General discussion

  • Creator
    Topic
  • #2186593

    Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

    Locked

    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 During the 2nd interview the CEO of the company assured me that he understood that the infrastructure was a bit outdated and that a change was to be made soon.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.

All Comments

  • Author
    Replies
    • #3245820

      Welcome to underfunded IT!

      by gralfus ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      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.

      • #3240954

        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 hours…no muss, no fuss…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.

    • #3245811

      Fun

      by jbaker ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      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.

      • #3245795

        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 second…you 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.

      • #3243990

        Look up the meaning of due diligence…

        by hockeyist ·

        In reply to Fun

        …and professionalism.

      • #3261438

        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.

        • #3239896

          You’re living in IT Utopia

          by go_jetskiing_800sxr ·

          In reply to And you work for IT? God help us!

          What the hell 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.

        • #3239850

          No, That’s Bullcrap!

          by no bye-bye ·

          In reply to And you work for IT? God help us!

          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.

        • #3239799

          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.

        • #3239794

          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.

        • #3239819

          Reply To: Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

          by mike ·

          In reply to And you work for IT? God help us!

          While I agree with everyone who has replied to say no one should ’cause’ a failure of a system, it is true that lots of times nothing is done to solve a problem or system until it dies. This is because most organizations are reactive as opposed to proactive when it comes to solving their issues.

          I agree with a previous post as well that if the case for money saved is done well that is your best chance. The resistance generally is not the money saved over time but the upfront costs to implement the new solution. Good luck.

        • #3255380

          What an opportunity

          by itengineerguy ·

          In reply to Reply To: Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

          Stay if you like the work environment and look forward to a great experience. What an opportunity to grow with a company.

          I worked for a technology company and faced the same situation. They are just as bad as other companies when it comes to updating hardware software. Mainly because we were a technology company and you have the know how to keep it running. I approached it as a learning experience and challenge.

          I build trust with my employer to show I have the companies best interest at heart. I prove this over and over. I use every opportunity to voice it when I put the company needs first. Then when I need something I get it.

          Good luck in your great opportunity.

      • #3239898

        I’ll be more blunt

        by ddissent ·

        In reply to Fun

        You’re an idiot

      • #3239815

        Yeah, right

        by unixdude ·

        In reply to Fun

        And you do realize that this little juvenile stunt will backfire.. you will be deemed responsible for failure to protect / recover the company data and, at a minimum, fired on the spot. If anyone thinks you did that deliberately, it will be prosecution time for you…

      • #3239802

        You make everyone else look bad

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to Fun

        There used to be something called ethics, but you seemed to have missed that lesson in life.

        What you are suggesting is enough to land the poster in jail. Or was that the point? Give someone really bad advice and laugh if they are dumb enough to listen to YOU?

        Excuse me, I need to go take a shower.

      • #3239740

        Please, give us your name

        by placidair ·

        In reply to Fun

        …so we can all put you on our “do not hire” lists.

        • #3240790

          At a guess . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Please, give us your name

          I’d say his first name starts with J and his last name is Baker.

          Frankly, I wouldn’t hire him anyway. Have you seen his profile and some of his other posts? This guy wouldn’t make it past a resume screening with me, let alone a first interview.

        • #3242235

          My guess on jbaker….

          by acp2g ·

          In reply to At a guess . . .

          is that this person is just an instigator who likes to stir the pot with outrageous statements. Possibly jbaker is really a psychologist or psychiatrist trying to study human reactions and gets a kick out of seeing people go off like rockets over a basic statement. Why do you think hoax emails continue to get distributed and re-distributed? Because people’s fear or inability to rationalize statements and the persons making the statements are at an all-time high.

          But, alas, too many people become “Chicken Littles”, only to be delivered as dinner to the “Foxy Woxies” of the world….

          Okay, now that I’m off my soap box, I agree that sabotaging a system is not a good idea, but to each their own. However, it certainly could destroy future career options if ever found out….. 🙂

      • #3240986

        Are you kidding….

        by windycityitguy ·

        In reply to Fun

        Intentionally causing a “catastrophic” failure is the quickest way to lose your job and possibly do irreversible damage to your career.

      • #3256039

        C’mon…you can’t really be in IT.

        by ttosun ·

        In reply to Fun

        How long have you been working in IT? What are your qualifications? WHY in the world would you want to create such grief and headache as causing yourself a “catastrophic” malfunction? I work for a computer forensics firm and you’d be surprised at what can be identified as “intentional malfunction”. Keep your nose clean.

    • #3245797

      Well I’m on my last

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      week of two years working for an enormous manufacturing company. Just tidying up some Fortran 77 code running under VMS on an Alpha. You’ve got two choices stay there and keep the system going or get the f88K out of there quick.

      Ask yourself this question, if I stay here much longer how out of date will I be, who else uses this environment, how long before I’m unemployable with out spending bucket loads of money on certs etc.
      I’m swapping VMS, Fortran77, Windows 95 and that really new VB6 for Delphi 2005, SQL Server, and XP/NT2003 at the end of next week and I am really looking forward to it.

      • #3239677

        I second that motion…

        by diana o ·

        In reply to Well I’m on my last

        When I read the part about “..develop a manual system to base the new (computer) system on…” my hair about stood on end. That statement alone indicates that the person you are taking direction from is not only clueless, but intends on remaining so.

        After spending 10 years in a consultancy practice that did reengineering and software development, I don’t think anyone on the “inside” like you are will be able to be effective changing the organization. And while you try, your skills will be further and further out of date.

        My advice? Look for another job, keep upgrading your skills through self-study, classes, or volunteer work (someplace with current technology).

        Good luck!

        • #3240972

          A slight disagreement

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to I second that motion…

          In manufacturing, you do need a policy for what to do if the system is down. Course seeing as they’ve got a system no matter how ancient they should already have one.
          In fact as part of DR any organisation that uses IT to conduct it’s business needs at least to know how a loss of the system will be coped with.
          In a large organisation coping with the aftermath of an interuption to the normal business systems is one of the most complex tasks in DR. In manufacturing it’s a lot worse.

        • #3240855

          I think they’ve been burned before…..

          by is girl ·

          In reply to I second that motion…

          This sounds like a situation where management is afraid of what they don’t know about how the old system works. They only know that it does the job somehow and they keep thinking “if it aint broke…..”.

          I think developing a manual system could be creating a flow chart that documents the processes the occur in the old software to use as a benchmark for the new one — and as a backup for manual systems should they be necessary during the transition from old to new.

          Perhaps…instead of looking at this situation as one where your skills will atrophy, you might look at this as a huge opportunity to revolutionize the way your company does business.

          Somehow, the poster needs to find a way to justify the expense and investment in time and training (the “learning curve”) and the investment in hardware and software as a leap forward for productivity and stability. Managment needs to be convinced this change is not only possible, but that it will be reasonably painless and ultimately beneficial for the entire company in the long, long run. If successful, you are the hero…if unsuccessful, you will take the fall.

      • #3255477

        However…..

        by mad mole ·

        In reply to Well I’m on my last

        surely the question of how out-of-date will I be? is somewhat offset by the possibility of having the complete restructure of a critical company system, from old to spanking shiney new system, sitting on your CV. Therebye demonstrating the ability to adapt to an environment, understand and analyse it’s problems, assess the requirements, successfully demonstrate the issues, propose a solution and finally fix the damn thing!
        As a demonstration of ability , resolve and communication there can be little better to put on anyones CV.

        I guess the the question of how far behind one would end up revolves around how confident your are of persueding non-IT personnel to press the big green ‘GO!’ button.
        If you think you can do that stay.
        Otherwise, as you say Tony, find somewhere else that can use your obvious skills and will take you in the direction you want to travel.

    • #3243999

      Welcome

      by jmgarvin ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Why spend money on IT? There is no return and security is meaningless because you’ll never be hacked.

      That is the long and the short of being an IT person…you will always have to fight the fight and deal with the ignorance.

      If you run you will run into the same job at a different place.

      • #3243835

        I guess I have been lucky….

        by sjwilliams ·

        In reply to Welcome

        I have been in the IT industry since 95, only at a much lower level. I know that there is always going to be a fight for money and that isn’t just an IT thing. I know that money has been ‘dog eared’ for new software, I have demonstrated how new hardware can be obtained for nearly half of what is being spent currently on bandaiding this junk. The problem seems to be a fear of change in the upper management. I suspect that this might even become an ethical situation because I am fairly certain that the CFO ‘tinkers’ with the books.
        Thanks for the suggestions…damn I hate being demoralitzed

        • #3262549

          The other way round is as bad

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to I guess I have been lucky….

          work for some one who’s introducing new technology before you’ve managed to get the shrink wrap off the manuals for the last lot. Drives you just as potty.

        • #3240875

          Manuals?

          by j.lupo ·

          In reply to The other way round is as bad

          Hey be glad you got manuals. I have had to implement new systems without any manuals or internet access. I had to just figure it out. Thank god for personal network of colleagues to ask. Oh and don’t bother calling the vendor – “It can’t be done with that”.

