Information and Technology Department

I wonder whether you saw the title and read Information Technology Department rather than Information and Technology Department. 🙂

Sometimes I feel the IT departments of companies do not do a good job of marrying the Information and the Technology. They treat the two as if they were separate entities, usually putting more focus on the latter. They are excessively concerned with making sure the servers are up, but not that they contain the data that will make work easier. They are so busy working to make sure the network is stable but not concerned enough to ensure that the information flowing across it, does so at a reasonable rate to ensure work progresses smoothly. But most irritatingly of all, when the technology is not functional, i.e. when something has broken down, there is such a lack of information from IT as to what is actually happening. Almost all queries are met with answers that incomplete at best, and insulting to the intelligence at worst.

Sometime ago, someone from IT came to change my boss’s VoIP phone. So I inquired why that was happening, because the phone seemed perfectly functional. Here’s what transpired:

ME: You’re changing the phone?
GUY: Yeah, it’s not working.
ME: Oh ok. It seemed fine to me.
GUY: Yeah, it’s not working.
ME: Ok, what’s wrong with it.
GUY: It’s not working.

After the third “It’s not working”, I just turned and continued my work.

On another occasion, I had to extract some data from a datastore which IT had made available. During the extraction, I noticed there were duplicates and I informed the person in IT who had made the datastore available. She spent the entire conversation telling me that there were no duplicates, when she hadn’t even looked at what I had. As far as she was concerned, it was not possible for there to be duplicates. I just left in exasperation.

The staff in IT are often rude and disrespectful. Sometimes I feel it’s because of the power they possess to make the working life of other staff easier or not. Other times I feel it’s because of the pressure they are under, some of the ridiculous requests that come in and the little gratitude that they receive.

As I type right now, I have not one iota of sympathy for IT because they have made my last two weeks a living hell. They are to run some scripts to extract some data for me to generate reports from but thats an issue too. One day in February, the didn’t, so I had to go and remind them. This continued for a while until one day they didn’t run it at all, citing there were some problems caused by some migration we were doing. This was the excuse provided for SIX WEEKS. By this time my boss and his boss couldn’t take it any longer and they demanded that the reports be made available. I had no choice  other than to manually go and pull the data and summarize and generate the reports.

Something which could have been done in 10 mins if the script had been run, I’ve spent well over two weeks trying to fix. And of course I’ve had no help from that department that just loves to toy around with technology but doesn’t seem keen on helping out on the information front.

PS I don’t think mentioned that the 1TB Hard Drive that was purchased for our department to be backing up our data has been commandeered by some staff in IT who are using it as their movie store…

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6 thoughts on “Information and Technology Department

  1. Hmmm… i feel your pain.But as someone who has been in some form of an IT department before, i have to say that it really really sucks. Ppl hav so many silly little problems and when it comes to their PCs nobody wants 2 use 0.005% of their brains to solve a problem when the IT guy is around. From putting LAN cables back in to fixing light bulbs (yeah, it was that bad) everyone thinks anything that has a switch is an IT problem.The IT guy is seen as the handyman. I had someone once tell me to help her charge her fon cuz she was having trouble wit it. So after one week of fixing unnecessary ‘problems’ u start to learn how to ignore ppl.esp when they need u the most so that they learn to appreciate jus how important ur job is.like spending three times the time needed to solve the problem so that next time ppl make sure they’v tried everything before they call u.And the worst kind of ppl are those who think they cud do ur job better than u. And am sure in ur case u probably cud but it is just annoying, sometimes. I think showing that u sympathize and being sensitive to their feelings is the best way to go cuz more often than not, u r at their mercy.IT people are babies with their feelings hurt and need a lot of pampering.

    I understand u tho. iv been fighting wit our ISP and their customer service is great but they don’t know anything and the technical guys feel like their IQ is so high that no matter how they try to stoop to ur level and explain it u cudn’t possibly grok the problem they are having.I get more information from the customer service guy than the IT guy. U’ll notice tho that the IT ppl who studied MIS are much easier to deal with (just had to throw that in) 🙂

  2. lol @ the last paragraph…..
    but u are right – those in IT departments focus more on the technology part. Maybe the best solution is to separate the two so we’d have Information department and Technology department. i also think that those in the mentioned dep’t don’t know how to use the technology to provide meaningful information ….

  3. Mehn! a large part of the complaints I receive starts with “I think the server is down!”. And if you are not careful, that could just start you on the wrong note. A not so careful look at the complainant’s PC will show that the person’s wireless is off. An offer to explain to the person what went wrong is met with “Please do it for me, I will come for special classes later”. But I love it though. It makes me laugh and smile a lot. My latest incidence – “what is the difference between upload and download?” After the explanation, I hear “but its the same thing?”.

    I think the users of the products of the Information and Technology Departments drive what the department does. If the people from other departments are not very demanding, you might find yourself as an IT person just doing Microsoft office stuff. So sometimes if IT is mostly concerned about just network being up, perhaps that’s all the users are asking for.

  4. Just to clear the air, IT people are NOT necessarily Computer Science people. In fact I feel it’s because they are not computer science people that they don’t always know how to merge the information and the technology.

    But I second moneyKoko. I’m not in the IT department but sometimes I have to help them out with some stuff. and really, some of the things people say and ask eh, I think they just secretly want to get slapped but don’t want to ask directly. And there’s little or no thanks either. When you go out of your way to help someone, they just take that as the standard of service they should expect the next time.

    I think you can categorize them into the following:

    1. The machine worshipers:- They believe the computer is a god descended from the heavens and pressing the wrong key will unleash an unbreakable curse on their lives forever. They would rather ask than try, lest they offend the machine. So when they see a dialog box with only one button that says “Ok”, they’ll ask you if they should click it.

    2. The goldfish:- The have the short-term memory of a goldfish, which is basically none. So they keep calling you to solve the same problem over and over again.

    3. The semi-literate:- As moneyKoko said, these are the worst. They’ve got some small knowledge so they think they know everything there is about computing. Because they have learnt that Ctrl+C is a shortcut for copy, when you use the mouse to copy, they feel obliged to enlighten you. Or because they’ve used excel to create some charts, they tell you how simple the request they are asking for is, even though what they are asking for is way more complicated.

    But having said that, I should add:
    IT people, you need to pull up your socks.

  5. Cant help but laugh!!!
    It reminds me of a whole IT Manager det cannot format a PC lol…..
    But I fink i agree wif Iris – “those in IT departments focus more on the technology part. Maybe the best solution is to separate the two so we’d have Information department and Technology department, as those in the mentioned dep’t don’t know how to use the technology to provide meaningful information ….”

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