cost more money.


14. Ever thought about consulting users about what they need/how they work, rather than imposing a one-size-fits all solution?

Do you have any idea how long it would take, and how much money it would cost to satisfy each and every single need, all at the same time? The reality is that needs conflict, and when they do, IT brings it to the attention of your leadership team.. and someone becomes a casualty. Also.. IT doesn't consult with each and every single user on what their needs are, they talk to the leadership team and leaders in each individual organizational group if possible. If your voice isn't being head; either speak up, or realize that perhaps no one wants to hear you.

15. Find out what the users in your organisation do and get someone who speaks the same technical language

So is IT then 100% responsible for hiring interpretters for every type of job function because you cannot elaborate on what your needs are? This is what we have business analysts for.


16. Take a real "how can I help" approach as opposed to a "how do I get you off my back" approach

Based on your comments, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you are the type who is more likely to refuse the help being offered, because the format it comes in is not convenient to you (see #5 again)

17. Individual IT staff should take ownership of a problem and constantly communicate with the user

Please #9 and pick a side.

18. Don't tell a user with a knackered PC to report a fault either via email or via the self-service application on their machine

The option is there, be glad you have it. It's likely used by a lot of people. Now, if you have allowed the agent to do their job, and they insist on using one of these options, they would be stupid. My guess is that it was same behaviour as in point #5 again. Don't call and just say: "My PC is knackered". Let the person do their job.

19. Understand that we know what we want to do and how to do it better than you do

Then why would you be calling? You have just listed 20 things, yet you don't need help? I'm sure you understand *what* you want. But I doubt you understand what is possible within your IT infrastructure given the limitations placed on your IT department. Cost, Security, Corporate policy, technology limitations, and compatability come to mind.

20. Don't have a list of priority users, that just happens to be senior management, who can jump the queue to get things done - I know it makes you look good but boy does it breed resentment to see the boss getting a new PC while our graphic designers are still on Celerons with 1gb of RAM

Why would this have anything to do with the IT department? As a service department, our mandate would be to service whatever is technologically possible within the confines of budget, time and the law. If the business we seek feedback from wants to pay more to have a direct line to IT, then that is *their* decision. You really don't think that the CEO of your organization having "laptop issues" could be slightly more than important than a graphics designer missing a deadline because their swamp file is slow?

Take a step-back and look at the bigger picture, please.

By SemiFrank on 8 Dec 2011

Dave Andrews...

I subscribed just to reply to you.. you're exactly why IT departments struggle.


1. An IT project to implement Citrix - "of course InDesign, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Illustrator will work perfectly" - Your IT department were most likely instructed to do this as part of a larger plan, based on cost-savings. Anyone with any IT knowledge knows that those apps wouldn't work, or would perform well in a citrix environment. Chances are that the PM identified this and brought it to your management team, who wrote you off as a casualty of cost-savings.

2. "It's not possible to get your Outlook email on a smartphone" It's a security policy of most companies to not allow you to get your e-mails on your personal phone. This is for the protection of company sensitive data. While yes, it is absolutely "possible", this is something again that is mandated by a BUSINESS DECISION.

3. "You might need CS5 to open RAW files, but you can't have it because we only use XP". Maybe the explanation was wrong, but it was more likely that there was no license for the application.

4. The low priority fault you log on a Monday becomes mission-critical by Wednesday as deadline approach.

While this maybe "mission critical" to you, it may not be according to your IT departments definition. These definitions are usually the product of direct input from the business, and are not made up (as most clients assume) on the spot by the person on the phone.

5. "There's nothing wrong with my printer driver, the print-queue has stalled" and no amount of VNC fannying around on my PC will fix it

Often times you will see the agent doing things you think are useless, it's not that they don't believe you, but it is their job to verify with their own eyes what the problem is before escalating to another group. Let them do their job, you're wasting time by pushing back.

6. "I can't tell you my PC name (it changes at each login) my computer has frozen. No, it doesn't, your IP address might change everytime you log in, but your PC name does not. Maybe they ask because a lot of repeat customers have the bright idea of writing it down for the next time they call.

