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Municipal Electric Utility

By cmitchell ·
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Background

by cmitchell In reply to Municipal Electric Utilit ...

<p>I am the manager of a small information systems department working for a municipal elctric utility in Massachusetts.  We serve 12000 meters.  We operate a passive fiber network interconnecting 31 municipal facilities.  We do not manage the other town departments on the municipal network (Muninet).  The town and my department do not have a good history of interaction, although this is changing.  We use a Unix-based billing system, running Windows Server 2000 for our DC, and a mix of 2000Pro and XP Pro on the workstations.</p>
<p> </p>

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Background

by Beth Blakely In reply to Background

Great! Welcome to TR. Keep blogging!

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Planning and implementation meet reality

by cmitchell In reply to Municipal Electric Utilit ...

<p>The new GM is accustomed to using MS Exchange.  We do not currently run Exchange.  Our mail is hosted off-site, and the previous GM did not want a common calendaring and collaboration tool.</p>
<p>While I do have a server and MS OS (W2K Server) to accomodate this, I do not have completed plans to move to Exchange.  This was in the budget for fiscal 2006, which begins 1/1/06.  It is now imperative I transition the department to Exchange ASAP.  </p>
<p>I want to do this logically, but have to consider how best to manage the immediate request for Exchange.  At present the direct need is for 2 CALs with the 1 server license.  The GM needs to sync calendars and other non-email aspects of Outlook with his Admin.  </p>
<p>I recommended the purchase of 1 server/5 CALs.  In the short term, this allows us to address his needs, and gets us reacquainted with Exchange before rolling it out to all the employees.</p>
<p>As a small department (under 35 employees) this seems manageable.  I am concerned about piece-mealing the solution.  </p>
<p> </p>

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Slowly turns the grinding wheel

by cmitchell In reply to Municipal Electric Utilit ...

<p>Wants and needs are addressed at different speeds.</p>
<p>The GM wants Exchange, but has not signed the PO.  He needs it as he is accustomed to it.</p>
<p>Is Exchange my best choice?  I've found Softalk's WorkgroupShare, and am trying it.  It allows him to use Outlook's functions, and does not cost me money for the Exchange Server 2003 server license and CALs.  The question is, will he be willing to try it?</p>
<p>I wonder if wants are stones in the seeds to grind, and needs the seeds themselves.</p>
<p> </p>

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Vendors

by cmitchell In reply to Municipal Electric Utilit ...

<p>I like calls from vendors.</p>
<p>This seems abnormal.  </p>
<p>Vendors have things they believe should matter to us.  I am always interested in hearing why that is so, but not when working on other things.  What happens, as calls are not screened here, is the occasional interruption-at-a-critical-moment.</p>
<p>It seems that vendors increasingly are more responsive-in a good way- when I tell them 'I am busy, thanks, try later.'  </p>
<p>I have found the vendors who are reasonable, in this way, seem to have good customer service sections supporting them.  Coincidence?</p>

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Seeing the salt further up the table

by cmitchell In reply to Municipal Electric Utilit ...

<p>The phrase "Below the salt" is not one people like to hear used to describe where they are in pecking orders.  It seems to be the seating position for InfoSystems in municipal departments.</p>
<p>I wonder if being the BOFH would be an effective tool.</p>
<p>If I'm getting cheese with this whine, let it be low-sodium.</p>

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"Who am us, anyway?"-Proctor/Bergmann et al

by cmitchell In reply to Municipal Electric Utilit ...

<p>What's an Information Systems department, anyway?</p>
<p>Is it the manager, the senior systems admin, and the information systems specialist, period?  Is it the three plus their hired outsource supplements?  Is it the three, their outsources, and the other internal staff?</p>
<p>Especially in a small enterprise, such as the municipal utility employing me, there is a significant amount of overlap in job functions.  When there is a change in management, there is a scurrying to protect or enlarge areas of responsibility and function.</p>
<p>I think the transition period is a better time to highlight areas of responsibility so, objectively, they can be considered by incoming management.  </p>
<p>"Who am us?"  And how often 'am' we us?</p>
<p>-with all credits to Firesign Theater</p>

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