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Why Everyone Hates the IT Department 960

Posted by Soulskill
from the gotta-be-the-shoes dept.
Barence writes "Why are IT staff treated with near universal contempt? This article discusses why everyone hates the IT department. From cultivating a culture of 'them and us,' to unrealistic demands from end users and senior management, to the inevitable tension created when employees try and bring their own equipment into the office, there are a variety of reasons for the lack of respect for IT."
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Why Everyone Hates the IT Department

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  • Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

    by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:34PM (#38176782)

    Why are IT staff treated with near universal contempt?

    One reason might be because that's how IT staff treat everyone else.

    • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anrego (830717) * on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:41PM (#38176838)

      Yup.. works both ways.

      Users can be real dicks.. but so can IT guys. Yes it's the IT departments job to keep the system running and secure.. but the whole point of that system is so everyone else can do their work. When IT starts unreasonably hindering that, you see the hostility build.

      This is especially true in software shops, where everyone tends to be fairly technically literate and have unusual needs for their systems.

      • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

        by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:53PM (#38176930) Homepage

        There's some truth to this, except at as an IT support person with a fair amount of experience, I'd like to raise 2 points:

        First, often enough the draconian restrictions are forced on us by upper management. Like... I might not care at all whether you're looking at Facebook at work, but if upper management says we need to filter the web usage to block Facebook, I'll do it. I might even let them know that I don't agree with the policy, but if they overrule me and tell me to implement the filter, I will. It's my job, after all.

        Second, I have to comment on your statement, "This is especially true in software shops, where everyone tends to be fairly technically literate..." Honestly, software developers and the "fairly technically literate" are some of the worst people to support. They'll constantly break their own computers and make work for the help desk staff.

        Seriously. Sorry, I know there are a lot of programmers on Slashdot and you think you know everything there is about computers, but most software developers I've known, no matter how brilliant, don't understand how to do IT support. They don't know how to make a stable system. They're one step away from the guy who wants admin access to his own machine because he upgraded his own video card once and he "knows what he's doing".

        Now depending on the situation, it may still be a good idea to give developers some more leeway, but only because they need it. It can be a necessary evil, but be sure to have an "software developer" image ready, because they *will* trash their computers and expect you to fix it immediately.

        I don't mean to make flamebait, but it needs to be said.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I'm a software developer by trade, but I know how to admin a system as well (I helped run an ISP for several years.). At past companies I've been called in (while there and at home) to fix system issues that our admins were pulling their hair out over. However, I wasn't allowed to get all the access I needed to efficiently do my job.

          At one place (web development) all of our developers wanted to run Linux, but none of the admins knew anything about Linux at the time so I was basically doing desktop support f

          • by PitaBred (632671)

            I'm in a similar position, but it's a really small company. So I was actually hired on with the intention of me being a part-time sysadmin. I actually like it like that, being able to do stuff other than just development all the time. Wearing many hats makes me happy, but I realize that I'm in the minority usually.

          • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

            by datavirtue (1104259) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @12:10AM (#38179558)
            I'm a software developer, system admin, and security specialist where I work. I give people whatever they want and pride myself on excellent customer service (yes the users in the organization are my "customers"). Of course, being a government organization, this level of service is frowned upon, but I do it anyway. I deflect a lot of gruff from my boss to give people the things they want (want-over-need translates to happy and productive people). The various users respect me for this and listen when I have to say no or talk them out of something. Be free, give em what they want, and let go.
        • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:44PM (#38177320)

          What you say is reasonable, but IT departments need to start meeting us halfway.

          For example: it's reasonable that you can't upgrade everything the moment a new version comes out, and it's reasonable that you can't let us do that either. But when you're still providing us with Windows XP in 2011, you are doing it wrong.

          For example: it's reasonable that you need to control the basic technologies. I may not like that I can't just install Linux, but I understand why you can't let me! But in that case, you need at least to let me have Cygwin or something. Yes, I know someone will eventually demand you support it even though we all swear we won't need to, and I know that means it will cost money in the long run. Guess what? My time also costs money, and failing to provide appropriate tools is wasting that money today.

