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Barrier to Web 2.0 — IT Departments 328

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the bofh-gone-luddite-or-lazy dept.
jcatcw writes "Wikis, social networks, and other Web 2.0 technologies are finding resistance inside companies from the very people who should be rolling them out: the IT staff. The National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) in London had to bypass IT to get Web 2.0 technologies to end users. Both Morgan Stanley and Pfizer are rolling out Web 2.0 projects, but it took some grass roots organizing to get there."
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Barrier to Web 2.0 — IT Departments

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  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:19PM (#20515119) Journal
    Perhaps it's because IT departments actually know how complicated, messy, potentially insecure and how awful support of such "projects" are going to be. As a general rule of thumb, tech-types don't usually give into the hype about things like Web 2.0 that columnists, marketers and your usual assortment of weirdos do.
    • by garcia (6573) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:28PM (#20515227) Homepage
      Perhaps it's because IT departments actually know how complicated, messy, potentially insecure and how awful support of such "projects" are going to be. As a general rule of thumb, tech-types don't usually give into the hype about things like Web 2.0 that columnists, marketers and your usual assortment of weirdos do.

      Fuck Web 2.0, IT departments are slow to move on any project except those that somehow benefit IT itself. We have an extraordinarily difficult time getting IT to update broken links on our website (we used to have access via the shitty CMS they were running but they now took that away too) nevermind solutions such as chat, online appointment scheduling, or additional databases to store information captured from web forms.

      We have had to go to third party outfits that specialize in hosting their own web application solutions and paying them yearly sums of money to do for us what IT will not. Not a single department has a decent relationship with IT at any of the last few places I have worked (especially the current) and we're all wasting money because of it.

      So, while Web 2.0 is an example, I can name 100 other issues that are not Web 2.0 that are priority that they also will not support -- and it has nothing to do with those that work in IT not accepting the "fads" that others will.
      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:31PM (#20515259) Journal
        It's too bad your IT department won't fix broken links, but jumping into AJAX and related technologies without properly assessing security and maintenance costs is insane. It's the IT guys who are going to have to deal with all of this one way or the other, so they're probably quite happy that some outsider is going to have the pleasure and pain.

        Web 2.0 is about 80% hype, 10% mature technologies and 10% immature technologies. Marketers are pushing hard for this (through their loyal minions the columnist and the tech reporter), but I still think when the guys who maintain all of this are saying "Whoah, let's think real hard about this", someone ought to listen. Blaming IT is simply shooting the messenger.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:39PM (#20515355)
        Your problem is that you need to kill the BOFH. You will need a silver stake, electrical gloves, KCN pills, a SCBA, 20 oz of deionized water blessed by a geek, and The New Testament [bell-labs.com]. Don't enter at night, and don't expect to catch the BOFH by surprise. They don't sleep, they lurk. If you can sabotage the coffee and soda machines you can drive them out of their lair. Otherwise you may have to defeat their army of PFYs. Good luck! And if they capture you and decide to Megger your balls, use the cyanide pills.
      • We have had to go to third party outfits that specialize in hosting their own web application solutions and paying them yearly sums of money to do for us what IT will not. Not a single department has a decent relationship with IT

        Maybe you should fire your head of IT, and maybe NESTA should as well. IT is at it's heart a service field, existing to facilitate the the companies production. If the IT staff is getting in the way, get them out of the way permanently. The same way you would remove a secretary wh
        • by Tim C (15259) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @06:31AM (#20519403)
          The same way you would remove a secretary who refused to deliver phone messages, or a janitor who refused sweep.

          What if that refusal was due to the janitor having no broom and no budget to purchase one, or the secretary having no way of passing messages on or simply no time to answer the phone due to workload?

          Rather than simply firing people who don't do what they're told when they're told, perhaps it would be better to work out *why* that is the case. Then of course if they're just be obstructive, then fire them.

          Never forget, though, that IT departments in many cases are overworked, understaffed and under-resourced. Also never forget that as (supposedly) experts in a field, sometimes it is their duty to say "no, we can't do that/do it this way because of this, but how about this instead?".
      • by fm6 (162816) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:10PM (#20515671) Homepage Journal

        We have an extraordinarily difficult time getting IT to update broken links on our website
        Your company is really out of date. Maintaining a web isn't an IT function, it belongs to specialized web developers. If you guys were with it, you wouldn't have inept IT people who can't keep the web site up to date; you'd be like other companies, with an inept web team that can't the web site up to date!
      • by The Great Pretender (975978) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:34PM (#20515887)
        I'm supporting the parent here. The ego's associated to our IT department were astronomic. They actually believed that they can never be fired because they were the only ones who know the 'guts' of our infrastructure. You should have seen them drop a load in their shorts when we had the whole IT infrastructure review by a third party. They pointed out the security risks that hadn't been noticed, the short-falls, the poor implementation (from a business perspective) and more importantly the fact that 25% time was being wasted by IT on IT 'pet' projects that had no sign-off from management. We fired the whole department except for a temp and hired him full-time because he actually worked efficiently and restocked (out-sourcing during the re-hire process). Now we have a more secure system and an IT group who are actually responsive to the IT needs of the company, rather than pretendeding that the IT position was a personal hobby. What a bunch of arrogant, egotistical, slackers we had.
        • by jp10558 (748604) on Friday September 07, 2007 @10:08PM (#20517013)
          The problem is every user and department figures their needs are the most important with immediate response necessary. This isn't possible in most IT departments because they don't have several people per department they have to support.

          We try to be responsive to users, but there's only so much time in a day, and when a user refuses to read the online documentation on how to clean up their roaming profile for the 10th time, and just want's IT to do it then they need to be a little patient and lock their machine rather than logging out till we can do the cleanup.

          When we discussed the major database + client update and whether we would do it for v2008 or v2009 and agreed on v2009 version, don't be suprised that we balk at a sudden "How much work would it really take to jump into the 2008 version?" with something like "We could get on that about when the 2009 version comes out".

          Then you have the people who complain about being unable to install software when our policies are clear that they need to run it past their supervisor first and then submit a request to finance + IT for funding and install. (Not entirely our policy, money is an issue) No, we aren't going to make you a local admin. Bonus points for realizing the requested software is already installed on the machine anyway!

          Then there's the set of users who don't understand Scope of Support, I.E. you can use your personal laptop if you want, but we can't put software on it for you and we will not fix it for you. Except for the special cases where management decides we can and we will...

