Enterprise Software

Note to IT: Stop whining

IT, like every department in the company, has a thankless infrastructure element that no one acknowledges until it breaks. So it's time to buck up and stop whining.

Spend a few minutes with an IT wonk, from the CIO down to the most junior programmer, and you will find a common and unfortunate fault: excessive whining. Your average IT worker can regale you with endless tales of woe: from lack of funding and the evils of outsourcing, to a dearth of acknowledgement for years of applying patches, caring for backups and fending off hordes of hackers and crackers bent on ransacking corporate infrastructure. In this sorry state of affairs, save for an occasional Dilbert cartoon, the world fails to acknowledge the trials and tribulations of the lone IT soldier.

Imagine the shoe on the other foot for a moment if you will. Let's say your next paycheck fails to miraculously appear in your bank account on payday. A call to payroll connects you with an apologetic soul who spins a sorrowful tale of the difficulties of balancing the debits and the credits, the trials and tribulations of FICA, UCI, Medicare and Medicaid deductions, the myriad nuances of NSS versus SWIFT standards for funds transfers and the damnable misery of dealing with those outsourced bastards at ADP. Would you share a sympathetic sigh, thank the person for their years of trouble-free payroll processing, and tell them to they can pay you whenever they can get around to it? Similarly, if your car disappears from the company parking lot would you lend a sympathetic ear to the security guard who rails on about a lack of staff, and blames the problem on those fat cats in the C-suite that wouldn't pony up the money for the laser-guided robotic guard dogs that clearly would have prevented the theft, or would you demand answers as to why your car is gone?

Like it or not, a good portion of IT's responsibilities are unglamorous tasks related to maintaining infrastructure. This is detailed, difficult and thankless work that goes largely unrecognized. Like the trash pickup each evening or the accountant who pores over Sarbanes-Oxley rules until tears fall from her tired eyes, this is noble and necessary work, but work that will never earn you a high-five from the CEO or trip to Vegas with the top salesperson.

This low signal-to-noise ratio coming from IT gives us an organizational "scarlet letter." Executives brace themselves when they see an IT wonk coming down the hall, expecting to hear the latest litany of complaints and thinly veiled demands for praise. Wondering why your greatest idea ever was passed over for funding? Did the pitch include a long-winded description of all the technical wizardry that would be deployed, and breathless commentary about long hours and complex interfaces? No one wants to hear about the nuances of refining uranium isotopes to power the local nuclear plant when the lights don't work. What they want is someone who understands and articulates your problem, shows some sympathy, and delivers an improved end state without dragging you through the details. Try listening to your peers outside of IT, and understanding and articulating their business problems devoid of any whining about the technical complexities. If you can articulate the problem, and reliably show up with a cost-effective solution, then the high-fives start rolling in.

The sad fact of the matter is that every department in the company has a thankless infrastructure element that no one acknowledges until it breaks. Just as you expect to be promptly paid each month without whining from payroll, that so-and-so over in marketing expects his database to be patched and maintained without asking, and without ever stopping by to say thanks. Frankly, these tasks are called "work" because that's what they are. If you want undying admiration, get a dog.

Patrick Gray is the founder and president of Prevoyance Group, and author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology. Prevoyance Group provides strategic IT consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at patrick.gray@prevoyancegroup.com.

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 ...

182 comments
rupaa62
rupaa62

This article makes me wonder if this person who wrote knows what goes on in IT/MIS. I guess this person has no clue. Stop saying we are whiners, no we the IT/MIS people are the ones who fix the users who screw up a report, we are the ones who if users have a problem with maintenance they call us instead. We are the users who have to hand hold people who put on their resume they know how to use a computer and find out they never used one. We are the people who take care of the netowrk problems when a network goes down at night we don't get to be home having a nice home made meal but are eating fast food or when your asleep in your beds and we are working all hours because the employees don't know how to use a phone or wirte with a pen on paper, and we get that Network up and running. We don't get to surf the web for hours and go on ebay or be on pogo, and when we block those sites everyone is up in arms about it. IT depts are more time managed by outsourcing companies who think they can make your networks run faster but screw them up enven more, because they sold your cio a bunch of garbage. If you think about it if it was nto for the IT/MIS dept you probally would not get paid in the first place because the writer of the article did not think that it takes a computer and either a netowrk line or modem line to send the data. Also those cameras in your secured parking lot are mostly set up by your IT dept because the lazy security guard is asleep and does not monitor the cameras we set up so he or her does not have to walk their fat rumps around. How about the users who want speakers because they want to listen to music instead of working. why don't they just bring in a radio to do the same thing. OH I fogot the users are just lazy in todays world. Before anyone say the IT/MIS dept's are whining. We have the reason to because Companies don't want to pay for the the lax security this is why you have people getting their credit cards stolen because comapnies try to nickle and dime their IT/MIS depts. So if this person wiriting this article thinks he or her knows IT/MIS they don't and should go play with their xbox/PS3/Wii a little bit longer!

mail2
mail2

HAHA, you mofo! :-)

-Q-240248
-Q-240248

Good God man, who DOESN'T whine? Singling out IT people is whining in of itself! So stop whining about IT.

jfg1963
jfg1963

I believe this article is too long and does not picture real scenarios. In all the examples the actual answer form the other departments will blame IT, whether it is true o not. They will never waist their time explaining what has been stated in the article.

pacmantab
pacmantab

The author lost me at "wonk." The follow-up "IT: Ending the whining," is essentially his rewrite of this blog - only this time making a point to think before he types in my estimation. New visitors to this blog would do well to just skip this article and go right to the follow-up....

