IT Policies

How IT can alienate the very people they serve

Patrick Gray talks about an instance when a company's "geeks gone wild" alienated him from the product they offered.

I've been researching hosting providers (now universally dubbed "private clouds" by the trendy) for some experimental development work my company is doing. Ideally I'd like to use a provider who's built their environment around a certain web standard, and with some research found the names of several recommended vendors in what is essentially a commodity market. I searched out the first provider, clicked their link in the search results, and was promptly greeted with a "Browser Not Supported" message encouraging me to download an unfamiliar application. Like the majority of the world's web browsing public, I use Internet Explorer and have the latest version, IE9.

I should be in the ideal target market for this company. I'm looking for a host running a specific technical environment that they happen to support, I've taken the time to research this particular company and have come to their website directly and unbidden, and I have money to burn. Rather than welcoming me with open arms, they suggest I take 10-45 minutes out of my life to install unfamiliar software and change the very tool I use on a daily basis to interact with the internet. No thanks.

While there are still a few who cling to the notion of a "browser war," the majority of people who actually have a life find a browser they like and move on to more pressing problems. While this is a blatant example of "geeks gone wild" at the expense of potential customers, most corporate IT departments are guilty of similar attempts to frustrate internal "customers" and alienate the very people they serve.

Take the lowly help desk ticket, for instance. Anyone who has worked in a medium or large organization has likely been told to "create a help desk ticket" before someone from IT will actually provide assistance. The rationale behind tickets is reasonable enough: IT wants to track where it is spending its time, and capture the problems it has encountered and fixed, to reduce time spent fixing the same problem. With the help desk ticket being the entrée into all things IT, one would think the experience would be exceptional and a hallmark of grand things to come. Instead, one ends up sitting on hold, or encountering an unfriendly online system that asks questions to which the user doesn't know the answer-and far too many of them at that. In short, before that internal customer can even begin work on their problem, IT has created an adversarial relationship driven by an unfriendly interface.

Contrast this with something like the Disney theme parks. Before you enter Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom, you've boarded a themed boat that slowly chugs toward a fantastic castle, with the themed music you've loved since childhood playing softly in the background. You've entered a magical and wonderful world, and this is before you've even pulled out your wallet to pay for admission. The initial IT experience at most companies would be the equivalent of being pelted with rocks, cursed at, and forced to walk through an unmarked maze just to find the entrance. The few who followed the process to its conclusion would arrive ornery and jaded.

It's easy to joke about the help desk and regard it as a necessary evil, but like it or not, it's the gateway to your IT experience and should be easy, frictionless, and perhaps even exceptionally pleasant. If you're going to force every one of your customers through the help desk, employ some crazy ideas like actually staffing it appropriately so calls are answered quickly, and electronically submitted tickets are responded to promptly. You obviously can't have your best and brightest technicians manning the phones 24/7, but you can have well-trained, competent people working the phones who log incidents, coupled with a dynamic and rapid follow-up that makes calling the help desk a pleasure rather than a dreaded inconvenience. Key to all these measures is realizing that your help desk is more than a bit of technology that helps your internal process, it is your face to your customers.

Just as the cloud vendor lost my business as soon as they suggested I embark on a long software installation and completely change my web browsing habits, IT's touch points with the community it serves can alienate and anger internal customers. While they may not be able to take their business elsewhere, they are likely to remember how they were treated when it's time for budget approvals and project proposals.

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent ...

104 comments
odetocentipede
odetocentipede

This article really hilights the gap of understanding between management and IT in many places. Gray is lamenting what IT is doing. Management sets the direction and priorities for IT. Now, IT is not blameless. Often, IT presents management with too much data and not enough interpretation covering opportunity costs. That said, how many articles have been written over the years for IT managers as they try to squeeze budget enough budget dollars out of a company to effectively support growth targets? Many IT pros who serve at a Helpdesk know that the much of the time they answer the phone, they face an angry, resentful, confrontational person on the other end through no fault of their own. They have to be part psychologist in addition to an all system knowing oracle. Many helpdesks would love to give that "value-add" of workstation visits and friendly chats over what mobile device works best for your daughter, but when the call queue is backed up on Monday morning because it seems like 20% of the company can't remember a password over the weekend and managment won't fund a self serve option, or worse, end users won't USE a self serve option, well, it is difficult to feel the love. More specifically, one of the biggest understanding gaps for help desks is that the metrics of speed of answer, customer satisfaction, and first call resolution all pull in different directions. It is up to management to set the priorities and in order to keep staff costs down, first call resolution often suffers. When you ask management to prioritize, they often answer "yes", meaning they want it all, including boat rides and castles. Meanwhile, upper management threatens IT management over costs by labeling a potential strategic edge as a commodity. In case Mr. Gray hasn't noticed, Disneyland costs big dollars. Further, IT can't spend 20 minutes on an initial call helping someone who was never properly TRAINED to use the software because there are 10 people in Mr. Gray's dreaded hold queue. In example after example, the help desk is used to mask poor planning and implementation elsewhere in the company.