7. Guess what, modern websites don't work on IE6, 7 or 8. Do you have any idea what it takes to upgrade something like Internet explorer to thousands of PC's, in different physical locations, using different OS's, with dozens and dozens of requirements to be met? It is an integral part of your operating system at this point, and having something go awry in an upgrade could be disastrous, so your business justification should be a bit better than: "i don't like this old browser". Stuff like that costs A LOT of money and it takes time. So yes, I know there is a new browser out now, but Ie version X was the newest version when the project began.

8. Who thought it was a good idea to set a graphic artist's swap drive to be hosted at a remote data centre.

Yes that is a dumb idea, possibly a victim of cost savings, but more than likely just ignorance that it's there for performance, and not just as temporary storage.

9. Not fulfilling a request for 6 months but ringing me every month to see if I still need it doesn't make it go away

Would you rather be ignored?

10. Operator work-arounds because of IT inefficiency should not go into the successfully completed column

I dont understand what that means so I can't comment.

11. Buying new laptops, with 8gb of RAM for video-editing then downgrading them to XP makes no sense

Perhaps they were purchased with a future OS upgrade in mind?

12. Honestly, MacBook Pros ARE better for video-editing & cheaper too

They are probably also not part of your company standard. Implementing a different set of hardware and OS would require that your department scale up ALL of their support costs, to accomodate a few people who edit videos. I'm sure they could do it, but given the track-record of cost savings decisions.. what do you think the business said?

13. On what planet is a 17" laptop weighing 4kg or so and a nearly 1.5kg power brick portable?(oh and a battery life of less than a football match, that was a great call). Better/Lighter/Faster things, cost more money.


14. Ever thought about consulting users about what they need/how they work, rather than imposing a one-size-fits all solution?

Do you have any idea how long it would take, and how much money it would cost to satisfy each and every single need, all at the same time? The reality is that needs conflict, and when they do, IT brings it to the attention of your leadership team.. and someone becomes a casualty. Also.. IT doesn't consult with each and every single user on what their needs are, they talk to the leadership team and leaders in each individual organizational group if possible. If your voice isn't being head; either speak up, or realize that perhaps no one wants to hear you.

15. Find out what the users in your organisation do and get someone who speaks the same technical language

So is IT then 100% responsible for hiring interpretters for every type of job function because you cannot elaborate on what your needs are? This is what we have business analysts for.


16. Take a real "how can I help" approach as opposed to a "how do I get you off my back" approach

Based on your comments, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you are the type who is more likely to refuse the help being offered, because the format it comes in is not convenient to you (see #5 again)

17. Individual IT staff should take ownership of a problem and constantly communicate with the user

Please #9 and pick a side.

18. Don't tell a user with a knackered PC to report a fault either via email or via the self-service application on their machine

The option is there, be glad you have it. It's likely used by a lot of people. Now, if you have allowed the agent to do their job, and they insist on using one of these options, they would be stupid. My guess is that it was same behaviour as in point #5 again. Don't call and just say: "My PC is knackered". Let the person do their job.

19. Understand that we know what we want to do and how to do it better than you do

Then why would you be calling? You have just listed 20 things, yet you don't need help? I'm sure you understand *what* you want. But I doubt you understand what is possible within your IT infrastructure given the limitations placed on your IT department. Cost, Security, Corporate policy, technology limitations, and compatability come to mind.

20. Don't have a list of priority users, that just happens to be senior management, who can jump the queue to get things done - I know it makes you look good but boy does it breed resentment to see the boss getting a new PC while our graphic designers are still on Celerons with 1gb of RAM

Why would this have anything to do with the IT department? As a service department, our mandate would be to service whatever is technologically possible within the confines of budget, time and the law. If the business we seek feedback from wants to pay more to have a direct line to IT, then that is *their* decision. You really don't think that the CEO of your organization having "laptop issues" could be slightly more than important than a graphics designer missing a deadline because their swamp file is slow?

Take a step-back and look at the bigger picture, please.