          Seriously, half the complaints I hear about IT departments relate to one or both of the above: providing software that is laughably outdated (Windows XP is what, 10 years old now?), or refusing to compromise at all on what software is provided. Meet us half-way! Explain why we can't have what we want, instead of just brushing off our concerns with "policy" or "too expensive to support", and then engage us in dialog about what you can provide! We are logically-minded people. Explain your logic and we will probably agree with it! We don't have to be enemies if you just stop treating us as dumb lusers and start talking to us as equals!

          • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

            by alittle158 (695561) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:11PM (#38177576)

            But when you're still providing us with Windows XP in 2011, you are doing it wrong.

            You do realize that not every company or department has the funds to provide you with the "latest and greatest". Some of us have to work with limited budgets brought down from up above. XP isn't ideal, but it's still being supported for the next 2+ years, which gives IT time to make sure the business apps will continue to function after the new OS is rolled out.

            • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Interesting)

              by sg_oneill (159032) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @10:34PM (#38178954)

              But when you're still providing us with Windows XP in 2011, you are doing it wrong.

              You do realize that not every company or department has the funds to provide you with the "latest and greatest". Some of us have to work with limited budgets brought down from up above. XP isn't ideal, but it's still being supported for the next 2+ years, which gives IT time to make sure the business apps will continue to function after the new OS is rolled out.

              The problem is, and its not necessarily an IT depts fault, is that its often *more expensive* to underfund IT.

              My last job at a major company I had to develop software on an ancient mac with 2 gig of ram and spent most of my time staring at the beachball. Every time I hit save, the beachball would spin. Every time I searched my code, the beachball would spin. Hell entering a line of code would make the beachball spin.

              So my simple request "Can I please have 8 gig of ram" was denied because "Well if we do that all the coders will want it."

              I pointed out that since i was being paid nearly $70 an hour, and I'm losing a good couple of hours a day on computer slugishness, that the investment would pay itself off in about 2 days, since not having the ram was costing the company about $140 a day. No dice.

              Eventually myself and the other coders made an estimate of how much the non upgrades where costing the company in lost productivity , close to $8000 a week, and took it straight over the IT depts head to the big boss.

              The next day a very reprimanded IT dept head personally installed my new ram.

          • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

            by fluffy99 (870997) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:43PM (#38178260)

            What exactly does Windows 7 provide you as the end user that Windows XP does not? My main reason for rolling out Windows 7 is that it has better centralized management and security features. Something I doubt an end user cares about. The non-tech types seem to care more about eye candy. Also consider that Windows 7 needs more horsepower and it not supported on older hardware, so if XP is working just fine, why replace the entire computer ahead of the normal lifecycle? Some systems that lots of memory, and for that I definitely go with Win7 (XP64 was a piece of crap).

            I have a mix of users who want the latest Office 2010, and a more reasonable crowd who still want to stay with 2003. They don't see any benefit to the newer version and don't want to waste time learning a new GUI.

            I don't care about minor software from trusted sources. Just don't start loading on crap or shareware that comes from untrusted sources (screen savers, your favorite widget, Flash, google desktop) and presenting a security risk by opening up vulnerabilities. If you have a legitimate need, you might try asking IT what other users are using. Then at least there aren't 20 different flavors of the same utility on the network.

            Speaking of outdated, you probably want Cygwin for the shell environment? That's outdated, learn powershell. (I have cygwin in my office for other valid reasons, like reading solaris tar tapes).

          • Re:Reflections (Score:4, Informative)

            by Fallen Kell (165468) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:52PM (#38178726)
            There is a reason why they can't upgrade, money. Go have your manager find budget to give to IT so they can:

            1) Hire more people to support all the new calls that will come in and deal with researching the new problems and how to integrate with the existing system.

            2) Get existing staff training on the new applications and services so they can support calls which will happen that such and such isn't working.

