A job of hidden treasures

Congratulations you have just been appointed IT manager at the illustrious firm of Royal Industries and it is your first week on the job. Sigh...what to do first?

There is no immediate firefighting of disasters to tackle so it is probably a good idea to map out your new domain and establish what needs to be managed.

Like any king or queen taking the reins of a new IT kingdom it is always a good idea to take stock and do an inventory of assets. Or is it?

This is the one task that guarantees you'll unearth one or two horror stories, an opportunity to discover a few unexpected nasties.

This treasure trove of discovery can transform new-job enthusiasm into a world-weary frown in seconds, especially when you get an insight into the habits of your faithful subjects (end users). Or maybe we should call them village people....subjects or serfs is a tad rude.

Alas, so many IT managers do not know how many systems, people or places they are responsible for and past inventories are notoriously inaccurate.

Let's face it: who has time to keep an asset registry up to date when there are so many more pressing projects to tackle and all those crown jewels to enjoy?

Taking stock of the company's IT assets is seen as a pretty low-value business proposition compared to customising applications that are going to blow your competitors out of the water.

But anyway back at Royal Industries life isn't looking too majestic for our newly appointed IT manager.

After recording the age, condition, performance and capacity of all hardware and applications at Royal, he discovers maintenance and service contracts that should have been cancelled years ago.

But the job at hand is to track acquisition details, leasing arrangements and depreciation calculations. Not surprisingly, our IT manager decides to take a well-deserved break.

He opens his desk drawer to take out his full grain, salt reduced, low in fat sandwich and lo and behold he finds a pager that hasn't been used in nine months. But of course the monthly bill keeps getting paid.

Looks like it's time to assess Royal's telco costs only to find the sales guys have negotiated a special deal for their mobiles and there are plenty of home telephone bills unaccounted for and worth checking.

Alarmed by all the zeros decorating one home phone account, IT managers declares: "This is a pretty stately phone bill, even for a Royal employee, let's give it a call."

The phone is answered by Joe Bloggs....you know old Joe he was Royal's former marketing manager back in 1998!

Oops he just forgot to cancel the home phone service and Royal has been paying the bill ever since. Ahem....sorry.

In between the unlicensed software running on PCs and battling with those departments that are fiercely possessive of those ugly spreadsheet apps they developed in-house, our IT manager decides to call it a day and heads downstairs to his car parked in the garage. There he finds the garage is bursting with old PCs and printers. Ah well, at least I have a heads-up on the company's policy for the disposal of IT assets.

How's your domain.....are your subjects running riot? Drop me an e-mail: Sandra_Rossi@idg.com.au

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