          Somewhere in here we actually need to look at Vista, EL5, Server 2003/2008, replacing edge netgear switches with HP managed switches oh and working in concert on some things with another unit plus about 50 things I don't know about.

          Lastly, what were these "Side Projects"? How do you think IT figures out if a new product will help you or not (or were you looking for a "There's this product I'd like to read about and maybe play with for an hour. I don't rightly know if it's going to be useful or not as I haven't done anything yet but wanted to ask permission to find out if I need to ask permission to do a test run with it.")?

          I'm not saying IT should not be a service group. I am saying that there is often more things going on then just the website and it might take a little while to update. Especially if we recommended a Wiki so *you* could do the updates and you decided that was a bad idea.
          • by gatesvp (957062) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @02:57AM (#20518565)

            Then you have the people who complain about being unable to install software when our policies are clear that they need to run it past their supervisor first and then submit a request to finance + IT for funding and install.

            But this only breeds the inverse battle: "I'm looking for an app that does X and will save us money, but I need to install 4 or 5 different trials." Which is, of course, a perfectly justified use of time.

            Lastly, what were these "Side Projects"? How do you think IT figures out if a new product will help you or not....

            Hey that's a softball. You arrange for (and contract in) 2-4 hours/week of dedicated continuous/ongoing training time. You explain that the work you do is evolving so quickly that they can either send you to an expensive week-long seminar every year or that they can give you 2 hours/week to "study other stuff". If they don't understand this mentality and logic, then you are clearly working for the wrong people, it's time to find a new job.

            Then there's the set of users who don't understand Scope of Support & When we discussed the major database + client update

            Your point is well-heeded, yeah, users aren't always the greatest clients. And to make matters worse, you're supporting a setup that you are often incapable of testing (new acct. software?) and you're supporting software that you didn't write (e.g.: bad roaming profiles). And when nothing is going wrong and you're doing your job correctly, then nobody seems to notice and they wonder what you're doing.

            What's actually going on here is that most bosses don't appreciate what's involved in good IT administration. This stems from the fact that they don't understand any of it, it's all just voodoo magic to them. Of course, basically every boss has dealt with voodoo charlatans, so they end up with very little trust in the actual magicians. The real problem here is two-fold, it's not just about mastering the details of IT, it's about PR work crossing with IT work. Good system admins must also be PR specialists, they have to be able to communicate correctly with the managers they encounter, they have to be able to breed trust and generate contracts of understanding with management.

            And let's face it, the big problems you're talking about stem directly from that seed. Most IT admins yell and bitch about [l]users and shitty bosses and romp on the boards b/c "no one else gets them". But they're completely failing to acknowledge that the very source of their problems is their own inability to meaningfully communicate complexity to both users and management. If you can't do this, take a course from someone who can. You spent 2, 4 (6, 8?) years learning to operate/program/manage/debug/troubleshoot computers with hours of classroom and personal time spent on some of the most obscure pieces of knowledge. If you can't be bothered to take a few months to really learn how to communicate, then you deserve all of the shit flung your way.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cjb-nc (887319)
          The day my boss comes up to me and tells me I can be replaced my anyone... is the day I start looking for a new job. If you believe I'm that worthless to you, then we're BOTH better off if I leave. You, because you think you are right, and me, because you clearly do not value the work that I do. It's sad to me you had to hire an outside efficiency team just to tell you what you wanted to hear. What kind of manager are you, that you don't understand what your people do so you have to have someone else tell y
      • The other side (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BVis (267028) on Friday September 07, 2007 @09:07PM (#20516573)

        Fuck Web 2.0, IT departments are slow to move on any project except those that somehow benefit IT itself.
        Nothing else benefits IT, so of course they're looking out for themselves. It almost seems like there's a course in business school now called "Never Give IT Anything To Work With." 1/3 staffing levels, ancient tech, constant micromanagement by non-technical departments, it goes on and on.

        We have an extraordinarily difficult time getting IT to update broken links on our website (we used to have access via the shitty CMS they were running but they now took that away too) nevermind solutions such as chat, online appointment scheduling, or additional databases to store information captured from web forms.
        Isn't it just possible that your IT is so busy covering up for the idiot users' mistakes that they don't have time to do anything useful? It's hard to get time to update a web site when the CEO has to have his bridge program on his laptop RIGHT FUCKING NOW, or when Marketing is trying to get you to do their research for them, or when the Vice President Of Things That Begin With H On Alternate Tuesdays has hosed his registry for the tenth time, despite ludicrous amounts of coaching (compounded by the fact that he absolutely HAS TO HAVE admin rights on his desktop, or the world would end.)

        We have had to go to third party outfits that specialize in hosting their own web application solutions and paying them yearly sums of money to do for us what IT will not. Not a single department has a decent relationship with IT at any of the last few places I have worked (especially the current) and we're all wasting money because of it.
        Have you tried using that money to bring staffing levels in IT up to sane levels? Or investing in more infrastructure? How about not treating IT like a red-headed stepchild and appreciating the fact that your business is DEAD without your computers? No? Not shocked.

        It's really not that difficult a concept. Has anyone tried saying "please" and "thank you" to any of these folks? Or tried to find out what they do with their time? I'd bet you a paycheck that they're so busy putting out fires that idiot users or executives (but I repeat myself) are setting that they don't have TIME to do anything else. If you treat IT half as badly as it sounds, I think you're lucky they haven't dragged you from your car yet.
        • Re:The other side (Score:5, Insightful)

          by zerocool^ (112121) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:17AM (#20518679) Homepage Journal
          Case in point: I'm the linux admin for the place that I work (a Computer Science department at a university). I support linux-on-desktop, our remote login cluster, a bunch of random servers that faculty members decide they need because "I need feature X that is [so insanely out of date | so insanely bleeding edge] that our infrastructure isn't going to support it". I manage licenses for a dozen mathematical, statistical, and otherwise proprietary closed source programs. Lately, the Mac guy quit, so all of a sudden, I'm also the support for the Macintosh folks. I manage the linux backup rotation, which is all nightly rsync-based. I handle the linux half of our windows domain / ldap / kerberos / nfs-automount / samba / cifs single log-on system. I also am still the admin for a handful of Sun servers, and (believe it or not) a few DEC Alphas we have running Tru/64 (or whatever the hell it's called now) Unix. I can't tell you how many projects have been installed/written/maintained by Graduate students who have since left school that fall into my lap when the faculty member realizes no one is maintaining random-app-that-no-one-uses-but-must-always-be-wor king. Oh, I also am in charge of maintaining the stock of toner for the 25-odd different laser printers we have, and distributing it out to people when they come knocking.