Bren1968
Bren1968

The Disneyland comparision is comparing apples with oranges. Disneyland is a profit center - most organisations see IT as a cost center. A bit of forward planning and spend a dollar to make a dollar rather than continually cutting would provide better return from IT.

dpickles53
dpickles53

Hopefully in both of the cases you speak about, you tell someone about your issues. In the case of the service company that does not support IE, the more they hear from customers that they lost their business because of this fact, the more likely they are to do something about it. In the case of internal IT, start forging a partnership by speaking to them about your experience and enable them to see themselves through their customers eyes. It really doesn't matter what is behind their flawed services, the only thing that matters is getting the opportunity to continually improve.

Marc Jellinek
Marc Jellinek

{ You???ve entered a magical and wonderful world, and this is before you???ve even pulled out your wallet to pay for admission. } Yes, but with the expectation that you ARE going to pay. Spending a week in Disney's parking lot is not nearly as fun as walking down Main Street USA. The truth is that most "business users" do not pay for IT services. There are few effective chargeback models in place. Therefore, IT is a cost center paid out of a general fund. It's treated like overhead; like lighting, HVAC and plumbing. The fact is that IT is not as simple, clear-cut or robust as your average HVAC, electrical distribution or plumbing system. People do not bring their own toilets to work; then throw tantrums when the building's physical plant management won't install them. When employees are told they can't have their own coffee pots or toaster-ovens at their desk due to building and fire codes, they may grumble, but they don't revolt. IT has to constantly justify its headcount and demonstrate that IT is delivering on its responsibilities. The primary reason to have a helpdesk ticketing system is to demonstrate the number of problems generated and the number of problems solved: both data points used to justify additional headcount, training and resource requests. If you want top-shelf service, there is going to be a top-shelf cost. If you want service at no cost, you are going to have to live within the parameters that IT can commit to or has been forced to commit to. With your experience with your cloud/hosting provider: if you don't like their service, don't use it. It's that simple.

MGD74
MGD74

The discussions here sum up the phrase even Bad IT works too. How about a little common sense here. IT does not exist to support itself, it exist to support the business. The business is its customers. It doesn't matter what my preference is the only preferences that matter is doing what is right for the business. As far as your support staff they are your best customer service reps. These individuals have the most contact with your customers. Processes are there for a reason, use them. Walk ups should be allowed only if your support tech is not working on another issue or calls are not waiting for him. Yes the customer at hand feels good but the person who called yesterday and followed the process does not. It has to be the right balance. I have seen people sit in support techs chairs waiting for them to return from vacation. Not an ideal process in my book. These same people are amazed when you ask them to log a ticket at how fast their support requests are handled. This isn't magic but you need to build the right process and have the right knowledge in place. If you are going to make everyone log a ticket and allow no walk ups your support structure better have a quicker response rate than someone trapsing off to find a tech to tap on the shoulder. Talk to your customers see what they want, use your own ideas of how you want to be served. Put yourself in your customers shoes. My customers in my years of managing support staff have made comments that they feel like they get preferential treatment. There's no magic sauce just common sense.

flotsam70
flotsam70

...is this "article". I'm suggesting that Patrick and his like-weak-minded brethren take their IE fairlyland and go to Disney, and the rest of us can go about our real business.