Still_Rockin
Still_Rockin

I agree with some of your points, BUT... Some of the things you say to stop whining about are NOT just "infrastructure elements". Such as, yes, OUTSOURCING. To not "whine" about that would be ridiculous. I wouldn't fault some accounting clerk for "whining" about his/her job being outsourced to India. When a fundamental sickness of American business/economy is occurring such as outsourcing all our decent-paying jobs to foreign countries so the American "CEO caste" can have 50 million dollar salaries instead of 10 million dollar salaries, THAT requires and DEMANDS major-league WHINING. Oh - and you sound like Phil Gramm (not a compliment)

martenscs
martenscs

Well what can be said. I worked for a fortune 500 company that outsourced my job. I worked on average 60 hrs a week. I did not have a single vacation in 9 years that I was not contacted to resolve a critical issue. I personally developed applications that added over 3 million to the bottom line. I contributed on projects that added double that value. I did not wine. I asked for more responsibility. I always received excellent comments from all facets of the business and consider myself a wizard in informal business networking. I understand why others wined now....my dedication will be a more valued commodity at my next place of employment.

pjcannon
pjcannon

My first thought is that if we whine too much then there must me a quantifiable amount of proper whining and a procedure, perhaps a 10 point checklist, we could use to rate ourselves so that we can learn to whine the proper amount. My second thought is the the premise statement of "whining too much" is like saying the Sun is too bright. It can't be proved or disproved and therfore is not a subject for debate or discourse and nothing can be learned or improved upon from the information in the article. The article may be based upon personal experience and or what others have told him how they perceive IT departments, which as any tech worth his salt knows is not alone enough for troubleshooting, fixing or preventing problems. This is a talking head article!

fcleroux
fcleroux

Perhaps if he hears a ton of Whinning it may be because of his Management Style. Perhaps he hears whinning where ever he goes. Perhaps he is the source of the whinning. In my experiences I hear people whinning about the IT department more than I hear IT people whinning.

Bizzo
Bizzo

Why? Why post an article whining about IT whiners? Why call us "wonks"? Why call us inarticulate and unlistening? Yes, I whine and moan sometimes. Normally over a beer, but it almost never lasts for more than one pint. I'm not putting down payroll, as I've done IT for numerous payroll departments. But from an employee side of it, if you call payroll and query why you haven't got paid, more often than not, they'll blame IT. If your trash doesn't get collected, it's because the computer crashed when doing the rota. IT generally is the last stop for the blame culture. If the tills fail in a shop, they blame the computers or the network, but if the network engineer then says that he couldn't get authorisation to buy a new switch, and has to make do with what he's got, your saying he's a whining little wonk? That's not really fair is it? I'm trying to understand the reason behind this article, but I can't quite seem to get it. You seem to have gotten quite a lot of people's backs up with this one. Good luck with that one. I can't believe you run a company called the "Prevoyance Group", but didn't forsee this kind of backlash.

fcleroux
fcleroux

I would suggest that this person is NOT an IT trainned and educated management person that grew up through the ranks but rather a a CFO/Accountant type or a BA or worse an MBA grad. I have just witnessed 9 MBA Grads totally destroy a multi million dollar company in only a year and a half. From one of Canadas top Electronics Firms to now just laying off another 15 employees in attempts to try to same more money. These over priced idiots also decided to cut the Christmas Party and Christmas Bonuses to save money. They now have MORE managers than they do real working staff. Gee, I wonder where the cutting should happen . . . Someone that writes an article about IT whinning is obviously NOT an IT person and totally doesn't understand.

jeff
jeff

It was an okay article. The information was there. The message, as you no doubt know now, was rudely passed. You cannot be taken seriously if you insist on degrading your intended audience with a derogatory slang word, such as wonk. It would be no different than if one of your own employees called you freeloader, jerk, or something else. However, if we take that intentionally harsh tone out and bring this document down to it's message, it rings true. But no more so than any other field which all has its share of whiners. However, what you fail to realize is that IT is the foundation of almost any business short of paper-shredding and garbage collection. When your server goes down in your company, so does all your departments. They have a reason why they whine and complain they're underpaid. Maybe if you paid them more they wouldn't whine. Don't be too surprised if the next time your server goes down, it stays down until they're back on the clock. When was the last time your billing department stayed late because Jim didn't get his check? Probably never. A good IT staff has a good leader, one who can communicate effectively. You most likely do not have a good leader, or likely can't find one or are willing to pay for it. Too Long; Didn't read?: Tone was bad, you throw derogatory words out, no one listens and there's a reason for it. Calling someone a wonk is no different than your employees calling you a freeloader, jerk, or any other term used to describe upper-managment.

jeff
jeff

The more I read your replies and comments, the more I find you come off as a typical management official who thinks little of his workers or belittles their opinions or comments. Your constant use of those derogotory terms is astounding. We're supposed to be all working together, not attacking each other with slang verbality. Treat all your employees as your best employees, regardless of how much they whine. Your job is to listen to your employees and their concerns, this isn't always whining. Unless, of course, they go "Buuuuuut John got the day off too!"

roger
roger

Now just wait a dog-gone minute! I am in a IT and I don't whine!!! Oh wait, crap!

nglshmn
nglshmn

I agree with most that the article may have had its delivery flaws, but most people seem to have taken it as a personal affront, rather than questioned the underlying truth that is there. It is all about credibility. Whether IT likes it or not, there is a credibility gap in many organizations. It may be down to under-educated hobbyists rushing in to the field, it may be because technologists are not socially adept, it may be because many IT people want to play with technology, it may be because IT people have a tendency to think about IT in isolation from the business, it may be that the business just hates IT. Whatever the reason, IT has to build credibility with the business. You don't get respect just because you want it, you have to earn it. There are umpteen maturity models out there for IT departments, all showing how IT can move towards being seen as a valuable contributor. This is a perception game as much as anything. Pick one of them and move your IT department towards being seen to be valuable. The issue I haven't seen discussed here is the role of IT leadership in bringing about credibility. I have been in IT for 20 years and have moved from being the IT victim, to asking why I felt that way, to trying to improve the image of IT and it's usefulness by improving its credibility with an IT Maturity program. Doing something positive is the best way to stop the whining, rather than just saying "get over it". Good IT leadership is the thing that will make it happen.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

maybe. Leadership (read management in almost all cases) I have to agree. They are often harder to convince than their colleagues in other departments. A horrifying amount of the time they seem to be less knowledgable about what IT is for as well.

lauterm
lauterm

I don't really have anything else to say, but thanks for clicking!