          What am I spending about 8-10 hours of my 40 hour work week on lately? The powers that be decided that they could fire the part-time student work-study that we used to have to do odd IT jobs, and now, I manage 30-odd card-swipe door locks, which a monkey could do, and which are a huge time sink, considering they're spread out across 3 buildings among 5 square miles, and everyone wants them updated at least three times a week. So, I have to cart one of two different laptops to each physical key card lock and update them.

          If I don't get around to moving your Laserjet printer from computer A to computer B, configuring the cups server, and reconfiguring all other 9 computers in your project lab to print to the new server today, it's cause I'm freaking busy. If I can't figure out why your mouse doesn't refocus on matlab on your home linux box when you SSH into the cluster and display the graphical component locally, I'm sorry. If I can't get your bleeding-edge hot off the assembly line wireless card to work in any of [fedora core 5 | fedora core 6 | ubuntu | Centos 5.0] with several different kernels and everything from the stable to the nightly build of NDISwrapper, and the best I can do is that it works *most of the time*, and only causes a kernel panic *sometimes*, I'm sorry. If I can't find an unused room for your new multimedia lab, move 8 powermacs across campus, set them up, get the networking people to install and activate network ports (after getting the paperwork pushed through the financial people), and set up all your software by the time you teach class on Wednesday, when you tell me Monday afternoon, and especially when I had sent out emails in freaking JUNE asking what needed to be done for the upcoming fall semester, sorry - I'm only human.

          Honestly, I know a lot of IT staff are lazy control freaks, but come on - some of us are spinning our wheels trying to move as fast as we can, while you all are pulling us in 40 different directions. We're expected to be master of all trades, and that takes time and effort. And I don't respond well to insults, questions of ability, yelling, or last-minute-emergencies-that-could-have-been-preve nted. Try smiling and doing a bit of planning in advance, and you'll go far. Trust me.

          ~Will
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Monoman (8745)
            I hear ya man. People tend to trivialize the amount of work it takes to do something if they aren't the ones doing it.

            I have over 10yrs at a college that is mostly a Windows shop but plagued with the many of the same issues you stated. My first few years were doing desktop and departmental server stuff like yourself. Then I moved over to the infrastructure type stuff taking care of the enterprise servers, LAN, WAN, Active Directory, email (Exchange), firewall, VPN, DNS, DHCP, etc. Add on to that a variety
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jajuka (75616)
        Maybe you shouldn't just assume that when "IT" is not helping you they're just sitting around twiddling their thumbs or playing WOW. It's pretty standard for IT departments to be severely understaffed, particularly since much of what they do is invisible if done right, and invisible things don't tend to rack up the $$ at budget time.
    • Pfizer? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:30PM (#20515247) Homepage Journal
      The same Pfizer that just announced yet another loss of identity data and has been fingered as having compromised hosts that are sending out Viagra spam? (I am not making this up!)

      Something tells me that these guys need to be working more closely with their IT department, not less.
      • Those trying to hawk these new technologies have a clear purpose in creating divisions between the companies and their IT departments. Generally, most people don't understand what IT departments do, other than "they make the servers work and send up someone to fix my notebook when in won't sync properly".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by happyemoticon (543015)

      Darn it, it's true. Even the best of the best can't always support every browser, and my absolute least-favorite thing in the world is account for esoteric browser inconsistencies in Javascript and CSS. I cannot see myself building a "Web 2.0" site for anyone for any reason.

      For one, web pages that output HTML with little or no Javascript and which are built in such a way as to need very little browser-tweaking keep me sleeping well at night. Secondly, I don't see that it adds a ton of value in most places

    • by raddan (519638) on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:09PM (#20516183)

      Perhaps it's because IT departments actually know how complicated, messy, potentially insecure and how awful support of such "projects" are going to be. As a general rule of thumb, tech-types don't usually give into the hype about things like Web 2.0 that columnists, marketers and your usual assortment of weirdos do.
      On the other hand, we got the dictum from the central IT group the other day that we were going to start filtering websites across a wide variety of categories. Among the obvious candidates (porn, spyware sites, online gambling, etc) they decided to include Skype, Facebook, GMail, Victoria's Secret (WTF? Are people really getting off on this?), iTunes Music Store, streaming-anything, and a number of sites that our competitors run (college textbook publishing)-- regardless of whether these services make business sense to keep around. E.g., Skype saves us TONS of money, and that, for some reason, is public enemy #1 with them.

      Anyway, the [ostensible] reason? To save on bandwidth. This argument is obvious bullshit. In our local office, we have roughly 25% utilization of a 100Mbps fiber line. This was 50% cheaper than the ISDN connection we were contractually locked into for years! Having some familiarity with our budget, I can say that bandwidth is a very small cost for us.

      So my opinion is: yeah, it's not surprising that IT departments are blocking web innovation. In my experience, they're generally lazy, worthless cretins. They're probably doing it to save themselves work, or having to think. At least the BOFH enjoyed his job. These guys are... just worthless.

      And, FWIW, I, too am an IT worker. With some rare exceptions, most IT workers I have worked with have proven themselves to be a rather uninspiring lot. Those exceptional people, though, are what keep me around.
      • by jp10558 (748604) on Friday September 07, 2007 @10:12PM (#20517045)
        The reason we've blocked Skype is because
        A) per GB bandwidth charges
        B) Supernodes/passthrough etc
        C) EULA is untenable for us
        D) enough doubt regarding just what it's doing at a low level over and over again. Maybe FUD but there's lots of stuff like Asterix gateways, EVO, standard SIP that don't have this so why risk it?
      • by Nonesuch (90847) * <nonesuch@msBALDWINg.net minus author> on Saturday September 08, 2007 @12:58AM (#20517955) Homepage Journal

        , Skype saves us TONS of money, and that, for some reason, is public enemy #1 with them.
        I agree with your IT department 100% on Skype. That is one creepy closed-source product/protocol which has no place in a business network.


        I've been trying for the past year to get Skype/EBay to talk to us at all, to even begin to have a conversation about how to securely enable internal clients to make and receive Skype phone calls without also enabling any and all other encrypted peer-to-peer applications.

