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Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

By sjwilliams ·
In September '05 I accepted the position of 'Computer Network Engineer' for a small manufacturing company. During the 2nd interview the CEO of the company assured me that he understood that the infrastructure was a bit outdated and that a change was to be made soon. I didn't fully understand just how bad it was here until after the guy I was replacing finally left. Armed with this background information I need some serious advice. The company is currently running NetWare 3.12 with DOS, and Win9x workstations because Solomon 3, the accounting/inventory/manufacturing software, only works in a DOS based environment. I have tried to explain, as did my predecessor, that there are better ways of doing these things. Ways that will provide more information, quicker and without having to call across the campus to ask someone to log out of the system. Not to mention the enhance security and reliability.
At first I was told that new software was too much, so I have demonstrated how nearly $25k per year can be saved just on hardware alone, so money wouldn?t be an issue.
I was then told that 'the learning curve' would make it too difficult for the users, so I negotiated training for all 50 employees that need to use the system for no additional cost.
Now, I have been told that we need to develop a manual system so that we will have a model to base the new software on.
The question I ask of all that view this is as follows....
Am I fighting a losing battle here? Can a NetWare 3.12 network running software that was obsoleted in 1992 really be secure and reliable and meet the onslaught of compliancy issues?
Even though the money is good and it really is a decent place to work should I cut bait and run?
Thanks for your time in veiwing this desperate plea for help.

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Welcome to underfunded IT!

by gralfus In reply to Dragging the Organization ...

The cost/benefit analysis is your best bet. They have to see why they need to invest in their own company. The legal issues of security compliance are a good negative motivator. If they won't change, you should explain to them why your predecessor left and why you are leaving. This may help shock them into action.

Additionally, don't try to upgrade. Replace with a new system that will at least accomplish the same things. Users will have to deal with it not doing it via the same methods, though.

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After a sound thrashing.....let's get real

by Beoweolf In reply to Welcome to underfunded IT ...

Many of you danced all over the poster that "hinted" as "allowing" a failure to force the hand of the company toward much needed modernization. Later in the discussion, a "proof" came up that illustrates the rational, if not the intent. Yes Novell 3.12 may run for years without any maintance,...but as noted - it doesn't react well to ungraceful failure...i.i. power outages whether caused by a grid failure or "Dumb and Dumber". The point is; it the job of IT personnel to protect his company from itself. He could and should use any failure, that would be only a minor inconvience in a modern OS as a teaching tool to induce Managment to move off leagacy software/hardware as quickly as possible. It's time to retire Novelle 3.xx, 4.xx and 5.xx.

I had a similar case, several years ago. They had a propritary application that printed a monthly brochure (about 500+) pages that was then shipped out for binding. After upgrading to W2K, we had increasing problems with the program. No one had the source code, it was impossible to re-enginner. I was able to patch and prod it along (even after Y2K), but it would did not handle any failure very well...something as simple as a slow down in data flow would cause an error...force the job to be restarted from scratch.

I was on 1st vacation in 4 years when it finally broke the last time. When I came back, they finally allowed us to upgrade the system and the software.

Funny thing; the old job took as long as 18 - 24 hours to complete, with new system and software it was done in 2 muss, no baby-sitting. Some times an unfortunate accident is an IT persons deliverance. Could the old system have been salvaged...again? Probably, but it would always depend on trial n' error to maintain serviceablity. It could pass the "what if I was hit by a bus tomorrow" test.

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by jbaker In reply to Dragging the Organization ...

Sounds like you are in for lots of fun when the upgrade finally comes. IMHO, the easiest way to force an upgrade is to have the Novell server have a "catastrophic" failure. Just be sure that whatever fails cannot be replaced. Whether or not the legacy data is recoverable is completely up to you. Then you can push the new system, and that version of Novell will not run on modern hardware. Just keep in mind that the infrastructure (wiring, etc) may have to be upgraded as well.

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You're kidding, right?

by amcol In reply to Fun

Are you seriously proposing that someone deliberately cause a major failure in a mission critical system just to make a point?

You're a real "ends justify the means" kinda person, aren't you?

Put the complete lack of professionalism aside for a didn't stop to think there'd be any ethical problems with this before you posted? Or were you just shooting from the lip?

The fact that this "idea" would even occur to you, let alone that you actually proposed it, is appalling.

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Look up the meaning of due diligence...

by Hockeyist In reply to Fun

...and professionalism.

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And you work for IT? God help us!

by Why Me Worry? In reply to Fun

Anyone in IT will not deliberately cause a "catastrophic" failure simply to push their own agenda. Bullcrap like this happens in the public sector with corrupt and incompetent idiots, not in the private sector. God help us and any company dumb enough to have you managing their systems. You do realize you could be prosecuted for even mentioning something as assinine and criminal as what you are proposing on doing.

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You're living in IT Utopia

by Go_Jetskiing_800SXR In reply to And you work for IT? God ...

What the **** do you mean this "Bullcrap" only happens in the public sector and not in the private sector? What universe are you living in? The private sector is just as corrupt as its public counterpart. Im not condoning his suggestion of sobotage, but lets get on an even keel here. American managment is the most corrupt in the world and the most over paid in the world and to say that there is a difference between public and private management is equally assinine.

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No, That's Bullcrap!

by No Bye-Bye In reply to And you work for IT? God ...

The real bullcrap is you saying that someone could be prosecuted for mentioning the possibility of doing something illegal or unethical. The First Amendment to our constitution provides for freedom of speech -- even if you don't like what is said. Conspiring to commit a crime is a crime, but just talking about it in an open forum obviously is not.

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It is enough

by jdclyde In reply to No, That's Bullcrap!

to cost them their job if it ever got back to their employer.

Freedom of speach lets you speak your peace, but you still have to pay the consequences of that speach.

And any loser that talks like this would and should be fired ASAP.

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Not bullcrap

by longennamer In reply to No, That's Bullcrap!

Haven't you heard about those prosecuted for just mentioning threatening to do something to president, govenor, etc? They don't even have to mean it, just jokeingly say it, and your hauled away. So you don't have to conspire to commit a crime to be in trouble.

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