General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2188971

    Damage Control


    by maecuff ·

    Well, today is pretty much toast. Regardless of the outcome of my current set of woes, I’m going home with at least half my ass chewed off. Moving forward, however, I need some advice on the best way to handle this situation.

    We just purchased an Iseries upgrade. This is something that we HAD to do or we would lose our upgrade path and be forced to buy a new system within 12 months anyway at a significant price increase. The issue is this, when our IBM business partner met with us, multiple times, he drove home the point, that one way to sell this upgrade to our parent company, is that if we waited and bought a new box, we would change serial numbers and incur increases from our software vendors. So, when my boss sold the idea of the upgrade, one of the selling points, was that we would avoid additional charges from our vendors.

    What has happened, is we have a few vendors that base their tier pricing on something other than processor group (our processor group is actually going DOWN with this upgrade) and I am getting hit with some fairly large upgrade fees. My boss is LIVID. Should I have found this out in advance, yes. I take full responsibility for that. Would we have still upgraded our system? Yes.

    My question is this, what can I say to these vendors to convince them to either waive or at least discount these increases? Begging and pleading? Threats to take our business elsewhere? I am of the opinion that it would be best to just ASK, but I haven’t dealt with this issue before and am not sure which tactic to take.

    Today, it won’t matter if I get them to waive the fee and send us a check, the state of my ass isn’t going to change. My boss has gone beyond the reasonable stage. My current course of action is, I’m avoiding him as much as possible. (He’s in another building, so it isn’t hard). However, I’ve had to set meetings with these vendors for late this afternoon and we will both be in on the calls, so I’m going to face the music at some point today. My second question, how do you difuse such a volitile situation? I’m considering valium in his coffee, but I don’t have any valium and I’m not sure if he even drinks coffee.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3070946

      Oracle and the ever changing model

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      Back when I worked in a couple of organizations that used Oracle, that org was famous or infamous for adjusting their pricing model in the most inconvinient way. Per processor and or per user, per named user, per concurrent user – it changed constantly it seemed. But in those situations, we had an Oracle rep, and we sat them down and hammered them on these issues. Often we got a compromise solution, and on rare occasions they waived the increses to keep us as a customer.

      This is easier to do if you are large and have been with the vendor for a long time.


      • #3070940


        by maecuff ·

        In reply to Oracle and the ever changing model

        I have dealt with Oracle and their ever increasing maintenance cost. We solved the problem by going to a 3rd party vendor for our JDE maintenance at a significant decrease in cost. We aren’t interested in Oracles upgrades to JDE world software, so we didn’t mind losing that option. So far, it’s worked out great for us and is saving us 60K a year in maintenance cost.

    • #3070918

      Two things to deal with. . . .

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      …..your boss and the vendors.

      The vendors might be easy. The worst thing that could happen already has happened, so it can only get better from here. And I think you’re right, it would be best to just ask. Tell them about your oversight, and ask them to suggest a win-win solution. If they refuse, suggest to them that you will probably be in the market for new vendors in the future, ones who see the advantages of a two-way street relationship. But be prepared to offer them something – anything – in return. A little mutual back-scratching is always a good way to approach such things.

      As far as you boss in concerned, honesty might be the best policy. And I’d approach him before he approaches you. Just admit that you screwed up. You should have ….. you could have ….. next time you’ll know. However, if I read your message correctly, the outcome would have been the same, it’s just that you didn’t anticipate it. So it’s not like you cost the company a lot of money that they could have otherwise saved, but rather you just overlooked telling them about it. But when a person screws up, the best thing is to take the mea culpa, without offering excuses and without deferring blame, and just let the chips fall where they may.

      And one other thought. As dark as the clouds may seem, there is a silver-lining. I know, I know, that might sound like a tired old saying, but it’s true. Something good will come out of this, there’s no doubt about it. And the key is to try to see it and follow it. The rest of the stuff will then just fall into place.

      • #3070890


        by maecuff ·

        In reply to Two things to deal with. . . .

        And that is just what I did. I could offer a NUMBER of valid reasons for the oversight, but I can’t stand it when people make excuses, just take responsibility and move on. Fortunately, what historically happens in this situation is not the case. My boss, while still extremely angry, is more angry with our IBM business partner and the software vendors. He recalls us asking the question of our business partner regarding canvassing our vendors and our business partner saying that isn’t necessary as our processer group will go down and we won’t incur any additional cost. I personally do not remember the conversation going like that, but I’m not going to argue with my boss’s memory. I may be naive at times, but I’m not stupid. 🙂 I apologized for not being more thorough in our upfront analysis. He contends that we were only following our business partner’s advice. Whew.

        It’s only happened a few times since in the 3 years that I’ve been in this position, but I’m telling you, his wrath is spectacular. I’m just relieved that it passed by me. We still have the phone calls this afternoon, and I’m sure it will not be pleasant. I am of the opinion that we just talk to them, but that ain’t gonna happen. He’s ready to fight.

        • #3045885

          Don’t let this lesson pass by you or your company

          by mew1 ·

          In reply to Thanks

          Tell your boss that one of the actions that must be addressed as a result of this lesson is that lessons learned must be documented so that the next time this situation arises in your company(it will), the people involved in the upgrade will have a better chance of heading off the surprises. It sounds like your boss is more frustrated with the situation than with you. Ride with it, let him (her?) know you are just as frustrated, and disappointed in yourself that you didn’t take care of him (her?) as well as you could. Finally, remember, this too shall pass.