By SemiFrank on 8 Dec 2011

1.Anyone with any IT knowledge knows that those apps wouldn't work, or would perform well in a citrix environment.
And yet the IT Dept did it

2. It's a security policy of most companies to not allow you to get your e-mails on your personal phone.
Company supplied smartphone & others do have email on theirs - so a blatant lie

3.no license for the application.
No, CS5 requires Win7 to run, no CS5, no RAW files, no photos for publication

4.While this maybe "mission critical" to you, it may not be according to your IT departments definition.
Publishing company, only one deadline matters - hitting the print slot

5. but it is their job to verify with their own eyes what the problem is before escalating to another group.
Fair comment, however when I "shoulder tap" the helpful guy it's sorted in minutes not hours

6. No, it doesn't, your IP address might change everytime you log in, but your PC name does not.
Errm yes it does - today its S**P**69, yesterday it was different

7. "i don't like this old browser"
Nope, websites that are essential to the business (including our internal payroll/holiday/expenses sites) simply don't work and that's unnaceptable

8. Who thought it was a good idea to set a graphic artist's swap drive to be hosted at a remote data centre.
And yet the IT Dept did it

9. Would you rather be ignored?
No but the specific case was that someone in IT deleted 2-3,000 Photoshop documents (layered, colour corrected etc) frome where we had been told by IT to store them, after 6 months of calling me to see if I still wanted them (of course I did) they told me it was too late to restore from backup - so where else in any company would someone not be sacked/disciplined for destroying comapny property?

10. Operator work-arounds because of IT inefficiency should not go into the successfully completed column
Log fault, nothing happens, apply sticking plaster to get round the problem. How can IT claim they resolved the problem?

11.Perhaps they were purchased with a future OS upgrade in mind?
Nope, no plans for Win7, and what use is 8gb under XP, plus CS5, Premier Pro won't work on XP

12. a few people who edit videos.
Publishing/Multimedia company - it's our core business

13. Better/Lighter/Faster things, cost more money.
See above - they don't, my MacBook Air at a fraction of the HP monstrosity edits photos/videos more efficiently than our HP monstrosities. Cost savings? I think you'll find the cost of employees' time outweighs any claimed IT saving

14. satisfy each and every single need,
No, we employ many people in each function (100+ photogs in the area that I'm responsible for) that seems to be significant team that needs its requirement addressed

15. So is IT then 100% responsible for hiring interpreters
Well yes, if they're going to impose the structure, it is their responsibility to communicate. If I make a decision that impacts others it's my job to explain it to them

16. type who is more likely to refuse the help
Not at all, but I am the type who sidesteps the IT structure and will go directly to someone I know can solve the problem

17. Please #9 and pick a side.
See my answer above - 6 months, I'm not changing my mind, sort it out.

18. "My PC is knackered". Let the person do their job.
OK, let me rephrase: I have a no-working PC, how can I use the programme to report it? and yes I've had that advice in the past

19. Then why would you be calling? You have just listed 20 things, yet you don't need help?
I meant we, the users, know what we want to achieve - telling us that we should be doing something else is unacceptable. I'll refer to the RAW comment earlier, it's not your job to tell us that a JPEG will be fine, it won't & guess what, as photographers/Designers we know it won't & why it won't.

20. As a service department, our mandate would be to service whatever is technologically possible... You really don't think that the CEO of your organization having "laptop issues" could be slightly more than important than a graphics designer missing a deadline because their swamp file is slow?
Well, having worked for the Mirror Group IT Dept, I know that there was list of top users who had even the slightest request/fault promoted to the top of the list.
And yes, that designer missing a deadline will be more important than a CEO laptop issue, most of the time - 1 minute late here can causes tens of thousands of dollars of damage to the business - late to the printers, late to the trucks, late to the outlest - overtime costs, extra trucking, missed sales, reduces audit, lower advertising revenue, immediate loss of sales, continued loss of sales, cancelled subscription...

By daveandrews1 on 14 Dec 2011

Dave..

Almost everything you mentioned would be wholly frustrating to any user.

