back to article Automated out of existence?

If your job involves managing IT, IT services or business services it’s probably not escaped your attention that for better or worse, your job entails working with other people. Whether strong demarcations between “IT” and “The Business” exist, or whether your firm takes a more ‘progressive’ approach, there are numerous …


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  1. Denarius Silver badge

    People, droids, PCs and delusions

    we also have a generation of "managers" in power who have the illusion they understand large systems because they could use Access on a PC. As legacy systems continue on and older staff retire or are replaced by remotely located sweat labour, it is reasonable to assume that systems management will get more clumsy as more procedures are lumped on top of the existing muddle following the Western delusion that procedures are a solution.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What he/she/it said.

    (Further ranting restricted - I've learnt it's just not worth it.)

  3. Chika

    People, droids, PCs and delusions 2

    What doesn't help is that we have a generation of "managers" who believe in the idea that everything can be done with the push of a single button, even when it is demonstrated to them that this isn't always possible. They insist on automating everything without considering the worst possible scenario where things actually break. So they automate and, the day that something goes wrong, it's headless chicken time! What doesn't help is that these are the same people that insist on brand names rather than functionality, so we get stuck with legacy applications because these "managers" are comfortable with them and don't like the idea of moving away.

    Then you have those "managers" that glorify "experts". You can only guess how gullible that makes them!

    And I agree. Slavish adherance to procedure is a recipe for disaster.

  4. Psymon

    legacy and procedure

    I'd have to heartily agree with all of the above, and to cite precedence of absolute adherence to procedure leading to absolute failure to deliver on any front, simply phone up your major ISP with ANY request, from a simple billing change to a connection issue ever-so-slightly more complex than the cable not being plugged in.

    I left a major multinational simply because the corporate environment of beurocracy and inflexability made my job a living nightmare.

    On a more positive note, I am now working in a much smaller scientific institute, and the inter-departmental cooperation is wonderful. We have a number of products that we sell on to outside parties, which were all originally written in VB6 and C++.

    It's truly suprising just how many software developers understand little to nothing about coding correctly within the windows environment, including the big names (Adobe, Google, and Mozilla to name but a few).

    Raising a pint for our fabulous five, You know who you are!

    The dev team were already keen to move into the .net development environment, but when we had a sit down, and I descibed some of the horrors of deploying legacy software in a networked environment (incorrect usage of profile folders, configuration files in the program folder, sometimes even in the windows folder, proprietary installer executables...) They were truly shocked at just how much the windows environment had changed without themselves noticing. We're still talking XP here, not 7.

    I am pleased to say that our product line is now completely windows compliant (including 7), and some of the most sysadmin friendly software you will ever encounter, with full support of network deployment (using a distribution method of your choice msi/group policy, SMS/SCCM, or command line scripting) complete server/client managbility (can be from group policy OR our own management software if you don't have a windows DC).

    But, most importantly, you can install a centralised update server ala wsus for patching (which uses and complies with BITS bandwidth throttling) or even incorporate our updates into your own wsus server.

    As you can imagine, I'm bursting with pride for our lads. All of the design and architecture discussed over coffee and cakes without a single formal meeting, or having to go through 7 layers of senior management.

    So, Adobe. Considering your software has opened up massive security holes in networks across the globe, where's YOUR centralised patching and reporting management server software? Come on, if a dev team of 5 programmers and 2 sysadmins can build this from scratch in 6 months, what's YOUR excuse?

  5. steven W. Scott

    People, droids, PCs and delusions #3

    Here, Here! And let us not forget the software vendors who prey on the misconceptions and confusion, pushing suite solutions which might only provide one or two high quality point solutions and the rest is mediocre fluff which doesn't integrate well with existing systems, or not at all. Buy one product to make you SOA, another and you've got ITIL! Is there no end to the madness?

  6. Bruce Ordway

    Smallish business, can it afford IT anymore.

    I have worked in a smaller business for many years. I grew up with the company and it's evolution with computers. Eventually I moved out of engineering and became the IT guy.

    At that time IT meant the network hubs, the HPUX MRP server, Win3.1 desktops running a terminal emulator, Lotus 123, maybe Word and a DOS CAD package. (Oh phones too). About 100 employees. One guy could easily handle it.

    Then came NT servers, Exchange, SQL, more CAD, network switches, the internet, etc... and then SBS. The company still has basically one guy. The only thing that was broken out for a while was the MRP applications because of a project status during a migration to a more modern system. I finished that and retired a few weeks ago, so now it's back to only one guy and only about 45 employees now. IT is not getting handled well now. The company has a very hard time finding IT guys who are "general practitioners".

    It seems in the past five years the trend is that more time and money is wasted by employees trying to learn and/or conform to software. There is some sort of IT breakdown every couple of days.

    Management is struggling to generate sales and run the business, understanding IT is never going to be a priority.

    If it were me I'd outsource it all. There is no way I can see a small company owning and maintaining IT equipment and staff anymore.

  7. suzy Gillie

    Skills Shortage? Labor Shortage? No!

    When you use the phrase "labor shortage" or "skills shortage" you're speaking in a sentence fragment. What you actually mean to say is: "There is a labor shortage at the salary level I'm willing to pay." That statement is the correct phrase; the complete sentence and the intellectually honest statement.

    Employers speak about shortages as though they represent some absolute, readily identifiable lack of desirable services. Price is rarely accorded its proper importance in their discussion.

    If you start raising wages and improving working conditions, and continue doing so, you'll solve your shortage and will have people lining up around the block to work for you even if you need to have huge piles of steaming manure hand-scooped on a blazing summer afternoon.

    Re: Shortage caused by employees retiring out of the workforce: With the majority of retirement accounts down about 50% or more, most people entering retirement age are working well into their sunset years. So, you won’t be getting a worker shortage anytime soon due to retirees exiting the workforce.

    Okay, fine. Some specialized jobs require training and/or certification, again, the solution is higher wages and improved benefits. People will self-fund their re-education so that they can enter the industry in a work-ready state. The attractive wages, working conditions and career prospects of technology during the 1980’s and 1990’s was a prime example of people’s willingness to self-fund their own career re-education.

    There is never enough of any good or service to satisfy all wants or desires. A buyer, or employer, must give up something to get something. They must pay the market price and forego whatever else he could have for the same price. The forces of supply and demand determine these prices -- and the price of a skilled workman is no exception. The buyer can take it or leave it. However, those who choose to leave it (because of lack of funds or personal preference) must not cry shortage. The good is available at the market price. All goods and services are scarce, but scarcity and shortages are by no means synonymous. Scarcity is a regrettable and unavoidable fact.

    Shortages are purely a function of price. The only way in which a shortage has existed, or ever will exist, is in cases where the "going price" has been held below the market-clearing price.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could automate management

    management is probably the simplest thing to automate. And would benefit the most from it, management is the easiest AI to replicate, it is simple just plug in the rules and let it monitor with known criteria.

    You don't need management meat in modern business, all you need is owners and people to make management systems that the owners agree with, management is just a cost in business, leave it to the machines they will do a much better job and there will be better returns to shareholders and owners.

  9. Denarius Silver badge


    Used SAP have you ?

    Re-design your enterprise to fit WTF processes.

    Generalists you want ?

    To the dark side that is, so many certifications you must learn young FudMaster

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