timjgreen2
timjgreen2

I am an IT amateur: basically I work a lot with accounts data, and liaise with IT over the accounting systems. So I think I have a foot in both camps on this issue, and I certainly have more to do with IT than your average non-IT pro. My experience is that most IT professionals are just that, professional. I don't see the whining that the author complains about in real life. HOWEVER, the whining and the often open contempt for IT users, on these forums and this thread in particular, frequently make my toes curl. Do the above posters really believe that they work harder and are less appreciated than accountants, engineers, HR professionals or administrators? Get real! Deadlines and emergencies happen in almost every department. Who the heck do you think is bleeping you? The payroll example made me smile. In a previous company where he was chief accountant, my colleague has worked straight through a weekend without sleeping to get the payroll out while the CEO played golf, because payroll on Monday will go unnoticed, but no payroll on Monday could sink the company. But guess what? The big, sensitive IT pros in here still show contempt for the accounts clerks in the example, even though doing so perfectly illustrates the author's point and shoots down their own! Basically what I'm saying is that IT pros are great, but by reading this thread, you would never guess so in a million years.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

This thread is a prime example of being pushed over the edge. We hear how IT doesn't do anything but spend money (false), we hear about IT not doing any work (false), we hear that IT can't relate to their users (false), we hear that IT policy is too strict or too lenient, we hear this crap day in and day out.... Then Peter pops in, spews for the same crap from 1995 that has FINALLY been squashed, and expects us to accept it? TR is a place to let our hair down, learn something, or even read an article about how to make IT better. Peter did nothing of the sort. He simply sea gulled in, and made sure to annoy all of TR.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

This thread is a prime example of being pushed over the edge. We hear how IT doesn't do anything but spend money (false), we hear about IT not doing any work (false), we hear that IT can't relate to their users (false), we hear that IT policy is too strict or too lenient, we hear this crap day in and day out.... Then Peter pops in, spews for the same crap from 1995 that has FINALLY been squashed, and expects us to accept it? TR is a place to let our hair down, learn something, or even read an article about how to make IT better. Peter did nothing of the sort. He simply sea gulled in, and made sure to annoy all of TR.

ppollei
ppollei

OK, I have seen the the scenerio you discuss, and it is counter-productive, but sometimes it is needed. IT is one of those things that if you do it well, nobody notices your doing your job. A good piece of code, rarely fails. Updated, secure systems, don't get hacked into. Networks with good architectures aren't slow. A good job does not gain you recognition. As a result, unaware managers may cut IT budgets, because they think the systems are running on their own, since they never see IT at their desk. Making money people, and business execs know the value of IT is a CIO's job. Having team members and managers support these concepts is vital if the CIO plans on keeping a strategic alliance. Granted, the whining needs to be maintained, and used constructively, but it can serve a purpose. For those who love to whin, add some metrics to it and you may get more bang for the buck.

msu.wallace
msu.wallace

A better analogy would be.... Let's say your paycheck fails to appear in your bank account on the next payday and you complain to payroll. Eventhough you keep opening and closing new checking accounts without telling anyone even after accounting has told you 15 times to keep the same friggin checking account. Also comparing the depth of knowledge it takes to be a security guard and an IT professional is like comparing a janitor and doctors. You have apparently spent most of your studying IT and none of your life actually working in the trenches. Maybe all our complaints aren't justified, but I don't think that people in the IT field just complain more because it's in our nature. Maybe the correlation exists between IT and whining because other factors that are actually real, not because we are just inherently whiny

Fatboy0341
Fatboy0341

I'm glad someone finally made these points. Sure - there whiners in IT, but making a mass generalization about all of like this, and using a few analogies that aren't realistic (IT compared to Security Guard) isn't fair. There are definitely valid areas in IT where we eat a hell of a lot of BS and just get the job done one way or another, regardless of what it takes. That's not even debatable. That's my 2 cents.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Many of us have just gotten sick and tired of the BS like this author posted.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The tone of the articles here have recently seemed to consistently show outright contempt for the IT Workforce. I understand that in general, any workforce in any department has the same basic complaints... "We are understaffed" "Expectations are unreasonable". "We are underfunded" Are probably the top 3. And I understand that management often finds that in fact, less people can be more efficient and cost effective, sufficiently motivated. I also understand that sometimes IT gets a little caught up in the technology and sells a project that doesn't really deliver as promised. But there are some very real concerns - and it seems like beancounting dorks focused solely on the bottom-line like the author of THIS article (call ME an "IT wonk"...)are just incapable of making the jump to understand that. (And trust us, we cringe when we see you walking in our direction with that lost look on your face too). Since I started work in this industry, I realized that it resembles nothing so much as being the Court Magician. As long as your magic tricks are going off without a hitch, the king applaudes and your head is safe upon its neck. Have a single trick fail, and you're liable to find yourself chained to the axe-man's block, though. Listen, the web server is down, we're going to have to reboot it, and it'll really take 15 minutes to come back up. I don't care if you're giving a presentation in 5 minutes and you require the web server back up before that - I am NOT a mystic that can bend time. Listen, a hard drive failed in the RAID-5 array, we've got one being shipped, and it'll be overnighted. Until then, the server is going to run with degraded performance. I *talked* to you about this and told you that it could be a potential problem, and you balked at the costs associated with making the system redundant enough to make this degradation transparent to end users. I know you're trying to generate a report and it is normally done in 15 minutes and today it is taking 3 hours, and I know you need it 10 minutes ago. Tough. YOU made this choice, not me. Don't tell ME *you* don't want to hear *MY* excuses, you just want me to fix the problem. YOUR decisions *are* the problem. This isn't whining. This is reality. You don't want to hear it? Well, I've got news, I don't want to hear about how you lost a totally important document that you never printed, never made multiple copies of, and never saved in the path that *I* told you would get it backed up. Quit your whining and start typing again. Hope you can remember what you said - because it isn't *my* problem. Ahhhh. And in an ideal world, this would work, and people would realize it wasn't my lack of foresight, it was your technical incompetence, that caused the issue. But that isn't how it really works, is it. You want me to listen to, empathize with, and resolve all of your shortcomings with interfacing with productivity technology, but God Forbid I should ever even imply that the problem is mostly YOU. (Which is my opinion when I am being kind. Most of the time, I am certain the problem is most likely ENTIRELY you). But I try to keep a positive outlook on it. Your incompetence is my job security, so here is to you, Mr. Beancounter Bottom Liner. You're keeping the IT workforce gainfully employed!