That being said, almost everything you mentioned was fueled by a business decision. It sounds like your organization has some self-centered leadership issues. A company who employs the use of a "hotline" for execs for stupid issues is also the same company who lets the brand preferences of an exec take precedence over the actual needs of their customer. As for PC vs. Mac prices.. we're not talking about store prices.. we're talking about who have you partnered with for your other hardware needs. I'm guessing you print a lot.. which means there's a contract for costly printers... probably HP.. so goingto HP for laptops was probably the cheap option. Your IT Dept is in the business of Service, and while im sure there is incompentence there (It's everywhere), their entire existence and operating model is based on the needs determined by your leadership team. My suggestion? Make a serious complaint to your higher ups, not the IT Dept. :)

By SemiFrank on 16 Dec 2011

Parable

MY STAFF ARE A COMPLETE WASTE OF SPACE!

THEY DON'T DELIVER, THEY MAKE PROMISES THEY DON'T KEEP, THEY TAKE TOO LONG, AND CONSTANTLY COCK THINGS UP! THEY TACKLE WHAT THEY THINK IS "INTERESTING AND SEXY" WHEN WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING IS FIXING WHAT'S WRONG.

I'M GONNA FIRE THEM AND OUTSOURCE THE LOT!!!

I had a customer, Head of IS, say this to me once, when I was a salesman. I was selling services. We had technicians by the score, the best in the business. My customer thought his people were rubbish, and was looking to outsource what they did to us.......so we began to dig.

First of all, the people weren't rubbish, they were highly competent. They had a lot of work to do, and were doing their best to do it. A mixture of projects and reactive work (problems, queries, minor upgrades etc.).

So what was wrong?......................

The answer was approach. For instance they would receive a problem and work on it. If it was a tricky one, it might take a couple of days. One thing was for sure, if it was tricky, they would fix it as quickly as it could be fixed, and my company couldn't have fixed it any quicker. Other problems sometimes had to wait if there was a tricky problem, quite rightly.

They also tackled the project work well. They would apply the right people, get on with the project, and make sure it didn't compromise the business or any other projects. They also did the right thing and held the projects when they needed to apply some focus to a knotty problem. Sometimes suppliers let them down, as they do in any company. Sometimes, an issue would arise in the middle of the project that wasn't envisaged at the beginning. Again, they would conscientiously work their way through the issue, and deliver a quality result.

So what was wrong?......................

We struggled long and hard with this, and finally sorted out what was going on after speaking with the technicians and the users and the helpdesk. It all boiled down to customer perceptions. We're talking about internal customers in this instance i.e. "The Business". This was a manufacturing company, so the perceptions were those of the Accounts Department, Quality Control, Process Engineering, etc. etc. It would be different departments here (Actuarial, Property etc.) but you know what I mean.

Looking at problems, a call would be placed, and someone would take it on. Someone would work on it, and eventually solve it. It might take a couple of days, because it was a difficult one. IS would then close the call, and move to the next one.

Meanwhile....... Joe the user would perceive that he placed a call, about something which was stopping him work. He can't do his job until the problem is fixed. The helpdesk operator may have told him that someone was working on it, but he's not convinced. None of those guys in IS called to discuss the problem, and the boss is getting agitated about that report that should have been complete today. 5pm comes and goes and Joe decides to go home. Surely it'll be fixed in the morning? 10am the next day, still no call.

Obviously no one is on the case, so Joe calls the help desk to complain. The IS guy phones eventually to say he's working on the problem, and actually has the cheek to sound annoyed that he had to call at all. Joe reckons he has only just started working on the problem. At least someone is now. Finally at 3pm, Joe gets the call from the helpdesk to say his problem is fixed. "God knows how long it would have taken if I hadn't complained", thinks Joe.

So what was wrong?.....

Well, the IS guy felt he'd done a bloody good job. The helpdesk had done a good job too. All of the info he needed to progress the fault was in the call text when he looked at the helpdesk system, which meant he could get on with fixing it more quickly without ringing the user. Even though he stayed 'til 7pm on the first day, the user had the cheek to ring him direct to hurry him up the day after. The IS guy had to research the fault on the web, and eventually had to ring the supplier, get a fix FTP'ed and test the change. He did do a bloody good job, trouble is he didn't tell the user.