        • #3043657

          Never confuse

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to Thanks

          A valid reason for something with making excuses.

          State clearly what happened and why. This is NOT making excuses.

          Stand up for yourself, but don’t get defensive.

          I did this,
          I did that,
          worked with vendors and did this
          I missed this.

          Did this to resolve the issue.

          A person that stands up and can resolve issues is of more value to a lot of people than the ones that never get caught making a mistake. It shows you can be trusted to HANDLE situations.

          The best of luck.

      • #3070887

        I agree with Max

        by stress junkie ·

        In reply to Two things to deal with. . . .

        I’ll tell you from experience that it is hard to think of everything in advance of a big change. Even if in hindsight a problem seems like it should have been predictable let’s face it we’re all just human. In the middle of planning a big change you can lose sight of issues because there are so many.

        I agree with Max to just take responsibility and move on. The one exception is if your boss starts making excuses by blaming the vendor. Then you quietly agree and give a slightly vindicated but still remorseful look.

        Then just keep your head down and quietly do your job. The whole thing will blow over in a couple of weeks. The only thing left that can go wrong is if the issue resurfaces in your next performance review. If it does then just do the same thing.

        As far as the vendors are concerned, if you are going through third party VAR vendors then you can suggest taking your business elsewhere. Otherwise I don’t see any happy resolution.

        • #3070881


          by maecuff ·

          In reply to I agree with Max

          And yes, it IS difficult to forsee every scenario. And, this is the first time I’ve overseen a big upgrade, it’s not an excuse, it is, however, my reality. Not to mention we were in the middle of an absolutely wretched SARBOX audit, in which we failed in a huge way. Our parent company didn’t want to pony up the money for the software I needed for compliance. Now that it’s all over, they’ve changed their view and I’m getting what I need. We have some fairly large implementations underway and I’m understaffed. I’m pretty sure I’m one of few IT directors that actually still write code. Not a lot, but I try to pick up the little things that come in to keep my development staff focused on the larger projects. In short, we’re freaking busy.

          I’m sure we will let our vendors know that we’re considering other options. It’s not very realistic as we would be talking about a major change and I don’t have the staff to handle that right now, however, I could see it becoming a reality in the late Spring or early Summer. Not to mention, buying new software would be a LOT more expensive than just paying their increase now. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out. I’m just happy that the sinking feeling I’ve had since yesterday afternoon is slowing easing up. Although I am keeping my guard up just a bit as this situation is still pretty hot and could still blow up in my face. Personally, I’ve never heard my boss use the word m*ther f*cker so many times in one sentence. It was impressive.

        • #3045832

          To the point

          by stillwaters ·

          In reply to Thanks

          Once again, replies to this type of situation don’t address the real problem. You boss is COMPLETELY (as in totally, absolutely) out of line! Since when does authority grant someone the right to curse and yell. I know wherein I speak because I’ve had to deal with several of these. Make it VERY clear to your boss (and HR if needs be) that he is to communicate in a calm and professional way. Thst is not only your right, it is your responsibility to correct this behavior as it affects everyone.

        • #3045827


          by maecuff ·

          In reply to To the point

          Actually, it ended up not being so bad. While I was the one HEARING the anger, it turns out that it wasn’t really directed at me. Hate to be selfish, but as long as I’m not getting reamed, I’m happy. Besides, it’s so much easier to deal with the issue at hand if you don’t have the stess of dealing with someone’s anger on top of it. I’d love to be the type of person who can just blow off these types of outbursts, but I have difficulty doing so. I go through feeling guilty or feeling inadequate, feeling defensive and when it’s all said and done, I’m just plain old tired.

          Truthfully, the ONE thing that changed my focus last week, is my 7 year old son got the lead in the Christmas play. I am so much looking forward to watching the little guy. It reminded me that there is far more to my life than worrying about things that are beyond my control. The best I can do is fix it as best I can.

        • #3045759

          Good luck

          by arnibaldur ·

          In reply to Thanks

          It’s good to see that things are ok. It’s good to hear also that there are more of us like you and me, only human.
          I had a situation with a mail server that was down for about 6 hours and when the manager asked how she shuld send important mail that had to go ASAP, I suggested a mail pigeon.
          Needless to say, I called upon my self the anger of my boss, but she never said anything to me.
          I prefer a boss that shouts and shouts at me rather than the “silent and then letting me go boss”.

          The loude ones “usually” get the anger out and then it’s over. At least you know if you have done anything “wrong”.

          But you are like me in this situation “feeling guilty or feeling inadequate, feeling defensive”. Whole seminars have been created for people like us, I’ve been to a few. So you are not alone and I wish you all the best.

        • #3046226

          Good luck having their resepct after…

          by workin4$$$ ·

          In reply to To the point

          I’ve had bosses like that. When they flew off the handle, I took it, came back later and made them see the light. Never win arguments through words, only through actions. More importantly, NEVER tell someone who is upset with you the proper way to act. It’s like cornering a bear or a wolf. It’s committing careericide.

          The only thing you’re doing is attacking their ego. NEVER attack the ego of someone in a superior position. It will only make them feel inferior to you. Nobody wants to feel inferior to their juniors, and he/she will do their best to get rid of you, whether consciously or not. Trust me, I’ve seen it more often than not.