          LOL with a big grin, but yes this really happened about 10 years ago to me.

        • #3239918

          Whoa, Whoa There SJ Be Very Careful!!!

          by debon ·

          In reply to I guess I have been lucky….

          SJ you’ve gotta be very careful about what you say about your Company and your CEO. We have no way of knowing whether or not he ‘tinkers’ with the books and I honestly think that this is miles outside of the scope of this forum. At the same time, I understand your frustration and I share in your sorrow. Nonetheless do not let this affect your judgement to the point where you allow yourself to act in a manner that can be harmful to your career. I honestly believe that if you are this frustrated you shoul perhaps start seeking employment elsewhere.

          About the IT situation, you have been in IT since about 95 at as you say ‘at a much lower level’ and so this could in itself be a part of your ‘crossing over’ experience. I have been in IT for a significantly more time than you and I must state that this technology upgrades tend to be a ‘hard sell’. It is up to you to ensure that your company understants that IT should not be considered as a cost centre but instead, through the acquisition and efficient usage of technology can actually be a savings centre and a ROI booster.

          Without knowing all the details, I believe that when your CEO asked you to develop a manual system on which to base the new system, he is actually asking you to scope the requirements of the new system although he may not have used these same words. Scoping can include hardware, software and also procedural changes to improve operating efficiency. This is normal whenever a system upgrade is being considered. I suggest that you use this opportunity to develop a new approach that will not only speed up throughput but also reduce costs. Consider this to be an remarkable opportunity to ‘shine’ in your job. Keep your chin up buddy and get with the program. Best of luck and CHEERS!!!

        • #3239880

          Headed in the right direction…

          by eschlangen ·

          In reply to Whoa, Whoa There SJ Be Very Careful!!!

          Finally, suggestions that are headed in the right direction! I came over to IT from Engineering when we were a small (<20 people) company, several buyouts ago. Now those of us that are left are working in a 2500 person company with a "real" IT department. And my biggest frustration with the "real" IT guys is that they always insist that the business processes must be changed to match the software flavor of the day. None of them even attempt to determine what the existing processes are before moving to newer (and therefore better!?) software, be it a totally new system or an upgrade of an existing software. This is important! New systems can help you OR new systems can hurt productivity and give IT a bad reputation with the people that have to use them. Usually, all it takes it someone from IT taking the time to talk to the end users. This will result in either the users understanding the need for and the benefits of a new system or IT understanding that perhaps the new system that they want is not the best solution for the company. Just my two cents.

        • #3239702

          Bravo some common sense at last

          by robbie12 ·

          In reply to Headed in the right direction…

          Indeed to add to ESchlangens correct description I would also add that usually any system upgrade must look at the business processes. The IT supports the business through various means but failure usually does come from ‘forcing’ processes to align with the ‘new system’ not vice versa. Almost certainly some ‘business process re-engineering may be required but to enhance the business not sell the system.

          Also a major failure comes from the ‘forklift’ or ‘lights out’ approach rather than running a ‘Pilot’ site or group to iron out the kinks before full implementation. Fundamentally while the comments vary I wonder if the question is ‘How can I get the company to upgrade so I can be certificated on modern technology?’; or is it ‘How can I best add value to the job, make the business successful and flourish and keep a job and possibly get higher bonuses?’

        • #3239859

          Great Advice, Debon!

          by whizbang3000 ·

          In reply to Whoa, Whoa There SJ Be Very Careful!!!

          Reading that post was a breath of fresh air! Really good stuff there in that last paragraph. I don’t think it’s Pollyannaish to point out the fact that every difficult obstacle is an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to overcome it. If you decide to pass on this “opportunity” to find the proverbial greener pastures elsewhere, you’ll simply encounter another obstacle there.

        • #3239893

          Get a Champion!

          by johnnyreb ·

          In reply to I guess I have been lucky….

          Hey bud just ?divide and conquer?.

          I have been doing this for the past 18 years as a systems architect and IT turnover specialist ? IT WORKS! Zero-in on the youngest users and possibly someone from the accounting/finance department, in fact anyone who wants to be noticed by upper management.

          Bring in some vendors with actual demos and evaluation licenses installed on a single PC. Have your users turned champions by letting them figure out how much efficiency they would gain! Of course with some coaching, get their buy-in and let them run with the greatest idea.

          Let them reap the glory as you get your latest and less cumbersome solution ? you will have shorter days and many free weekends: it is worth all the money in the world.

          Next step switch to OPM software to help you manage your environment more efficiently.

          Cheers, JP

        • #3239868

          Lessons learned: start small and stick with it!

          by net-engr ·

          In reply to I guess I have been lucky….

          I share your frustration and have some lessons learned to pass along.

          I, too, worked for a manufacturing firm that was not easy to convince. My lesson learned is that you have to prove yourself. Obviously, the company has been turning a profit doing things “the way they always have been done.” Trying to step in and change the way business is done, especially when you don’t have a long track record of success on your resume, is difficult at best. Being asked to repeatedly go back and “research it again” is another way of being told “I’m not comfortable with this direction.” Don’t beat yourself against this (currently) closed door. Fear of change is REAL and needs time.

          My suggestion is to lay this issue aside for a while. Find several smaller projects, ones that don’t impact the business in such a significant way, and work those. This will develop your credibility in management’s eyes AND give your more experience. Some suggestions:

          1) Work on developing a company intranet. Maybe you need a new server (Windows, Lunix, etc.) to try this on? Getting folks hooked on web technology is one way to get their interest piqued in something new. You will need to develop a relationship with someone on the business side (quality control, manufacturing supervisor, sales) and find out what they would like. Ideally, find out who the CEO trusts for good advice. Start working with them or someone they trust. Be careful not to latch onto someone who is simply interested in new technology. Make sure they have the ear of someone important.

          2) See if you can work with the office manager to put in multifunction print/scan/copy devices to replace the existing copy machines. Start by asking the office manager about when the lease is up on the current copy machines. Ask if you can look into the cost of multifunction machines. Do this in a low key way. Get two vendors to bring in their wares. See what perks the vendors can offer the office manager. Free lunches are a good place to start.

          3) Network upgrades. The CEO may be more willing to spend money on something that he or she feels improves the ability to accomplish business the same way they are getting it done now. Often, if you can arrange an on-site trial, that will change minds the easiest. Once the equipment is in, getting it out (going back) is often hard!

          4) Develop/improve the internet presence of the company. Think carefully about giving employees internet access, especially with their Win9x desktops. In my experience, we used an outside hosting company to develop a web site for the public. You will need to work with the head of sales or with the customer/warranty support head to find some value for this. Perhaps getting product manuals on-line for customers to download is a good start.

          The more ways you can find to get good (quiet) publicity, the more you will find the walls of resistance slowly eroding. Remember to look at the problem from the CEO’s standpoint. You are risking an IT upgrade and your career. He or she is risking the company and the livelyhood of all of the employees! It’s not a decision to be made in haste.

          Running away from the problem is NOT a good idea. (Don’t leave your job!) Finding a way to solve the problem in the long run is MUCH more rewarding, both personally and from a resume standpoint. Finding a company that is good to work for is hard. Don’t let this frustration stop you from enjoying your work and learning how to make some real change over time.

          Take some time every day to smell the roses; find something to smile about every day!

        • #3241391

          Great Suggestions

          by industrial_controller ·

          In reply to Lessons learned: start small and stick with it!

          I have been in IT for many years, and this kind of problem gets my creative juices flowing. This kind of turnaround could be a great feather in your cap and very satisfying. I agree with the posters that say “figure out a way to do this”. You could end up with an IT environment that you created and that you enjoy. Where else could you find that? Take the bull by the horns, don’t just run from life!

        • #3239837

          Not a Good Idea

          by no bye-bye ·

          In reply to I guess I have been lucky….

          It’s probably not a good idea to say in public that your CFO “tinkers” with the books unless you’re prepared to repeat and defend that statement in court. Having said that, if you really believe it’s happening you should run, not walk, to the nearest exit, dropping your keys on the floor on the way out. If it’s happening and you know it but don’t report it, you may be culpable too.

      • #3239945

        That goes double for education

        by lord_folland ·

        In reply to Welcome

        Two years ago my school IT department was told that we would
        be able to fund one room role over each year giving resulting in
        all computers in the school being under 5 years (and able to
        effectivly run XP). This year we were told that we only get
        enough for 1/2 a room. At this rate will will have 10 year old
        computers soon.

    • #3262542

      Leave now, while you can

      by jimmcneill ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      How long have you been there? How many times have you tried to explain? It’s obviously falling on deaf ears, and if you don’t get out now before you’re unemployable you’re risking your entire career for people who rate your professionalism lower than doggiedoo.

      And contrary to other postings, there are plenty of employers with more enlightened attitudes.

    • #3262241

      Consultant?

      by firstpeter ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      What are the chances you can bring in a consultant to back-up (to management) what you’ve expressed? For whatever reason, I’ve found that seems to hold more weight than an in-house IT person saying it. Never mind the fact that the consultant probably doesn’t know the business as well, doesn’t interact with the users, hasn’t “been there, done that” with the system you’re using, etc. – but some people choose to put all that aside for the sake of a 3rd party opinion.