It would have taken 30 seconds to ring Joe to tell him he was on the case. He could have spent 30 seconds every 2 hours giving Joe an update. When he realised he couldn't fix the problem without the aid of the suppliers. he could have told Joe, and Joe would have felt that the IS guy was doing a bloody good job. He might even have told his boss.

Instead he complained to his boss, who complained to the head of IS. The head of IS had actually had 3 such complaints already this month, and began to form his own view of his people. After all, if they say the service was bad, it must have been, mustn't it?

So, what about projects?

Well, the IS department had 15 projects "on the go" already. The head of the Quality Control department decided he needed access to a remote packaged application, that gave overall reliability stats on a host of components. The company had reliability problems with one of its products, and was beginning to get bad press in the industry publications. The Chief executive sanctioned the spend "on the nod", and told the Head of IS to get on with it. This was 15th January.

The Head of IS told the technical manager, who allocated the project to one of his people, Jane. Jane already had 3 projects, some of which had a few issues. She thought it through, and decided to sort out the issues before starting the new project. The issues took 1 week, although she had thought they would only take 2 days, but that wasn't her fault - the suppliers messed her around quite a bit. Then she got started, and planned out the project. It took 3 or 4 meetings with other technical specialists and suppliers to ensure everything was taken into account, but eventually the plan was created. The application would be available on 4 weeks time, it was now the end of January, so the application would be ready by the end of February.

People began work, then there were 2 major impact problems which took masses of IS resource to fix. They were fixed, but the ramifications meant that most projects didn't progress for a week. The end of February came and went, as everyone worked hard to get the system ready. In the 2nd week of March, the new application was about to go live. An unforseen problem took a week to resolve, and then the users were unavailable for testing for 2 weeks due to a factory shutdown. Finally the testing happened, everything was fine, and the application went live in the 2nd week of April.

The IS people had dealt with all sorts of issues and problems along the way. They had done the best job that could be done for their customer, and got the project in pretty damn quick, considering the circumstances. All the customer saw was that the application was a month and a half late, and had taken an outrageous 3 months in total. The Head of Quality Control complained to the Head of IS, and was particularly nasty in copying a memo to the Chief Executive, which he felt was the right thing to do bearing in mind that the adverse publicity situation was getting worse (Nobody told Jane that this application was top priority). The Head of IS added this project complaint to the others that he had, and continued to pine for the day when he could outsource the function.


At this point, I decided to forego the sale of outsourcing services, and help this company to recognise what a great IS department it had. I brought in some business process consultants, and we came up with 6 basic points that turned the situation around in 3 months. The Head of IS was the most difficult person to win over. The points were simply things that IS people could to do to help their customer perceive their actions correctly:

1 Make sure you understand the priorities of the tasks in hand. If you don't ask your manager. If you are a manager or team leader, make sure you communicate the priorities, and keep on communicating them all the time.

2. Do it now, if possible, not later. Especially if it's high priority.

3. In any implementation at any level, it won't be alright on the night. Assume it won't, and take as many steps as possible to minimise the impact of that as possible.

4. Mistakes are OK, IS is full of human beings. (The same mistake twice may cause a sense- of-humour failure, though).

5. Keep your promises, if you can't because of something out of your control, tell your customer.

6. Communicate with your customer too much. Tell them what you are going to do, what you are doing, and what you've done. Always. If you don't do 1-5 above, do this.


This is a true story, although it has been "fictionalised" slightly to protect the guilty and make the point more concisely. I hope you identify with the above, and buy in to the six points, which may sound cheesy, but are highly effective.

So what happened next?......

Well the situation did turn around in 3 months. However, at the beginning some of the IS staff were very defensive, some stressed that they did most everything covered in the 6 points. We carried in pushing them, and gradually, people started seeing the difference, in IS and the business. The company now sells its IS services to other companies.

Hope you enjoyed this little tale. How much of it do you think applies to us?