pgray
pgray

Thanks for the comments, all. I'll ignore the inane and the veiled threats (I can assure you no one has spit in my oatmeal, and that my armpits remain flea-free) and focus on the more insightful comments. TONE Was the tone of the article a bit harsh? Yes, intentionally so. The downright juvenile tone of much of the responses would come as a shock to someone in executive management or other business units, and this is the type of behavior that gives IT a black eye and prevents us from being taken seriously. In my mind, that merits a healthy dose of tough love. Are there complainers in organizations and business function outside IT? Of course there are, but we're here to talk about IT, and if we want to be perceived as smart, hard working and capable, we need to end the whining and put our energies towards improving both our work and our perception around the organization. WONKS Several were offended by the word "wonk."? According to the American Heritage dictionary, it's "One who studies an issue or a topic thoroughly or excessively." If you do not study IT thoroughly or excessively then I apologize for implying you do, and if this term is offensive, rest assured that was not the intent. PAYROLL/TRASH/SECURITY REFERENCE There were several references in the article to other thankless jobs. Regardless of the position mentioned, the point remains the same: there are critical business functions that when done successfully go completely unnoticed and without thanks. Many elements of an IT career involve such activities. Instead of lamenting this fact, find activities that are highly valuable and visible, and as the article says, then the high-fives start rolling in. I don't mean to imply the competencies required to take out trash are on par with those required for an IT role, rather than no one notices either until it stops working. The point of the payroll analogy remains the same. Why do we in IT expect accolades for doing our job? Payroll is extremely complex when all the financial transactions, tax schemes, etc. are factored in, yet I would doubt any of us notice or call payroll until something goes wrong. LACK OF ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS This was perhaps the most helpful comment, and one I agree with wholeheartedly. My next column will focus on strategies for moving beyond the whining, and I thank several of you for pointing this out. 24/7 LAMENTS Many lamented the 24/7 nature of IT, carrying pagers, being overworked and underpaid, etc. This is the case in IT and many other professions. Show me someone that is underworked and overpaid and I'll show you a bridge I have for sale. As someone pointed out, if you're getting a call to reset a password at 3AM , some other poor soul is also working at that hour. We all remember the bitter customer service rep we got when we called a company to get a problem fixed, and I think twice about doing business with an organization when this happens. Do you want to be remembered as that bitter person on the other end of the telephone, or the person that brought a little ray of light into some other overworked and underpaid individual's life at 3AM on Sunday? OTHER COMMENTS Many wished me ill will, or flaunted information from my company's website as if finding some secret, hidden fact. My email address and website are prominently featured at the end of the article, and I'm more than happy to open a personal dialogue should you feel somehow slighted, yet I will not respond to anonymous or puerile insults. I don't check the comments here every day so that is the best way to reach me should you wish to personally continue the conversation. I've enjoyed all the responses and had a good belly laugh from many, and look forward to writing future columns for TR. Warm Regards, Pat Gray

alex.kashko
alex.kashko

If the tone was deliberately intended to irritate. The point that IT is one of those things that only get noticed when it breaks down is a major one. In his book "The Balck Swan" N. N. Taleb describes "silent evidence" and the world's ingratitude to unsung heroes. Following his lead "This man made the company a billion" has much more resonance than "This person saved the company two billion" and while everyone praises a heroic firefighter no one even notices the little guy installs and checks the sprinklers. In fact the manager proposes a better fire prevention system may well be disciplined for extravagance.

docmalone2003
docmalone2003

I believe Pat's points should be taken into consideration not just by IT personell, but by anyone in any organization, in any position. We're all prone to 'whining' to one degree or another, I'm guilty of it myself and have been all my working life. However, as I've 'matured', I've tried to make myself more aware of the tendancy as it occurs and try to 'head it off at the pass', because the general effect of whining tends to be a marginalization of the whiner and his accomplishments. An often unintended side effect is the marginalization of that whiner's department/profession. Long story short, negative behavior seldom brings positive results, for either party. That said, I understand this tendancy is just as much a part of human nature as the desire to be appreciated. The very desire that when overlooked by the people we serve can result in the impulse to vent our frustration about it. The message gleaned from the final analysis of it all, is the one we whom are parents try to instill in our children, you are responsible for every act you commit to, so it would be the wiser choice to consider the consequences of your actions before you commit to them. Conceptually I agree with the other, while on the other hand I can sympathize with those who disagree as well, although some could have displayed a bit more tolerance towards the author and his subject, in keeping with what I stated earlier. Did I say 'Long story short'? Now I have to work on that tendancy towards lying...

AstroCreep
AstroCreep

I'm glad you were "expecting" the responses you received. "Whining" or not, you wrote an article that is quite controversial, especially being that the core-audience of this site is the group that you are criticizing it should be expected. What I don't get is why single-out the IT worker? You even said that every business-unit and every department has "whiners", so I am curious: why single-out IT? As far as the comment about a few 'bad apples' in IT who are either ego-maniacal, unruly, impersonal, etc., again, this is something that happens across the board in any profession and any facet of business, so I can completely see why so many people take offense. Besides, who doesn't work a bit of their personality into their job? Maybe their personality is goofy, silly, shy, angry, arrogant...there's really no way around it. I don't feel it brings down their level of "Professionalism" as long as they do their job, they do it well, and they show the proper level of respect and service to clients/users/management. As far as making posts on the Internet...writing anonymous posts on the Internet doesn't make us any less professional or any larger a whiner; that's a great use of the Internet - flaming others on forums anonymously. In my opinion it doesn't help or hinder your case. Most of the time I hear anything that can be construed as "whining" from an IT worker is when they are talking shop with other IT people - sharing stories (good or bad), perhaps gathering advice or looking for a sympathetic ear for current issues. I've worked for two separate companies during my budding career (six years this month; five at my last job, one at my current one) and I can honestly say that I've never heard someone at either company talk about current problems to non-tech people. Griping, whining, complaining, etc. I've heard people share their personal opinions on products and companies but only when they had been asked about their opinion on said subject (for example, "What do you think of Vista?" or "Do you like Dell computers?"). In my personal life I know many women in my age range (25-30) who are nurses, and many of them complain about their jobs to the point of whining (my perception, anyway). I know nothing about nursing or the healthcare industry (aside from my personal experiences at my doctor's office, the hospital, etc). Is it fair to say "Nurses: Stop Whining" or even further "Ladies: Stop Whining"? Or bringing it closer to home, would it be fair to say "All CEOs are swindlers, crooks, and otherwise nefarious individuals" after fiascoes like Enron, Tyco, Adelphia, etc? You are a CEO; does that make you a nefarious thief? I'd err on the side of "No" simply because I don't know you, your company, or how you run it. As far as the comment about IT having a less than favorable image after the "Dot-Com-Bust", I fail to see how it's the IT worker's fault that a company fell while under the direction of non-IT people. The IT guys brought about the network, equipment, service, etc; most had no influence on the direction of the company or it's subsequent collapse (except for the ones that sold IT-related goods and services, but even that is a slippery slope due to marketing, sales, financial constraints, etc). So in all, I'm simply providing a reply to your article. I don't think that your comments (in the big picture, at least) hold much water, nor do I think that the payroll analogy is very good (perhaps comparing a nurse who complains to her salesman friend about a person she had to tend to would be better; "whining" about changing Mr. Johnson's diapers to someone who doesn't work in the same industry can be compared to an IT lady who complains/whines she had to do a spyware cleanup on a system to her mechanic friend). I simply think that while sure, you may have a point in some instances, that you did it in a fashion that is perceived as demeaning by many here, thus missing the mark.

