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What Would You Demand From Your IT Department? 671

Posted by Cliff
from the minimum-level-of-service dept.
ZombieLine asks: "The IT department at my company (approximately some 500 people) is showing signs of incompetence, and has been ignoring knowledgeable user input for about a year. Additionally, they haven't been able to sell needed changes to senior management. Unacceptable server down time, maxed network storage, and no backups systems have hit the bottom line, and those on top are starting to notice. We users are staging a revolt to make IT more responsive to users by creating a group from the company divisions and IT to discuss needs and solutions. What would you put in our charter?" What services and responsibilities would you demand out of your IT department?
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What Would You Demand From Your IT Department?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:28PM (#14912563)
    ZombieMime asks: "The non-IT employees at my company (approximately some 5,000,000,000 people) are showing signs of incompetence, and have been ignoring knowledgeable technology input for about a year. Additionally, they haven't been able to accept needed changes to senior management. Unacceptable computer usage, maxed bandwidth usage, and no common sense have hit the bottom line, and those on top are starting to notice. We geeks are staging a revolt to make users more responsable to IT by creating a group from the company divisions to discuss needs and solutions. What would you put in our meeting room to kill as many people as possible?"
  • by dark404 (714846) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:35PM (#14912603)
    Step 1: Find a Bofh
    Step 2: Unleash the bofh into the IT department
    Step 3: Rightly cower in fear and reverence of the new effective (and renamed!) Network & Systems department.
  • by DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:40PM (#14912630) Homepage
    What would you put in our charter?

    Incompetence? Check.

    Ignoring front-line workers? Check.

    Stretching resources until savings are overwhlemed by resulting inefficiencies? Check.

    Don't complain -- your company sounds like it's ready to go public!

    If you're writing a charter (cute!), just be sure to ask for some preferred stock options or a pre-IPO allocation from the underwriter. If you don't know what those are, just ask the IT department, they are clearly up to speed.

    Not on tech, of course. More important stuff!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:41PM (#14912637)
    It's a moral imperative for IT workers to masturbate in the server room while perusing freebie porn. What else are they going to do the other seven hours and twenty minutes out of the day?
  • wait... (Score:5, Funny)

    by marcello_dl (667940) on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:50PM (#14912692) Homepage Journal
    I AM the IT department, you insensitive clod!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @09:54PM (#14912713)
    That's funny. My pet peeve, as an IT guy, is people that don't understand why we don't spend $150 and get a bigger hard drive, because they don't know how to store their mail locally.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:01PM (#14912747)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A6DVMXD4KSF9G /102-7175061-2532123 [amazon.com]
    Raymond M. Simms
    (Washington DC, USA)
    Nickname: raymondsimms
    Shipping Address: Raymond Simms - Alexandria, VA

    Sorry Raymond. E-mail address + Amazon = Wish List.
    You can try it out for yourself: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/search.html/?typ e=wishlist [amazon.com]

    What's the moral of the story?
    Don't use your regular e-address when posting to slashdot.
  • by B3ryllium (571199) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:03PM (#14912758) Homepage
    Ooh! Good idea. I'll check for him tomorrow when I get in to work.
  • by Bogtha (906264) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:05PM (#14912769)

    What would you put in our meeting room to kill as many people as possible?

    That depends. Is death by roundhouse kick acceptable?

  • by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:08PM (#14912791) Journal
    LART conservation has drastically reduced the effectiveness of my comany's IT staff. I demand more LARTs!
  • by twofidyKidd (615722) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:34PM (#14912897)
    "The AK-47. When you absolutely, positively have to kill every single mutha-fucka in the room, accept NO substitutes."
  • by wvitXpert (769356) on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:46PM (#14912955)
    "The IT department at my company (approximately some 500 people) is showing signs of incompetence"


    The IT department at my company is incompetent. But I work for the goverment, so I guess that's to be expected.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:48PM (#14912959)
    >For those of you who don't know what HIPPA is, imagine a very protective law about patient confidentiality that can result in serious jail time if it is violated.

    For those of you who talk about what HIPAA is, please start by using the correct acronym.

    Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • by griffjon (14945) <GriffJon&gmail,com> on Monday March 13, 2006 @10:57PM (#14912998) Homepage Journal
    "Unacceptable server down time, maxed network storage, and no backups systems...

    I don't know your situation...