        Because that is what Skype really is, on the wire -- an obfuscated, encrypted peer-to-peer tunnel in which anything can be exchanged between the internal PC running Skype and a random workstation in some former soviet block nation which it appears to be using as a supernode. Any network where you can reliably use Skype, you can use the same network and host security holes to run P2P filesharing, botnets, or anything else your dark little twisted heart desires.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 1lus10n (586635)
        Skype is banned at a lot of business's because of its EULA and because of its absofuckinglutely huge security holes.

        now lets see here, gmail, facebook, victoria's secret, itms, youtube and the like ... not exactly productivity tools. Certainly not needed by anyone at the company. WTF is the complaint ? You cant get paid to surf the web ? Boo fucking who.
    • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:49PM (#20516453) Homepage
      uh, right. Give them the choice between Mediawiki or Moin (nothing really 'web 2.0' about those, but whatever) and sharepoint. They'll jump all over sharepoint. And you think a LAMP solution is complex, difficult to use and support! Ha!

      It's the kool aid, man.
  • Too bad! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by X0563511 (793323)
    IT doesn't want Web 2.0 but end users do. Too bad! End users typically don't know what is good for them when it comes to computers and networking.

    Web 2.0 is a bloated, risky, pointless waste of time, money, bandwidth, and electricity.

    Or at least that is my opinion. ... opinions are not trolls or flamebait. Please don't mod me down because I'm testy, you don't agree, or you think I am being "stuck up". Reply instead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bieeanda (961632)
      I'm inclined to agree. At the very least, they should be using services that don't default to mashing your data up with everyone else's. The idea of using del.icio.us or a social network apparatus like Facebook for potentially sensitive exchanges is absolutely and utterly horrifying.

      The end user tends to want shit like Webshots or Bonzi Buddy too. Just because they clamor and whine for something that looks flashy and easy, doesn't mean that they should get it.

      • Re:Too bad! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rycross (836649) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:33PM (#20515281)
        Certain things like wikis are really nice for development teams. The trick is using the technology for the correct problem.

        I see two possible cases here:
        1) The IT department is incompetent.
        2) Some manager who wants to be able to write that he "synergized the business using new paradigms in a Web 2.0 world" in their resume.

        I'm betting on the latter. But thats probably because I'm used to it.
    • Re:Too bad! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hobo sapiens (893427) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:36PM (#20515321) Journal
      Web 2.0 is a slippery term. If by web 2.0 you mean user-generated content, then I have to disagree.

      One example: wiki based support. I find that people are, for many reasons, willing to help others. Some may like showing how much they know. Some are altruistic. And so on. Now, let's say you have an application that gets used by 25000 people and a development team of 15 people. You probably don't have time to support the application to the extent it needs. Enter a wiki. If you have a wiki, that can at least minimize the questions / requests sent to your team, leaving you to focus on enhancements, future looking stuff, etc. Using a wiki, you can actually get your user base to at least partially support itself.

      Sure, a social networking site *might* not be the right thing for you F500 company's intranet. But a wiki might be just what you need.
      • I usually figure that Web 2.0 is basically AJAX or similar webapp-like technology when it actually means something other than an empty buzzword.
      • by bjourne (1034822)
        Indeed! We have a wiki at our company with something like 10,000 employees. It is very popular and received hundreds of edits every day. IT doesn't manage it, it was some guy who decided that it would be nice to setup one. The wiki is now two years old but IT still threats it like a step child because it is new and foreign to them. I imagine it was the same thing with the corporate IM clients we are using. Most IT folks seem to have trouble realizing that they serve the same role to the company as the clean
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Yes, and when that wiki breaks or is incompatable with something, guess who's going to be at fault? People are going to blame I.T., not the guy that created it. And I imagine it's probably based on MySQL in an IT dept used to MS SQL Server, so they've no idea how to make a back-up of it (even if it's possible.)

          (Of course, you're going to blame IT when they try to do proactive mantainence, expecting them to work in the weekend when you wouldn't consider it yourself. But then you'll blame IT when somethin
    • Remember, the users that want Web 2.0 are the same users that wanted animated gifs and midi.
    • I can't disagree more. End users are the only ones that know what's good for them. As a business, the goal is to give the customer what the customer will buy, and if that means web 2.0, then do web 2.0. If users flock to it, then it must be filling a need. Web 2.0 has some security issues and it's not optimal, but for a lot of applications that either doesn't matter or a good IT group could work around it anyway.
  • Duh.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by TBerben (1061176) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:20PM (#20515135)
    Of course the IT 1.0 staff is causing trouble, companies need to upgrade them to 2.0 first!
  • Spin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rycross (836649) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:20PM (#20515137)
    Am I the only one who read this as:

    "IT departments are wisely refusing to spend uneeded man hours and money on technological buzzwords that will not help, and will likely hurt, the business. Management foolishly decided to override them instead of listening."

    Maybe I'm just jaded.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ezzaral (1035922)
      Add me to the jaded column as well then. I think your translation is pretty spot on. This is picking up where Portals left off - "We don't really know what we will do with it, but we need it!" Like the business world needs 200,000 more empty MyJournal pages...
    • If I read it correctly, the project that management had to override the IT department for was successful. Maybe the IT department foolishly thought that they knew what would hurt the business better than management.
      • Re:Spin (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BoberFett (127537) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:29PM (#20515859)
        A couple years ago I worked for a company whose management decided that spam was a good way to communicate with customers. Everybody loves email, right? After ignoring warnings that sending half a dozen emails daily to our entire customer base would be counter-productive and eventually prevent truly important email from going through, they forced us to implement their stupid ideas. It didn't take long until we were on the junk mail list at more than one major email provider. I'm not sure how much business that generated, but I'm fairly certain the profit was less than the cost of having our attorney's spend their time wrangling with the attorney's at these email providers trying to get us off their spam filter, not to mention the time IT spent trying to find ways to route email around the filter while the lawyering was going on.

        Management is not somehow magically more competent than IT, just because their management. Read The Dilbert Principle for more details.
      • Re:Spin (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Rycross (836649) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:52PM (#20516031)
        The management guy said his own project was successful in the report. That doesn't necessarily mean it is. I've had plenty of managers implement a "silver bullet" project that made life significantly more painful, and then chalk it up as a big win to his superiors. I don't take what managers say at face value.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)
      Sometimes it is indeed intelligent IT engineers resisting brainless buzzwords. But just as often it's stupid IT engineers resisting new technologies the company actually needs. God knows I've seen both.