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

Catching up during the summer depends on the number of "Project" that are slated - like replacing lab computer or rolling out a new email system. Last summer we replaced over 400 computers in labs - had to wipe hard drives and get the old computer ready for auction. We rolled out a new Exchange email system. About 1000 users had to be set up at their teacher and admin computers. Catching up is a dream that always awakens as a nightmare.

reisen55
reisen55

At Aon Group, the IT department was outsourced to the care and feeding of CSC, and we were providing TOP NOTCH response to tickets. One fine day, the servers of CSC, based in Secaucus NJ - crashed. Died, gone. No restore plan. For 36 hours we were TOLD NOT TO REPOND TO ANYTHING???? True, we could do nothing because CSC would be unable to track those all important NUMBERS!!!!!!!!!!!

bee2012
bee2012

There is really no excuse for excluding Internet Explorer users. Whatever we might think about this browser, most people still use it and it is a hassle having to download a specific browser or software to get access to the resources you are looking for. The blame game between IT and Operational Management is a vicious circle that does not bring any solution. Commonly what we see is IT staff not gathering the requirements properly, not having the confidence to risk on advising on one solution (instead of hundreds of solutions) and not managing the expectations properly. Operational management then feels frustrated and tries to find a solution themselves, normally outsourcing from contractors that do not know the company's culture and therefore cannot access their needs accurately. So many times I have been in meetings where Developers say "yes" to everything, don't make the right questions or don't raise any questions at all and then gather together afterwards to complaint and to point fingers.

elrico-fantastica
elrico-fantastica

you will write off what could have been the best cloud solution for your business because you were too lazy to install an alternate web browser? the problem isnt them....

richard.gardner
richard.gardner

It's very easy to detect a technically inept customer, they'll be using ie, and it is the technically inept who drain the most support resources. Plus you could have installed Chrome in less time than it took you to whinge about it, THIS IS FOR YOUR OWN GOOD, you obviously can't be trusted to pick a browser. They're best off without you, I wouldn't be suprised if they did it deliberately. In the meantime I suggest you don't vent your complete lack of technical knowledge on a site called "Tech Republic", one would expect at least a passing understanding that your browser is the single most important piece of software installed on your machine.

andrew232006
andrew232006

The rest of the company doesn't understand how it works. But they occasionally see you press a few buttons and accomplish hours of manual work. Then they see you on the computer for hours working on a major project(really looking at cat pictures no doubt) or even worse thinking and planning! Why isn't he pressing any buttons!?!? And they get angry that you don't just pull out your magic wand and fix it. I really think some general computer knowledge should be a prerequisite for almost everyone working today. If I had a private office I'd lock the door to do my work and put a sign on it ???No One Gets In To See The Wizard! Not no one, not no how!???.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Well sort of. At the behest of the business, in order to cut the cost of providing support (needed or not by whomever). There's only so much milk in the cow, no matter how efficient we get the business wants more. So they bring in the business heads to manage IT, and they go for easy option one, lets cust costs. One way to cut support costs, is to not do it.... Your bed, lie down, stop whining. The adversarial relationship is endemic to business, and in fact you often come across as one it's main proponents. While you treat IT as seperate to the business, there will always be a disconnect. Adding in the existing disconnect between employees / customers and the business, as IT's fault is a mighty stretch even for your good self.

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

I blame poor management. Their desire for 'results right now' without 'wasting' any time trying to think of answers to all of my 'impertinent' questions results in lousy IT services for the organization. The times I have built good systems that help the organization are when the managers involved wanted a real solution and were willing to work with me. Currently, the layer above us in the organization wants us to put our helpdesk onto their ticket-oriented helpdesk so as to count number of calls and time per call. I got the users and their managers to fight for me against this idiotic idea. (They've delayed it for years now). Our customers don't care about number of calls; they want a system that works and they have one now because our helpdesk is staffed by our developers so everyone has a vested interest in fixing problems. Analysis demonstrates that a helpdesk for software that is supposed to be getting fixed/upgraded over time should result in fewer calls that take an astronomically longer time to solve. That's where we're at now. Changing the measurement of our 'success' (but only as far as the helpdesk is concerned) to number of calls would result in an overall decrease in usefulness of the system. But no one in that layer of management wants to even discuss it. That's the supposed 'IT Problem.'