      Of course if you can’t get the funds to start upgrading things on a short-term savings project (meaning the payback is quick), chances are you probably can’t get the funds to pay for someone’s opinion, either…

      • #3239686

        I have only been in ~the~ business 10 years …

        by bootp ·

        In reply to Consultant?

        … and in business for 40 years (yes, long on experience – sorry about that boys) and a strong dose of reality and credibilty go a long way. Currently a consultant, “we” spend a LOT of our time arriving at concensus with “da boss” as to what he wants, what he needs, and what is possible.

        Suggestions:

        1) Get “da boss” to hire a consultant for a survey of your IT needs (business driven), current resources IT resources, where you need to go, how much $$$ it will take en route to get the services his business needs to be competitive, and a migration path.

        2) “Da boss” usually signs off on HIS consultant and what HIS consultant says HE needs to be competitive in the marketplace.

        ~do you see a theme here?~

        3) If it goes well, you are in good shape. If it doesn’t go well, you learn something and that knowledge tells you were to go next …. as in your career path.

        Either way, YOU, “Da Boss”, and the company all win.

        Short version …. “The shortest way home …..” … and “Give him choices, not ultimatums.”

        One last tip: Make clear that you can not, personally or professionally, stand behind outdated software and/or hardware that is no longer supported. It simply can NOT be done. Remember, you aren’t a magician or a bad guy – just trying to make choices and environment clear to management. If “Da Boss” wants to live on the edge, don’t climb on that sinking ship so you can take the blame.

        Enjoy

    • #3261439

      Netware 3.12? I am gonna burn my CNE Certificate in anger!

      by why me worry? ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Holy mother of God! There are still servers out there running that old piece of crap? It is obsolete, Novell doesn’t even want to hear a peep about it, and good luck getting support for it. Just today, I was stuck helping our Washington DC office recover from a crashed Netware 3.12 server (some moron pulled the power cord on it and now some volumes were corrupted) that I did not even know existed, since we are an all Netware 6 eDirectory/Windows 2003 shop. If you need help moving to a new version of Netware, like Netware 6.5, I can assist you because I have done migrations from old bindery systems to NDS, but it aint pretty and takes a lot of planning.

      • #3239879

        How could you?

        by redgranite ·

        In reply to Netware 3.12? I am gonna burn my CNE Certificate in anger!

        What do you mean, “..piece of crap..” That OS has been running for YEARS. I know of several Netware 3.xx servers that have been running for over 9 years!

        Yes, it’s obsolete and should be upgraded since it does not support new hardware that will eventually have to replace failed hardware. But to call it “crap” is just not right.

        • #3240813

          Fear of change is biggest obstacle for IT

          by why me worry? ·

          In reply to How could you?

          Although the old notion of “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” applies for the most part, it is being overused by companies who are afraid to change and as the original poster stated “join the rest of us in the 21st century”. Their lack of understanding and technology makes them fear upgrading because they fear that which they do not know or understand. Another problem is that they expect results when they don’t wish to invest any money in modernizing their systems to current standards. If you ever do get the money to go ahead and upgrade, ensure that you have a 2 good backups and plan your strategy wisely and carefully. Look at the overall picture and document everything. They may not be experts, but having documentation should be enough information for someone with the right knowledge and skills to understand what was done, how, and why.

      • #3239876

        Crap???

        by robwaybro ·

        In reply to Netware 3.12? I am gonna burn my CNE Certificate in anger!

        While I agree that Netware 3.12 is outdated and Novell has dropped it from their support channel, the fact that you had it, didn’t know you had it, and it was still running and performing satisfactorily well after all these years proves that it sure was not crap.

      • #3239809

        Whoa, now!

        by unixdude ·

        In reply to Netware 3.12? I am gonna burn my CNE Certificate in anger!

        Netware 3.12 was NOT a piece of crap!!! I will guarantee you have rebooted any Microsoft server 15 times for every ONCE you ever had to reboot a Novell 3x or 4x server…
        Yeah, it is obsolete, but mainly because of additional functionality of newer products, not because of reliability.

      • #3240985

        Maybe you should burn it.

        by midzonetec ·

        In reply to Netware 3.12? I am gonna burn my CNE Certificate in anger!

        First to call a system crap that has been running with so few problems that you didn’t know it existed means you probably don’t understand that in business stability and reliability are always more important than the latest “features”. If you can secure it and it works you don’t need to replace it for the latest and greatest just because it is not the latest and greatest. That is why the bean counters look at ROI.
        Second, I have to question how you had a server on your network without knowing it. It must have been locked down pretty tight not to show up on your radar.

    • #3239961

      Decide what you want

      by bikingbill ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      NetWare 3.12 is a rock-solid product and will probably continue to run for years. I don’t recommend you try this, but it gives you time to properly plan exactly what you need. Get suppliers in, get advisors in, be seen to visit other sites. In other words, make yourself visible and be seen to be looking at the best way forward. Then present the CEO with a detailed shopping list and include the savings you’ve already identified.
      As to user training, I have the opposite problem. Most of my users have home PCs with the latest gizmos, most of which are inappropriate to a secure corporate environment but they don’t see why they shouldn’t have the latest stuff at work. So you may not need to do quite as much training as the CEO thinks – but include detailed training plans too, taking people’s actual knowledge into account.

    • #3239959

      Try incremental upgrades

      by pretselz ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Why don’t you try incremental upgrades?

      What I mean by that is that, try to identify processes first which you can either upgrade (if it has an IT-solution already in place), or put an IT-based solution on. Then try obtaining hardware with least cost, and then try using Open Source software.

      You can then present them the alternate IT solution you have created, with all its benefits. Highlight, point-out, preach, evangelize the benefits, if you have to. Use metrics such as turn-around time (how faster something can be done now), cost-savings (like how much less cost it takes to do the process), etc.

      More often than not, they’ll say “hey, it can be done, with minimal costs!”. So, you basically introduce them to “bigger” applications, and try to get them excited with the possibilities. Let them know too, that initially, the hardware limitations is something that upper management has to decide to address, so that hopefully you can have your hardware updated.

      Once hardware has been updated, you can move forward to commercial softwares, if needed.

      It would also help if you could get someone from the Executive department to assist you in pushing for the changes. Or at least to listen to your ideas. Then when your “mini-projects/mini-upgrades” prove to be successful, give him partial credit (even if all he did was just to listen to you). That would hopefully act as incentive for him to support you on further projects.

      So, if the fear of change is basically what’s preventing the powers-that-be in your company from implementing the upgrades, then do it slowly.

      Hope this helps.

      • #3239953

        Business Case

        by e. ·

        In reply to Try incremental upgrades

        Remember IT is just a business support technology.

        Perform a disaster recovery analysis to ensure that the system can be recovered in the event of a catastrophe.

        Perform a mock-run of a restore with offsite backups only and see if you can in fact get the system working again. Attempt to locate hardware that will run the current systems. See if you can find a to even restore backups from.

        Do a cost/benefit analysis on replacing hardware. I would have trouble purchasing anything that ran DOS these days.

        Present your findings and recommendations as a business case.

        Bear in mind that if it proven in a realistic dry-run that it everything be recovered, you’re stuck.

        If you can prove that you cannot recover from a failure in a timely manner and management will not initiate change, leave.

        • #3239947

          IT as a business support technology, or as a business-enabling resource

          by pretselz ·

          In reply to Business Case

          If your view of IT is, as you stated, just a business support technology, then I guess it is logical to do what you posted.

          However, if you can change paradigm and see IT as an enabling resource, then you would probably do more than stick to the notion of “if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it”. Or in this case, “if it’s working, then don’t upgrade it”.

          The thread starter does indeed have a business case, having been able to come up with Cost-Benefit Analysis. And his CBA has indeed stated that the company is losing more money by sticking to the old system.

          It is possible to use IT to enable the company to operate as efficient as possible, and to be able to help the business grow (think e-commerce, supply-chain management, enterprise resource management, etc).

    • #3239950

      Keep pushing

      by pete_g ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      I work in exactly the same kind of company as sjwilliams (manufacturing / light engineering) and I recognise the problem and know the source of it – what it comes down to is not money but psychology. Engineers (at least at my company) tend to be a very conservative breed and they hate change more than anything else! It’s the old “what’s wrong with a pencil and paper?” attitude, which I’ve heard a hundred times before and no doubt will hear many more times to come.
      The only solution is to keep pushing – eventually reason will overcome inertia and they will come round to your point of view.

    • #3239942

      Am I missing the point here?

      by martin_ternouth ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      It seems to me that sjw has almost won his case without
      realising it. The company have agreed to develop a manual
      specification that will inform the new information requirements.
      This is actually the correct way to do it, and sjw will have the
      opportunity to show exactly what cannot be done at present and
      what can be done in the future with new software.

      • #3239913

        You missed a key word

        by rkramkowski ·

        In reply to Am I missing the point here?