      A case in point is Wiki technology, which manages to be both overhyped and extremely useful. On the one hand, you have snake-oil types who push elaborate (and usually pretty buggy) wiki engines that are supposed to replace every enterprise application on the intranet. On the other hand, you have nice simple w
  • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sphealey (2855) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:20PM (#20515143)
    How did the end-users get to bypass HIPPA, Sarbanes-Oxley, Regulation FD, and general GAAP auditing, management control, and business continuity requirements? If they could teach the "IT Departments" how to do that I am sure there would be great appreciation.

    sPh
  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:21PM (#20515147) Homepage Journal
    Executive/marketing people are following the "hip" hype (reminds me of apple people) - just to make more flash and bang on user interface end and creating work equal to actual realization of a non web2.0 site, out of nowhere.

    and not even having the vision to realize that all those nitty gritty stuff like ajax with highly exploitable activex, javascript, xml components are going to be summarily blocked by security software in near future. (some already creating problems)and the it peoplew will have to redo the thing all over to suit the security software producers' tastes this time.

    no sir, it doesnt matter if a decent menu opens when you click a webpage, or it opens by turning and flashing and banging in some corner of the webpage whilst you were doing some other flashing and banging in another corner. data is the same, service is the same, exploitable security potential and work involved in realizing them are NOT.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by polaris878 (716143)
      You hit the nail on the head. I'm a junior web programmer for a major university and we considered re-writing many of our applications to have a more Ajax/Web 2.0 feel. We attended an Ajax conference hosted by our university which our programming team attended. One of the senior programmers asked the presenter how to migrate to Ajax techniques without losing accessibility or security. The response? Ajax is virtually worthless with JavaScript disabled. So the only way to achieve accessibility is to hav
      • by unity100 (970058)

        What does JavaScript really offer that can't be done more securely using PHP, Perl, ColdFusion, or some other server-side language?


        server side, nothing. client side, 2 things :

        1 - whizz and bang

        2 - hacking client pc, planting rootkits, trojans, acquiring credit card numbers and passwords
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        It can provide feedback as the user types, it can embed an IM window in the page, and it can update the mail while the user's still reading it so that they don't miss a reply that would invalidate theirs. None of those things can be done completely with a server side language. The complete disregard of a technology is as bad as its overuse.
    • With all due respect, your post is very indicative of why a manage should override the IT department. Your post says that these management types are like apple people and then go on to say how that's bad. Unfortunately, companies and management are focused on making money, and right now apple's making it hand over fist by being hip, trendy and incorporating usability and just the right amount of flash and bang, things which require at least some javascript to pull off on a website.
    • by hxnwix (652290)

      no sir, it doesnt matter if a decent menu opens when you click a webpage, or it opens by turning and flashing and banging in some corner of the webpage whilst you were doing some other flashing and banging in another corner

      Keen example. Google maps would be far more useful if it were only static HTML, and it would benefit my company if our customer location / status mashup didn't work. Also, wikipedia is worthless garbage and we should stop using it for our internal docs.

      Thank you, thank you so much for your insights.

  • by tenzig_112 (213387) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:23PM (#20515175) Homepage
    A company I work for has started to offer next-gen video hosting services (w/ one-to-one tracking, etc.) to customers who heretofore thought they simply could not have due to the intransigence of their own IT departments. So far, it's been interesting to hear the stories of the people who feel trapped by the people they hired to make this sort of thing possible.
  • by Syncerus (213609) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:24PM (#20515189)
    Let me get this straight. You want to make the IT department pick up the slack for all the half-assed projects that some newb MBA deploys because he's a big fan of Kevin Rose and thinks it's cool? And that's a problem? The "resistance" mentioned in the lead-in exists because responsible parties within the organization don't want to follow behind the puppy cleaning up the dog poop.

    If the MBA doggies had to clean up their own poop, the IT staff would be all in favor of the new projects. It's easy to be cavalier when you aren't paying the bills with YOUR time and effort.
  • Absolutely true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hobo sapiens (893427) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:31PM (#20515261) Journal
    The company I work for is a VERY large tech company. We are JUST NOW starting to roll out things like Wiki and forum based support for applications, social networking software, etc. It's quite sad. I am sure this is the case in most IT departments in most large corporations. I have some theories as to why:

    1) the obvious, resistance from upper management. Upper management is afraid of being "bleeding edge". New stuff, and especially open source stuff, is scary. PHBs fail to realize that the F/OSS community operates on a different set of values than corporations. Corporations only offer free stuff if it gets them good PR or creates a bunch of indentured customers. There is much FOSS that is quite viable, but it usually gets turned down in favor of proprietary crap.

    2) complacent IT staff. In many large companies, the people who make decisions have promoted to their level of incompetence. In turn, they just phone it in, just do the minimum they need to do to get by. This precludes their actually learning anything new. When the decision makers are victims of FUD, what do you want?

    3) red tape. Where I work, if you want to use non-standard software you have submit an exception, which then has to get approved by the people in bullet point number 2 above. It also has to get sent to upper management. Some supervisors are afraid of that and so strongly discourage you from submitting these exceptions. So people just use the same old software in the same old ways and nobody actually keeps up with the industry.

    Case in point: on my intranet, AJAX use is still pretty small scale. Maybe for certain internet sites, AJAX isn't always appropriate, but on the intranet, where you can ensure that everyone is using a somewhat modern browser, it's an obvious choice for certain things. Yet, you still have people developing sites the same way sites have been developed for ten years. I use AJAX heavily, and you'd be surprised how people are still amazed by it. But now there is a push to call libraries like prototype "software" and thus make them subject to regulation and corporate standards. Standards committees cannot keep up with the industry, so you have a situation where you cannot, by decree, use anything *too* new. I can see disallowing joe service rep from installing webshots on his PC, but disallowing a developer from using his software of choice is pretty shortsighted.
    • by sphealey (2855)

      === 1) the obvious, resistance from upper management. Upper management is afraid of being "bleeding edge". New stuff, and especially open source stuff, is scary. PHBs fail to realize that the F/OSS community operates on a different set of values than corporations. ===

      Another way to say that would be "upper management has fiduciary responsibility for the corporation, its continued existence, and its profitability".

