back to article Is running IT for the Olympics the worst job in the world?

It's going to be the Worst Tech Job in the world ... or the best. It all depends on how the Olympics IT works this summer. Michele Hyron will be either in front of a Parliamentary committee explaining why the tech at the Olympics was a fiasco, or enjoying a well-earned rest - because she is ATOS's chief integrator for the Games …

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Silver badge

A new excellence fad?

> the gallery has astroturf on the floor instead of carpet

Ahh, so if the OGs are successful can we expect the country's CIOs and IT manglers to replace all the datacentre carpets with plastic grass?

It's probably as likely to be effective as any of the other initiatives they've tried: (ISO9000, BS5750, ITIL etc.) and for exactly the same reasons - random chance.

p.s. Lucky they took their lead from the field events, not the aquatic ones!

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Alert

Re: A new excellence fad?

What's that like for static?

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Anonymous Coward

ATOS and accuracy

I'd prefer them to get it right when they assess people for benefits than when they say who the 3rd fastest Belgium this year is. Then again, I suposed people commiting suicide due to their decisions is less important than a few weeks of sport.

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Atos?

We at $MEGACORP have to put up with ATOS for our desktop hell desk.

A bigger shower of incompetent inbred miscreants you could not hope to find on one phone number.

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Happy

Re: Atos?

awwwwww, that's a real shame.

I'm an Atos employee and our customer has rewarded us with a solid 8 for customer satisfaction, i dare you to find an IT supplier that gets granted such a high mark for their enterprise support.

But alas, people will be people and even though some may shine, others will do a half asses job, just as it goes in any other industry.

I'm curious to hear which one of our customers you work for. Surely it wont be one of the ones i know, as i reside in the Netherlands, but i'm curious nonetheless. Ive had little dealing with my foreigns colleagues and i wonder how the rest of Europe sees us.

Too bad the first post i read about it is rather negative.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Atos?

So, is that 8/10, 8/20, 8/100?

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Happy

Re: Atos?

i do appologize for not making this clear. In fact it's an 8.2 out of 10 :D

obviously i'm quite proud of this.

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Unhappy

@Danny 5 Re: Atos?

Well, I can't say - we have rules on social networking. But the client is worldwide, and the hell desks are in Manilla and Rajshahi

The thing that makes it doubly difficult, and reinforces the world-class stonewalling, is the refusal to use email. I have to telephone the idiots or put a message on a web page (that I can only get to via the company network)

The only thing that the staff there want to do is close the ticket. I've never had them make any attempt to fix a problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Atos?

Hmm, something emerged from under a bridge?

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Joke

Hmm, something emerged from under a bridge?

So that's where they founded the company! Makes a change from the old Apple cliché of starting from a garage. It kind of explains a lot actually with regards company culture, thanks for this little nugget - someone update the wiki page!

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Re: Atos?

Sorry, Danny.

I am an Atos victim as well, and my son is a victim of their "reviews" of invalidity benefit.

I think that Nuking the company from orbit would be too kind.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Atos?

Atos victim? Wow, and there was me thinking that it was the government that paid out benefits. Did the social get privatised when I wasn't looking???..... Perhaps if you spent more time complaining to the government who actually can do something rather than posting on messge boards about completey unrelated subjects you might actually achieve something..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Atos?

Yes, the social has been privatised, at least to the extent that non-qualified ATOS staff rather than Doctors now make the annual review of people's level of disability, and ATOS are on a bonus to get people off the register.

My daughter had to wait 3 months and get the Doctor to put her on disability afresh, and will doubtless have to do the same next year.

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Anonymous Coward

Real life iInvalidity benefit test

Tester: Raise arms.

Client: Raises Arms.

Tester: Lower arms.

You're now deemed fit for work.

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Boffin

High stress/low fault tolerance work maybe, but hardly the worst.

Yes, it is a big IT challenge. Anything can go wrong, so you need calm, smart and experienced engineers on the job.

But it is not the worst job at all.

Because, the deadline is set in stone. The Olympics begin, and they end. It's make or break.

(Unlike many IT projects which never seem to end, getting new requirements, changing goal posts, accumulating cruft overnight, sapping the will to live)

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Anonymous Coward

Ooops

Blimey, someone should tell IBM and its stock holders about their terrible fortunes...

