General discussion


Should IT know it all?

By jterry ·
I have built or rebuilt all the PC's for my company at one time or another with the operating system and software packages. There have been many times when employees have asked me questions about how to use these software packages. I'm somewhat familiar with MS Excel and Word although what I know is self taught and not nearly complete with all the uses of these programs. I usually tell them I don't know if I don't and than I attempt to find an answer for them. I have been fairly successful in this endeavor, however I am not sure how I feel about doing this. This is a financial institution and some of the programs are not in widespread usage out of this type of environment. How do you feel about this? Should IT know how to use all of the programs they install for their organization?

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Know it all?

by Old Guy In reply to Should IT know it all?

IMO I don't think so. I don't use a couple of programs at our office so I'm not very familiar with how to use them. I tell some of the users that ask me, "I don't know how to use it--I just know how to make it work." Of course, I say this in a light manner and that helps to avoid coming across as sarcastic or aloof. Like you, I do try to find an answer and that also helps. I think that for the most part we in IT probably have the intuition to figure out a lot of things (how to use programs) that most users may not have.

Case in point, I have the propensity for desktop publishing and using Power Point, though I've never had any classes or lessons on any of it. We do have a few users that have to create PPT presentations so they always come to me and ask me to show them how to do something. I'm always glad to help them, primarily because I like to teach people how to use Power Point. There are times that I have to put them on hold so it doesn't interfere with my job.

So, to answer you question, IMO, no I don't think IT should have to know how to use the varying programs but I think, since it seems that most of us may have that propensity it would go a long ways in creating good rapport with our users. That is, as long as it doesn't interfere with your primary job.

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I agree,

by TonytheTiger In reply to Know it all?

I can figure out the operation of any program I have ever come across, but I don't always know the significance of every piece of data the user might enter into their program.

I tell them "That's why you have your job and I have mine". That seems to deflect any thoughts of sarcasm.

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The old saw about the users being the customers

by DMambo In reply to I agree,

Most people who use the computers don't look at their jobs being about computers, so the y turn to us. I'm a one-man shop, so they really have me as a resource or the dreaded tech support of whatever app their using. And generally, that's a pay for help situation. I don't really know AutoCAD or some of the process monitoring software we have here, but I'll give it a try when asked for help.

These folks have an impact on my performance evaluation because they will either speak up about how helpful I've been, or not. Sometimes I think that if it weren't for (lazy, dumb, confused,....) users, we wouldn't have users at all. And if I didn't have any users, I wouldn't have a job.

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You mean we don't?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Should IT know it all?

Seriously, I don't think it's possible to know every app unless the organization is small. With roughly 1000 employees, we've got at least three different CAD packages (apps, not versions), three document management apps, the five-plus programs in Office, two report generators, a graphing plug-in for Excel, Acrobat, the MRP app (transitioning to a different one), SQL, remote access apps, shipping / freight apps, assorted other niche apps based locally or off the web, etc.

My rule? If it's used by the entire company, be familiar with it. If it's used by nly one or two departments, they're on their own after installation.

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No. It is not possible.

by onbliss In reply to Should IT know it all?

But if one is supporting them, then it will be handy to know how to configure or play with some of settings. (the ones apart from the installations)

It is also helpful to familiarize with the "Options" menu that many of the packages/programs have.

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Yes, to the extent possible

by jdmercha In reply to Should IT know it all?

A lot depends on the size and diversity of the organization. If one IT person does not know an application, there should be another IT person that does. The central role of the IT department is to support the core business. IT needs to understand the core business and how technology is used to support the mission of the organization.

In smaller organizations, it becomes more difficult. Even a one person IT department should know how every application supports the core business. Or at a minimum know who to contact outside the organization to get support.

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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

by Colonel Panijk In reply to Should IT know it all?

It occurs to me that informally teaching people how to use spreadsheets, etc. could be a hazard. If it's part of your job description, it's one thing; but if you manage to teach someone just enough to be dangerous, and they cause damage, are YOU on the hook? I wonder if IT people have run into this problem. Formally teaching people how to use company-required tools, with the consent and blessing of management, should be OK. Giving someone instruction which they use to get into trouble might cause problems for you!

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Depends on Your Job

by rkuhn In reply to Should IT know it all?

We're a two man IT shop. We do it all.

You should be able to support any and all software that is used in your environment. That's what we're hired for.

You don't necessarily have to be Johnny on the Spot, but you should be able to support your end users in anything that they may want to be able to accomplish.

For me, that includes our ERP software, Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook, Adobe, Photoshop, etc.

Yes, I'm far from an expert in all. But I can answer most of their questions right away and the ones that I can't usually get answered within 1 hour or less.

But again, it depends on your environment. My end users aren't power users so this isn't too difficult a task. Maybe the equalivent of being MOUS certified.

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