Posts tagged ‘support’

Sometimes Giving Good Support is Hard Without The Tools…

I am a sysadmin and let me pass on some advice for future IT managers…
Now, as a sysadmin, I am depended on. Alot. So much so, I even get paged on vacation. Is that wrong? I say it definitely is unless your provided with the tools. By tools, I mean:

  1. Blackberry
  2. Laptop
  3. UltraMobile PC
  4. Broadband Access

These tools aren’t needed if you have sufficient staff. Without the staff to cover things around the clock, then you will have:

  1. TONS OF OVERTIME.
  2. People working 24 hour shifts.
  3. People working tired.
  4. People making mistakes.
  5. People quitting.

A vacation should be just that…..a vacation. You shouldn’t HAVE to take the Blackberry with you.

Some say that your a sysadmin…that’s part of the job. Well, I guess, but NOONE….I REPEAT….NOONE should ever have to work a 24 hour shift. If your doing that at work as a sysadmin, then something is WRONG. Yes, one should expect to occasionally get calls after work hours but when it’s every vacation, every day off, every weekend and every dinner that gets interrupted by a squawking cellphone, it gets a little old and then people want to quit.

Some will say well if so in so over in payroll can’t get a blackberry then why should the sysadmins. The reason they get them is the nature of your job. Alot of people don’t realize that with out the syadmin, you probably won’t have a system. ERP systems especially take alot to administer. Alot of the problems sysadmins have with them is that the ERP itself is not documented sufficiently and we spend way too much time putting fires out to document it ourselves and in reality, we should not have to document it. The vendor should have proper documentation and failing that, their support systems better have a excellent search.

Also, some vendors think it’s a good idea to hide the source code from their clients. Maybe, but when you already had the source code available, and you take it back between version upgrades, that screws with the very people you depend on…your clients. I say this because IF the source code is available, then it will OFTEN get tweaked because your product is insufficient because it’s generic.

I guess if I had anything to say to companies thinking you can buy any off the shelf ERP system and expect it to work as well as a custom system, then your WRONG. You CAN’T force the ERP to work in your way. You MUST change your business to work around the ERP. USE the ERP as it’s intended, and you won’t have problems.

Also, don’t bring on new technologies into the company until the staff is sufficiently trained. When I say New Technologies, I mean things like Fibre Channel, SAN technology and other network infrastructure technology. UMPC’s and laptops are NOT NEW TECHNOLOGY! They are re-purposing of standard, off the shelf, PC technology. If anything, the new stuff used in UMPC’s you won’t need to support as the new stuff is all supported by a cellular provider. Yes, you will have to figure out how to bill it and the policy for using it, but in reality that’s easier then not having it when you need it.

What it all boils down to if you expect a sysadmin to be on call 24/7, then you need to give them ALL the tools to work from anywhere. That means they get all the cool toys because they are NOT toys to the sysadmin…they are tools.

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October 20, 2007 at 7:23 am


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