7. July 2005 20:20
I have collected enough empirical data to conclude that corporate IT departments are bunk. If you are reading this blog, then chances are I'm preaching to the choir, so instead of listing a plethora of past grievances, allow me to just tell you about today's.
We, the programmers, are developing a website for a client who is a local governmental department. We're hosting the site on our company server for now because the department doesn't have it's own server and is mired in its own politics so it can't use it's brother department's server.
The client needs to be able to upload new versions of the documents linked to on the website; and add new documents from time to time. Instead of paying us to implement a programmatic solution, the client hired someone who is supposed to manage shuffling documents full time. In order to do her job, she will need FTP access to the web site so that she can change the existing documents and add new links in the HTML pages where needed.
Ok, enough background; sorry about that. So, our IT Group has this nifty web application where we can set up new project websites and FTP sites; but it doesn't allow you to make a web site folder _also_ an FTP folder. You can either have a web site folder that you have to access via the intranet, or an FTP folder that you can access anywhere, but not both.
So, I called up TAC (Total Assistance Center - Ha!) and first asked about the open ticket I had from earlier in the week that was supposed to be responded to by yesterday. After I was stonewalled on that, I brought up the new issue. 'ticity-takity-tic-tic-click-clack' a new ticket was electronically opened for my new problem (one more problem this week and my name will go up on a black list, I'm sure, and no one will talk to me). I explained that I needed a web site that I could FTP into.
BOY. You'd think that a help desk guy would know something about this. WRONG!
After 15 minutes of explaining, re-explaining, diagramming, and having him go to the website and then telling him to just try to upload a file or change a link, he put me on hold for 5 minutes. Then, he said he'd talk to someone from corporate.
My phone rang about 10 minutes later; and Mr. Help Desk was exited - a solution in his grasp! Corporate asked him to ask me if I had tried to right-click on the web page and select "Edit" to make a change to the file?
I said, "No, but I don't think that will work. Maybe you mean having front page extensions installed or something, but that's not what I need."
Then he said, "Oh, I hit File >> Edit in VS and it worked! You should see a '$' down by the search."
Me: "Uh, no, you changed the file on your local computer."
Him: "Oh, really?"
Well, he said he'd go back and tell the guy that it didn't work. He said, "I told him that I didn't think you could do that."
And there's the problem with bad IT guys - they never admit any possibility that they could be or were wrong. They bluster through problems and give outrageous excuses (how many times have you heard, "No, it's not our network that's the problem, it's theirs" from both sides?).
IT helpers play a dual role; 1) Adversarial - like testers who are out to find bugs to protect end users, IT Guys are out to save the company and protect it's servers; 2) They are supposed to help those in need; their _customers_.
In conclusion, when you work at a big bureaucracy, don't depend on your IT helpers to help you, they don't server you, they serve the company. Instead, you should outsource your hosting needs where possible to a company that is dedicated to its customers. I'd recommend http://www.webhost4life.com/ orhttp://www.godaddy.com/.