The adage “Do as I say, not as I do” is nowhere more true than in delivering effective IT services. Bookshelves are full of guidance, and indeed, frameworks such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) go into considerable depth to explain the whys and wherefores of service delivery best practice. If it’s all so hard to do …
East is east
On your point about the sharp edge and the customer being right. During alot of school and college, I worked part-time in a hotel and that simple mantra was always hammered home. As well as the other "if the customer is awkward - kill them with kindness".
In my 12 years in IT support this state of mind has stood to me and one of the things i've alway felt really strongly about are that front-line staff (in any area of IT), should have a crash course in manners and customer service.
A positive user experience (even if the issue isnt resolved as quickly as it should), feeds into a better perception of IT as a whole (notwithstanding the 3 other compass points).
re: , or the networking group more familiar with application requirements."
It appears that you've never met any real network administrators. A serious network administrator knows what every machine on their network does, when it does it, and so on. Specifically, he knows how long you read the paper before you boot your laptop. He also knows that you stopped working at 4:35 because your session timed out at 5:35 (after 60 minutes suspended.)
That being said, a real network administrator will know you just deployed the new version of your application to the floor because traffic from those machines just went through the roof. He'll be the first one to call, and WILL help you diagnose your application problem. He may not know which line of code caused the crapstorm, but I will help you. Not just because I'm good at what I do, but because what bad YOU do impacts everyone else on the network, and is bad for the ability of the business to make numbers and generate bonuses (or keep jobs). We don't care what color you are or where your parents came from. We don't "value diversity," we value competence. We're not programmers. If we were, we'd have your job. Actually, we wouldn't have your job because being responsible for one application wouldn't satisfy our god complex. Oh, that reminds me. Quit reading your personal gmail at work from your personal laptop, which by the way, isn't supposed to be on the network. The only reason we haven't implemented 802.1x is that we haven't upgraded the network hardware since 1988. Why, you ask? Because the network never goes down. At all. Ever. We are the reason why. It doesn't matter if you made us buy Cisco, Cabletron or Cajun. We read all of the docs before deploying anything. We spent days, on top of everything else we get to do, understanding the hardware and designing the network. Face it, it works. In fact, it works so well that I no longer work there because one of the incompetent programmers was promoted to manager, then to director.
Rereading what I've just written, I feel that I've come across as bitter. Perhaps. That's because I know that if I do my job properly, my users will never know who I am, much less, what it is that I do.
That being said, I really don't care any more, as long as the network is up.