          Your boss will respect you more if you weather their storm rather than go complaining at the first sign of trouble. Of course you could tell the principal, or call your mommy to deal with your inter-personal relationships for you.

          One of my favoured tactics is to come back the next day and reiterate everything they said in less colourful language, then ask if I missed anything. You have no idea how disarming this is.

        • #3044219

          Couldn’t disagree more

          by stillwaters ·

          In reply to Good luck having their resepct after…

          Been there, done that, fell flat. Perhaps the strongest reason this behavior continues is the recipient’s unwillingness to confront. Had it happen to me (BIG time). Cursing and shouting for years. Finally stood up and got it resolved. Repeating what they say only reinforces their dominance over you (in most cases). I had to push hard and learned in the process to flat say when they’re out of line. Uncomfortable, yes, risky, of course. And necessary, absolutlely. And it HAS worked over and over. Take out the bully …

        • #3045763

          The direction of the boss’ anger

          by tootz ·

          In reply to Thanks

          seems to be at that rep, who blindsided both of you, and not at you. I’m not a big fan of bosses who tantrum (been there/done that) but I will say that I am certain s/he will wonder where you stand if you are more concerned with his behavior than with the rep’s.

          My read (with what little info I have here) is that he is angered by being blindsided, not with you at all. In fact, while you are privy to the actual viewing or hearing of the first anger, all you would have had to do to have him/her on your side is agree that the rep did you both in — isn’t that what happened, anyhow?

          I see this a lot lately (last 5 years or so) where focus is on the anger rather than on the cause of it. No, anger is not alright but all of us, bosses included, are only human. No one knows what else that boss might have been through, or be going through (sick or dying parent, spouse, child, best friend? credit problems? life?). Some days, it’s just too much for some people. As long as it isn’t a typical thing, just let a person blow off some steam and be gracious about it. 99% of the time, they’ll return to apologize and maybe explain, too, which (btw) can help you if you wish to move up that ladder.

          Best of luck to you (and to your boss) 🙂

        • #3045742

          Max and Stress Junkie are right

          by blueknight ·

          In reply to I agree with Max

          It sounds like your basic method of handling the situation is right on. By taking your share of the blame, you not only defure the situation somewhat, but you also show your integrity.

          I’ll admit not being familiar with the iSeries since I’m a mainframe guy (going to a z890 soon), but I wonder why your company would go through a third party rather than deal with IBM directly.

          That being said, the “horses are already out of the barn,” so I’d put some pressure on the vendor to step up to the plate and make things right. If they don’t, I’d be looking for another vendor (consider working directly with IBM also… say what you will about “Big Blue,” but I’ve never had a problem dealing with them.)

          One final thought… you said at the end of your story that you weren’t sure if your boss even drinks coffee, which suggests to me that you don’t know your boss well enough. His/her being in another building makes it a bit more difficult, but get to really know the boss. Having a greater understanding of his/her personality and management style will help you tremendously. I had one manager basically scream in my face (literally within 24″) over something not that critical after I had worked for him only a month or so. I felt like telling where to put the job, but I held off. He later apologized, so I gave him the benefit of that and made an effort to find out exactly what made him tick. We ended up getting along very well and he actually came to me for advice a few times down the road.

          Your situation will work itself out and you’ll be fine.

        • #3043720

          It’s all working out..

          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Max and Stress Junkie are right

          Actually, I do know my boss pretty well. We get along great on a personal level. It’s just that I don’t usually see him first thing in the morning and don’t know what his caffeine habits are. 🙂

      • #3060794

        Max is right in general, but…

        by dmambo ·

        In reply to Two things to deal with. . . .

        Don’t take ALL the blame onto yourself. I’m willing to bet that your boss’ anger is in part a way to deflect blame from himself. Unless this was a one-week type of project, he probably should have showed a little more effort in overseeing, not overlooking. If for no other benefit than your own self-esteem think back on what he might have reviewed and where he might have missed something. After getting that squared away in your head, seek him out to get the worst part of the “confrontation” over with.

        I’d also wager that a major portion of his anger is a result of feeding numbers to his higher up that he is no longer able to deliver on. If you can present part of your mea culpa to his boss, it might ease his pain.

        Chin up, nobody died.

        • #3045833

          Right On!!

          by averagejoe ·

          In reply to Max is right in general, but…

          Yeah, I agree. I work with those AS/400 i-Series hardware before and JDE One World XE (PIA!). It could be worse–in fact, we had a couple of tech guys who decided to sit on the AS/400 as chairs while they ate their breakfast burritos. Well, at 300+ lbs, it cracked the AS/400 case. We had to buy a new one for $40,000!!!

          6 months later, we had a construction crew who decided to leave early on a very cloudy day and left the roof on the data center partly open. Well, it rained and one of the AS/400’s drowned!!

          Our former IT boss tried to blame everyone else but himself for not assessing and mitigating the risks –well, eventually he got fired.

          Tell that story your boss.. I am sure, to let him know it could have been much worse.


          Average IT Joe

      • #3045897

        Honesty doesn’t work with suppliers

        by workin4$$$ ·

        In reply to Two things to deal with. . . .

        I was a purchasing professional prior to be made CIO. Now I do the negotiations on a higher level. Relationships with suppliers are in a constant state of flux, and what you need to do first is understand how to negotiate with these suppliers long-term.