        He said they can develop a manual system, not specification. I’m assuming he meant exactly what he said. Problem with developing a manual system (whether to prove the concept or for any other reason) is that they are missing the point of computerization altogether. Computers can do things that manual systems, no matter how good, cannot do. Sometimes it is based on being able to do something much faster (e.g., lookup of information on someone that is stopped by the State Police. How would you like to be sitting on the side of the road for four hours while someone back at headquarters searched through a warehouse of files!), sometimes it is the sheer volume of transactions (e.g., credit card transaction processing at MasterCard – try that manually at Christmas!), and other times it is pure functionality that cannot be had any other way (e.g., ATM processing for banks. The whole point of ATMs to begin with was automation. The manual system was the tellers at the windows!).

    • #3239909

      I think an exit strategy is in order……

      by trafficjon ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      SJ:

      I’m sorry to sound pessimistic, but this organization has already essentially “run off” one person who attempted to do what you are now trying to do.

      As another tech who is trying to drag a company kicking and screaming into the current century (your problems, however, make MY situation look like a picnic!), I don’t see much hope.

      The key phrase here was, “Develop a manual system…”. Once that is in place, neither you nor anyone else is going to move it out short of using dynamite.

      Just my not particularly humble opinion. You are more than welcome to visit my profile, add me to your contacts, and contact me directly.

      Sincerely,

      Jon

    • #3239900

      Seen this before

      by redwinec ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Situation #1:

      One of the departments I worked for began a conversion in 1986 from COBOL-68 application to COBOL-85 applications. About the same time a project was announced that would re-write the entire system to a ‘GUI’ based application. Management decided to stop the COBOL conversion project.

      When the ‘GUI’ project finally was implemented it only replaced a small portion of the application. The scope of the ‘GUI’ project was too big to implement so management only accepted the smaller portion. To this day the majority of the applications are COBOL-68.

      The problem now is finding a work force with COBOL-68 skills. New hires do not want to learn the outdated language and have not been taught the language in school.

      I left that department for situation #2.

      Situation #2:

      I was hired as an Oracle Database Administrator at another department (sanm company). This department was converting the database from DMS II (Unisys mainframe) to Oracle relational (HP Tru64). The application was developed in a fourth generation language (4GL) that generates COBOL.

      The user screens are character based. This means the application uses the keyboard (tab keys), not the mouse to navigate the screen.

      During one of my annual evaluations with the director of Information Systems we discussed the conversion of the application to a ‘GUI’ based language.

      I was told the “learning curve” was too great to convert the development language at this time. Six year later we are still using the COBOL generating 4GL.

    • #3239861

      a few points and sell them the plan

      by deadly ernest ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      A few points raised here:

      1. you need a detail document of the business needs that IT to addresses or should address. Include the legislative needs.

      2. you need a detail document of what this system is, hardware and software, and how it meets point 1; of does not.

      3. prepare a document like point 2 that defines the hardware / software you would like and how they address point 1 and are better than point 2.

      4. ascertain what their real conerns are, not what they claim but their hidden agenda fears.

      Once armed with the above info you prepare a plan to sell your new system, make sure that you couch the wording to address their fear and concerns, and play on them where possible.

      I have seen many business case documents that explained in technical terms and costs the reasons to change be rejected by non-technical staff because they did not fully understand it. But the same info presented in terms of their fears and the direct affect on their personal uses of the system got the projects approved. Some people want to know the tech specs; or performance factors; or the dollar figures – costs/savings; or business deliverables effect; or legislative meeting and management effects; but most want a simple statement on how it affects their own work. People fear change and you have to encourage them to like your changes.

    • #3239852

      If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

      by angry_white_male ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Believe it or not, Netware 3.12 is an incredibly easy to manage, no-nonsense and very stable platform. Back in my Netware days, I had servers up and running on low-horsepower platforms for many months without interruption (no need to reboot or anything).

      Back in 1999, my employer at the time was starting to switch from Netware 3.12/4.x to Windows NT Server – a move I fought tooth and nail when our real need was for a good file/print server.

      I’m not saying the Netware is by any means perfect – it has it’s pros and cons like anything else, but if you’re in a smaller environment with 50 users, it’s not really a bad platform to run.

      However in your defense, yes – sooner or later your company will have to bite the bullet and come into the 21st century. Make a business plan – show a return on investment, point to inadequacies/flaws in the current system that could cost the company dearly down the road, bring up any user dissatisfaction issues, that if the system goes kaplooey that you have no recourse for disaster recovery since that platform is no longer supported, etc. Don’t get overdramatic – you need to use some salesman skills to make your pitch.

    • #3239849

      There?s power in knowing how the company ?really? makes change decisions.

      by dotjock ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      When you know how decisions are really made, you?ll know who to ?sell? and what has persuaded them in the past. As a new guy, you may be allowed to speak to almost anyone in the company as part of your desire to ?learn the company?s culture? and fit in. Access to people is critical if you are going to understand the ?unofficial? or the ?real? way decisions are made.
      Small companies are especially prone to some surprisingly unusual decision processes which are rarely found in ?official? policy manuals. For a moment, forget the organization chart and start asking around about who most people in the company respect, typically listen to and whose opinions have carried the most weight in past decisions. Don?t be surprised if you find it to be someone outside the line organization such as a highly respected tradesman that?s been with the company from start. In family owned companies it could even be a sibling not involved in daily operations whose opinions have had the most weight in past company decisions.
      Once you find the key players, try to find out what ?sold? them on past decisions. If it?s fear, incremental change may be a good approach. If it?s money, find out what aspect of a business case would be the most interest. Stay open to anything you find and don?t be shocked if the real decision process has nothing to do with logic or money.
      No matter how ?messed up? a company may appear to you, remember that they?ve succeeded when almost 95% of startups have failed. They are doing something right, your job to help them do better. You?ll be more likely to convince them to change when your presentations address their true underlying concerns and values. By the way, if you can master this skill, you?ll likely do well in any company you choose to work for in the future.

      Best of luck to you.

      • #3239723

        Chnage is a constant…

        by ex-military nut ·

        In reply to There?s power in knowing how the company ?really? makes change decisions.

        Knowing change management is crucial in any field, not just IT. Being proactive (understanding the future problems) while everyone else around you is reactive (closing the barn doors after the horse has run off) is always frustrating. That is what makes IT techs professionals. Keep records and make plans. You will be proven right in time, but NEVER say, “I told you so” when the inevitable happens – just be ready.

    • #3239847

      I feel for you…

      by kevinkfred ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      …but I have no answers for you. I got the same type of “bait and switch” at my current position though not on systems quite as antiquated as yours (but for you, at least Netware 3.12 was very stable). My advice – if your job satisfaction at the end of the day is good, and you are happy with the cash, stick it out. Neither of these apply to me, so I am “cutting bait”…

    • #3239843

      Make Haste Slowly

      by tmdonoesq ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Most non technical people don’t understand what you do, can’t picture how things will look and feel when you are done, but they do understand the $$ investment. I know it’s frustrating, but how about using the “manual” process as more of a work flow analysis so it becomes the interim step. Use the work flow analysis to show how the technology will improve, simplify and speed up the work flow; create a plan with Phases and costs along the way. This will show how people will have time to adapt etc. That’s more work for you, but it will also show that you are not just a propeller head and that you understand what Senior Management is looking for.

    • #3239834

      I have been in a similar position for 5 years

      by ltheodoru ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      But things are changing. I moved from the corporate world to a school system in 2000. Over the years I have been told by the top administration that teachers only use computers for online shopping, that if the email server goes down we can just pick up the phone, and that it is more important to spend renovation money on Astroturf in the football field than new wiring in the high school.
      The changes that have occured over the 5 years came about in several ways. First, I have consistantly proven that I know what I am talking about and know my job well. I have also made it a point to bring state education policies on technology to their attention, in addition to what other school systems are doing. It also did not hurt when the old assistant superintendent retired and a new one came in, who while not a power user, is not afraid of technology.
      I have been willing to hang in there because I know that this will be my last job before retirement and I need to stay here until I have a good pension. This may not be the case for you, but if you are willing to be patient and keep working at educating the people at the top, things may get better.

      • #3239801

        Good OLD Solomon

        by kwood ·

        In reply to I have been in a similar position for 5 years

        I believe talking to Solomon support very nicely that you could do something there that will bring you up to to speed without the cost of paying for totally new hardware. I have been running Solomon for 5 years in an Microsoft environment. If Solomon isn’t heavily customized you should be able to move up without much of the training cost. The only warning I have about Solomon is that now that it is owned by Microsoft the upgrades are a bear. But at the same time I have a company that is running an AS400 system that WILL not change because the CEO has had it for 12 years and has customized it to death. I cannot change him but he pays for most of my salary so I just smile and know that it will look good on my resume one day if needed.