gordon
gordon

I have been listening to this crap for 30 years now about how IT is sooooo unappreciated and mis understood. If you went to your doctor and he or she babbled at you in medical lingo you would think their bedside manner needed some work. IT people have never thought of creating a bedside manner for their own dicipline and seem to go out of their way to alienate their customers. My conclusion is that they secretly enjoy playing the geek role as it elevates them above everyone else. At least in their own mind. Take a pill

waltersokyrko
waltersokyrko

Most IT people would love to give customers superlative service but they are NOT given the money to do so. Long wait times for help desk. Hire more staff. No, staff cost more money. Stuck in voice menu hell. Train all help desk staff to be knowledgeable in most technologies so that call can go directly to a person. No, training costs more money. Web site works only on one Web Browser. Build web site that works on most Web Browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari). No, re-developing web site for multiple Web Browsers costs more money. PS. I have the latest version of 3 Web Browsers on my desktop. What can people do? The next time your organization talks about budgets, stand up and say "The IT budget should be increased this year so that IT can provide better service."

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

C'mon, this is the twentyfirst century fer chrissakes! There HAS to be more effective ways of alienating the people we serve than this!!! :^0 I expected more from this article, at least give me 10 ways to most efficiently alienate the users!

bearmr
bearmr

I think Patrick's article was addressing a different point entirely but these comments have branched off into the old 'Management vs. The IT Department' debate. Firstly, I agree with Patrick that IT need to present a pleasant experience to its users. Not just initially but throughout the whole process. So many of us in IT think we own the department and things should run the way we want them to that we forget we are a service department. Yes, the business may crumble without IT, but without the business there would be no IT. Tech staff really need to understand this rather than continue to blow the old "management doesn't give us what we need' trumpet. And in regards to management not giving IT what it needs, I used to feel exactly the same as bjk. It was a very frustrating time in my career and I was sick of the lack of respect IT received from stakeholders. But I have now realised it's all about perception and shifting things into a cost perspective because that's really what these people care about. If systems are failing and IT are having to do all sorts of fancy things to keep it running because management wont approve expenditure, then in their opinion, that's what the IT department is for. They don't give a rats a$$ about how much work we have to do. All that matters is the bottom line. IT staff need to think on the same wavelength. How will it save the company money? And freeing up IT staff to do other things is not the answer. They want answers that means something to them not to us. Think about it.

codepoke
codepoke

The Help Desk serves as a gatekeeper, fixing easy requests before they get into the system, rejecting inappropriate requests, and prioritizing the ones that need to be handed off. Still, as one of the guys to whom work is handed, I'm constantly confronted with workers furious the gate isn't narrower and customers just as mad there's a gate at all. This article suggests painting the gate in Disney colors and handing out cookies, but I really am curious what's worked for people. My guess is, "not much."

cshore2012
cshore2012

...and I get similarly annoyed by having to keep a copy of IE lying around simply to deal with the dumb websites which don't support anything else! IT support in our company was transformed when the IT team opened a "drop-in" room which is open during all office hours. Deals with a huge percentage of IT issues (let's face it, most of them are trivial) quickly, cheaply, easily and face-to-face.

gurahl
gurahl

I agree with the sentiment of this article, often the decision makers are divorced from the practical environment and make decisions that do more harm than good. Honestly though, I dropped IE sometime in the 90s, since it is prone to bugs, and open to a host of security issues. As well as having to occasionally log faults through helpdesk, I also work in helpdesk, and as much as some policies make things difficult, I think there needs to be some level of education of regular users, since some people have utterly unreasonable expectations of how services should behave.

Ay Caramba
Ay Caramba

My current company is the first place I've been that actually gets the help desk experience right. They keep it really simple. We use a chat application to simply note our problem to a monitored channel. A member of the support team may ask a few simple questions to further diagnose the issue, and then enters the ticket. The ticket number is later emailed to the requestor so that they can keep track of it. Does that mean that some unnecessary items get communicated to our help desk? Sure. But you know what? People look at that team as being a partner--not a hurdle to get over just to get some assistance. Simple. Efficient. Brilliant.

428r_Cruzr
428r_Cruzr

It's always easy to beat up on IT. Organizations have been doing it since the decision was made to get involved in servers, networking or anything else in that domain. The big hurdle is that at every level the organization views IT as a cost center, not an investment. Comparing that to some ridiculous cruise to Disney is short sighted and irrelevant. At the end of the day all things IT tend to be rather costly. Due in whole or part to the stigma of being a cost center already, IT is always forced to make do on a shoe string budget or worse, to cut corners which leads to many of the things pointed out in the article. Once leadership accepts IT as an investment in the growth and viability of the organization long term things can start to change. An effort to properly manage expectation and culture with internal marketing has to be done in order to really make a difference.