        A lot of relationships benefit from periods of strain. If the software you need to buy upgrades to (i.e. – Veritas, Oracle) is with a supplier that could be changed, threats work well. If the relationship is already really strained, or you’ve been using a VAR to procure the software, even better. Provided you have “no exclusivity” clauses in your agreements, I would suggest you feign going to the supplier who lost your business last. If 2 years ago, supplier x lost to supplier y. After you do this, make sure you let it slip somewhere you are sure will get back to supplier y and supplier x.

        2 things will happen. Supplier x will be excited about the opportunity to bring the business back to them and supplier y, though a little annoyed will do everything in their power to ingratiate themselves to you to try and keep the business.

        Never beg. It gives the supplier a stronger position than you.

        When asking for favours, appeal to their own interests, not to their charity. You’ll take away your future negotiation ability.

        Remember that sales people make a %age. Do research on the company you’re dealing with. Are they having a bad year? When is their year-end? Always use year end to make large purchases.

        As for your boss, if you start talking about negotiating on this level to save him more in the end, he’ll like you more. The next time you come up with a great idea and implement it, if you’re ever congratulated publicly for your hard work, turn the credit over to them. Make it seem that your great move was based on their tutelage.

        These aren’t games, they’re strategies.

        As reading, I would strongly suggest to you. “The 48 Laws of Power.”

        Good-luck on your journey.

        • #3045866

          Thanks for the advice

          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Honesty doesn’t work with suppliers

          I’d be willing to bet that my husband already owns that book. If not, I’ll get a copy. I’ll take all the help I can get.

          I still have many days that I’d like to go back to programming. I could walk out at the end of the day and could point to tangible accomplishments. However, I’m reasonably sure, that if I did take that step backwards, I’d be sorry.

      • #3043549

        Probably one more thing to consider ….

        by cwhchen ·

        In reply to Two things to deal with. . . .

        …isn’t this a chance to give a suggestion to enhance the operation and change management?

        Probably you can present a proposal to your boss when you’ve learnt from this…

    • #3070854

      I feel your pain

      by amcol ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      As do we all, because we’ve all been where you are. Shared pain is small consolation but it’s better than nothing.

      Stress Junkie’s right…this will all blow over shortly. Ride out the storm.

      Max is right…it’s always best to admit an error and not make excuses, which inevitably makes things worse. That’s not to say you need to dwell on it, either publicly or privately. Don’t feel you need to self-flagellate.

      Max is also right that you have two different things to deal with, although I’d take his thoughts a bit further.

      First, to the vendors. Win-win negotiating is your best approach but I would not approach your vendors hat in hand and ask them to suggest a viable solution. That puts you in a defensive position when you want to deal from strength. You hold the cards in that you sign the checks, and they know it’s in their best interest to keep you happy. I’d contact each of your software vendors…quickly…and start by saying you appreciate their understanding of your situation, that it’s only now (after the fact) that you understand the full ramifications of the upgrade on their pricing models. Say you’d like to work with them collaboratively to achieve a mutually agreeable solution that avoids short term price increases in favor of long term closer relationships. Let them know that while you’re not in a position to make any firm time commitments you WILL be doing a hardware upgrade sometime in the future, at which time you’ll be happy to negotiate favorable terms with each of them. Don’t say this out loud, but figure out a way to send a not-so-subtle unspoken message that you’re not necessarily locked into their products (maybe talk about some new project you have going on in which software product selection is up in the air) and in return for this short term concession you’d be more favorably disposed to continuing your relationship with them. In addition, you might hold out the carrot of referencibility…if you’re happy with their business practices and relationship management, a feeling they could give you by granting this concession, you’d be willing to act as a corporate reference for them. (Most vendors jump at that, especially if you repressent a large firm or an industry leader.)

      Next, to your boss. I worked for eight years for an abusive alcoholic and another five years for a man with a volcanic temper. No fun whatsoever, especially not ever knowing how to not push their buttons on any given day since each of them had so many to push. These were both individuals, BTW, who thought nothing of taking their people out into the hallways or cafeteria for a public thrashing. No matter what you’ve done, no matter how wrong you are, there’s NEVER a reason for you to be abused. It’s unprofessional, demeaning, and borderline discriminatory. Wait for the eruption to stop and the lava flow to ebb if you can, then calmly and coolly provide FACTUAL responses to whatever accusations or diatribes are being thrown your way. If the thunder and lightning bolts are thrown at you in public, as soon as he takes a breath state quietly but firmly that you’d appreciate continuing the meeting in his office, and if he just starts in with a higher decibel level there’s nothing stopping you from just walking away then seeking him out in his office a couple of hours later. There will be no recriminations from that…there can’t be, you’d have too many witnesses to your boss’s invective.

      Bear in mind the source of your boss’s anger is not your screw-up. It’s that you made him look bad to his superiors. There’s nothing you can do about that now, even if you’re successful getting your vendors to play ball with you. But you can mitigate the damage.

      One last thought…sometime in the very near future, look for an opportunity to distinguish yourself. Most folks’ opinion of you are based on their most recent memory, so if you can replace this fiasco with something even mildly sparkling you’ll be that much ahead of the game.

    • #3070849

      And now..

      by maecuff ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      I just learned that I have to report for Jury duty tomorrow. I’ve never been called before, I received notice in the mail a few months ago, sent the card in and didn’t hear anything else. And now it’s tomorrow. Perfect timing. I have a million things going. An angry boss. And now I can’t even be here to deal with it tomorrow. I think I’ll buy a lottery ticket and see if I can win my way out of this whole week.