            3) Have staffing levels so that they can have people be able to strategically study, design, plan, and implement the rollout of new software.

            4) Have the budget to keep existing staff that are knowledgeable about the internal setup, designs, and functioning of the hardware/software/configuration/backup/security at the company.


            Those are the problems that you are dealing with. Quite frankly, it costs money. You want to put in linux on several systems, fine, get the money to pay for training existing IT staff on linux (assuming you have staff that are not simply from paper/cert mills, and actually have a brain), or the money to hire said personnel. Also plan on having the money to up the pay of the existing staff who get trained, as they are now more valuable, and can gladly take a 10-20% pay increase leaving your company, which will set back your IT department months of time in investment in training a new hire on policies, configuration, and detailed personal knowledge that just walked out the door when the IT department didn't have the budget to compete on salary.

            New software is expensive to support. I am sorry to be the one to tell you that. Things don't "just work", they always require tweaking, and they will always be a problem that comes up. IT is placed in the role of protecting the data. Sure, I know you want to install the latest version of this application, but did you test it to see if it is even compatible with your existing software? Did you scan it to verify there is no "backdoor", "reverse terminal", or "call home" functionality built into it leaving your internal documents, intellectual property, and business secrets open for your competitors to see? Did you have your legal department screen the EULA and licensing agreements to verify that by using the software you are not opening your company to lawsuits, exposing you to possible patent infringements, or conflicting with other binding legal agreements your company has already made? These are just a few of the things. Then there are the questions of how does this system store data? How is it backed up? Does this software have a support contract that the local IT can call if there is a problem with the software? How much does it cost to keep that support contract over the expected lifetime that we need to continue using this software? How much does the software license cost, and how long does that license last? Are there different licensing costs based on the type of hardware it will be deployed onto, and if there are, who will be paying the cost down the road in 3-4 years when the existing hardware platform that it is installed on is at its end of life and the software needs to be moved onto a new hardware platform which happens to fall under a different licensing category and will cost another $500,0000 to work on that platform (that one just happened to us, so don't say that is unrealistic)?

            That is just some of the stuff that has to happen ahead of time for a new piece of software. And it all costs time, and time costs money.
            • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @05:59AM (#38180838)

              Basically. Having an I.T. budget means that to end users, the services provided are perceived as free. It encourages poor behaviours on both sides.

              Free means low value, if you are giving your services away for free (as most users experience the service). They are perceived as low value.
              Worse than that, because the services are free, they suffer from Tragedy of The Commons effects, more and more work is loaded on to an under resourced organisation as budgets never match work loads.

              Get rid of the budget and go for a charge model. Set up an internal IT Shop where people "buy" services using internal money which comes out of their budget.

              They can "buy" network access.
              They can "buy" 10 support calls
              they can "buy" backups on X,
              they can buy (Windows+MS Office(latest), Linux+OpenOffice, Mac+MS Office) + maintenance on their desktop for a year.
              They can "buy" a 10Tb NFS file system.
              They can "buy" professional services solution design for particular problems.
              They can "buy" a 100Gb mailbox if they want.

              I.T. often refer to their users as "customers". Well, real customers pay real money, and customers who don't pay, are not customers but free loaders. No pay, no service.

              It aligns IT staff with real customers needs, free loaders get dumped as unimportant and the department has the resourcing to actually do what the paying customers want. You will find that customers actually start to behave responsibly when they discover their irresponsibility costs them money and they have to explain to their boss the extra 1 million for email + backups.

              You will also find that paying for services dramatically increases the level of respect, particularly when
              1. They discover what the trivial extra thing they are asking for is actually rather expensive.
              2. You cut people off for non payment.

              Problem solved.

          • Re:Reflections (Score:4, Interesting)

            by barc0001 (173002) on Monday November 28, 2011 @01:01AM (#38187110)

            "But when you're still providing us with Windows XP in 2011, you are doing it wrong."