Dyalect
Dyalect

The IT staff know it, the clients know it and management definately knows it. But the helpdesk is an easy "answer" to "track" work being done. Whether it works or not is irrelevant to management. Anything that is not simple, seamless and actually works only handcuffs the IT staff that WANT to support users and bogs down the support process. "Put in a ticket" The white flag of IT!!!

earlehartshorn
earlehartshorn

You can blame management all you want, but the fact remains that us technical people have not done a good job of managing expectations, we have not done a good job educating the non-techies, and we (as a broad group, there are many exceptions) have not built an image of ourselves as being a credible resource. Yes, I love being a techie, I hate working with people, but the fact remains that people use our tech and if we want to be successful in this business we need to learn how to work with people. If we as techs have not built a good relationship with our customers then we can build the most incredible and useful systems for ourselves, but the broader group of peeps who have the ability to pay us for our work will never use those systems because we have not given them a reason to. Take some responsibility and sell your product in human terms, build relationships, and you will be a winner. Complain because not everyone is a geek or they are too old fashioned to get with the program, and you are a whiner. And, if you are a customer and not getting what you want, then complain to management or vote with your feet. One way or another the message will get out. Patrick, You did not name the web host that doesn't support IE for your own reasons, but if we cannot support you with our voices then I hope that you let the hosting company know that they lost a sale and why. I'm very much in favor of positive reinforcement (I try to keep my mouth shut when I don't have something good to say), but sometimes you've got to lay it on the line.

Duke E Love
Duke E Love

I copied and pasted "Like the majority of the world???s web browsing public?" into the subject line and got a message that "The subject contains invalid characters." They all look like valid characters. My bad... your database layer does not know to scrub data.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

How about say Enron. They put themselves in their customers shoes, trousers, skirts, blouses, cars boats, holiday villas and all available orifices.... As for the business being it's employees, I have a bridge going cheap.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I just stumbled over this by accident. Col

JJFitz
JJFitz

Many business users do not have administrative priviliges to install anything. And that's for good reasons. So these users would not be able to install an alternate browser on their own. In addition, many businesses use web based applications internally that require IE. ERP, Document Management, Laboratory Management, Process Control come to mind at my company. So users would have to know which browser to use with which application? Or make a bunch of shortcuts on their desktop to handle the confusion. That seems very inefficient when the solution on the vendor's side is to support the #1 or #2 most popular browser. It sounds like laziness on the web developer's side.

JJFitz
JJFitz

My Help Desk Staff is great. They don't talk down to the users. They listen. They truly want to help. You will find bad apples in every profession. You will also find many good ones. The trick is culling out the bad ones and keeping the good ones.

bearmr
bearmr

Couldn't agree more.

tbmay
tbmay

Your average help desk tech doesn't come close to making what your average Doctor makes. Newsflash all....you get what you pay for. I'll treat you like kings...but I don't even look at an issue until my minimum fee of $300 per issue or project is deposited. The griping I used to hear about bedside manner is not there any more. Now I hear, "Too expensive." So how much do you value good service? Or do you think you're entitled to it just because?

flotsam70
flotsam70

Yeah, o.k. Alice. Would you like some cheese with that whine?