      I haven't seen much resistance to open source tools such as gcc, linux, and apache in even th

      • A very fair point you make. But upper management employs an IT department. You know, not everyone in IT just wants to spend money. Upper management should learn to trust IT, at least trustworthy factions therein. Why spend the money for an IT department if you cannot trust their judgement?

        Many of the newer technologies don't really require any more time than the old ways. I can whip up a site that makes use of ajax in the same amount of time it takes someone else to cobble one toether the conventional
    • So, it sounds like you are siding with the folks that went over the IT depts head. Quite frankly, it is a complete load of horseshit. WE are the ones who read Bugtraq/Slashdot/etc. At what point do you think that the IT staff lost their ability to evaluate the implications of rolling out new whiz bang bleeding edge software? The bureaucracy is in place so that the PROFESSIONALS have time to calculate the risks that end users just WONT see. This process may be convoluted in some environments, but it doesn't
  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:31PM (#20515265) Homepage
    Not that many days ago it was an article about how our equivalent of the NSA had found sensitive information in plain sight on Facebook. The IT department don't want everyone and their mother blogging on the net because they'll also be the one getting the blame when shit hits the fan. And they'll also be the ones tasked with the impossible mission to create a magical filter that'll only let good things through and bad things not. Among several groups, the general opinion is that if they say nothing at all, they can't say anything wrong. It's not that terrible as it sounds, I'm not talking about whistleblowers here. I'm just talking about people that so desperately want to tell everyone else what they're doing. For the most part internal business is internal business and has no place in the public domain.
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:33PM (#20515291)
    Unfortunately, most companies see IT as a "cost" that should be minimized. Any extra expenditure for any extra features needs a champion, a proposal, a business case, documentation of ROI, prototypes, roll-out plans, risk reduction documents, etc. etc. IT departments live under this constant cost-avoidance mandate and become quite averse to anything that might create more work (= more costs) because they know they'll have jump through hoops to justify the extra cost.

    If the IT department in your company is an obstacle for your job, realize that it's because the people that control the purse strings for IT (e.g., the CEO, COO, CFO, et al) don't understand that IT can provide a huge opportunity to boost productivity, revenues, and profits. But until someone goes to them with a solid business case and demonstrable ROI for whatever tech du jour, the C-level suits and the IT dept will stay in cost-avoidance (vs. opportunity-seeking) mode of management.
  • As a disclaimer, here, I am not a web developer. Sometimes I have to do web development because of a project, and I can get done what I need to, but I don't enjoy it or even remotely like it. I spent most of my time doing desktop application and database development, which is where I like to be. :) I have a lot of respect for the serious web developers, compatibility and such can be a nightmare to work with in that field.

    Sorry if any of this is inaccurate; let's just call it a perspective from a little bit
  • by oatworm (969674) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:40PM (#20515361) Homepage
    Wow. I know this is Slashdot, but this is getting ridiculous. IT departments have one job and one job only:

    Support the elements of the company that make money.

    That's it. That's our job. If the elements of whatever company we're working for wants a "Web 2.0" app, instead of immediately jumping on our pedestals and saying, "Whoa there, mister! That's insecure and NEW! Put that thing away," we should instead be asking ourselves, "Hey, what problem are they trying to solve with this, and can we find a better solution?" When the employees are using Gmail or Facebook for inter-office communication, it means we're not doing our jobs, not because we're not locking down outside communication paths but because the communication paths we're providing are inadequate. When our customers start firing up MSN Messenger without our permission, we should be asking ourselves what we can use that's better, more secure, and easier to manage in an enterprise. When our customers come up to us and say, "We're tired of chasing Word docs everywhere - we're getting a wiki to manage our information", we should be looking at their problems and figuring out if a wiki is the best solution, or if they really just need a document management system.

    Get it? WE are at the disposal and discretion of our coworkers, NOT the other way around.
    • It's also generally our job to advise our superiors on the dangers of implementing technologies, and the costs involved in the implementation. AJAX is a lot easier to implement now than it was a year or two ago, but it's still tricky, complex programming, and that means it takes more time and security becomes much more important and complex in its own right.
      • by oatworm (969674)
        Absolutely - you'll find no argument from me here. All I'm getting at is that it's one thing to criticize, but unless we have a solution to whatever they're trying to fix, they're just going to look at us as an inflexible cost center that will be the first against the wall when the layoff revolution comes.
    • Unfortunately a lot of time if the elements of whatever company we're working for wants a "Web 2.0" app, then that's what they want and asking "Hey, what problem are they trying to solve with this, and can we find a better solution?" is irrelevant.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by swordgeek (112599)
      You're right, but also naive and I'd guess relatively young in the industry. (Assuming, of course, that you're in "the industry.")

      The single most important thing we can do in our IT jobs is to ask why?
      "We need to buy some web 2.0. How much will that cost?"
      "Why do we need it?"

      Note that the answer is NOT "no", it is NOT "that's new and insecure." It is, to be precise, "what do you want to do and how will this technology help with it?"

      The answer to so-called web 2.0 is almost invariably no because it consists
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)


        However, you should also realize that MY problems and issues are not YOUR problems and issues. If I find something a barrier to communication, but you do not, it does not necessarily mean that it is not. It means that you're willing to accept a problem that I am not willing to accept. If I should have to accept it anyways, because of security or other resource considerations, so be it. But if the major reason that you're willing to work with the status quo is because you don't have the interest in lear
  • by delire (809063) on Friday September 07, 2007 @06:43PM (#20515403)
    Web 2.Oooh isn't a technology, a thing or even a classifiable approach to client-server engineering. It's the term given to a fad whereby users freely contribute content to increase the bankable assets of entrepreneurs that generally use impossibly complex and dubious EULA's for their own gain.

    Perhaps IT staff aren't keen on implementing it because they don't buy into The Silliness. Call it "Capitalism Meets Social Engineering 2.0" and perhaps the guys in suits with MacBooks and artistic mohawks might have takers in IT.

    As Mark Pilgrim so eloquently put it [diveintomark.org]:

    "Praising companies for providing APIs to get your own data out is like praising auto companies for not filling your airbags with gravel. I'm not saying data export isn't important, it's just aiming kinda low. You mean when I give you data, you'll give it back to me? People who think this is the pinnacle of freedom aren't really worth listening to."
    For those of you wanting to make a proverbial killing of this 'phenomenon' I refer you to a vital dictionary of terms [emptybottle.org].
  • Um, yeah. I am one of those "technologists" who cringes when I hear someone say "we are planning to install a wiki," because to me this roughly translates into "we're going to play with it for a couple of months, and then leave it sitting there, because something shinier will come along by then."

