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Thread: Dealing with workplace IT

  1. #1
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Dealing with workplace IT

    In my experience, interactions with workplace IT can fall anywhere on a scale from painless to excruciating. At the city I used to work for the computer systems department had a reputation for patronage hiring, and I didn’t get the sense there was much of a standard for tech competency; having a couple of community college computer courses under your belt probably sufficed so long as you had a brother or uncle on the police force. Our network was always crashing, the desktops were ancient, software was out of date or not properly installed/updated, and a call-in to the support desk usually meant you had to relinquish your computer for the rest of the day while a remote access user fumbled around your monitor. Everything seemed on the brink of system failure, it was a total debacle. I’m in a new position now where the IT is great and there are no problems. It’s a smaller municipality and IT is outsourced to a local firm. All you have to do is log into their website and they can instantly remote access your computer (which amazes me as sort of a luddite when it comes to technology). I don’t really know anything about the various complications of managing IT infrastructure, but it seems like outsourcing probably works better for smaller municipalities while larger ones need an in-house staff presence. Anyway, how does your workplace IT measure up?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    We don't have IT. We have "Data Processing". I'm currently on a project team advocating for an IT dept.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    At the place where Chet and I once worked, the IT manager was promoted to COO. One in a continuing chain of bad decisions.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    At the state agency we had a great in house IT department. They liked me a lot since I didn't bother them with stupid questions and requests so they removed a lot of the internet filters for me and gave me licenses for stuff other people didn't have. I worked very closely with the state OIT to create an independent website for the department I worked for and they like me so much they gave me override access to deter my boss from making a clusterfark of a website because she was such a PITA to them.

    At the non-profit the "IT" person and I were on par as far as knowledge and skill so we collaborated often to get things done.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    This Bear gets along fine with our IT Department. This year we are working together on a huge project that will have a significant impact on my supervisor's time. And.....the IT Manager is a likeable geek. He builds robots. In fact, he is almost finished with an exact replica of the little tin can robot from Star Wars, R2D2. Mind you, it will be a "working replica". Geeky but interesting.

    Bear

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Now, here's IT's perspective.

    As an IT person, I will list my biggest gripes about the users at the college where I work ...
    • They wait until a few weeks before some deadline to review reports/data/processes provided to them months before, and then propose a bunch of changes.
    • When I create a custom report and send the results to the user, I always ask if they want the ability to run it themselves. 90% of the time, I don't get a response until a year later saying, "we'd like to be able to run this report on our own". That means I will spend anywhere from a few days to a week making this happen when I could have spent a few minutes setting the report up originally.
    • Some users ignore instructions. Last June, we had a major change in our enterprise software that required an entirely new method of running reports (other software, too, but reports are what the users most commonly use). I wrote up detailed user instructions, complete with illustrations, about how to use the new menu system, print the new reports and how to save them to EXCEL (which is what most want to do), and emailed these to all the people who accessed the menu. I still get calls from users who cannot print reports or import data into EXCEL because they are still trying to use the old procedures almost a year later.
    • My "favorite" user always expects me to translate bureaucratic gobbley-gook from NYS (ie, some memo du jour) and put it into the spreadsheet provided by NYS. She cannot seem to understand that things work this way: she figures out what the state wants, and I give her that data in a form that she can easily plug into her spreadsheet. I am not doing her job for her.

    How well IT works with other offices has a lot to do with the leadership's philosophy. Our shop operates on the philosophy that our "customers are always right", which is why I rant here!!!

  7. #7
    I work at a firm of approx 500 planners, engineers, and architects in 15 offices accross the country. I am located in the company headquarters with 200 others. We have a full time IT staff of about 12 persons, 8 of which are in the HQ.

    It has been my employment experience--here and at other private and public sector organizations--that in-house IT really has no understanding of who their clients are. They are unresponsive and aggrevating. For a group of people that have every known peice of communication technology, you can never seem to get a hold of someone when you need them. And they can never seem to resolve issues in a timely fashion.

    The decade old SNL skit with Jimmy Fallon is the most apt description I can muster, but with less actual results.