carrottop2
carrottop2

I think your article is dangerously incorrect. As I understand it, your point is that critical business functions, when done successfully, SHOULD go completely unnoticed and without thanks. If you want to write a truly helpful article on this topic I suggest you read-up on what 'critical failure' means. There is an entire discipline devoted to it. I suggest you Google the most famous success of critical failure 'wonks': WW2 planes and bullet holes. Like WW2 pilots, IT staffers are today's pilots and they deserve a star for successful bomb runs--even milk runs. They also should gripe if they don't get a star! With each successful run you get important information that leads to more successful runs. If the WW2 Air Force Generals followed your advice, that is, ignore successful runs and discourage whining, WE WOULD HAVE LOST WW2. Whining is the source of innovation. It's what helped us win WW2 air superiority and it's what makes robust software. On a personaly note, you should consider this article a 'critical failure' in your journalism career. This seems reactionary and good journalism requires more thoughtful writing. PS, 'Wonk' is a pejorative and saying otherwise is disingenuous. Words are the tool of journalism--you should get to know your tools better or, better yet, just admit that you intended the insult. I suggest the latter as it would earn you respect if nothing else. ANFSKD: Thank you God for making feedback blogs like this one. In the past 'authors' like Patrick Gray spread their misguided advice with unabateded confidence. Please, publishers, for the love of all that is good and true--never publish another word of this man.

dinosaur_z
dinosaur_z

TONE Everyone I've worked with for the past 30+ years in "IT" knew that whining/complaining to anyone outside IT was useless. I had it put to me in my first programming job by a supervisor, "The users already think we live in an ivory tower, there is no need to help perpetuate that attitude" and "Always remember that we are here to help this company run better, not show off how smart we are". I've work hard in my career to be a great listener and understand the customer's business problems/needs. When I supported a finance depart for several years, I was always training the new person how to use their app, cause the finance department policy was to rotate staff every six months. When our account was going to be downsized due to applications of our subsidiary be merged into the parent company's apps, we had manager who actually did listen to us saying "we need some re-training to advance". It all went good until most of us got sucked into the big conversion projects and had no time to study. He thought we were whining about putting 50-60 hours a week for work and wanting to spend time with our families and other interests. He thought we should be willing to study and pass the J2EE certification on our own time, "If it's that important". Oh and to take the test without actually having any opportunity to work on any Java projects. He finally got it when one guy studied hours on his own, aced the practice exams but failed the real exam. By then everyone else had given up. PAYROLL/TRASH/SECURITY REFERENCE Any new technology when first introduced was considered with some wonder and those who "knew" something about it as different. After it becomes an essential part of everyday life, it is treated "right" and condemned when it fails. "IT" is more like a utility company, when it works no one notices, when it breaks, everyone demands the service be restored in 5 minutes. 24/7 LAMENTS "Show me someone that is underworked and overpaid and I'll show you a bridge I have for sale." How about a highly unionized mfg. plant? My grandfather quit in the 1950's when the place was about to be unionized. "I never saw a bunch of people work so hard to not do any real work".

neilb
neilb

You state that you "look forward to writing future columns for TR". I would put it to you that alienating your audience by applying outdated, parochial stereotypes to them is not the best way to go about gaining readership. Having assessed your writing - in this article certainly - as wildly clich?d and insular (we aren't all from the US, you know) and your overall attitude as smug, I will probably give your future writings a miss. Neil :) That's probably a loss for both of us.

pgray
pgray

Hi Neil, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the key difference between IT in the US and UK. While I've worked with several UK and EU clients, I haven't spent a significant enough amount of time to comment on these nuances beyond a superficial level. I can comment on the management attitudes outside the US, and I agree that there is less perception of IT as a bunch of nerds/wonks/propellerheads (pick your poison). Again this is a superficial observation, but the UK and EU IT organizations I've been with seem to have more personnel that has spent time outside IT, which makes for a more well-rounded IT organization. Again I'd like to hear your thoughts, but I think the ease with which people can be hired and fired in the US tends to have IT organizations focus on skills/certification-based hiring. I commented extensively on this in my last column, but I think to some extent making it a bit more difficult to terminate employees forces non-US IT orgs to hire a bit more holistically.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

I think you've inspired a new Loc's law... Never get in an insult match wit a Brit!

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

First off, I seriously doubt the veracity of anyone who comes in and causes a firestorm, waits until there has been a plethora of livid responses, and then makes the claim that it was his intent all along. But let me address the term Wonk, first off, as your response to the reaction to it is quite revealing. The first refuge of an intellectual coward is the dictionary. I could call you a Nimrod and then trot out the biblical references and attempt to look innocent of any wrong, just as you have. Wonk may be innocous in it's dictionary definition, but it's connotative useage is as different as the biblical and modern usage of 'Nimrod'. Your accusation of the responses being juvenile are in the least, hypocritical. The outright lack of professionalism, tact, and decorum in your article invited the responses you got. The only thing that shocked me about the responses was the level of restraint exercised by the respondants. You also don't have the luxury of getting to take it private after such a public lambasting of us as a whole. I doubt that you will have the personal courage to respond to ANY of these comments, polite or otherwise. Contrary to your claim, there have been several well worded rebuttals to your insulting article. But perhaps the greatest irritant of all is the irony of the whiny tone of your response to the comments.