    • #3239830

      Plan and Propose

      by khyatt ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      A good approach to making your point may be to build a formal plan. The plan should be a well thought-out document that states all of the points you are trying to make. Use industry best practices, security and standards as your selling points and include any long-term cost savings, etc. Visual aids can also help make your point – managers sometimes need visual tools to help sell something along the chain of command or to get the point. Another possible strategy is to have a site analysis performed by an outside entity that specializes is computer infrastructures, etc.

      This is an opportunity to build a network and systems environment to your standards. If you take a careful, well thought-out approach, everything may eventually take off in the direction you want.

    • #3239828

      Run like hell…

      by zerooneonezero ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      You are not an computer network engineer at that company, but rather a museum curator.

    • #3239824

      NetWare 3.12 was Great…

      by brian.mcclellan ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      … in its day.

      The owners of this business are clueless about technology. So keep banging your head against the wall here if what you need is a job.

      If you want a career I’d say move on as fast as you can to a place where technology is embraced.

    • #3239813

      Yup, you’re screwed (or going to be)

      by theamazingsteve ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      I am sensing some early warnings here? Yup, it looks bad!

      Many of us have been in your shoes, and the advice given so far is good. I was stuck in a company (that I shall not name, for legal reasons) here on the Atlantic, an experience that left me both Blue and Cross (and they didn?t Care).

      The infrastructure (hardware, software and operating systems) were either out of or falling out of support. The manually built subsystems were highly interdependent and fragile. Any changes had to be approved by various know-nothing committees of empire-builders and government lackeys. I did two things, (1) told anyone you would listen of the problems, risks and potential for disaster and (2) did my very best to fix what I could within the constraints given. Both were mistakes.

      All this did for me was get me labelled as a whiner and set myself up for repeated failures (as the task of fixing things within their restrictions was impossible). When other (systemic) problems hit the fan, guess who the technical services director picked for pin-the-tail-on-the-scapegoat? (He did the same to half of his managers in the same year, yet he is still their.) With my most recent experience with obsolete technology, my job seeking efforts were greatly hindered.

      You have a job with responsibility, but it would seem no authority or support.

      What can/should you do?

      – Write a risk assessment report. (Unfortunately, IT work is not all screwdrivers and OS upgrades. Get the lead out!)
      – Make your ?superiors? understand and accept the risk. In writing. (Yes, pass the buck.)
      – As another post stated, seek other ?champions?. (Facilitate them and let them communicate opinions and requirements, so you are not the complainer.)
      – Understand (yourself) that creating a ?manual system? is you taking on its risks. (Be very careful!)
      – As another post stated, do a cost/benefit report on how replacing the systems (less downtime, support costs, risk) and upgrading software (new features, no internal cost associated with a ?manual system?) will save them money. Bosses love (taking credit for) saving money.
      – Pack your parachute. (Update your resume, keep in contact with recruiters, scan the ads, maintain your contacts, and follow leads from your last job search.) Keep your skill relevant by taking on projects involving newer technology and hype those up.

      Sorry to be so pessimistic. Welcome to the corporate world.

    • #3239797

      Your on the right track but constraints may be dangerous

      by alex1962 ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Williams,

      As I read your question it seemed as though you were going throught the meticulous procress of tranforming your environment. You may not have realized it but all the work you;ve done is laying the foundation of a business case that will need to support your claims. I would suggest one cautious approach is to contact all the vendors starting with the core business system which seems to be Solomon. Ask the vendor (which for Solomom, I believe is Microsoft now?) what is the support horizon for the product. This is a constrain the business must be informed of or they may not be able to recover thier data for an audit (jail time here) or may not be able to replace hardware or media due to obsolecence. In the end the businss was built to make money and a profit if you can help support that with your vision then you should be fine. If you want to talk further here is my email (atrujillo@veracitymanagementgroup.com)

    • #3239771

      Make a small change your first priority

      by ruby_krajick ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Manufacturing is all about the bottom line — so spending money is never high on any manf. co.’s list if it doesn’t help them produce their product more cheaply or quicker. Is there a small change you can make that will give them a big reward? Being new, you will have to look at the project of updating this mess in small, digestible parts — have one project build on the other. How is the cabling? Can you implement faster technology there? How about wirelss to reach areas you couldn’t before (this can be a great cheap project). Once they see the changes, and their benefits, you can sell progressively bigger, more expensive projects. There is a reason why they have stuck it out with this old system, find out why and tailor your changes to suit the culture.

      I started a job where the systems (software/hardware/network) were a complete wreck — and I too thought about leaving. A vendor told me something that I repeat often: Many IT Managers start out with a mess, and fix each issue one at a time, and before you know it, they have a great setup and are happy to have stuck it out instead of leaving. Good luck!

      • #3240753

        This is the way to go

        by pretselz ·

        In reply to Make a small change your first priority

        Ruby hit right on the head one of the best ways on how to go about implementing necessary changes.

        Small changes, but those that produce good effects, will greatly help you in getting management’s confidence in undergoing more tougher, more costly system upgrades.

    • #3239766

      Good Fishermen Never Run

      by donaldcoe ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Since we entered the Automation Age back in 1988, we have always been reluctant to change, but we would get comfortable with each set of changes, then we would have to change again. I to used to believe that change implimentation(s) could not be done but I found out the hard way “That a ounce of prevention or preparation was worth more that a POUND of the CURE. Popular you will NOT, Respected and Valued you will be if you stay focused on the Course of a Positive Result.
      Today’s Hardware advances, software design limitations and the needs for greater security are forcing changes whether we are ready or not. Being a Conductor or a Engineer ON the Train is better than “Being HIT By The Train”.

    • #3239764

      Do you enjoy challenges?

      by andeanderson ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      I have been really lucky. I work for a small manufacturer and in the last three years, the first year didn’t count because the owner had to learn that what I told him about the network was true, we have gone from a PII 500Mhz Desktop running NT 4.0 as the server to a full blown Small Business Server 2003 network with comparable desktop upgrades and now we are starting to replace even the desktops with real Work Stations.

      The battle wasn’t really over money, it was over showing how production could be improved and taking time to overcome the RC Factor (Resistance to Change Factor) from the Managers.

      There is no real life quick fix to any organization network problems. Each company is a unique entity with its own liabilities and rewards. It all depends on how much you are willing to invest of yourself in dragging them, kicking and screaming, into an updated system over an extended period of time.

      Once they get hooked on the speed and convenience of a new system you will not be able to upgrade fast enough for them.

      But, the heart of all manufacturing companies is the ERP/MRP System they rely on. You need to find one that has a familiar feel to it and then show them their information can be imported into it and used without losing what they consider to be critical bits of information.

      Good Luck.

    • #3239760

      Train the assistants

      by bhunsinger ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      I can hear my father telling you that in the interview now. He had a small manufacturing company. HE did not want the system to change because he understood his accounting system and did not want to learn any new system. He admitted they were good ideas but…
      At least you have computers. He still used paper and pencil. Let’s not even talk about my brother.. except to say that his accountant is the one dragging him.
      Senior management understands the old system and is afraid of change. You want another way to do this here:
      Every manufacturing company I’ve ever has half a dozen freebie magazines from Penton Publishing, etcetera. Find a story in those about the change and how they handled it from the non it persons viewpoint.
      Second, talk to the ceo’s secratay/office assistant. she knows where all the bodies are buried. and who does what. one on one show people how their job will be affected.
      Third, with the ceo’s knowledge, perform a fire drill; simulate a catastrophic failure. Heck show them how impossible it is to install this system on a new machine.(It is isn’t it. I mean you cant just buy new hardware and install it right?)
      If I’m wrong and you can, get new equipment in. Then the software is easier to sell because it is an upgrade.

      Bottom line: good money and a nice place to work you said. Family business’s great or terrible to work at. If you have been warning them and prepping for the day they say ‘doit’ if it screws up before then they’ll say “yes you warned us now how do we fix it”

    • #3239757

      you might be missing a bigger picture…

      by todd ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      I don’t know how well you already understand what they are doing with what they have, but the problem might be, the new software doesn’t work the way they need it to.

      I work for a non-profit, which I was told spend almost 10 years tring to find software that would do the book keeping they way they wanted (the way it was manually set up), print reports the way the wanted etc. Then along came XP. The company that did the orginal program re-released it for XP machines. Personally, I think the old DOS based program was better, it was certainly more functional and cost considerable less to upgrade (they wanted more then 50x what we had originally paid and that was for the upgrade version).

      The request for developing a manual system for doing whatever they do could be a prelude to hiring a devloper/programmer to come in and do custom work for your organization.

      Having said all that… “Even though the money is good and it really is a decent place to work should I cut bait and run?”

      If your are not being help accountable for “having to call across the campus to ask someone to log out of the system.” or legally liable for the security of the system, why would you want to leave?

      They are paying you to keep up an antique system. Just make sure they can not come back and say… Well our IT guy didn’t warn us that this was an issue. (Which it sounds like you have done that).
      Either way – Good Luck

    • #3239747

      Scheduled vs. Unscheduled

      by ex-military nut ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      What would happen if you didn’t chage the oil in your car? How about checking the tires from time to time for damage? The results are anything from low fuel economy to catastrophic failures (siezed engine, tire blow out, etc.). The point is that you’ve made the case for making the changes now while you can still control the variables as opposed to later when the system no longer functions. It’s like a battleship captain arguing with a lighthouse over who’s going to change their course. Ultimately your company will HAVE to change its course. There won’t be a choice.