    My advice to anyone looking for IT help is to contract with a firm to provide the service.

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Our IT department is one busy woman. She's a couple of cubes over, almost always available, and keeps us supplied with new gear that isn't locked down, big monitors, and fast Internet access. She wanted to give me a second 24" monitor, but I declined; one of my eyes has a big floater, so it's easier to work with just one monitor. She's awesome, and I'm a happy camper.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  9. #9
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I work for a large municipality with more than 3,000 employees and in my experience, our IT department has been pretty quick with fixing small problems or getting you seemingly simple support or answers.

    My only complaints stem from the fact that with a municipality this size, our IT department is understandably large and handles quite a bit of different functions (everything from maintaining the physical equipment to writing custom applications and programs for all sorts of purposes and systems) and will often provide new software or a new technology and hype it all up (internally and externally) but will just drop the software on us with no training. They also have a tendency to develop useful apps for our internal users and then seemingly abandon the applications and provide no further support or updates once they are initially launched.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    What is an IT department? Or IT person?
    We have to wait two weeks and pay an outside private firm an exorbitant fee to so much as add a new user. More often than not I just call my husband and beg him for help. I think our Accounts Payable lady changes the backup tape every morning because she's the first to get here.....

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    There are two guys in our IT that I call for help. The rest are not responsive. Fortunately we have a couple computer geeks in our office who we use for day-to-day needs (unless administrator access is required).
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I spent 25 years in IT as a programmer, systems analyst, and manager. There is no worse occupation than being a desktop support person. Even the other IT people complain about them. Every individual thinks that their problem should be the highest priority and that you should know their job as well as yours. If allowed, they add their own applications and expect you to fix those too. When they leave, their co-workers want to keep getting the reports from those homegrown applications and their management complains to your management who pushes them off on you to maintain. They open every email attachment and then wonder where they got a virus. I could go on for hours...
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  13. #13
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    We need to stop making observations about IT people. We might hurt their feelings and/or come across as brutish thugs.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  14. #14
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by prudence View post
    My advice to anyone looking for IT help is to contract with a firm to provide the service.
    We've actually been doing that. Our problem is that the local IT firms have been buying each other out and consolidating. This has resulted in cost increases and a downward trend in customer service, with fewer alternatives. We are now looking toward bringing at least basic IT in-house--we have the workload and with direction our contract costs have gone, it is beginning to make financial sense.

    I don't miss many things from my days working at the state agency, but a big one was out IT department. They were super-responsive and even made rounds periodically to see whether each staff member needed anything, etc. They were also good about doing little workshops/continuing education to teach us how to fix common issues and prevent problems. Best IT folks I ever worked with. The only problem I ever had was justifying a computer upgrade for GIS, but that was more of a problem with the executive director than IT.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  15. #15
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    We need to stop making observations about IT people. We might hurt their feelings and/or come across as brutish thugs.
    They do have peculiar inflections in their speech, now that you mention it.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  16. #16
    The IT guys I work with are pretty good. They are easy to work with and normally get to stuff pretty quick. I'm also a bit more flexible. Unless my computer has crashed, I let them know it's not an emergency and get to it when you can.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  17. #17
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I love my IT guy (are you people stupid?)

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    I spent 25 years in IT as a programmer, systems analyst, and manager. There is no worse occupation than being a desktop support person. Even the other IT people complain about them. Every individual thinks that their problem should be the highest priority and that you should know their job as well as yours. If allowed, they add their own applications and expect you to fix those too. When they leave, their co-workers want to keep getting the reports from those homegrown applications and their management complains to your management who pushes them off on you to maintain. They open every email attachment and then wonder where they got a virus. I could go on for hours...
    There is one IT job worse than desktop support. It's Help Desk. You not only get first crack at desktop support, you also get to deal first hand with the most difficult and unreasonable people in the organization as well as the dingy-est of the ding-bats. When I worked Help Desk for a NYS agency headquartered in Albany with facilities all over the state, one genius called from the office in Buffalo to ask what she should do about the monitor that was spewing smoke!

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