            Sigh. So, you have personally checked out all software the enterprise runs under Windows 7 and will be willing to bet your job that it all works perfectly with no hidden issues have you? Here's a hypothetical situation for you:

            A company has a software package that they run on 70% of their desktops called DerpMaster 2002. This is an important software package as almost half of the company's business is recorded in it. It works fine under Windows XP. In late 2010, the company decides it's time to upgrade their desktops to Windows 7 as the company president uses it at home and wants to "move with the times". The CTO doesn't see any business reason to move the company to Windows 7 as all of the company operations work well under Windows XP and Windows 2000 Server as they have been the last several years. At the president's insistence, the migration proceeds.

            After a month's operation, end users and the IT department are starting to notice that there is random corruption of records in DerpMaster 2002. The first couple of times it was encountered the corruption was considered a random happening or disk fault on the fileserver and the affected record was restored from a previous backup. But now it's happening with a frightening frequency. A random sampling of the DerpMaster database of 300,000 customer records is taken and it's determined that up to 5% of random sample shows some form of corruption. That means there could be as many as 15,000 records corrputed. A series of calls to the makers or DerpMaster 2002 reveal that on small databases their own testing of Windows 7 showed no adverse issues, but they were able to scale up testing and show in-house that on a database of the size and activity level of the company's, there does indeed seem to be a problem with the application. Of course, DerpMaster 2002 is NOT certified for use in Windows 7, but DerpMaster 2011 is, and lucky them! They're willing to provide upgrade licensing for only $500 per seat!

            So that sorts out the cause of the problem, but now the company has a database where 15,000 records out of 300,000 are potentially damaged. Rollback to a database backup prior to the migration is out of the question due to the thousands of transactions per day entered into the system. The only course of action is to spend enormous manpower manually checking and correcting if needed all 300,000 records. The system has to remain operational while this check is done, and further corruption has to be prevented. DerpMaster 2011 is a brand new product, based on an entirely new database platform and as such the CTO has difficulty believing it to be a safe upgrade until its track record is proven. To address the problem of corruption, all desktops are given a Windows XP virtual machine image, to run DerpMaster 2002 in. Over the next two weeks (with the IT staff pulling an average of 3 hours of overtime a night) the corruption in the database is eliminated and operations return to relatively normal. Except now the users have another level of complexity on their desktops accessing an application through a VM interface.

            Oh and by hypothetical I mean it actually happened. So that's why IT departments get annoyed when someone tells them that switching from a proven platform that works for all company functions to a new platform because an end user thinks they should get with the times or they're "doing it wrong".

        • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Darinbob (1142669) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:58PM (#38177426)

          Look at it this way. Your job is to fix things that break. A programmer or engineer's job is not to keep things from breaking but to build a product, test a product, evaluate products, etc. This means they may NEED root access, or to install something other than Microsoft approved products. The big difference I often see is that engineers are working to improve the company's bottom line whereas IT may often be working for themselves. Sure you do extra work, but isn't the whole point of a job to be doing work? One failure I see often is that so many IT people have a generic set of skills and if they're laid off they just head to the next generic job so they may not bother learning what the company actually does or learning who the non-IT employees are; they don't ask "how can I help you and help our company".

          To be fair a lot of problems can stem from IT management. This is where the insular nature tends to start. Management goes and meets other high level managers and IT workers are encouraged to keep their heads down. Productivity is measured with metrics (as soon as the word "metrics" shows up you know it's downhill from there), such as how many tickets can they close and how fast for each. A worker who spends time trying to help users with unusual requirements or problems gets dinged closing fewer tickets than the rest of the team. And of course management actually wants the generic workers with generics skills (aka, MSCEs) as they're cheaper and easier to staff up by using buzzwords in job reqs.

          For instance we lost our two IT people who'd been around the longest and who knew everyone, the ones that everyone relied on, the only two left who understood macs (half the company uses macs and linux). Not sure why they were the ones to go, but the cynical side of me says it's a mix of them having the most stock options and highest pay plus them not being 100% MS indoctrinated.