      • #3070847


        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to And now..

        It’s at 350 million, give or take. The drawing’s tonight.

        Now that would solve a LOT of problems, don’t you think? In the very least, it would certainly give you more options.

        • #3060887

          I know

          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Power-Ball

          However, Ohio doesn’t have Powerball. My mother is in KY, I’ll have to call her up and have her buy a ticket for me.

        • #3060886

          It always sounds good.

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Power-Ball

          But what we Canadians have heard about these US lotteries is that there are a number of gotchas….

          You get taxed on the winnings. And you don’t usually get the whole lump in cash – you can get it paid out over a long term or you can take a smaller amount in cash.

          In Canada, the jackpots are lower, but you aren’t taxed on it, and you win the entire amount of the stated jackpot. We do have a couple of lotteries that pay $1000 per week for life(except in certain provinces).

          Still $350 million, even if they give you half of that in cash, and tax half of that away….could still make everyone in my extended family wealthy.


        • #3060878

          You know,

          by maecuff ·

          In reply to It always sounds good.

          I wouldn’t mind giving up half of something I don’t have right now. In fact, if someone slipped me 10 bucks right now, it would make me feel a little better. I want something in return for my gray hairs today. I JUST had it colored on Saturday. Damn.

      • #3070846

        Things to think about for Jury duty

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to And now..

        While i think one should attempt to do one’s civic duty, there are a number of grounds on which you could get yourself excused, or eliminated from the selection process.

        There are hardships reasons for being eliminated before selection – economic hardship, mental illness, legal training, etc. If you don’t qualify for one of those you go into the pool.

        Each legal team gets to eliminate a certain number of jurors from the pool. If you show up wearing an anti -police tshirt, the defense may love you but the prosecution wont. If you show up in a pro police shirt, the reverse would be true.

        If you decide not to do it with dress you can just be biased in your opinions when they ask you the screening questions. Try and get to the front of the line for questions- as its really a process of elimination more than anything.

        I studied some law, my brother was a cop, I am for harsh punishments of criminals – no defense lawyer is going to not use one of his vetos on me.


        • #3060881

          I don’t have

          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Things to think about for Jury duty

          a problem with reporting for Jury duty. It’s just coming at a really bad time. Oh well, it just makes life more interesting and exciting. At least that is the way I’ll choose to look at it.

        • #3060677

          My Last Jury Duty Call

          by jdgretz ·

          In reply to Things to think about for Jury duty

          The last time I was called for Jury Duty I was still active in the Army Reserve (Major), so I showed up in my Dress Greens wearing all my combat ribbons. Didn’t take them long to send me home, thank you very much.


        • #3044501

          15+ Years as a Paralegal …

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to Things to think about for Jury duty

          … and having worked for some of the more popular bankruptcy mills during that time. Prosecutors don’t want me, insurance company attorneys don’t want me, creditor attorneys don’t want me.

          They quit sending out the little cards years ago.

          Go figure.

      • #3060884

        Bad timing

        by stress junkie ·

        In reply to And now..

        Hopefully you can see the humor of it all. Your situation is getting to the tragically comical stage like Wile E. Coyote.

        I just performed jury duty in Massachusetts a week ago. Nobody was chosen for a jury and we were released by 12:15. Massachusetts has the one day or one trial system. Hopefully your state does that too.

        • #3060879

          I am

          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Bad timing

          seeing the humor. On a really good note, I did get one of the vendors in question to completely waive their upgrade fee, which helps a great deal. The other one, well, I got them to come down a couple grand. Not enough for my boss, but he’ll fight that battle in about 40 minutes…

        • #3060774

          Do you mean. . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Bad timing

          …that she can look forward to a stick of dynamite from the ACME Dynamite Company blow up in her hands, leaving her wide-eyed and scorched with a few dangling hairs sticking up, but will shake it all off to chase the road-runner again?

          (Don’t be fooled by that “tunnel”, mae.)

        • #3060736


          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Do you mean. . . . .

          no don’t have to learn THAT lesson more than once. And that whole wide eyed, hair standing up description is pretty much the sight that greets me every morning when I drag myself out of bed. “not a morning person” doesn’t begin to describe it.

        • #3045917

          Keep us posted!

          by sridhar.jayaraman ·

          In reply to Man..

          Hi Mae,

          It is a few days since your last post. I (and a few others) am interested in what happened next.


        • #3045882


          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Keep us posted!

          As I posted further down, I got one of the vendors to waive his fee. My boss had a phone call with the other and basically just ranted for 30 minutes. We’re waiting to hear back from him. I can’t complain too much as he didn’t hold me responsible for the issue.

          If nothing else, I’ve learned a few things from the process. And, we haven’t had any new ‘bat’ issues.

        • #3044495

          Or perhaps …

          by too old for it ·

          In reply to Do you mean. . . . .

          … hitting the canyon floor up to the knees and hearing the ACME anvil falling your way.

      • #3045929

        Promotion coming along

        by cgresley ·

        In reply to And now..

        From past experience the bigger the cock-ups the higher the rise. I reckon its absolutely essential to make mistake. The bigger the better.

        If you get the discount from your supplier, wow!! Look how much you have save the company. You manage to negotiate the reduction. Your name will be known throughtout the company. You will get the recognition.