Not to mention the failure to run the IT for major events, apart from Wimbledon and other Grand Slam tournaments, the NBA. Sydney 2000 went pretty well for them too.

And I doubt IBM would say they pulled out the Olympics to focus on higher margin items - that's the rest of the business but in terms of the Olympics they decided they didn't get the marketing benefit for the required sponsorship, and they didn't like having to share parts of the IT pie. That's the story I got from a few moments searching, but its probably easier to make it up off the cuff...

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JDC

Re: Ooops

Yeah, I clearly remember working for IBM in Sydney. The reason they pulled out was that the risk was huge (a failure at this level is obviously very public) while the gains were small.

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Dominic replies...

@pete2, I'm typing this whilst on plastic grass and it is much better than many of the IT areas I've worked in

@AC1, yes ATOS have screwed up there.

@Robert and @Danny: As you know, the Reg makes great mileage out of IT cockups, but as yet nothing has gone seriously wrong with the Olympic IT, except of course G4S whose incompetence is something they partly blame on computers, but not those run by ATOS. (yet)

@Nick, at least when most of us screwup we don't get publicly flogged, though in my previous job I did get to say "get out of that fucking chair, this needs a grownup else we will be on the front page of the FT tomorrow".

@AC You may or may not know that most serious finance textbooks, the ones with equations, use IBM share and debt manipulations as worked examples. After the Georgia games, IBM went though a very very bad period, it is now mostly a services firm which you can see as good or bad.

As it happens, IBM explained to me in very great detail the business rationale for why it did the Olympics, indeed I was offered a job whilst visiting the Lillehammer games. In broad terms IBM did very well out of Olympic sponsorship, the basic deal was they did all the tech (not just IT) got on TV screens broadcast over the planet, a better deal that (say) ATOS get. I think many people reading my piece would simply not know that ATOS do the Olympics (or that Cisco do it as well) because IBM had a better deal than sponsors now get.

The deals are wrapped in the sort of fascist secrecy that you'd expect from the IOC, making figuring out the benefits really quite hard. My impression is that MS is not *allowed* to say that it provides much of the technology, their PR people flatly refused to discuss that.

Of course it wasn't just the screwup that cost IBM, the IOC is well known to be hugely corrupt and driven solely by internal politics. Just now I saw the president of the IOC on TV explaining how he'd be perfectly happy for G4S to bid for future Olympics. I invite people to try and think of an honourable reason for him to say that.

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Happy

but a mix of real time and static data on their screens.

Wikipedia and the London 2012 iPad app then:)

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Anonymous Coward

obligatory

ATOS, abusers of the unemployed, comment goes here.

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Re: obligatory

There's probably an Olypmic event for that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: obligatory

Atos aren't interested in the 'unemployed', that's not their remit. Unless they're claiming disability benefit, which is different to unemployment benefit, when they don't actually have a disability. I know all these facts because I read about it in the Daily Mail.

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Anonymous Coward

The stuff I've seen so far at one Olympic site has been decidedly plain functional IT, but I understand that's totally deliberate. The roles and responsibilies are very regimented and the org tree is very deep, everyone knows what they're doing and not much beyond that. The service desk runs the show and there's a bizarre amount of paperwork, it's ITIL by the book.

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Joke

ITIL? It'il end in tears

Tons of paperwork, committees, and change boards. It'll all go swimmingly(!) I'm certain of it.

The CIO invited his managers to a safari by the desert. He lent his four-wheel-drive car and recommended a route through the desert.

After 20 miles of travelling, they got a flat tire and the car got stuck in the middle of a dune.

Just a second after the puncture, the incident manager left the car saying “go, go, go!!! We’re in time!” put a chewing gum on the tyre, got into the car again and said “Solved, let’s go!“. The Change Manager responded “But, it will only last for a few meters.“, But the Incident Manager said “It doesn’t matter! I can put another gum if it fails again.“

Half an hour after running out of chewing gum, the problem manager said. “EUREKA! I know!. There is no more problem! The tire wasn’t designed for the heat, and it melted“. The Incident Manager said “OK. But… how can we get out of this situation?“. “Hey! Don’t put pressure on me! I know the root cause. Now it isn’t a problem, it’s a known error“, the Problem Manager retorted.