    • #3239741

      Disaster Recovery

      by little-b ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Sounds like you are in a real mess of a situation, but I disagree with the sabotage recommended by some—this is unethical.

      However, the threat of disaster is very real in your environment and you have a potential of No Recovery!

      First, NetWare 3.12 is not even Y2K compliant and drivers for new hardware that would be needed to replace a failed server would be non-existent. Does the CEO want to put his business in this kind of jeopardy? You can’t even buy software to run on this platform now unless it is used! Netware Open Enterprise server was just released—-this is the equivalent of NetWare 7 and he’s on 3.12? Ridiculous!!!

      Next, re: the software package they are using—upgrades are inevitable and training is the same. When was the last they had a training session on new software? You’ve done a great job in getting training for the new package.

      If I was in your situation, I would have to weigh the benefits of staying and dealing with antiquated software (which to me, is not very appealing) or finding someplace that is more up to date. It sounds like the CEO is going to live in the 90’s until the present kills him dead and he has no more business. His business is a walking time bomb.

      The only way to get thru to people like this is to describe the worst case scenario and let him know this most likely will happen unless he makes moves now. He will need to put out some money and get new (I wouldn’t bother with upgrades—too costly and inefficient) systems to put in place along with the old. This way the current system will be running and users can be trained on the new and it can all be functioning correctly when the switch occurs.

      I’d present him with the facts that you can’t continue to stay on board if improvements aren’t made as you don’t want to be there and be blamed when it crashes—and it WILL CRASH sometime! His business is in extreme danger of extinction!

      Good luck!

    • #3239724

      Software Obsolescense–aka Microsoft makes it easy

      by stan.kappiris ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Abosolutely, do the cost/benefit analysis.
      Include this very real factoid: Microsoft practices planned obsolescence. No more old versions and no more support.

      Also, do a workflow analysis for each department. Determine current vs. suggested Hardware and Software use/requirements.
      Maybe some departments are fine using a character-based dumb terminal system (inventory, purchasing, shipping, etc.)
      while others would benefit from improved efficiencies created by more reliable (aka new) Hardware and software.
      Also, remind management that the IRS insists on the use of current Fixed Asset Accounting practices every fiscal quarter. It’s the law. The better (aka newer) accounting software packages offer quarterly accounting updates. That newer software will only run on newer hardware (aka P4>1gh, 512mb ram, etc. etc.).

      It’s a start. You won’t convert the entire company in one fell swoop. Frankly, you don’t want to do it that way. Too many variables to troubleshoot.
      One department at a time. That’s how you convince management: banking on the success and lessons of the previous departmental upgrades.

      good luck.

    • #3239717

      buff up your resume

      by dryflies ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      and then tell the CEO that you took the job on the premise that there was an upgrade in the works and ask if he intends to stand by his promise. Then expain the costs involved with the manual system, legislated compliance issues, network security issues and total cost of ownership. Many organizations are change averse, so put the changes in terms of gradual continuous improvement instead of as massive changes are needed.

    • #3239695

      Document Everything

      by nuts&bolts ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Your best, and only real option for maintaining your position while battling management is to document every communication you have with them on these subjects. From emails, to technical reviews, to project plans, to quotes and recommendations, you need to cover your backside. It sounds to me like a management group who prefers to sit on their hands until it’s too late to effectively do something, then blame it on IT for not doing their job. If you have all of your documentation lined up, you can go back to them and say, “Look, I pointed this out to you here, here, and here…this many times! You repeatedly ignored my professional advice.” This way, it will be their jobs on the line, and not yours. You may still end up having to deal with a last-minute, late-hour, week-end burning network/server/application upgrade, but at least you’ll still have your job in the end. One more thing….don’t stop planning for that day, because you know it will come. Have your contingency plans in place, especially your backups. Make sure the data is safe and restorable. Make sure your tapes are good. Don’t just assume they are. As long as you’re protecting the data, you’re OK.

    • #3239693

      A different approach

      by blueknight ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      If you took the job in Sept. ’05 it should be very easy to get out since Sept isn’t here yet…

      OK, all kidding aside — I’ve read quite a few responses and have a slightly different approach than other responders. I’d tackle this in 2 steps:

      Step 1 – Prepare a report for the CEO. In this report you need to show how much it will cost to replace everything that needs replacing. This would include replacing Netware 3.12, any infrastructure (cable plant etc.), workstations and software, including the mission-critical Solomon 3. Also make it clear that there is literally NO SECURITY in the current system and that one lousy virus could bring the company to financial ruin. In this report you will also show the CEO how much it will cost if the current installation suffered some sort of major calamity that rendered it unusable — whether it be an “act of God” or massive hardware/software meltdown etc.

      Illustrate the cost of being down with no ETA for resurrecting things and how long it could take to get things back up and operational (best guess based on REAL facts)… this would include the cost for emergency orders of equipment and software and the time involved to get it all installed, configured properly and operational in production mode. Before you begin, start an outline to organize it all logically and so you leave NOTHING out. Make the report as professional and as polished as you can. In your conclusion state that the company must make this a capital project and get started immediately.

      Step 2 — Give the CEO 30 to 60 days to respond. If he elects to continue playing roulette with the company, then you need to find another company to work for and don’t waste time. Your career is riding on this. If you stay there, your skill set will stagnate and it will be very difficult to change jobs later.

      On the other hand, if the CEO agrees with your report and authorizes the project, you will be able to learn a lot by being “the man” to make it all happen. This will not only make you shine within the company, but it will also look quite nice on your resume.

      This installation is a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off.

      If you do end up leaving, make it clear when you give notice that you’re leaving because of the company stance on change and security, and that you cannot allow your skill set to stagnate just because they don’t want to change. Those who don’t adapt to change become today’s dinosaurs.

      Best of luck,

      Jim

    • #3239689

      not if it fails, but when

      by doogal123 ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      This ‘setup’ sounds like 1. Not what you were told at the job interview (and indeed a setup), and 2. A time bomb.

      Documenting the potential problems and costs/loss of business, accounting compliance issues(liability with IRS) may only get you into another discussion of how mgmt. does not want to spend money. Put it all in writing and sent copies to them in power as backup for yourself, showing due diligence. Work up a transition plan, showing a proposed incremental solution (upgrade by dept., server, etc.) and include that as well.

      While doing this, continue looking for a new position, because the first time that server goes down, it may not ever come up again and then it will be your mess.

      If you leave with less than a year under your belt you can certainly explain to the next employer that this position was explained one way, and after you accepted the position, you found out that it was not as advertised, after working their for several months. You are certainly free to leave with no questions asked if you were the recipient of employer-bait-and-switch. It also sends the message that you won’t tolerate being lied to by management, which has some good aspects.

      Be successful – find another job fast and move on to do a good job with someone else, and let THEM fail under their own decisions. This sounds like the direction the last network person took.

    • #3239678

      Time to show your stuff…

      by james.schenck ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      This may not be all that bad. First find out the reasons they purchased the equipment. Obviously, the Boss felt it was justified but the implementation may not have proven itself to him/her. Go back to the roots and start from there. If the equipment did not meet the needs (business needs) you can explain why and what needs to be done. If it met the needs then show that and explain (in core business terms) why you need changes. Most of the equipment and software you mentioned can be utilized efficiently. New software is often repackaged GUI based utilities. Learn the business process and focus less on wanting to have the latest and greatest (you’ll never be happy – I’m there). Use menu systems, take care of the data, get pcanywhere (or equivalent), burn images, and make this a lean mean business machine that uses computers (as opposed to computers that run business). Use this opportunity to deepen business application understanding and don’t look at it to implement, learn and/or play with the new stuff that is over rated. It sounds like the one with the money is looking for someone who understands the processes and that they could have faith in before they give them money. – can’t blame a guy for that.

    • #3240976

      Sounds familiar.

      by mrgrumpy ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Oh yes, not a hope.

    • #3240963

      May not be so bad

      by tommy higbee ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Lots of good advice in here makes this discusson a good read. There’s of course a real danger of getting stuck on 10-year old technology and falling behind.

      But if they’re resistent to change, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They need convincing that it’s a good idea and worth all the effort. They’re “show-me” types. (Are you sure you’re not in Missouri?)

      Creating a manual process might just be the best thing. There’s no way that a manual process can be as good as even the current solution, much less a newer solution. But it will a) ensure you understand the process b) make them explain the process, which will ensure THEY understand what they’re doing, and c) make it easy to find where better automation can save money.

      On top of that, you’re halfway to creating “down-time procedures” for whatever new system you get.

      They won’t want all the hassle and expense of the upgrade — until you show them the alternative clearly. That’s not unreasonable, just shortsighted.

      But whatever new system you get, make sure it’s very reliable and virus-free, because you’ll be the one to take the blame if it crashes or is compromised.