andrew232006
andrew232006

10. Make up new words. Mix and combine with as much technical jargon as possible. Most people will not admit they don't understand you. "The configuration on the fluxtransformer database must be corrupted. This is going to take awhile to fix." 9. Tell them their hardware or software are unsupported. "Your computer is brand new? We don't support that yet. Your computer is 1 year old? We don't support outdated hardware. You plugged in a mouse that we didn't officially sanction. Not supported!" 8. Bureaucracy. Make sure no one knows who is responsible for anything and no one is allowed to fix anything that they're not responsible for. If users start to catch on, change it up. If properly implemented you can pass problems around for weeks without anyone trying to fix them. "Your printer isn't working? Sorry that's not my area anymore, try talking to Bob." 7. Tell them to get a mac. Continually remind everyone that if they were using macs like you they wouldn't have these problems. Never ever address the fact that this wouldn't work in your business environment. 6. Hide. Don't let anyone see you. Let all calls go to voicemail. Don't let anyone know what you're working on. Take as long as possible to respond to tickets or email. Do everything you can to make people to question weather you actually exist at all. 5. Use band aid solutions. Fix problems as quickly and crudely as possible without addressing the underlying problem or cause. Never address any problem that wasn't explicitly pointed out to you and documented in an email or ticket. Restart the computer, if it works, run. 4. Deny access to everything but don't take over responsibility for those functions. Don't just block executables, block mp3s, wavs, jpegs, pdfs. Disable access to local HDDs then impose tight quotas on network shares. "You need your critical server restarted? Fill out form 212-A and we'll look at it next week. Want to change your desktop background or screen saver? Access denied!" 3. Deny the problem actually exists. If there is no problem, no one can expect you to fix it. Arbitrarily close unresolved tickets. Tell everyone it worked fine with you. Open programs and close them immediately. If you don't encounter an error you can assume that it is fully functional. 2. Blame the user. Always assume the user did something wrong and then tell them how they broke it. If you can't find a real reason, make one up. "You didn't try to work remotely from home did you? The host of viruii on your home PC have no doubt infiltrated our network and caused all these problems." 1. Alienate yourself, literally. Green face paint, red hair dye, a mohawk and a toy phaser will make people seriously doubt that you can help them. Alternatively, tattoos, piercings and leather could also do the job.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

for how much work we have to do. When they have to pay for it..... In order to save money in IT, you have to invest. As IT changes all the time, or more correctly what people expect from it changes all the time, investment has to be a constant as well. Shifting perceptions is a valid point. But So if you rang me up for support and I said. RTFM you muppet, you'd be upset. If I told you where the manual was, how to use it, talked you through your current issue, you'd be upset. After all the manual cost money to write an deploy and was meant to cut support calls.... Basically waht you want as a manager and as a customer of support are contradictory. When you worked in IT (as oposed to managed :D ) it was the contradictions that made you upset.

bjk002
bjk002

In an ideal world you would always "present a pleasant experience to its users. Not just initially but throughout the whole process". Who could argue with that? However my point is that providing that experience requires investment. You do not get there from here without investment. Absent investment, you do not get that experience. I think that's pretty clear. I agree with you that, for better or worse, perception rules the world. Shifting perspective requires the ability to partner with business folks who listen to IT just as much as it is required that IT listen to business. That is often not an option. You overlook willingness as a prerequisite to collaboration, assuming that willingness exists when, in my experience, it often does not. Stamping one's feet and jumping up and down screaming "I want! I want!" does not suddenly make resources available to get it done. Due to a knowledge deficit, fear, doubt, or whatever excuse you care to make, the bottom-line is that progress will not be made without collaboration, and collaboration is difficult to arrange. If it truly is all about costs, then you would be right about IT getting on the cost reduction wavelength. Unfortunately, that's not what its all about, so you're wrong. If you come to an IT department seeking a new shiny tool in order to support growth, and want them to execute, you need to support their ability to deliver through resources and cap-ex (e.g. Investment). If you think they can deliver the new shiny without investment while they are already severely hamstrung simply serving the support role (which is where many organizations exist today in their thinking), then expect failure. Its a two way street, and always has been. Shifting responsibility from one stakeholder to another is a fruitless endeavor. "And freeing up IT staff to do other things is not the answer. They want answers that means something to them not to us.". Empathy is required in any equation where results are desired. How do you deliver results without resources to execute? Please explain your thought process. I'm all ears.

sboverie
sboverie

One of the problems with the way IT is usually structured is that the first time a customer sees a technician is when something is broken; and if the customer associates the technician with broken things then this is not a good customer experience. I worked as a field service technician in the data processing market years ago. The company had us do regular preventive maintenance which was more like public relations in that the customer got to see their technical support during a non critical onsite visit. This level of service is expensive and no longer expected.