    Dude, hang up your hat and start gardening, if you can't diagnose that they're running Exchange from that description, you're either very lucky and have never had to deal with Exchange, or shouldn't be posting at /. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:02PM (#14913021)
    Is to annoy a vindictive sys admin.

    I worked for a small place a few years back as their developer/net admin/engineer etc etc. Had a guy lodge a formal complaint that I was unhelpful (he was a serial pest. The only problem with his machine was between the chair and keyboard). It motivated me to notice the amount of time he spent on the internet, for personal, completely non work related use. I felt it was my duty to report this, in accordance with company policy. He was gone shortly after the proxy logs were produced.

  • by Centurix (249778) <centurix@gmai l . c om> on Monday March 13, 2006 @11:32PM (#14913147) Homepage
    And if they can't work as a team, they should be fired and security should escort them from the building. And if security can't work as a team, then they should be fired as well.

    I even love saying the word team. You probably think I have a picture of my family on my desk - it's not. It's the A-Team. Bodie, Doyle, Tiger, Jewellery Man. The whole lot of them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:00AM (#14913291)
    Not if management has a clue, which fortunately is the case at my job. IT does not stand for Idiot Training, believe it or not.
  • All passwords must be a minimum of 8 characters long, have at least 2 numerics, 2 symbols, 2 capital letters and 2 lower case letters. Zero repeat characters, and no character can be used in the same position more than once in 16 months. Passwords must be reset every 28 days - no exceptions.
    Shhhh! Shhhh!!! Hear!

    (cricket sounds)

    Congratulations: this is the new empty office after everyone was fired for not being able to follow this terminally assinine password policy.

  • by xTown (94562) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:11AM (#14913352)
    I agree. Reading the phrase "knowledgeable user input" reminded me of two things from my own work experience at a school district in the upper midwest.

    1. The elementary school teacher who INSISTED that we replace all of our 100+ NetWare servers with Windows NT 3.51 because...I swear..."NT does everything that NetWare doesn't do. You can have individual user accounts with home directories!" When I pointed out to him that we had that under NetWare, that our NetWare servers were rock-solid (which they were), and that the school district wouldn't be able to afford the hardware, software, and training to make the switch, he complained to my boss that not just I, but the whole IS department was incompetent.
    2. The middle school teacher who...I swear...wrote a letter to my manager saying that the school district should ditch all of its "outdated" AS/400s and replace them with Macintoshes. No, I'm not making it up. Why make the switch? "32-bit is the future of computing." I will never forget that phrase.


    I wonder how the OP and these two teachers would take it if the IT guys started telling them how to do their jobs? Shoot, I've read some books about teaching, so I must know how to do it, right? I can add and subtract, and that's all you need to be an accountant, right?
  • by grimwell (141031) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @12:31AM (#14913435)
    Ahh yes only on slashdot could "The AK-47. When you absolutely, positively have to kill every single mutha-fucka in the room, accept NO substitutes." be rated +3 Informative

    Not knocking the post, it made me laugh.

  • by d'fim (132296) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @03:20AM (#14914011)
    "As for checkwriting ability, good point, not something I'd considered off the top of my head."

    Get used to unexpected consequences to your decisions, if you're going to run your own business. You MUST learn to think things through - i.e. "look before you leap". You have to do it as a doctor; so just remember to do it as a boss, too.

    Today we rearranged our office. Impromptu - no planning - just "do it now" and "we'll figure it out as we go". Moving one row of cubicle dividers next to the wall meant that the power, phone, and data outlets along that wall were no longer accessible and the previously used outlets became too far away. Management said "no down time" and then had to accept down time for four production workstations while someone made a Home Depot run for extension cables - which, of course, are yet another kind of mistake. (Then there was a second run, as management had forgotten that power cables are not the only kind of cables . . .)

    We needed to move our servers over by seven feet. "What do you have to take them down for? The cables will reach. We need our productivity!" So after sending everybody home when two of our 1-TB RAID volumes stopped communicating with the server, I got an earful from management about how we employees had bungled a "simple" rearrangement of the entire office. We employees also got blamed for "our" failure to plan!

    I also got an extraordinarily polite ass-chewing from a Dell server tech about trying to physically move a running server with external RAIDs - and believe me, I did make it VERY clear to management that that move was NOT a good idea! We came very close to losing about 1.5-TB of data today; despite our backups the loss would still be hurting us months from now.