pgray
pgray

I can't say offering anonymous criticism is particularly courageous, and nowhere did I use any biblical definitions of any word. If you're offended by the term wonk, then seek to differentiate yourself as compellingly un-wonklike, which was the point of the article. We'll agree to disagree on the usefulness of dictionaries, I find one indispensable and to have helped my vocabulary immensely. If you can identify where I lacked professionalism, decorum or any of the other superlatives you've accused me of, I will be more than happy to comment on that.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

As I said elsewhere, I'm trying to get management on board. I figure if I can have a sensible dialog with someone who comes across like you, my bosses will be a push over. :p

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

He's proven himself time and again, yet you've done nothing but try to remain the victim.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

You've publicly declared that I know nothing about Autism, and you're going to be publicly rebuked. Sorry, they don't keep those of us on the spectrum locked up anymore. Given that you've said I shouldn't be allowed contact with anyone, I'm sure this is a great disappointment to you.

pgray
pgray

Again, I'll reiterate what I said in my private message to you. If you'd like to make personal attacks, come out from behind the anonymity of the forum and contact me directly.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

I make no secret of it, and all the regulars here know it. GIVEN that I am intimately aquainted with the subject, I feel I am qualified to make a comparison. Nice try at turning the tables though Oh, and I didn't call you autistic, I made the comparison... Here's the content of the post again, let's see if your reading comprehension skills improve. "With apologies to any autistics who may have been offended by the comparison." Get your trusty dictionary out and look up the word 'comparison'

pgray
pgray

Fair enough on the choice of the word wonk, although I don't take any offense to being described as a management wonk and I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on that one. What I do find surprising is that for all the hand wringing about the word "wonk," the majority of replies (yours excluded) have ranged from the trite (screw you), to one that frankly indicates some kind of deep-rooted physiological problem (calling me an autistic while hiding behind some Internet handle). Clearly that person has no business interacting with people in IT or any other sphere, and has no understanding of the condition of which he references so glibly.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Vocabulary is not knowing the meaning of words or an abundance of them. That is what you need to choose the right ones. You didn't, obviously. Seeing as at no point in the thread has anyone mentioned clustering, parallel execution or nullability. I think we've conclusively demonstrated unwonklikeness. You however have proved that you are a management wonk.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

[i]The first refuge of an intellectual coward is the dictionary.[/i] I wouldn't be without mine. So my attention to the dictionary/ies makes me an intellectual coward?

NetMan1958
NetMan1958

"Show me someone that is underworked and overpaid and I'll show you a bridge I have for sale." That someone usually goes by the following: Job Role: Executive Management (Chairman, CEO, CFO, Partner)

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

Patrick, Open hostility toward the people that you're supposed to be serving (the TechRepublic readers) isn't going to get you very far here. You may consider it "tough love" but bear in mind that the people coming here are often looking for a sympathic ear or for a place where they can be fed the "tough stuff" in a somewhat more palatable way. I don't think that many of us that contribute to the IT Leadership blog avoid negative or harsh topics, but, at least in my case, I make an attempt to keep my audience in mind as I write. I don't want my message to be overshadowed by the tone or the language. Scott

YourAverageManager
YourAverageManager

At first I thought that communicating the right message to the right audience could be the objective of the article. It is difficult to get to that interpretation while fending off what feels like an slap attack. Let me be clear, if the intent of the author was to identify a perceived problem with IT in general, for example sending the wrong message to the wrong audience, we see the author has also presented the wrong message to the wrong audience. Perhaps the author is advising that we summarize and present our complaints and issues to those with decision making authority. Accurately and without personal emotion describe the problem within its context. Present the issue as solvable or at least cover the cost or repercussions of inaction. One may find a sympathetic ear when asking for help from the decision-maker when packaged for the betterment of the organization. Conversely, one could use the tone and approach of the author and receive the same negative result we see in this discussion. So, this is has turned out to be a good example because it demonstrates the repercussions of presenting the wrong message to the wrong audience. Otherwise, I could summarize the article with: Try your best not to offer your problems as excuses to people when they are asking for your help; found in a fortune cookie.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

"Yes I know it's hard" "Thank you for your efforts" "I'll email a congratulations" Absolutely nothing changes though, until you fail...... Keep the above three, don't need'em, they're so 'you' feel less guilty. Do something with the fourth.

pgray
pgray

Scott, Every field has truly excellent people and those who are, shall we say, less than excellent. The disturbing trend I've seen is that many in corporate leadership see the signal to noise ratio from IT moving in the wrong direction, and are pegging us with the image I present: the grumbling IT wonk. This is likely a case where a few bad apples are spoiling the bunch, but it is a growing trend and one that negatively impacts all of us in IT. The repercussions of this perception are so dangerous, I feel the tone is warranted. If you and others disagree I have no problem with that and the harsh tone comes out of concern, not vitriol. The comments, if anything demonstrate my point. Could you image your CEO counterpart reading things like "screw you," etc. coming from an industry that wants to be seen as professional and as equally capable as anyone in finance, marketing or sales? I appreciate your comment and look forward to more of your blog posts. Pat

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I did 24/7 out of hours coverage, through overtime, time off in liieu or a salary supplement for carrying a pager and being on call. I just didn't do it for free, can't think of single reasonn why I should. I aren't saying you shouldn't, I simply don't agree with the employer position that you've explicitly agreed to do so.... If you've got issues, go talk to your boss, I can't do anything about it.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Most US Domestic IT workers find quickly that if their job role expands to the point where they are expected to do lots of work outside of regular business hours, they're suddenly "Lead IT engineers managing complex projects" and therefore must be legally moved to a salaried position. (IF they didn't come in as salaried in the first place). Which is fine, as long as it is done reasonably. If you want me to be highly flexible on weekends and off hours, you need to be highly flexible on start and end time and other related issues. People don't *get* salaried positions. An employee who thinks that salary just guarantees them the same size paycheck week to week, and that if they got in at 8 they're desk is a ghost town at 5, don't get salary. Employers who think their employees need to be at the desk at 8, there until 5, and there is an EXPECTATION of ongoing work OUTSIDE of those hours don't get salary either. It allows *and* requires flexibility. If your business needs someone there between 8 and 5, you need a NOC or TAC, and that IT staff should be hourly. If you need off hour upgrades, maintainence and support, you also need salaried system engineers, probably with overlapping schedules to provide the best coverage possible. If you need both of these things, trying to get by with one is GOING to cause failures and problems. If that is a cost of business you can survive, do it. If it isn't, you better come up with something else.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It's a good trick that one, the follow on, "This is the sort of thing you have to do to get promoted" is a real side splitter as well. Upper managers sat round a table saying to each other "What a twat!" I don't leave the job in a tip and I don't clock watch, but I get paid. No pay, no work, that was the deal. Contract says 37.5 hours per week.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