AnalogJoystick
AnalogJoystick

IT is like gasoline for the delivery trucks or janitorial service or phones. You have to have it but it's not a profit center and you want to spend as little as possible on it.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Expectations are set before anyone even vaguely technical gets near the problem. The fact that some of these non-technical people are on IT's books simply blurs the issue. I love working with people and being a tech. I got taught along time ago that a major component of any IT system is people. So you seem to be in the wrong career as far as I can see.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Does that mean that you wouldn't support IE because it [i]only[/i] has 40% - 50% market share?

tbmay
tbmay

But I've noticed this. The people who want to get it do. There aren't many of those. I remember very well one user right after another blindsiding me with issues, and non-issues, and deliberately circumventing the channels. I did NOT come up with these channels either. They were created by people over me. When I tried to play by the rules, some of these users said I wasn't "helpful" simply because they didn't get to go to the head of the line just because they wanted to. It boils down to the perception people have of technical work. Another poster already made the reference to the , "Just push some buttons and it's done" notion. But it also is the whole, "I want my thing now, and I don't want to pay for it." thing that is prevalent in both individuals, and management. Geeks have, in the past, just worked 16 hour days to make it happen because they like to solve problems, and they felt like they had to. Some very wise young people are learning to find another way to make a living these days.

bearmr
bearmr

Good response bjk. I completely agree with you that it needs to be a two sided affair and this is seldom the case. I guess what I'm trying to say is this is the way things work and I don't see it changing. We either need to accept, adapt and move on, or we will continue to be unhappy and look for other jobs or whatever, only to go through the same thing again (not always, I'm sure there are plenty of employers out there who do 'get it' but I'm referring to the norm). The way to adapt is always present things in terms of cost benefit or ROI. I don't disagree with you that resources are required to deliver results but it needs to be presented properly. If you are expecting empathy, then I think you'll be waiting a very long time. Think about services we use for personal things. Honestly, how often do we as individuals empathise with service departments/companies? If my internet drops out at home, I really don't care what reasons they give me, I just want it fixed and I don't want to have to spend more money on it. Stakeholders approach us in the same way. I know this topic could go on forever with arguments back and forth. Believe me, I know what it's like and am in the same boat. But I've found my success rate has vastly improved after I started showing how investments actually save money as opposed to costing.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

By the customer. Getting IT management to hire enough people to make it possible is another thing entirely...

earlehartshorn
earlehartshorn

I've been a Tech-Network Admin-Systems Admin for going on 20 years now. Yes, some 'customers' are challenging, if life was easy it would be boring. I may have not made myself very clear. I could work by myself in a cave and never talk to anyone and I would be happy, at least for a while. I am not talented at working with people, but I have had to teach myself to become a teacher and teach myself how to communicate more effectively with people. Working with computers is much easier than working with people (for me), but to work effectively with the systems I have had to learn how to work effectively with the people that use them. I have deliberately made the choice to not step into management, but I am a trusted advisor on technical issues for management, and I had to earn that trust. Not easy. And every time there is a change in the management I have to start earning trust all over again. There are ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Yup, sometimes management asks for the impossible. I will present to them (gently, with documentation) why it is not possible with the understanding that I will do my best to attain the impossible, and I then make the process as absolutely transparent as possible so that they may possibly learn. Some do, some don't. But I usually have more patience than the one's that don't learn.

andrew232006
andrew232006

There were countless broken sites out there that only worked properly with IE which nobody seems to have a problem with. I like seeing the tables turned. Developing for IE rewards and encourages their refusal to support standards: Developers make sites for IE because it was the most popular. Those sites don't work with other browsers because IE doesn't conform to standards. More users are forced to use IE.

AnalogJoystick
AnalogJoystick

I'm not going to spend days hacking together kludges for IE. People using IE are holding back web development and foisting inferior experiences on everybody else. If a lot of websites didn't work with IE then it would get deprecated very quickly and we could move on.

info
info

That's what seemed to happen to RIM... And TV networks cancel shows because they ONLY get 2x the viewers that other shows have gotten, but failed to grab the majority of viewers from their direct competitor. People just don't seem to see the big picture, just what's in front of them...

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

For some reason I never made the conceptual leap that management skills = people skills. :D Apparently having manager in your job title automatically confers them, so I was told. I've toyed with the idea a few times, but I'm a born tech. Might as well let get the less gifted get promoted out of my face, so I can get on with the job. Besides some have intimated, that I have some them and us issues, not to mention having an unfortunate habit of telling it like it is, in ways that don't salvage their fragile egos...

JJFitz
JJFitz

you would ignore it. That's a solid business plan.

dwatling
dwatling

despite what Microsoft have brainwashed us into believing. IE is bloatware and crapware, trying to support all the bad decisions Microsoft have made over the past 15 years and has several rendering modes and proprietory selection wich does not work properly before IE9. On top of this IE 9 does not work on XP. The latest versions of all the "real" browsers work on XP.

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