By jontym123 on 20 Dec 2011

@jontym I couldn't be bothered to read your rather long boring comments, you defined who you are with your comments "I'M GONNA FIRE THEM AND OUTSOURCE THE LOT!!!"

go on then then report back here to tell us how it went will you?

By pchealer on 30 Dec 2011

Why a lot of people hates IT department

@daveandrews1
Yes I have experience that IT manager was trying to get IT workers away from talking to other colleagues, because in that way they will make friends with rest of the company and colleagues working in other department will have the chance to take advantage of the friendship to achive their 'dark purpose', which is to install a software. The whole thing does not make any sence, I mean, IT people sometimes put themselves into some kind of box and categorize people in different ways. Of course at the same time, I understand their job is tough, because whatever goes wrong, 'it is always IT's fault', this is the unspoke rules in the office.

By magicnicho on 17 Jan 2012

@pchealer

It is a parable. You know, a story which illustrates instructive principles or lessons.

The full story is in the posting and tells you how it went.

Try reading it. You might learn something.

By jontym123 on 18 Jan 2012

General comment

Maybe we (IT folk) are our own worst enemy. I'll bet a lot of you will have heard IT colleagues say words to the effect of "If it wasn't for the users we could get on with our job". Nuff said?

By jontym123 on 18 Jan 2012

Being in IT is one of the most aggravating thankless professions in the world.

I wish other departments could send users in to work in IT for just 1 week, I bet most of them wouldn't last a full 8 hours before giving up.

Several points that most users fail to understand

1. IT workers don't just know how to do IT, we have to know how to use every departments programs not just our own. I would bet most IT workers could reasonably run another department for a day or two because of this. We may not be an expert in your profession but you can bet if we have to support it, we can probably wing it.
2. We say no for a reason, it will impact other users on the network and not in a positive way. When you bring your virus laden, never updated computer in from home we do not want it on the network. We do not want you to put the company financial data on it so you can lose it a week later etc.
3. We lock down your rights so you dont hurt yourself, a computer is a tool like any other, and when you install all the latest little webgames and whatever else comes in your personal email account...it usually requires us to clean it up and you cannot do your job. Trust us, your webkins game doesnt belong on the corporate network.
4. I find most users can barely operate a computer, have problems deleting stuff and then blame IT for it, blame us when we cant fix it for them due to their negligence, etc etc etc Users never take responsibility for their actions.
5. Response time, at most of the company IT departments I worked for, there was 300:1 or higher worker to IT worker ratio. We have a lot of users to support and your tool bar not working isnt a high priority at the moment. Everyone gets served on a priority basis, the color printing press is down in manufacturing...we can't ship product...that gets fixed first before your screensaver issue.
6. Downtime, yes we need downtime once in a while. Not having access to your email at midnight so we can run updates isn't going to kill you (and note the IT guy isnt getting paid overtime either while he's working at midnight) we need the downtime to install updates take backups and a multitude of other things. Computers dont just run themselves, especially in a corporate network where 3 gazillion machines and software products have to play nicely.
7. Budgets, yup, we need to spend money once in a while. That 5 year old server is slow for a reason, its old, out of date, your software keeps getting more bloated and thus wont run nicely on here anymore and there isnt any amount of threatining or complaining isnt going to change that.

I'm just getting more frustrated as I type this. I love working with technology and seeing my company enjoy success but users can make it a real grind sometimes.

By ITworker5023 on 8 May 2012

Why I loathe "Our IT Dept"

Lets begin with simple mathematics. if you are the IT director of a company that has a electronics refurbishing dept with the capability of rolling out 50 machines per hour if given 1mbs of bandwidth per machine.

How much bandwidth would you allocate to that subnet if it was approved by everyone else in the company?

A:10MBS
B:50MBS
C:100MBS

The correct answer "in my case" 2@#%^^% MBS for 50 machines "that's correct 2MBS".

I slip stream updates monthly when applicable in to our WIM. But even then the random need to update 300mb Video drivers to store on server or a 15mb update from MS is painstaking slow @ .007MBS "this was according to speed test".