    Me, I'm left with rotting carcases of abandoned wikis, which get rapidly taken over by free viagra lesbians.

    *grumble*
    • by swb (14022) on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:34PM (#20516335)
      Haha, that's so true.

      What happens is these people think that there's some new miracle computer technology that magically solves their problems. When they find out that behind the shiny new Flash/JavaScript/ActiveX user interface they've really just got yet another information storage and retrieval system like their old one and making it useful requires real work by real people, they stop being interested because, heck, they could have done real work with the LAST system.

      Where it gets really fun is when just enough work goes into the new thingy that the low-level office droids end up using it regularly and can't live without it BUT upgrading and maintaining it to sane levels doesn't get funded because the shiny exciting part that appeals to management is long gone.

      It's *all* just another symptom of management's love of short-term/free-ride thinking. I'm surprised we don't hear more about these same people losing money to perpetual motion machines.
  • Accessability (Score:2, Informative)

    by jcdenhartog (840940)
    I work for a government organization, and I would have to say the biggest barrier to using many of these features is accessibility. There are huge challenges in making Web 2.0 accessible, which we are required to do.

    There is definitely some complacency there as well, as well as a lack of 'customer service' attitude, but in the case of Web 2.0, why bother if it takes so much effort or is almost impossible to make it WCAG and Section 508 compliant.
  • Web 2.0 just doesn't exist... no one seems able to give a definition of exactly when Web 2.0 did, or will, start. Instead it seems like it will forever be "just over the horizon".
  • > resistance inside companies from [...] the IT staff.

    That's because they know it's a passing fad, and will be superseded by Web 3.0 or whatever, and they don't have the resources to commit to projects that are not going to contribute to persistence and durability.

    Of course, if their source data were in a persistent and durable format to start with, it wouldn't matter so much, because engineering a Web 2.0 interface wouldn't create structures that would inhibit subsequent interfaces.

  • He added that he began his Web 2.0 quest by working closely with the company's 10,000-member IT department. "Nothing gets done without the IT department," he noted.

    Wow! 10,000 member IT department!! That's a bloody legion of IT workers!
    No wonder they had resistance to change, their bureaucracy is simply huge. Are the 10,000 geeks serving 10 million workers? A huge company that must be!
    --

    P.S. It looks like this web page changed its text when I loaded it a 2nd time. What's up with that? It think some
  • Uninformed users request features that they neither understand nor are qualified to implement. IT says no.

    News at 11.
  • by Fizzlewhiff (256410) <jeffshannon@hotm ... com minus author> on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:09PM (#20515667) Homepage
    The article didn't really give an examples other than 1000 people signed up for LinkedIn to prove a point.

    I work in IT and we occasionally get requests from the business to do something in PHP, MySql and AJAX and they have no idea what they are even talking about other than they see it mentioned in a magazine article or a blog somewhere so they think they need everything done in PHP and MySql. These are the same people who think that if an icon isn't on their desktop the application isn't on their computer.
  • Forget it (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trailwalker (648636) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:22PM (#20515789)
    One of several recent hacks at Pfizer [computerworlduk.com]

    IT departments have learned caution the hard way.
  • by Erris (531066) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:34PM (#20515885) Homepage Journal

    What, the same people who put Windoze on desktops and increasingly into the server room don't like Wikis and other very cool free programs? Shocker. There are plenty of exceptions, like the CIA, but Windows inertia is a good part of this problem and established IT departments are something that have to be circumvented to get things done. The solution is radical removal of the problem. Doing that removes all sorts of networking problems and frees up staff for productive use. It's sad that users have to push this kind of change onto the IT departments instead of the other way around.

  • by josepha48 (13953) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:42PM (#20515955) Journal
    it seems that some companies are starting to block web 2.0 sites because they use 'ActiveX' or 'untrusted' scripts.

    So the company I am at just blocked a large online free web mail application, because of 'ActiveX', which is used by IE for AJAX.

    They also block, youtube, myspace, flicker, and several other site, and anything that comtains music or video. It is beginning to suck working here.

  • by laron (102608) on Friday September 07, 2007 @07:44PM (#20515973)
    When Adam Carson, an associate at Morgan Stanley, first began pushing the use of Web 2.0 tools, he faced a major obstacle in the New York-based investment bank's 10,000-member IT department. "Most of our IT department didn't get it," he said. "This was all new to them. They had just been stuck in the world of enterprise IT."

    So, the IT department would have prefered to do their job (enterprise IT) instead of building something just to use the tools.

    However, he said he worked closely with IT team members to convince them of the merits of Web 2.0, which led them to implement Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) technologies, a key requirement for building and supporting Web 2.0 tools

    He didn't stop nagging until they told an intern to cobble something together and paint the relevant acronyms in two feet letters on it.

    Once IT was convinced of the value of Web 2.0, he said, the organization was "really good at making sure that [systems] worked really well and didn't break, but they weren't really good at making sure ... people liked using them."

    So, people don't use the new-fangled stuff. Obviously this is the fault of IT, and not because they don't see the need.

    Carson noted that the company now has about 80 Web 2.0 projects under way, including an effort to create social networks for its clients.

    Now we have 80 unused projects. Even our customers refuse to use theirs so far.

    During the education process, Carson said he also had to find a manager that would require the use of a Web 2.0 tool for a specific project.

    He had an hammer and was looking for a nail. A screw would probably work as well.

    That would help spur employees to use the new tools, he noted. The effort also faced cultural resistance from some users clinging to the use of e-mail and other traditional tools rather than switch to new Web 2.0 collaboration tools, he added.

    So, with hard work he managed to have something implemented that nobody else thought necessary. Now he is looking for a way to make the users use it.
  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:25PM (#20516289) Homepage
    The article isn't really about web 2.0 it's more just along the lines of any web based technologies for communication and interaction.

    As an IT guy I am rolling out web based stuff. I have found:

    - A lot of canned stuff (even some OSS apps) just aren't a fit for what we do (most businesses aren't a one size fits all business).

    - Many of the hottest things to do are not all that flexible when it comes to integrating with other apps or data conversion, web 2.0 integration is cool as long as you keep with one co.'s products (assuming you can find one that can offer it all).

    - I'm very leery of the SAAS companies - if the service company takes a dive all my work and data goes with it and then I'm really screwed (so most stuff will be hosted in-house).