        Also, you are now much more valuable to the company. By making the mistake they have invested money in you. When you invest money in a project or this case you a person, the company would not like to see this investment go to waste.

        The next step should be recommending to your boss that you fly out to the supplier to strenghten the relationship, with a promise of thurther future discounts.

        • #3045881

          That would be nice

          by maecuff ·

          In reply to Promotion coming along

          Especially if it’s warm where they are. It’s rainy and 34 here.

    • #3045935

      Not sure what to say…

      by lchisholm ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      I’m not sure what to tell you buddy. Sounds like you’re going to go home with 1/2 your ass attached, and the other mangled piece in your hand.
      The best thing you can do is give the boss a cost-benefit of what you’re doing. Show them the picture of the long-run.
      Sounds like he’s being pretty unreasonable, although you should have found out all little gotchas first.
      Best of luck with the vendors… it’s like prison shower time, and you just dropped the soap on this occasion. Best thing I can tell you on that one is to promise them more business on the next upgrade, see if you can roll the hidden charges of this one into that, or see if they’ll waive it totally.

      Have a good time with this.. lemme know how it turns out.

    • #3045931

      Another angle…

      by andrew.moore ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      Can you not threaten the original sales person with a hardware rollback unless he does something to defray/cover the costs of the unforseen upgrades??? I’m sure he will start making nice noises once the idea of losing his percentage on a major hardware sale starts to sink in…

    • #3045930

      hold your hands up, and state that you’re human

      by arthurp ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      Okay, due to the lack of planning and investigation you’ve been caught with your pants down – as they say … Fingers burnt, and lessons learnt

      Think it might be easier to put this one down to experience, and learn a valuable lesson.

      Don’t avoid the boss, it’s not worth the agrivation; and in fact this may be complicating the problem.

      Accept the fact that your boss has just chewed you out, it happens occassionally and it’s a fact of life. In fact your boss is possibly more annoyed that you didn’t have the confidence to speak with him first with your ideas; allowing him to explain the reasons as too why you should not be doing this, or even suggesting a different approach.

      We all try to run before we can walk, it’s human nature. Speak with your boss, explain what you tried to achieve, and that you probably approached this from the wrong angle, and ask for guidence. This shows two things, firstly that you appreciate the consequences of your actions, and secondly that you are looking for mentoring in the solution .. we’re all human.

      Concerning the Vendors, we can all provide suggestions, but the only way that this is going to work for you is … speak with your boss first, as he will have had more experience in this field, and know what the longer term gameplan is for the business.

      Whatever happens here you will both need to show a united front, and having spoken with your boss you will both be playing in the same ballpark.

      I doubt that he’ll fire you, as he’s just gained a valued employee who has shown determination, (even if it’s a little misguided), but also knows that the problem will not be repeated again … next time give your boss a call, and say “hi, I’ve an idea, what do you think”, or drop him a mail with a business plan.

      The best thing about being an adult is that we are able to accept responsibility for our actions, and to learn from our mistakes … guess that you’ve managed both in one afternoon

      Just don’t be supprised if your bonus and pay rise will be used to cover the additional costs …

      All the best

      • #3045864


        by maecuff ·

        In reply to hold your hands up, and state that you’re human

        It went better than I could have hoped for. My boss didn’t try to lay it off on me. He’s not a bad guy, just has this wicked temper that for the most part lays dormant. When it rears it’s ugly head, it’s a sight to see. I’m not good at the whole ‘yelling and screaming’ thing. I don’t do it and I don’t like to witness it. I agree that there are situations that call for firmness, but screaming rarely accomplishes anything.

    • #3045918

      Do you really need that up grade?

      by jim.allen1 ·

      In reply to Damage Control


      I’m not in the real world so to speak but the first question I asked myself when I was is is the upgrade really necessary?

      Is the grade of package you have doing the Job you want – is the hard ware running efficiently?

      if the answer is yes – then why are you upgrading? to keep the software vendor happy? to be able to brag you use the latest software? I know of companies running 10 year old software – it does the job abd the PC’s , network are running just fine – so there is no need to upgrade..

      A serious question for all ‘costed upgrades’ is what does it do that my present package does not… I would guess on the 80% of users using 20% of funcionality you don’t use the full capability of the package your using… so why upgrade?

      • #3045877

        Because IBM is forcing it…

        by scmgithd ·

        In reply to Do you really need that up grade?

        We’re in the same situation. IBM won’t let us upgrade to the next version of OS unless we upgrade our box. If you get behind on OS upgrades it’s a major pain/cost to get caught back up. And most software vendors require you to be be at the latest version or very close to it.

        I’m in the process of trying to figure out if the old equipment we’re using with the AS/400 will even work with the new iSeries. It’s all as clear as mud!

        Although I did convince our vendor that if we bought the iSeries from them that they will give us a $30,000 module for $4,500. I’m still gloating about that win! LOL

    • #3045907

      Your boss didn’t do his job …

      by mmay9 ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      I’m not sure of what management levels you and your boss are within the organization but, your boss is not doing his/her job.

      Anyone with final approval on IT spend, with even a bit of experience, knows to review collateral costs on something as basic as server upgrades.

      Also, you state that the current hardware was near end of life. Any competent IT manager would be including near end of life equipment in their budget risk assessment so that when the equipment does require replacing, there has been at least one full budget cycle of visibility. This allows IT to prepare business management for the investment, prioritize the capital spend, and prepare finance for the cash flow.