So why does the shop have to endure this? Because our executive director of IT is an erroneous butt-plug with a god complex that feels the need to micro manage every bit that creeps across the network. It's so bad we are unable to even access legitimate sites "namely Microsoft" and gave up on downloading Windows AIK entirely as the 1.6 GB download so far out of reach at the present bandwidth. Pluto would be easier to reach than simply downloading a necessary deployment tool.

End Rant.

We even offered to pay for a connection out of our own pocket to break free of the tyranny

By Jinx67 on 11 Apr 2014

Why I loathe "Our IT Dept"

Lets begin with simple mathematics. if you are the IT director of a company that has a electronics refurbishing dept with the capability of rolling out 50 machines per hour if given 1mbs of bandwidth per machine.

How much bandwidth would you allocate to that subnet if it was approved by everyone else in the company?

A:10MBS
B:50MBS
C:100MBS

The correct answer "in my case" 2@#%^^% MBS for 50 machines "that's correct 2MBS".

I slip stream updates monthly when applicable in to our WIM. But even then the random need to update 300mb Video drivers to store on server or a 15mb update from MS is painstaking slow @ .007MBS "this was according to speed test".

So why does the shop have to endure this? Because our executive director of IT is an erroneous butt-plug with a god complex that feels the need to micro manage every bit that creeps across the network. It's so bad we are unable to even access legitimate sites "namely Microsoft" and gave up on downloading Windows AIK entirely as the 1.6 GB download so far out of reach at the present bandwidth. Pluto would be easier to reach than simply downloading a necessary deployment tool.

End Rant.

We even offered to pay for a connection out of our own pocket to break free of the tyranny

By Jinx67 on 11 Apr 2014

Why I loathe "Our IT Dept"

Lets begin with simple mathematics. if you are the IT director of a company that has a electronics refurbishing dept with the capability of rolling out 50 machines per hour if given 1mbs of bandwidth per machine.

How much bandwidth would you allocate to that subnet if it was approved by everyone else in the company?

A:10MBS
B:50MBS
C:100MBS

The correct answer "in my case" 2@#%^^% MBS for 50 machines "that's correct 2MBS".

I slip stream updates monthly when applicable in to our WIM. But even then the random need to update 300mb Video drivers to store on server or a 15mb update from MS is painstaking slow @ .007MBS "this was according to speed test".

So why does the shop have to endure this? Because our executive director of IT is an erroneous butt-plug with a god complex that feels the need to micro manage every bit that creeps across the network. It's so bad we are unable to even access legitimate sites "namely Microsoft" and gave up on downloading Windows AIK entirely as the 1.6 GB download so far out of reach at the present bandwidth. Pluto would be easier to reach than simply downloading a necessary deployment tool.

End Rant.

We even offered to pay for a connection out of our own pocket to break free of the tyranny

By Jinx67 on 11 Apr 2014

Why I loathe "Our IT Dept"

Lets begin with simple mathematics. if you are the IT director of a company that has a electronics refurbishing dept with the capability of rolling out 50 machines per hour if given 1mbs of bandwidth per machine.

How much bandwidth would you allocate to that subnet if it was approved by everyone else in the company?

A:10MBS
B:50MBS
C:100MBS

The correct answer "in my case" 2@#%^^% MBS for 50 machines "that's correct 2MBS".

I slip stream updates monthly when applicable in to our WIM. But even then the random need to update 300mb Video drivers to store on server or a 15mb update from MS is painstaking slow @ .007MBS "this was according to speed test".

So why does the shop have to endure this? Because our executive director of IT is an erroneous butt-plug with a god complex that feels the need to micro manage every bit that creeps across the network. It's so bad we are unable to even access legitimate sites "namely Microsoft" and gave up on downloading Windows AIK entirely as the 1.6 GB download so far out of reach at the present bandwidth. Pluto would be easier to reach than simply downloading a necessary deployment tool.

End Rant.

We even offered to pay for a connection out of our own pocket to break free of the tyranny

By Jinx67 on 11 Apr 2014

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