      • #3240925

        Do the leg work.

        by midzonetec ·

        In reply to May not be so bad

        I agree with Tom, this is not an intractable situation. Management will always resist change, especially if it cost money to implement. Their job is to maximize the profit of the organization. As an IT manager you have to help them see that the “manual” system you have documented will actually cost them in lost productivity and wasted man hours in comparison with the new system you have also documented. Key word for this is documentation. You will have to be able to show them in real numbers the advantage of the new system. Use case studies, white papers, whatever you can find. You have an opportunity to shine here. If you succeed you will not only end up the hero (provided the new system is actually better) and it will make your life easier in taht you will have an opportunity to effect the solution you will have to support. Moving on will not change you problem, only the location. The high speed of inovation in the IT industry make this a cyclic issue. If you move the same issue will arise, possibly at a later date, but it will happen.

    • #3240891

      Software Obsolescense–aka Microsoft makes it easy

      by stan.kappiris ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Absolutely, do the cost/benefit analysis.
      Include this very real factoid: Microsoft practices planned obsolescence. No more old versions and no more support.

      Also, do a workflow analysis for each department. Determine current vs. suggested Hardware and Software use/requirements.
      Maybe some departments are fine using a character-based dumb terminal system (inventory, purchasing, shipping, etc.)
      while others would benefit from improved efficiencies created by more reliable (aka new) Hardware and software.
      Also, remind management that the IRS insists on the use of current Fixed Asset Accounting practices every fiscal quarter. It’s the law. The better (aka newer) accounting software packages offer quarterly accounting updates. That newer software will only run on newer hardware (aka P4>1gh, 512mb ram, etc. etc.).

      It’s a start. You won’t convert the entire company in one fell swoop. Frankly, you don’t want to do it that way. Too many variables to troubleshoot.
      One department at a time. That’s how you convince management: banking on the success and lessons of the previous departmental upgrades.

      good luck.

    • #3240851

      Wow, someone else in the same boat…

      by coldbrew ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      I came on board about 3 years ago and had the same delima. We just got voice mail a year and a half ago and you would not beleive how much I had to fight for that. I have found that it usually takes a serious data loss or hardware failure for me to say, “I told you so.” Basically I just cover all my bases and do the best I can. I keep informing them of non compliant software and look for ways to upgrade.
      If you like your job, hand in there. If you don’t, then move on.

    • #3240802

      Dragging the Organisation into the 21 st Century

      by furdad ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Hi,

      You can’t cut bait and run because the same situation can find you again. There may be constraints outside of your vision that are driving the resistance to spend. Many CEOs recognise that Change Management costs more than training and technology and you may need to come up with a risk assessment and benefits realisation model that he can understand and champion on your behalf. The key is to convince the CEO and get him to be the champion.

      Manual processes are useful for analising the likely business outcome. If this is the only way the CEO will see the benefits then this may be your only option in the short term. However I would approach that obstacle by developing a functional system model and doing significant Business Process analysis to support the model.

      Your CEO has already recognised the reality of obsolesence or you would not have come this far. If you continue to tackle this piecemeal the CEO will be driving your agenda and his actions will continue to frustrate you. If you take a holistic approach and build a Business Case taking into account Change Management (including BPR) and Risk assessment. Hence, win him over with the total solution, you may gain his respect and create a productive work environment for yourself.

    • #3240781

      Right Conclusion – Wrong Questions

      by jimatch4 ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      IT issues — Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century — Reply

      The following of course is just my assessment and opinion based on the limited information you have supplied. I apologize in advance but I may not be regularly available for continued comment or running dialog. Others may fill in.

      This is a management issues not a technical issue so your information suggests the wrong way of looking at the problem. Your are lost in the technical trees and are not seeing the management forest clearly enough. When you do it will be very simple. It may be devastating however.

      If I just focused on the technical part of your situation and the technical question which I think you have already answered and are just grappling with, then I would say ‘man are you screwed.’

      But, it is a common, even ubiquitous, problem that in many smaller companies management (particularly ownership) just does not understand the technology. It is your job to explain it to them as simply and as not technically as possible. Perhaps you need to do a better job at that. This requires patience. Your write up indicated the wrong focus. It should not be technical. You know the answer there already and should keep it to yourself. The technical side will never be fully appreciated like you appreciate it. It will more then likely confuse and obfuscate the issues from management’s point of view. Try explaining things using simple not technical analogies. Explain in terms of results and consequences as options. If we do a we get this but not this, B then this and these are the benefits and liabilities of A and alternatively of B.

      Although dated and not directly applicable to IT, but certainly to any business career — go read “Business As a Game” by Albert Z. Carr. Available in paperback circa 1982 from used vendors on Amazon. Note that some companies and situations are fatally flawed. The sooner you figure this out and make sure you are in the right place (at least an acceptable one) the better for you if you don’t want to damage your career and waste valuable years. In general business terms this book explains what to look for.

      Forget the technical problem for a moment. What you have said in so many words is that you have a management problem. You either have the skill set to effectively communicate and persuade as to what course of action to take to upgrade the IT or you don’t. And conversely (if you have done your part as discussed above) management at your firm either has the management skills and perception to understand and recognize the appropriate course (options) of action (and this may be with some modification for other business reasons not necessarily exactly what you want to do) or they don’t. Inventory your communications skill set and determine what the likelihood that management will see the light, then make some conclusion on your assessment and go with it. The fact that you have such a serious problem in age of infrastructure indicates other problems. Perhaps they do not have the money (company in trouble) or cannot understand the technology and where the world is and is going, or the bread is buttered elsewhere. They should be willing to recognize a serious problem and accept a phased plan to fix it. Do you have that plan together? Is it well organized, costed out and communicatable? If not, you don’t have your act together and need to work on it. That may take a lot of patience. Make your assessment and move quickly to a firm conclusio

      • #3240251

        Jim’s on right track… but

        by jennyn ·

        In reply to Right Conclusion – Wrong Questions

        Jim is on the right track – this needs to be addressed – thinking of yourself as the IT director not as a Network Engineer.

        This is a great learning opportunity for you to improve your skillset as a manager of technology not just as a techie.

        Your approach needs to be mission focussed not technology focussed, so I think Jim’s example is wrong (” If we do a we get this but not this, B then this and these are the benefits and liabilities of A and alternatively of B.”) since this seems to fall into the same trap he is trying to get you out of.

        The question is a business one – not a tech one – what does the business try to achieve, what processes does it need to achieve them, what is the most effecient way to achieve these objectives. Sounds like you did some good work researching equipment costs, upgrade costs, training costs. Now you need to complete that and see that as part of making a solid business case, with a time table, project phases, milestones, and stage by stage benefits to the company.

        You will be putting together an IT strategic plan. This excercise will help you either change things there or make some good career moves somewhere else. Stick with it.

        You need to identify business objectives and obsticles. One business objective is probably operational security – the ability of the business to go forward smoothly without being shaken by unexpected events. Unexpected events include you leaping in front of a bus. It seems like this organization is very vulnerable because it is hightly dependent on a skillset that is not readily available. I remember Novell311 from 1990. It was great and I loved it. I don’t know a single person with those skills any more. Their business needs to be robust enough to survive you, currently it is not.

        Improve ease of New staff recruitment and induction – staff with DOS skills are hard to find. With windows skills they come pre-trained.

        Then there are all the actual business processes which I can’t address – but look at them one by one – perhaps some shoudl be done manually – others…?

        There’s plenty more like this. If you have a plan that shows the costs and benefits and a timetable that shows it to be achievable in a conservative way so they are not frightened by the big changes, as Jim says – then it’s up to their management ability. But first hone yours. Good luck.

        (Imagine your resume… “took organization with DOS computers; designed and impemented strategic planning process for Information Technology, working closely with business managers to meet their needs”. I hear good jobs ahead)

        • #3240229

          I Agree

          by jimatch4 ·

          In reply to Jim’s on right track… but

          I agree with this reply. And is is a very good one. As long as you are up to the challange and management can be made to see the light this is also a great opportunity. If you are early to mid career then I would say the opportunity to improver your skills, meet the challange and add the experience to your resume may pay great dividends down the road. Worth more than dollars. But you must figure out of you can get management to see the light and are they capable of it. Only you can determine this in light of your experinece and business/communication skills. THe business really needs you to have two parallel skill sets, technical and management. The technical will likely be more taken for granted because the expect you to have that skill set. They also can reasonably expect you to be able to effectively translate and communicate the technical in non-technical terms. It is a fair and reasonable expectation. As louisegray says “think incrementally”. This will require much patience. I suggest you establish your own performance criteria for the situation in advance with milestones and dates by which to judge the response from management in light of your own tolerance for timeing. Reevaluate the situstaion upon reaching each milestone. Be self critical about there receptiveness and willingness to acknowledge your point of view. Put your self in their shoes. Then always wait and think a little before judging and acting. But act on your criteria. One person may be able to wait and see for a year. Another person for five. Know your tolerance and limits in advance and set your criteria. To do this you must really know yourself.