      Like I said, your boss should be mad at themselves. They are responsible for mentoring staff so that staff learn how to do this on their own.

      • #3045604

        Due Diligence

        by chet_zawadzki ·

        In reply to Your boss didn’t do his job …

        I agree with mmay@. Your boss didn’t do due diligence. It really is the responsibility of your boss to understand pros and cons of the upgrade routes and the costs that they will incur. I suspect that your boss’s anger probably stems from self-anger, having done a poor job of evaluating the risks and costs.

        That being said, don’t beat yourself up too much. This is a common issue with i-Series upgrades. You are going to pay for the upgrade in one way or another.

        You can (and should) try to negotiate with the vendors to reduce the cost. If possible try to present your position positively. The vendors probably know where you stand and how much leverage that they have to negotiate with. I agree with mmay@. Your boss didn’t do due diligence. It really is the responsibility of your boss to understand pros and cons of the upgrade routes and the costs that they will incur. I suspect that your boss’s anger probably stems from self-anger, having done a poor job of evaluating the risks and costs.

        That being said, don’t beat yourself up too much. This is a common issue with i-Series upgrades. You are going to pay for the upgrade in one way or another.

        You can (and should) try to negotiate with the vendors to reduce the cost. If possible try to present your position positively. The vendors probably know where you stand and how much leverage that they have to negotiate with. Remember, they are sales people; their job is to negotiate and close the sale. Find out how their companies are doing and how much leverage YOU have.

        Best of luck!


    • #3045906

      How Do Generals Handle Surprises?

      by rgammache ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      I work for national leaders–military and civilian. The military leaders are very strategic in their thinking. Some of the civilian ones are too. But the ones who are not are also the ones who will persist in nurturing their anger over events and the people who preciptate them. We have talked abou this for years and it is a common observation. The current theory about anger nurture is a last0ditch effort to assert the right of control. Even though the things that need controlling are streaming by unattended while the anger is nurtured instead. The real issue is that the marketing genius of the vendors has caught up with you. Whether in this instance or in the next, you are being manipulated by the pricing terms into forking over maintenance money that is not in your budget and therefore apparently an “added and unexpected cost”. The strategy of the vendors and the strategy of the firm are not at all in line. You have no MOU to get advance warning of pricing increases based on upgrades to your core systems. So you can not forsee them in the budget building process. You have no allies, no ability to exert deliberate pressure on a vendor whose own strategy is to make all customers fend for themselves individually. By the way, Napolean used the same strategy until the countried surrounding France agreed to be allies against him. When they did, and before the first allied shot was fired, Napoleon was told to his face, “Sir, You are defeated!”

      So the firm has to wake up to the strategies it is ignoring and allowing functional leaders to fight for themselves. IT is only an apparent function. It really is a strategic life-blood issue for anything other than a Mom and Pop outfit. Your boss, like others victimized by the same vendor strategies, can raise it up as a strategic issue, get you and others to predict such upgrade costs proactively, and address the vendor strategies as a firm, not as a function. This may require your own Grand Alliance.


      Rick Gammache

    • #3045894

      Damage Control

      by pcondon ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      You should remember that you’re not the only person in the company that makes mistakes. I am sure your boss has made a number of mistakes as well, wether or not he has kept them a secret.

      Is this really your fault? You state that you met with IBM’s representative, and they gave you bad information. So it sounds like you acted with the intention of saving money.

      The one thing about the IT business is that it is tough to predict what the the side-effects would be with upgrading equipment.

      So, I don’t think that you should really apologize for anything since you did act with the best interest for the company to save money with the information that you had. The blame really lies on the IBM rep who sold you the information, not you.

      Of course, the finger needs to be pointed at someone.. and that grudge will probably be you. It’s always convienient to point to someone in-house.

      Can you call the IBM rep and explain the situation?

    • #3045883

      I feel for you.

      by joseph.calloway ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      I found myself in same situation once and no matter what I did, I just couldn’t please the boss from that day until I left the company. I even complemented her on the dress she was wearing and the reply was “I really hate this dress; I plan to throw it away when I get home.”
      Good Luck!

      • #3045862

        that’s horrible.

        by maecuff ·

        In reply to I feel for you.

        What a child! I can’t imagine speaking to anyone at work that way. You probably did yourself a favor by leaving.

    • #3045856

      Get over it!

      by andrep ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      I manage a team of 28 enginering types, and guess what? The person that does not make a mistake usually does not make anything else either! The point is, you’ve acknowledged your mistake, will in future negotiate where you can, and escelate where you cannot.
      More than that you cannot do – because not even God can change the past!
      Your manager must come to terms with that and get over the incident!

    • #3045841

      All Too Familiar Story

      by alice.santarlasci ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      Unfortunately you have fallen for the ‘system sales’ lie. I think this happens to us all one time. I hate to say it……….but………..hiring a consultant to take a look at the agreement before it is signed is really worth the fee. That’s if you can get senior management to agree to this. TYpically sr. management believes the sales people at the time the ‘sell’ is going on. Only after the sale is made does the pain-level get introduced with expensive remedies.

    • #3045791

      Getting your ass chewed off.

      by mike_patburgess ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      I am always leary of any vendor but especially IBM and their upgrades. Always get a knowledgeable reseller or two involved before going this route.

      After all, most resellers and manufacturers could care less about YOUR business and more about selling you hardware or software.