          I started off in IT (before anyone called it that). We had to go the extra mile because that was the job and the computers we managed belonged to the users' departments anyway they weren't ours to try and control. Being a research lab every single user had a unique set of needs. We had user representatives meeting with us often to plan out budgets and divvy up computer time and disk space. We were absolute a _service_ organization.

        • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

          by SomePgmr (2021234) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:05PM (#38177508) Homepage
          I absolutely have to agree with the bit about developers, if just from my personal experience. I started my career as an admin, then worked as a developer for a few years, then back to being an admin (that does occasional development).

          The developers I worked with really were bright people and could write some pretty amazing stuff in short order. But they were barely able to turn their own machines on before they started writing code. The moment anything went sideways on their workstations they'd threw their hands up and yell at IT. Usually that came with, "I need a newer computer". They (of all people) couldn't troubleshoot what had happened. And like you mentioned, it was usually because of something they'd done. Almost invariably, it was some silly years-old class generator, wonky launcher dock or shitty version-control assistance... something.

          It was a learning experience. I picked up a lot of things that (I think) help me do both jobs better.
        • by mysidia (191772) *

          Now depending on the situation, it may still be a good idea to give developers some more leeway, but only because they need it. It can be a necessary evil, but be sure to have an "software developer" image ready, because they *will* trash their computers and expect you to fix it immediately.

          With great power comes great responsibility. Before allowing the developer elevated access, provide them the image recovery instructions, and no access gets granted until both the developer, and the developer's bo

      • by jaymz666 (34050)

        It's the developers that crash enterprise systems while doing development against the prod database because "The account is read only and won't do any harm".
        To generalise, developers do not care about hogging resources or security unless they are forced to because the deadline is only a couple of days away.

      • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:26PM (#38177180) Journal

        When IT starts unreasonably hindering that, you see the hostility build.

        Actually I think this is a problem somewhat unique to IT. Everyone has a computer at home and therefore thinks they *know* what IT does. They think its just a matter of scale and that the issues they face on their PC are the same ones the IT department deals with. On the other hand hardly anyone runs payroll at home or does the sort of accounting the finance departments handles. The are not doing materials research like the engineering group so they don't constantly second guess those people.

        Most users don't have a clue what is reasonable or not. They only think they do. They don't want to be educated or trained either, they one have their own work to think about, and be don't appreciate there is anything to learn.

        I keep having finance people tell me they want to use Dropbox! Which my department blocks, we are public company, we can't have people putting financial records on Dropbox, because we really don't know who at dropbox can get the data, under what circumstances, etc as they can change their terms whenever. We'd never survive our next SOX audit! What do the users say, "everyone else is using the cloud!", no everyone else is NOT using the cloud for M&A documents, I assure you. They sent some baby photo's to grandma though so they think they get it.

        • Re:Reflections (Score:4, Insightful)

          by deniable (76198) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:58PM (#38177942)
          You see that mostly when discussing storage. "I can buy xTB drives for $100 so why can't I keep all of my kitten emails on the mail server?" Don't get me started on Dropbox/ It's a great service, but it violates all kinds of statutory requirements.
          • Re:Reflections (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Stiletto (12066) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:11PM (#38178462)

            I frequently argue with IT at my company over this kind of crap:

            ME: Our build server keeps filling up. It's only got 40GB you know...
            IT: Please spend 2 hours of your time looking through your directories and deleting 2GB or so you don't need.
            ME: You realize, 2 hours of my time is about what 2 TERRAbytes of hard drive space costs.
            IT: Procuring a hard drive takes 3 months and needs to be approved by senior management.
            ME: I can go to Fry's this afternoon and buy any number of hard drives. There isn't a shortage.
            IT: Just free up some space again and stop bothering us.
            ME: I've had to E-mail you about this once a month for the past 3 months, because we have automated processes that copy builds there nightly.
            IT: Why do you have to be so difficult? Just delete your shit!

            • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Informative)

              by CharlieMurphy (1224048) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:37PM (#38178654)
              Ahh typical know it all user. Nevermind the fact the disk has to be raided, purchased from a storage vendor so it is under maintenance, same amount of disk space purchased for the DR site, and also cater for extra space on backup tapes. But hey, its just IT being an ass, not you...
            • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

              by deniable (76198) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @10:49PM (#38179028)

              Well, why haven't you taken this to management? I've asked my customers to do this in the past. "Sorry, we're locked down but if you can get management to loosen up, we'll be happy to sort it out."

              2 TB costs us about $1000 all up. I guess you're pretty expensive.

            • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

              by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @01:43AM (#38180072)

              Arrogant User : "Our build server just keeps filling up. It's only got 40GB, you know."

              IT: Would you please take a look and see if there's anything you can delete first? How about this directory that is for a 5 year old version of the product?

              AU: NO. I am a very important person and you should just replace the drive with a bigger one! See, Fry's has them for $100.

              IT: So Frys sells Ultra320 SCSI disks for $100?

              AU: OMG, you're using SCSI?! SATA is the ROXZORZ.

              IT: Yeah, except that your build server takes Ultra320 drives.

              AU: GOD, how outdated. Why do we have such a piece of shit? SATA ROXZORS.

              IT: Actually, Ultra320 SCSI is as fast as SATA2...but yes, we asked for the budget for a new server 2 years ago, and upper management denied the request, saying that spending thousands of dollars on hardware and a dozen or more man-hours migrating to the new hardware...wasn't justified.

              AU: I found one on NewEgg. Install it.

              IT: That's nice. If we install it, it a)might not work properly since it hasn't been certified by the vendor and b)the vendor provides us with 4-hour turnaround, 24x7x365 support, but only for authorized parts bought from them. If your drive fails, they won't replace it, and we'll be blamed by management if we can't replace it fast enough and a failure occurs.

              AU: .....

              IT: Did we mention that if the drive fails in a year or two, it's unlikely we'll find a replacement? The vendor guarantees parts availability for these drives, or compatible parts, for several years.

              AU: Uh, I didn't think of that.

              IT: You also didn't think that if we can't find the exact replacement, we're rolling the dice, because different manufacturers have slightly different ideas of what "300GB" is. If other drives are smaller than your "300GB" drive by just one block, we can't use it to replace the drive, because it's in a mirror.

              AU: ......OK, I found one made by Vendorco.

              IT: Yeah, that's great, except it's part of a mirrored pair.

              AU: .....OK, FINE, two of them.

              IT: Great. Are you also going to pay for someone to come in during off-hours and do the swap, and then re-partition the drives? We're talking several hours of someone having to be in the office after-hours. That means overtime.

              AU: ........

              IT: And you're going to justify the downtime to repartition on the build server to management, especially given that there's a release in a few weeks? If the drive swap-out goes badly, will you shoulder the blame for the delay which will strain relationships with our distributors and customers, and screw up profit projections by shifting sales more into the next quarter? And, will you shoulder the blame for 12 developers sitting twiddling their thumbs for 2 days while we rebuild the server?

              AU: ........

              IT: And you're going to fill out the change request forms?

              AI: Change request forms? WTF?

              IT: Yes, the change request forms your boss demanded we complete after we had an upgrade to your development environment server go badly, causing an unexpected 4 hour outage. Upper management agreed and we now have to document everything, have rollback plans, and get sign-offs from upper management and the manager of affected groups, which includes your manager.

              AU: I'll go check for old files that can be deleted.

              IT: Thank you.

        • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:07PM (#38177998) Homepage Journal

          I keep having finance people tell me they want to use Dropbox! Which my department blocks, we are public company, we can't have people putting financial records on Dropbox, because we really don't know who at dropbox can get the data, under what circumstances, etc as they can change their terms whenever. We'd never survive our next SOX audit! What do the users say, "everyone else is using the cloud!", no everyone else is NOT using the cloud for M&A documents, I assure you. They sent some baby photo's to grandma though so they think they get it.

