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Systems too stable? You could be outsourced.

By RobRoyNJ ·
I just read an article today about Big Iron's Catch-22 http://www.esj.com/news/article.aspx?EditorialsID=1520. It raises an interesting truth in our business. the more stable and secure your system is the more likely you're going to be scheduling maintenence rather than rapidly dousing fires. That scheduled maintenence leads to opportunities to outsource to lower cost areas of the world. This is especially true of mainframe pros that are typically old coots like me and relatively well paid because of our experience and tenure.

Sometimes it seems like the reward goes to the pros that barely and drammatically keep their systems together rather than the pros that have all of the trains going out on schedule.

I take great pride in having a very solid shop. I wonder if there isn't such a thing as too good a job. I read a post from another discussion where someone said something to the effect of "if I could have robots do everything I would." I'm not going to suggest that outsourcing to countries with much less expensive workforces is the equivilent of robots but it does strike me that there is a real business motive that plays against us old timers working wit systems that take a licking and keep on ticking. My team does a lot of interesting work and my company has already outsourced traditional IT operations so I'm not thinking about me specifically but people like me generally.

Am I alone on this one?

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Outsourcing and cost

by JamesRL In reply to Systems too stable? You ...

If you run a very solid centre, you are probably very efficient in terms of your costs - labor that used to go towards fire fighting goes towards planning, and projects that reduce costs.

If you are low cost, its hard to look at outsourcing as an option - it might not be the rationale for all outsourcing activities, but it can be an obstacle. A company might pay the same amount to the outsourcer than they do to run the internal department, in order to focus their business on other activities, but they are reluctant to pay more.

James

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Nope.

by TonytheTiger In reply to Systems too stable? You ...

In fact, one of the things in my evaluation is the number of trouble tickets I register. I see two problems:

1. Rebuilding a server or fetching an ink cartridge counts as one ticket. So if my colleague changes 18 ink cartridges and I go to three counties to install a new PC in each, it looks like she did 6 times as much work as I did.

2. The better things run, the fewer tickets I enter. The fewer tickets I enter, the lower my evaluation for that item. (I got in a little hot water once when the newsletter came out. The interviewer asked me what my goal was and I said "To do as little as possible.")

It's dumb, but I can't get management to change. Fortunately, system uptime and average response time are in there too, and cancel out the low number of tickets. Otherwise, I might have to consider going out and breaking something :)

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Priority levels

by JamesRL In reply to Nope.

If you rank your trouble tickets - say A. B and C.

a= major service interruption, multiple users affected, major productivity loss/measurable affect on the business.

b=service interruption for one or two people, minor disruption to the business

c= service request, not time bound. You could further subdivide C into timely or major requests and minor.

You can't eliminate c completely and if you did there would be no jobs. You should focus on elimiating a.

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I think

by TonytheTiger In reply to Priority levels

that is covered under system uptime.

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Time for Issue Resolution

by Errk'd Guy In reply to Nope.

Recently I implemented a new system to track what we do and
how long it takes to do it. Due to recent changes in the "Admin-
o-sphere" I thought it was a prudent to be able to backup my
staffing requests with stats.

In the trouble ticket database that I built, I not only tag tickets
with a Priority Rating (Low, Med, High), but also the type of work
(Maintenance, Project, Call Back, Application Support). To be
completely 'OC' I include the time it took to complete the task.
And what staff were assigned to it.

It caught on very well. I seem to be the only person who forgets
to log their tasks in it.

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What do you do all day?

by stress junkie In reply to Systems too stable? You ...

I always consider that I'm doing a good job if end users ask me what I do all day. If they only knew. This can bite you, though. If some miserly manager thinks that they can save money by replacing me with a cheaper person then I end up out on the street for having done a good job. Well, it's an occupational hazard. I haven't actually experienced this, probably because I've spent most of my career in contract work.

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If only most companies were like that...

by ObiWayneKenobi In reply to What do you do all day?

If only most companies were the kind where if you're in IT/IS and everything is up and running, you ARE doing your job even if it looks like you're doing nothing. Sadly in most cases, if you're done with everything and everything is fine, its a case of "ALWAYS have something to do." so there's never any personal time to research things or study new technologies or study for certification, etc. etc. I regret to say that's one of the main reasons I went into IT: so that if my users are up and running, I'm pretty much only staying around *in case* something goes down; otherwise, I can pretty much do what I want with my time. It's been a pretty hard wakeup call for me that things AREN'T like that...

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VBD

by mklinz01 In reply to If only most companies we ...

To counter this penny wise pound foolish attitude we need to take the same tact as the support/service vendors. Who has sat through a Value Based Deliver presentation with a major vendor. Like us if the support vendor is doing their job, minimizing exposure to failure by ensuring they are proactively nmanaging patch delivery, update firmware, etc, and responding rapdily to an outage they also appear to be an uneccessary cosrt because no one feels the pain. So, they come in and trot out a great dog an pony show tellinng customers how wonderful they are and how much down time they've saved and, anf this is the big one, put a dollar value on the saved downtime. They do this by having indentified upfront either industry averages for a particular appliction or by asking how much an hour of downtime for a server or application is costing the company. If we would take the same approach, i.e. by ensuring that clustering was functioning properly a specific application experienced no down time even though a server failed, or that by following certain best practices we installed the new PCs faster and made them avaiable more quickly we saved the individual time, and therefore reduced costs. We can counter the arguements that it can be done cheaper somewhere else. Remeber in IT its a 2 out of 3 proposition. You can get results, better, faster, cheaper, but you only get to pick two.

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Just be glad

by TonytheTiger In reply to What do you do all day?

Your city doesn't feel that way about the fire department :)

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Story of my life

by charles.thompson In reply to What do you do all day?

I've worked here 11 years and that's all I ever hear. "You got it made!" Because they rarely see me come out of my hole except to leave at 4:30 or 5:00. They don't realize I am here working before they ever get out of bed and sometimes still working from home when they are going to bed.
Truth of the matter is it sometimes makes me want to create problems that would put me in the spotlight nationally.

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