The Change Manager said. “I know how to change the wheel. But I can’t“. “Why?” Asked the rest. “Because I can’t contact the owner and I don’t have an approval“, the Change Manager responded.

The Incident Manager ran out of patience, and began to shout at the Release Manager. “Hey, we are all trying to get out of here, and you are not doing anything!“. He answered “I’m doing more than everyone of you. I just finished a RFE so the next version of the tire won’t fail in the future.“

Finally, everyone looked at the Service Level Manager, who said. “OK, OK. Maybe it’s my fault. Well, I’ll pay you a coffee when we return and we’ll be even“

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TRT
Silver badge

I expect they will get IT to work...

I'm given to wondering if this 'forced choice" approach to vendors might not stand the project in better stead for it all working than the other way of allowing people to buck-pass, bitch-moan and threaten breach of contract left right and centre. I mean if you've got no choice but to make it work, then that's what you do, right? WW2 spirit and all of that.

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Coat

So...

When it fails will anyone give Atos?

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Silver badge

IT is all very well...

but will someone please change the logo to one that dosent look like lisa simpson giving someone a blowjob before it's too late.....

Mwhahahahahah

what has been seen cannot be unseen

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Anonymous Coward

Before any more people start whining about Atos and benefits assessment, that's a separate company which they inherited by buying a large chunk of Siemens.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Joke

Siemens are normally the result of ATOS not the other way around!

I am a comedy genius!

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Anonymous Coward

No it's not, Atos Healthcare was a part of Atos Origin before they bought the Siemens chunk

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Unhappy

Still pissed off with ATOS screwing over disabled and sick people

And unfortunately, that's all I can think of whenever I see their name in an article.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Still pissed off with ATOS screwing over disabled and sick people

"Good, that's just what we intended", said the politician who actually defined the benefit policies.

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Gold badge
Coat

It's not, er, golf.

"...the sight of people staring at screens, a spectator sport to compete with golf."

More like cricket actually. Long periods of apparent inactivity, punctuated by some bloke trying not to be seen as he attempts to adjust the seam around his balls.....

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Joke

Are the people working for ATOS

..known as Atossers or Atosspots?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are the people working for ATOS

Nope. They are just useless Wankers, not entitled to an amusing pun,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Are the people working for ATOS

As a former ATOS employee, I can assure readers of El Reg, that only some of the people at ATOS are useless wankers. To my mind, there wasn't sufficient espirit d'corps to bother developing a collective noun (hence, no amusing puns).

The people who worked on the Olympics (Atos has been doing it a while now, I've got one of the souvenir watches from Athens) seemed to reflect very positively on the experience. On the one hand, the tediously reliable technology and stultifying processes made it all a bit dull, but the very real pressure to perform (as opposed to the imagined stuff of most IT projects), and visible results made those involved only too happy to give up their holidays for the privilege (which they did).

As an interesting observation; I believe that set of people who gave up their holidays for a crack at an exciting project (a la Olympics) were not from the set of useless wankers.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 05:45

Fair enough, I take your word for it.

I've only met the useless wankers type, unfortunately. I'm glad to hear that some of them are the other sort!

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

I've dealt with ATOS before

They were a byword for useless in the company I worked for. So this should be fun.

However, the very best of luck to all the techies involved.

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Anonymous Coward

It's horrible how the Olympics has every rotten global company swarming around it like flies...

Atos, Coke, McDonalds, G4S et al. Universally dreadful, one and all.

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Anonymous Coward

they treat you like scum

scum!

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Anonymous Coward

I hate to be the one who defends my former employer...

But you should know that Atos don't actually make any decision on who gets their disability taken away - they don't even get to define the questions! That would all be firmly with the DWA, who define the questions and then act on the answers.

It doesn't excuse the crap customer service and badly equipped assessment centres - but hey-ho

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Anonymous Coward

Todays Useless Atos Facts

Well 2 facts actually -

1) The company name is now AtoS, which means A to S, or Atos to Siemens.

Yeah... great.

2) The Olympic free lanyards given out recently sell well on ebay. 35 bone for one so far

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