IT manager is hired to clean up sloppy practices in this IT shop — such as storing backup tapes in an unlocked safe. “I wasn’t surprised that no one knew the combination,” he says. But he calls a locksmith to set a new combination, and gets a shock. “The locking bracket, which keeps the safe from accidentally locking during shipping, had never been removed. The safe, installed when the building was erected 20 years ago, had never been locked!”

LAN administrator deploys a fast, cheap, easy, flexible and costs about $400 shareware monitoring tool which company enterprise architects nix as not “enterprise enough”. The “enterprise” solution that the enterprise architects come up with? “It costs seven figures, takes up 5 per cent CPU utilisation, has an agent with a memory leak that brings down servers — and needs two people just to support it.”


Big company buys small company, and now all IT purchases must be made through HQ, 360km away. So when a new server arrives, administrator calls HQ to request a UPS for it. “We have diesel-powered backup generators here at corporate,” he’s told. “There’s no need for a UPS.” But we’re not at corporate, admin says. Response: “Since we don’t need UPSs, we are not allowed to budget for them. If you really think you need one, you’ll have to buy it yourself.” “We’ve been without for a year and a half,” admin sighs.


AT&T Wireless Services last week faced the software nightmare IT administrators fear: an application upgrade over the weekend went awry, blitzing one of the company’s key account management systems. AT&T Wireless was working on an upgrade of its CRM system, when a glitch happened. For much of last week the company’s Global System for Mobile Communication service customers, primarily in Europe, have been unable to make changes to existing plans or to activate new ones, according to spokesman Mark Siegel. He refused to comment on what CRM software was being upgraded, but AT&T Wireless Services lists Siebel in its regulatory filings as one of its key suppliers and said in 2001 that it was standardising its customer-facing operations on Siebel’s CRM software. However, Siegel took pains to exclude the software vendor he wouldn’t identify from blame for the upgrade troubles. “It’s our problem. We regret it happened and we’re working very hard to find a solution,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the vendor that we’re working with.”

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