    Hopefully you will do better.
  • by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @04:58AM (#14914266)
    20% of the users create 80% of the work for IT.
    And the rest create the other 80%.
  • by Bastard of Subhumani (827601) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @05:04AM (#14914282) Journal
    The strange thing about the word "mnemonic" is that it's so hard to remember how to spell it.
  • Re:3 months (Score:5, Funny)

    by ErikZ (55491) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:37AM (#14915077)

    28 days! Pshaw! You're just *inviting* the bad guys into your system if you follow such a lax plan.

    Every day should start out with changing your passwords. You may have to hire a few more people who's job is to reset forgotten passwords, but when you have to do it constantly it shouldn't take more than a minute per person.

    Of course, if the bad guys learn that everyone changes their password in the morning, it wouldn't take much effort to be in the right place at the right time and get unrestricted access to the systems for 24 hours.
    So you'll want to back this up with some sort of bio-identity methods. Fingerprint identification, retina scans, and instant DNA testing.

    Some people say that these aren't secure enough, that someone can get fingerprints, a DNA sample, and a picture of your retina. There is an easy solution to this if you just think about it, the daily random mutation of all your employees before they change their password and give a DNA sample.

    Anything less than the method outlined above simply isn't secure.
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:37AM (#14915473) Homepage Journal
    You give 'em hell!! Speaking as a user, I can say that I could put together an entire server room in a week using off the shelf parts from CompUSA and Best Buy. And it wouldn't cost the millions that most IT departments spend on those elitist devices like SCSI drives, ECC RAM, DLT tapes, Cisco Managed Switches and SANs. The first thing I'd do is build a big system based on the latest gaming system specs (since gamers push the technology envelope) and cram it with ten 300 gig SATA drives. That's 3 terabytes of storage (more than those piddly SANs!) and at a fraction of the cost. Then I'd make sure had a dual layer DVD burner in it for backups. That way WE could have full backups on really inexpensive mediums. When I saw the price of a DLT II tape on an IT invoice, I nearly flipped. They're TOO expensive!!!!1111!!! Then I'd throw Windows 2003 Server on the box to manage all this stuff in one place. A few Linksys or Netgear switches can start connecting the resst of the networks together and they'd be WAYYY cheaper than the highway robbery that Cisco foists on us through our IT elitists.

    The workstations would be even easier. I'd buy everyone the $300 AMD specials with Windows XP Home. That way they'd be more familiar with the OS since they probably have XP Home at home too. Just plug them into the network and away they go. They can all get their IP address from the Linksys router like I do at home and then they're online easy as pie. Don't need to get out any stupid manuals to manage Cisco switches or anything like that. All the gobbledygook is just for elitist snobs. For restoring a PC if it gets hosed, I'd just use a copy of Ghost. Sometimes you can even get Ghost for free if you buy the right hard drive. Just hook up a laptop with Ghost to a PC using a USB cable and make an image to burn onto a DVD. The next time the PC needs to be revived, just grab the DVD from the pouch on the side of that box, pop it in the laptop and Ghost the other way around! Easy as pie and FAST too!!

    In this day and age, what company with a competent IT staff does it's own e-mail? I've been trying to tell the folks in my IT department to ditch our mail server (some antiquated Unix based thing that nobody really likes) and just let everyone get Hotmail accounts. Now that GMail is around, that's an option too since they give you a pretty comfortably sized mail box as opposed to the meager offerings of the clueless IT staff. E-mail should be able to hold whatever I put into it no matter how much or how big. Period.

    The voice over IP thing is easy too. Just buy a VOIP box from Linksys and get a Vonage account for every group of ten users you've got. You'll need multiple DSL lines to do it, but that would still be far cheaper than having one of those snobby PRI or T1 lines to carry your voice traffic. Speaking of which... why on earth is anyone using T1s and T3s these days? They're so costly and they don't perform anywhere near what I get on my cable modem at home. Just get cable modem and be done with it. Your users will thank you forever.

    Barron, I'm glad you gave me a chance to get that out there. The users need to know the truth.
  • by DA-MAN (17442) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:02PM (#14920939) Homepage
    They selling off any of the old CPUs? I could really use a pair of 1800s to replace this pair of 1200s...

    Unfortunately no. The company I had worked for has a retarded property manager that thinks cpu's could contain proprietary company data. Once we upgraded, the old ones were destroyed . . .

    I don't work there anymore, it got very uncomfortable after the old hardware fiasco and I left for another company. Just remember folks, it's not always the IT folks fault! :)

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