      If there are mistakes made, you are left holding the bag.

      My advice, get rid of the reseller you are dealing with now and get one that that you can trust. One that is really concerned and understands your business.

      Good luck…

    • #3045762

      Ethics-What it is all about

      by go_figure ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      I view this as a matter of ethics. First, you admit you have a made a mistake before your boss finds out from another source. Secondly, your boss must realize that people make mistakes, the only crime is when a mistake is repeated. As long as a person learns from a mistake it isn’t something that should be penalized. And, lastly, your vendor should show a little good will if they want to continue having your business. You shouldn’t have to offer the vendor anything but your continued business. Sometimes good will is a businesses most valuable asset, something that is worth more than all their tangible assets. Maybe they need to be gently reminded of this fact.

    • #3043739

      Excessive humility wears poorly

      by delbertpgh ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      You’ve been properly pegged for overlooking a detail, and there’s no way to take that back. So, you can’t do anything until your boss decides it’s behind him. At least you learned another thing about your vendors, and re-learned a lesson on human nature.

      Things will be better when your boss decides he’s over it. At this point, you can’t do anything to compel him to get there, but some things will help a little. Try to exploit his leverage with vendors, so long as he doesn’t have vendor-phobia; the more he works through the details of this, the more he will be acclimated to the fact that you had no choice but to undergo the upgrade, and that what he and the firm have suffered may be an unneeded surprise but an inevitable cost. The fact that he can blame the surprise factor on his minion may actually make the cost factor easier to explain upstairs. Offer to write a half-page memo explaining the necessity of the upgrade, if he wants something to circulate. You can explain, without attributing blame to your IBM salesman, that you were mislead by his unsupported assumptions about your vendors.

      Henry Ford Jr. was quoted, I believe in relation to an arrest for drunken driving, “Never complain; never explain.” He was talking about preserving dignity, which is always a valuable commodity in power relationships. Long stories about mitigating factors, or abject apologies, do not make you seem more credible or trustworthy. Play for the long game.

    • #3043702

      Reply To: Damage Control

      by phil.pentecost ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      This is not a “Window sill Problem” your boss is only human…ish get to his desk and face him out,
      if you, as a professional hiding from a problem you will only enrage Him/her more.
      1) Fess up dude.
      2) Thank them for flagging you mistake (“after all we are all apart of thew team…)
      3) Get back ot the SUPPLIER & try to strike a deal (you could involve ypur boss “with all his Man’ment/neg sills to achieve a result!
      All the best

    • #3043603

      get it in writting

      by turnier ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      I’m surprised after so many replies that no one has touched on this: It sounds like some major decision making was based solely on verbal exchanges with the vendor(s) — foolish at best, dangerous at worst.

      Hope the Xmas play goes well! Attending them are my favorite holiday activity 🙂

      • #3043487

        Agree…CYA is best

        by excorpguy ·

        In reply to get it in writting

        In the past I worked with a co-worker who printed out and filed
        EVERY email he sent with the replies. I thought he was very
        paranoid when I learned of his actions. He had three full size
        file drawers with emails filed by subject.

        I quickly learned that he could show what was said, when and by
        whom. This was before we could archive our emails to our local
        drives to retain a copy.

        It is a good practice IMHO to copy your boss(es) on important
        emails. Not the day to day stuff, but the really important ones.
        There is a section in ‘Cubicle Warfare’ on copying EVERYTHING to
        your boss if you are out to get them. 🙂

        As said before, one important thing to remember is that vendors
        ALWAYS have their best interests number one. I learned one
        thing from a former auto sales job that has served me well:

        If their lips are moving, they are lying!

        Work with the vendors as others have posted. Offer them
        something in return. But always remember that they will always
        have their best interests towards the bottom line. One other
        comment mentioned purchasing towards the FYE of the vendor.
        This is VERY true in new car sales at the end of the month too.

    • #3043485

      Tis a bitter pill.

      by zczc23119 ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      Yes it was your responsibility and yes we all understand each and every one of us makes mistakes ? however with your salary comes responsibility and now Tis a bitter pill you must take.

      The whole situation I really don?t feel is resolvable.

      Move on ? time for a new job ? and a very hard lesion is learned.

      If you are there to be the ultimate voice in saying yes and no in your recommendation on large capital expense ? and you stuff it up ? yes its hard but you were responsible.

      Start afresh somewhere new.

    • #3046371

      Takes and Tactics

      by gdoc ·

      In reply to Damage Control

      Firstly, having a boss that openly vents his frustration is better than one that stews and schemes revenge. Make sure, as others have mentioned, that your responses are reasoned and moderate, this should get you back on an even keel.

      In dealing with your software vendors; where are you in the purchace/support/upgrade cycle?

      If you have an ongoing relationship that is due for near term renewal you may be able to pro-rate the upgrade cost, and or receive a discount based upon the ongoing relationship.
      If it is a business critical application, sometimes extending the term of commitment between you and the vendor can lead to better deals and can be used as a major negotiation point. If you commit for 3 years as opposed to 1, they have a long term identifiable revenue source, and can come down on a lot of things just to get that guarantee.

      Check the engagement documentation from IBM, if it specifies, as one of their responsibilities, that they verify all application functionallity; they should have ensured operability with your present versions, or identified a compliant version. If they failed to do so, some of the increased expenditure may be forthcomming from their engagement fee.

Viewing 20 reply threads