An absolute favorite quote of mine, which happens to be right on target for this thread. I agree with the author that IT is perceived to be bigger 'complainers' than other business functions, at least in some companies (I've heard it previously from execs at two different firms); and that it may detract from IT achieving its goals. Humor (hey squeaky wheels, stop looking for oil, and get busy turning), stern frankness (I'm increasingly hearing from executives that they are tired of the 'noise' emanating from IT) or compassion (I know it's tough on IT professionals, BUT....) would have been far better delivery types for this sort of article; and would have demonstrated in words the manner in which IT professionals should air their grievances; I feel. I encourage the author to continue to bring up 'unpopular' topics; no one grows from doing/hearing/seeing the same, comfortable things on a routine basis. I just ask that it is worded in a manner to work with/for us, and not against us.

dcolbert
dcolbert

"Unless of course you count me not being willing to do an extra eight hours for free......" I can't think of any other salaried position where there is an EXPECTATION of regular, reoccuring work performed on weekends or outside of regular hours, in ADDITION to being required to be onsite during all regular working hours as well. I'm not sure if that is a LEGAL expectation, either, but it seems like IT as a whole is willing to accept the logic as displayed in the title of this reply.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Whining over the dot com bubble bust is by a bunch of people who moved into IT based on earning a thumping great salary. Tough, most of them are dead weight anyway. If you can't make money doing it, do something else. If you have adequate resources to do teh job, generally there isn't any whining coming from IT. The business whining about the volume of resource required, well that's a regular topic of conversation (and rightly so). The bit us chaps on the front line don't get, is given a desire to redcuce costs, why we are directed to waste so much money and why when resources are just capped, a reduction in quality comes as some sort of shock. One of the best things about my job, is putting a good tool into the hands of someone who wants to work. It isn't me who's stopping me from doing that. Unless of course you count me not being willing to do an extra eight hours for free......

dcolbert
dcolbert

It isn't about IT, it is about FASHION... Listen, the guy zipping around on the RAZR demanding Friday Keg night... I worked with those dudes, they were great. They were brilliant. They may have been unorthodox, but in my experience, the MOST unorthodox workers in IT are generally among the BEST and most knowledgable. It was the guys in the suits with the MBAs from Stanford that were working with bay area billionaire VCs and Angel Investors that caused the dot.com bubble to burst. It was unethical executive management and boards of directors throwing money at anything regardless of the model, as long as it had eBiz somewhere in the business plan. THOSE are the guys who caused the collapse. The same kind of people who undermined Enron, who caused the mortgage crisis, and otherwise gleefully bilked the economy for their own gain without any long term perspective on what that would do to our national economy. And most of those guys, the ones who didn't end up in prison as token "examples", are still in the same kind of positions, doing the exact same kind of ethically questionable things. Guys playing a round of Joust in the company lobby were set up as the fall-guys. Does anyone question when Al Gore, President of the board of Directors of Apple, features his powerbook prominently in his documentary (as he flies over the decimated Amazon in his private jet, no less), then later goes on to pardon Steve Jobs of any wrong doing in an options back-dating scam that is being investigated by the SEC? No one in the industry even connects those dots. The dot com collapse gave the IT workers a black eye, indeed...

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

Like that I know nothing about Autism. ROFLMAOPMP!!!!!

pgray
pgray

Broadly, I think the whining is a result of two things: 1) The dotcom bust of the early 2000's gave technology as a whole a black eye, particularly in the US. Many in executive management and the general public still have the image of the unshaven tech nerd zipping around an office on a Razor demanding Friday keg nights. Justified or not, the subsequent tech collapse and market failure has left some lingering damage on IT, which to your point results in some hostility from non-IT business functions, engendering some element of whining. 2) The utility aspect of IT I discuss in the article is thankless. Regardless of how much money is spent, or how difficult keeping everything running is, people have become accustomed to turning on their PC's and having everything "just work." The fact that 99.99% of the time it does is a testament to IT's ability, but the bar has been set. Since this is now the expectation, no one wants to hear about how much it costs, or how hard it is. What I think IT needs in a lot of organizations is what amounts to a PR campaign. IT needs to let other business units know what it is capable of beyond the infrastructure and provide high value solutions, unprompted by non-IT counterparts. An example from my recent book is a great one. In many companies, IT and the salesforce dislike each other. Sales is always on the road, generally not tech-savvy and very demanding. The CIO of this company sent a couple of IT folks to the annual sales meeting, set them up in a room and hung out a shingle saying to come in with any and all tech problems and we'll get them sorted. The fielded questions, fixed some software and replaced hardware. The SVP of sales LOVED it and called the CIO immediately saying it was the best thing IT had ever done for sales (better than a multi million dollar CRM implementation). This was done for the cost of a couple of plane tickets and scored major points for IT. There are lots of things like that example IT can do, and it will greatly reduce the animosity and yes, whining, directed at IT. Hope this helps.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It's not what you say, it's the way you say it. I believe he was trying to point out that my confrontational attitude was having the opposite effect to that which I desired. Therefore the content was lost. He may have a point.......

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

having any effect on this disturbing trend. They first question you would have asked yourself is Why are they whining? What, we were born that way? We pick it up at college along with a bit of SQL? Maybe, just maybe with a vague clue or two we'll get some communication going, because all I'm picking up is meaningless drivel. Couching my 'whines' in a more acceptable manner. I can go with that. Learning how to present my case better to the non technical like you, fine great dandy. Lets be on. Up to press, you appear to be saying I should go back to the business and say stop whining. In my less than humble opinion, that isn't going to work.