    • #3240754

      Cost of Capital + Confidence

      by jpivonka9 ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Can you save that $25K in cash flow, or is it a calculated amortizaton number? Cash flow is good. The other stuff looks hokey, in a conservative accounting environment.

      Especially in an environment that is sensitive to the cost of capital, and is looking at a major capital investment — In a situation of uncertainty about economic growth — And where interest rates may rise dramatically.

      Add to that what we call “project risk” – the dangers that a systems project will experience difficulty and cost overruns. Add user training, loss of time, mistakes and productivity losses due to inexperience and the learning curve.

      If the well defined benefits to the business do not clearly outweigh these, you can expect a degree of caution. What are the business advantages – and I mean competitive position, marketing advantage, cost structure advantage, level of service to customers, not IT efficiency or cost structures – that would accrue to your company from an updated system?

      Is it possible they need a better understanding of the business processes being handled over the network, in order to consider these questions. Maybe that’s the source of the request for a “manual system” design – a need for something that is comprehensible in terms of information flows and processes.

      As a network engineer, this may not be suited to your skill set or career interest. But if you are interested in CIO postions, even within your existing company, this may be a terrific opportunity for personal and professional growth.

      For that matter, you can get a lot of growth out of doing the technical and organizational learning to answer your own question: “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?”

      Can we say for sure it is not? If not, why not? What are those issues, in your environment, and what options are available to deal with them?

    • #3240720

      go away

      by Anonymous ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      my friend ,in your position i would like to live that company no matter the money or the name of the company ,as they dont care about the network ,
      all these things seems to me that they thing that you are the magician and it will work perfect ..i have see that movie before ,the end it was disaster because the network and the databese one day collapse ,they came back up again with a very bad restore ,and the blaim it was on the computer network engineer .

    • #3240698

      MIigration required; question cost saving

      by joetechsupport ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      They need to migrate to a more modern system if they are going to grow. If they will always be small like an auto wrecker, they don’t.

      I don’t mind showing my ignorance, and assuming they’ re not going Linux; tell me how they will save money purchasing more powerful servers and desktops plus the database and windows server sofware, CALs that will run on them? And everything else that costs money to run on Windows. That stuff cost next to nothing on the old system, and if they want support from microsoft that is another expensive contract.

    • #3242351

      So your real job should be paleontologist

      by wayne.hyde ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      WOW! I haven’t even thought about technology of this vintage for about 10 years. It sounds as if you have made some good attempts to “sell” an upgrade so it is now time to ask yourself if it is really worth it and if so define a completel battle plan approach since your management is clearly entrenched in their current state software. Here are some observations and thoughts to ponder to define a solution for your situation.

      This is a business problem not an IT problem. The business appears to be working just fine with the current technology so there is no motivation to change it an absorb any additional costs or risk of change in doing so. To interest the business in a change you need to understand the business as well as you understand your technology. Is the company making money? If not then how will specific IT investments help it make money? It would need to enable more production with fewer people or attract more customers. Have the number of customers grown or shrunk over the last 2-3 years?? Is manufacturing capacity between 90-100% or much less?? You may have a business owner who is completely satisfied with the current state of his business and not interested in it growing more. You may not be competitive from a cost perspective which you might be able to remedy if you develop a good business case. What are other similar businesses doing? Growing or standing still?? Develop an understanding of their systems and what makes them competitive. Sounds to me like the current systems completely handle the current business loads for production, customer billing, supply chain purchasing, etc.
      Some suggested “breaking” the current system. I don’t ascribe to this approach unless you find a way to have it break naturally from being over burdened by new business to the point that it requires an upgrade to deliver the service. you should talk and develop relationships with some of the more seasoned employees in the production area and see what they can tell you. If you sell them on some new or better production software then they can help you sell the CEO/CFO.
      If there are no “old hands” in this area, then you have a clue that they have become frustrated and left as well for greener pastures. If you plan to work the next 10-20 years then you must also make some personal choices about your future employability and skills development. Giving this company some time and effort is a good thing but at some point you will become one of the dinosaurs as well.

    • #3239538

      Hoping you’re still reading this thread..

      by consultant js ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      The problem is not Netware, nor funding, nor anything else you addressed in your initial message. At the risk of being redundant, you are potentially fighting a losing battle here.

      You need to identify the TRUE reason for you bosses behavior. I suspect it has something to do with the internal organizational politics. Usually, managers afraid or unwilling to make changes are also under the gun to produce and are unable to do so on their own. Is your boss a ‘micro-manager of unimportant things’? If so, then this is definitely the situation.

      You can’t change him, this is a personality trait, but you can help him change. The only way he can change is to feel trusting of his employees. I suspect he himself is not trusted or at least thinks he is not trusted in the organization. This thinking has in turn led to a degenerating paranoia which causes irrational responses to logical suggestions like you made.

      Use your internal network in the organization to find out what makes this guy tick. Has he EVER had any successes? Anywhere? What does he talk about that puts a smile on his face? Play to that.
      This is more understanding a situation and working with it that ‘kissing up’ as you might think initially. Everyone makes these internal evaluations of those around them, usually without realizing it. In this case you’ll have to be more focused, make it a personal project. When you understand him, you’ll know why your previous suggestions that make sense were unaccepted, and what you must say to get his attention.

      Sometimes you can work in the background to relieve a pressure that is literally paralyzing a boss. Again what you are describing is someone afraid of change and it is that you must deal with.

      Finally, if all of this is just too overpowering to consider for you personally or it has gone on too long or you have had a better offer in the interval, take it! Leave! Get out! You can only do so much. A manager who is unresponsive to reasonable, well thought out and well presented ideas should not be your manager.

      Best of luck to you! Let us know how it all turns out!

    • #3239432

      Great advice and I am on the right track…

      by sjwilliams ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      I want to thank everyone for all the great advice, with the exception of sabotage. Just to bring things up to date and to fill in a few of the blanks I have this to add.
      Shortly after I was hired the CEO called, my predicessor and I into a meeting to discuss what needed to be done. The CEO wanted me to look into the software that was capable of replacing Solomon three. This is why his behavior has been so squirrely in my opinion being tasked to find a replacement but all comers are shot down for some reason.
      I have, as some have suggested, forwarded a couple of memos to the CEO explaining the risk of not taking things more seriously. We have had a couple of pieces of equipment fail that can not be replaced, which is what prompted both this thread and the memos. The CEO had contacted the owners and forwarded my concerns and actually scheduled a meeting with one of the Solomon 6 vendors I have been working with on updating our system. The meeting basically went well and a demonstration and assesment presentation is scheduled for May 25th so it seems that things are progressing.
      I have also taken some of the other advice to task as well. I have updated my resume and have been looking for oppurtunities elsewhere (although in Cleveland there ain’t much to look at) should there be no definative action within the next few months.
      I was beginning to think I had the wrong tack but from what I have read here I am doing everything that can be done (except sabotage). This has been a real confidence booster and I thank you all for your suggestions. I will continue to post updates as they occur and will also continue to read and consider everyones suggestions.
      Again thank you.

      SJW

    • #3241694

      You haven;t left yet?

      by too old for it ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      Companies like this will never change. They always have some person whose last vistage of control is the veto power over all things IT.

      About the time they mentioned returning to a manual system, I would have located a “meet most of the bills and job hunt expense” job, bid them farewell, given them a good exit interview (even if it was just a 3-ring binder with revised and extended remarks) and left.

      You simply cannot change owners/managers of this type.

      • #3181245

        Run away, run away.

        by mrgrumpy ·

        In reply to You haven;t left yet?

        The reality is that the company is reactive to IT. I am in a similar position. The only IT initiatives comes from compliance mandates from the customers. To be fair, these types of companies struggle as it is. Any new IT initiatives NEVER have a payback, e.g. UCCnet, RFID.

    • #3255379

      IT must support the Business Plan

      by dhoppes ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      I scanned the replies, and there are a number of excellent points to be made…disaster recovery, find a champion in the business; however, there are some that might lead to the pink slip, such as bring in a consultant. In your original post, you said that this is a small business They already made the step to hire their IT Professional. It would be a very hard sell to spend additional money to bring in someone else. If I were the owner, I’d immediate suspect that we should have hired the consultant rather than you.
      I that you develop your ideal solution. Cost it out in implementation phases. Prioritize each improvement. Then present a long-term improvement plan to whoever hired you (that’s probably your “champion”). Justify the entire improvement plan and each phase in Business Terms, such as profit, loss, risk, etc. Try to avoid technical catch-phrases that impress other IT people — your audience is people who understand how to run a profitable business.

      Good Luck!

    • #3255739

      And what of tomorrow..?

      by neoconone ·

      In reply to Dragging the Organization into the 21st Century

      OK, the money is good (now) and you like the place (now). What happens to you when you eventually leave? What skills will you have sharpened, what can you offer as a value adder to any organization which inerviews you? NetWare 3.12? Win9X? You are obsoleting yourself. Leave on good terms, but leave, the sooner the better.

Viewing 51 reply threads