    - Those I can't I am reworking what we do (part from modified code other parts from scratch). A lot of this is truly very flexible and powerful, but compared to what tools I used before it is surely more complex (in a good sense) and takes time to get it right.

    - Nothing is stopping you from rolling out a web app tomorrow but until you have your business (more importantly your data) on it it just will be a struggle in the transition. I find it takes a lot of work (or just time) to get to the tipping point where it becomes commonplace. When it does, it's great - but it surely doesn't happen overnight (unless that's the same time you start your business).
  • by dircha (893383) on Friday September 07, 2007 @08:36PM (#20516347)
    Web 2.0? Social networking??? Right, just as soon as we roll out the ping pong tables and arcade cabinets.

    Listen, this isn't 1996 anymore, thank God. Unless you can make the case that we will recoup the implementation, training, and operating costs in productivity gains, it isn't going to happen. This is what is known as a BUSINESS CASE. Businesses exist to make money, not to coddle and pamper you. Did you mistake your cube farm for the Hilton?

    You should be thankful you have Web 1.0. Because if it weren't for the fact that Java is most cost effective to maintain and operate, you would still be doing data entry and form processing on COBOL terminal screens.

    And talk about insane, if you have so much free time at work that you think we should deploy a social networking system for you, you have got another thing coming. Which would you prefer? We can either cut you down to 20 hours and drop your benefits, or we can just reassign your job to an existing employee who is interested in working in exchange for monetary compensation?

    NO WONDER the economy is in a slump. Do you think your counterparts over in India have the time to whine about lack of social networking software on the job? No, that's why they're taking your jobs.

  • by JRHelgeson (576325) on Friday September 07, 2007 @10:20PM (#20517087) Homepage Journal
    Son, we live in a world that has firewalls, and those firewalls have to be maintained by men with root access. Whose gonna do it? You? You, with your blogging buddies? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You whine about port blocking and you curse the administrators. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That blocking ports, while frustrating, probably saves bandwidth... And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves packets. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at LAN parties, you want me on that firewall, you need me on that firewall. We use words like source address, port 80, destination... We use these words as the backbone of an access control list. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain why I block access to YouTube to a man who points and clicks on the very network that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a whitepaper, and create your own web 2.0 app. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
  • by danilo.moret (997554) on Friday September 07, 2007 @11:01PM (#20517333)
    The "cool digital media lady" went down the IT section and asked:

    - Hey, could you install some MediaWikis with capacity to five thousands access per minute by friday? I read it's super simple and light, just as Web 2.0 is supposed to be, so it should be very easy to do!

    And the "boring IT guys" replied:

    - You know we can't, we need to deal with all other emergency priorities you set last week about mail and the new Vista boxes. Besides, it's simple to install in one single machine for amateur use, it's complicated to prepare it for the security and load we'll need.

    - You IT guys can't deal with changes. You complicate everything. I'll have a smart consultant friend to come over, install it for a few thousand bucks and hand the maintenance over to you.

    - Gahhh...

    Weeks later, she gave an interview boasting her boldness in "bypassing IT to get Web 2.0 technologies to the group's end users":

    - IT started to realize it was happening without them anyway. They weren't interested until they started to get multiple requests from around the business. Eventually, they came on board.

    The "boring IT guys" couldn't be interviewed. They were overwhelmed by client's support requests of system configurations, security alarms, the same old email problems and configuring tens of new servers with load balancing.

    Next on "The Daily Buzzword Bugle", the folksonomy is being slowed down by the users.
  • I'm part of the tiny IT Security department of a Fortune 500 with many offices around the world. We're understaffed and overburdered with "approvals" and "sign-offs" and other process, but we make do with what we have.

    So earlier this year we had a conference call with the various remote site operations and networking and help desk We had a bunch of customers saying "Why doesn't the company use Web 2.0? Why is Instant Messaging discouraged? Why is there no Wiki on the Intranet?"

    While this wasn't a priority, we had a small server sitting idle from a failed project. So we built a MediaWiki server, gave it a catchy DNS name, and configured it so anybody who can authenticate to the company LDAP server has an auto-created Wiki account. Even preloaded the server with the Help: namespace and some documents from IT's old file share. I also contacted the biggest site's help desk and inquired whether they would be interested in importing their "how to" documents, but only got a snarky "I know what a Wiki is, and we don't want any" reply.

    After some testing internally, about two weeks ago we send out a preliminary announcement about the new Wiki to 100 "power users", including the specific individuals who were complaining about the lack of a Wiki. The response?

    Deafening silence.
    Perhaps fifty users bother to click on the link, a dozen of those logged in, and four go so far as to create a personal "User" page or make a test edit to one of the existing pages. You can lead users to a wiki, but you can't make them contribute.

  • Maybe... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Whuffo (1043790) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @02:46AM (#20518503) Homepage Journal
    Maybe after all the IT layoffs the remaining staff is busy trying to keep the current systems running - and just doesn't have the man hours available to implement some new Web 2.0 stuff much less support it.

    Hey, corporate suit - remember when you were rolling out metrics so you could determine which IT staff you'd keep and which you'd fire (for questionable reasons - no layoffs, don't want to pay unemployment). Now you think you need to make some significant changes - but the remaining IT staff is already overworked doing their jobs, plus the jobs of all the people you got rid of (and got a nice bonus for reducing IT payroll).

    The chickens have come home to roost - time to pay the piper...

  • Cult of Amateurs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ducomputergeek (595742) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @09:41AM (#20520235)
    Cult of Amateurs is an interesting read if you go look at the current affairs section of any book store. I work with small businesses and web designers as a technical consultant. Primarily web designers these days that know how to make websites pretty, but when it comes to the back-end. (Which also helps me as I have clients that need a new site design and I have no artistic skills).

    Found the book to be an interesting take, especially when he talks about an experience at an O'Reiley event with folks talking about "Web 2.0" and how it was going to change everything.

    At any rate, I hear a lot about "We want a web 2.0 website" without people having a clue what that means. Some get damned irate when I say, "That's just a buzz word, what do you want it to do?" Most of the time their idea of web 2.0 is going from an HTML static site to one based around Joomla or some other CMS or they need some type of support ticket solution installed.

    I don't tend to get into buzz words, my question is always straight forward: "What the hell are you trying to accomplish?" Then, "Okay. Here is Option A, B, C. My recommendation is A because:..."

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