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

Few of the comments are addressing the topic at hand... instead, people are commenting on the delivery, which is too abd since the topic itself had great potential that has been lost in the maelstrom.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

It kinda tastes like poo. Anyone would have reacted the same way. In IT we don't have time to play the politics on an IT message board, so we cut to the chase. We all called the article what it was, good information with a piss poor delivery. You stepped out and said EVERYONE in IT was a whiner and couldn't interact with others. You also claimed that IT didn't understand the business and couldn't fully conform (and by implication, we are all mouth breathing troglodytes). The problem is at lot of us have been in IT for a LONG time. We've played the game, we know what to do, and we deal with the whiners. The problem stems from the business not understanding IT. Just because IT asks for it does not mean it's another toy that we need, it's a business need. We need it to complete OUR mission and do OUR jobs. Unlike payroll, we have BIG price tag with what we need, but what we need supports ALL the missions in the company, unlike other departments. You took such a one sided approach and now play the victim? What kind of response did you expect?

pgray
pgray

Hi Scott, This was actually my 3rd post so I figured I'd dust off the big guns :-). Oddly, what inspired the post was the tone of many of the comments on other postings authored by others. Obviously this is an IT site so we're going to "let our hair down" a bit, but some of the comments to the most general of articles don't necessarily help IT's image. This is a hard topic, but an important one and if nothing else I'm happy that people are talking about this topic. Pat

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

Patrick, I don't disagree with your topic at all. In fact, I myself make an effort in my organization to keep the noise down from both myself and my staff... it is hard sometimes. As for the posts here, you might have done yourself a favor by holding this one until you had a few more positive (or less harsh) posts under your belt so that readers could see the REAL you before seeing this. Imagine coming into a new job... if you treated the IT staff or fellow executives (analogy: the TR readers) this harshly on your second day (analogy: your second post), your rep would probably take a relatively negative hit. People might not see you as a positive force in the organization, but might see you as a steamroller with no concern for the people side of the equation. If, instead, you got a bit of the lay of the land in the job and had some positive momentum under your belt before you delved into something harsh, it would be more likely that your advice would be received differently. Obviously, this isn't feasible all the time - if no one is backing up the data, for example, that demands immediate (and maybe harsh) action. And I'm not suggesting that you get touchy-feely with everyone, but possibly feel things out with something more (and I hate to use this word, but can't think of a better one) constructive for the audience before dealing with a topic like this. Just food for thought. I look forward to seeing the next post. Scott

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

to irritate us, you succeeded admirably, well done. If you want to change behaviours, well 0/10. One of the things you should remember is the international nature of this site. I often hear the my US colleagues venting at the lack of business appreciation of IT staff, in the main in the UK this is far from the case. US colleagues have also pointed out that this sterotype is pretty much dead, either directly through outsourcing or through the attrition it brings. Always remember generally we do what the business says it wants. Suggestions from ourselves as to they might not mean what they say are greeted with extreme suspicion. Then the "I told you so"s afterwards with disdain. You can't just sit and say the real problem is the fact that IT workers whine about not being able to do the job right first time. The real problem is that we are still whining because no one on the business side paid a blind bit of attention, again. Don't try and tell it's the way I'm whining, I've been doing this twenty years +, I know how to put across cost benefit, TCO and ROI. I don't suggest asshole ideas like switch to XXX and all will be OK. What I do is map out long term consequences, business's don't think long term, so they put any 'failures' down to us. Anybody can be forgiven for whining about that, and stopping will simply mean we shout at the missus and kick the dog when we get home. I'd rather do that to the boss, the long term consequences are less damaging. I can go chapter and verse about out short term kludges chosen with foreknowledge by a business have panned out exactly how I said they would. I can even quote the next management chairwarmers view of their predecessor's decisions. You are talking to the wrong people....

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think wonk carries an implication of obsessive, singular focus - akin to nerd or, um... beancounter. Outside of political circles, it seems like a loaded word to use. The problem is, that with the setup you gave yourself, there is no valid response that ISN'T going to be easy to label as "more IT whining", regardless of how justified or valid the observation is. Sure, my response post is complaining about obvious issues that are not necessarily limited to IT as workplace experience. But is it better to let those valid observations go unvoiced, so that I might be perceived as a hard worker who doesn't complain? If the complaints aren't voiced, and supported, then things aren't ever going to change, and we'll be smiling happily at each other at the workplace... BUT, behind my back you'll hate me because you lost your important document, and behind your back I'll hate you because I gave you the opportunity to protect your document, you didn't, and then you blamed me when you lost it. Where does that get us? So, then, Mr. Smarty Pants Beancounter (and I mean that in the complimentary sense), what is the solution?

pgray
pgray

Since we're talking semantics, I'll point out your repeated use of the word "complain" (and I don't mean to single you out here but it seems to be a recurring theme). Too often, IT couches its suggestions as complaints. Since much of IT is keeping systems running, there's a customer service element to it that is not emphasized enough in IT. I don't think you should put on a happy face and trudge along without saying anything, but a sympathetic ear and a suggestion that "We're looking into a new backup system that might help, perhaps you should suggest to your management that X would have saved the day." You're making the same point, just couching it differently.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I came here after 3 years out of the workforce after a redployment at Intel during the 2003 attrition/IIDC growth at Intel Folsom. The previous IT manager who had designed this network from the ground up, as a small start up company, had left suddenly, without a replacement. It was a gamble on their part. A rusty, out of the loop Fortune 500 tech worker. One of their big concerns was that the previous IT manager did not have refined customer service and people skills. Within 3 months, I had moved into his position, and I've seen a noticable change in how IT interfaces with all of our customer base. I never say, "We can't do that". If you give me enough money and time, I can deliver ANYTHING you want - but, there may be consequences. I make sure people are informed and listened to. That doesn't change the fact that unreasonable expectations are constantly demanded by people who seem to believe that the technology is a bottomless bag of magical goodness. "Why can't Exchange be used as a long term, searchable, document and file storage and retrevial application"? Well, I suppose it can. We're going to need an Exchange server hooked up to a SAN, we're going to need an Enterprise Edition license of Exchange, and, people with huge private mailboxes are going to face significant performance and reliability hurdles, eventually. That is unacceptable? Too bad. I can't change THAT. You want the first, but you don't want to make the investments in order to achieve it. There are lots of options for achieving it, but not ONE of them is free. That isn't complaining, that isn't whining, that is forcing the unreasonable to face reality. Best quality, best price, or best support... you decide which one you want to give up.

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