          Want to be an absolute hero to your users? Give them solutions, not excuses.

          Bad IT

          User: I need Dropbox!
          You: No.
          User: Obstructive bastard.

          Good IT

          User: I need Dropbox!
          You: I can't let you use the normal Dropbox because SOX made it illegal, but I can give you an account on our internal encrypted fileserver so you can share documents easily with your coworkers.
          User: Oh, I didn't realize it was a legal issue. Can you show me that fileserver thing?

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Users can be real dicks.. but so can IT guys. Yes it's the IT departments job to keep the system running and secure.. but the whole point of that system is so everyone else can do their work. When IT starts unreasonably hindering that, you see the hostility build.

        And if you're hindering the corporation from doing business, that's a legitimate complaint. But very often you're not, you're just hindering that user from doing something the user wants to do or in the way he wants to do it, even if it's non-essential to the business or there's a corporate approved method of doing it. The IT department is hated because computers are masters at enforcing rules and policies to the letter, even when they make no sense or where your manager would normally look the other way. A

    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp&Gmail,com> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:42PM (#38176852) Homepage Journal

      Why are IT staff treated with near universal contempt?

      One reason might be because that's how IT staff treat everyone else.

      Even when that's true, it's usually because of a combination of stupid end users and end users that are competent but undertrained. Then there are the people with unrealistic expectations. "Whaddaya mean I can't install this program? I'm sales, I earn the profits that pay your ****ing salary, nerd!".

    • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:43PM (#38176862)

      Which in turn is no different from how IT hates dealing with HR, how HR hates dealing with Payroll, how Payroll hates dealing with Accounting, how Accounting hates dealing with Marketing, how Marketing hates dealing with Legal, and how they all hate dealing with Management, who hates dealing with all of these Grunts doing the actual work.

      Corporations today are more about fostering hatred and dislike among the various units that make up the business, rather than working together toward a common goal. That's probably why many Western economies are in the shitter, so to speak. There's no incentive to be productive when you absolutely hate every single person that you have to interact with.

    • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mad Merlin (837387) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:50PM (#38176910) Homepage

      At the core of the problem is that security is a tradeoff between convenience and security. Users like convenience and don't care about security. IT is tasked with (among other things) keeping things secure, and so users see them as making things less convenient. Making things even worse is that people ignorant of technology closer to the top of the organization are fond of instituting security theatre policies, which of course also fall upon IT to implement.

      • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:47PM (#38177332)

        At the core of the problem is that security is a tradeoff between convenience and security.

        This is a little oblique to your point, but what you wrote is a pet peeve of mine having worked on (using and developing) secure systems for a about a decade or so.

        I'd say that the core of the problem is the belief that security is a tradeoff between convenience and security. It's a widespread belief to be sure, but it is wrong-headed and self-defeating.

        Good security implementations put usability foremost. The goal should be to make it as easy as possible for the user to do their job in a secure fashion - make the path of least resistance be the secure path. When security hinders usability that encourages users to try to circumvent which is the worst possible result. Especially because the people most likely to figure out how to circumvent security are the ones who work with the system day in and day out.

    • by JWSmythe (446288)

      And the other reason is the way staff treats IT.

      I am Director of IT for a company of about 30 employees. I hear it all, because everything comes back to me...

      Do you know how many "I want a new computer" requests I get per day? A lot. I'd love to satisfy their requests. Unfortunately, I don't just yank new computers out of my ass. I have to pass the purchase request up the chain of command (the CEO), and I have to justify *why". That conversation is usually

    • Re:Reflections (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rutulian (171771) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:20PM (#38178548)

      You know, it strikes me after reading many of these comments, that the IT structures most people seem to hate are in corporations. I wonder why more departments don't operate the way they do in universities. I mean, most universities have very large networks with independent and disconnected people all trying to do their own things. They all have very different IT needs, and the basic needs of the infrastructure are still there (stability and security). At the same time, the IT departments aren't heavily funded, so they have to make do with what they have. In these situations, I have found the IT departments (the good ones at least) manage fairly well. It basically amounts to a few key strategies:

      1) The network (uptime and security) is the responsibility of ITS. So no rogue wireless access points, no dhcp servers, everybody has a controlled network account with a strict password policy, etc. In return, the users get a single stable network (wired and wireless) from which to do their work. They can get static ip addresses if they need them, domain names for their servers, firewall exceptions, vpn access, domain authentications, single sign-on, mailboxes, network storage, personal webpages, etc. If they need a new network drop they can have one installed, or if a port isn't working they can expect a network guy to take care of it. For the most part, it's an arrangement that works pretty well and I have seen little dispute over it.

      2) Offices with specific software requirements and no time or desire to manage it themselves have IT-managed computers. The software people need is there. The computers work. No administrative access is given. No flexibility in software choice is given. If there is a problem, the IT guys respond quickly and efficiently.

      3) Computer labs and classrooms are run differently based on the needs, but one of the more useful setups I have seen is where complete access to the computer is given for a session, but the the computer wipes and resets itself after a period of inactivity.

      4) Individual users and departments are free to setup their computers however they wish. a) They can go the entirely independent route (most students/staff pick this one). Reasonable assistance from the IT guys can be expected, but it is understood that they are unable to help with everything and that you are on your own if you go against their recommendations. Any computer that connects to the network must conform to the network policy. Anti-virus/anti-malware/strong passwords aren't strictly required, but if the network scanner picks up suspicious activity your computer will be banned until it is fixed. If your network account gets compromised, it will also be shut off until the problem is fixed. b) They can go the semi-IT-managed route (many faculty pick this one), where IT sets up the computer for them based on their software and platform needs. They monitor backups and critical updates for you, and keep an administrative account on your machine to do this, but they don't restrict you from having administrative access to your own machine. If you screw up your machine, you understand that it is your time that is being lost and that, while IT will help you get it back up and running, they aren't able to drop everything else that they are doing and you may have to wait. This usually causes people to be a little more conservative with what they do on their computers. c) Or they can go the fully-IT-managed route (most general purpose workstations and equipment computers are configured this way). They typically have domain logons, no administrator access, and a strict software set. Additional software can be installed as needed, but it has to be done by IT. The primary requirement is that the systems be available for use and not suffer frequent unnecessary downtime.

      It is not a homogenous one-size-fits-all setup for everyone, because it is understood that everybody has different needs. There is a balance between what a budget-strapped IT department can provide and what users need from the network

  • by forkfail (228161) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:38PM (#38176818)

    ... to be the next one true BOFH. They may fall short, and remain PFY's forever, but that doesn't stop them from trying...

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:39PM (#38176826)

    The problem with many IT staff is that they can and often do impose more draconian controls than are strictly required; like lawyers they are simply trying to keep a company or client safe from harm, but they often cannot see that purity must often be sacrificed for the greater good of simply letting a business get work done.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Damn right. The gigantic telco I am working for has symantec cranked all the way up to scan every single file extension. In addition to multiple full scans per day.
      Full disk encryption on every desktop not just laptops.
      And the AD admins decided that just about every option must be set one way or the other in group policies.
      And they wonder why no work gets done on time when the multi-core boxes sit there with full disk queues all day long without doing anything useful at all.

    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:10PM (#38177046)

      #1. The IT techs do NOT (as a rule) "impose more draconian controls than are strictly required". They are TOLD what to do by management.

      #2. If you (as a non-IT and non-management user) want something done differently, then put together a business case and send it up through your manager.

      #3. If your manager gets his/her manager and the other managers to approve and fund it then the IT techs will implement it.

      Yay! Everyone wins! Then we all dance!

      No business case, no funding, no changes.

      And that is the core of the problem. People WANT things because they WANT them. But they don't understand (nor do they want to understand) how their "small change" affects the whole company's IT system.

      • ... and who controls it.

        #1. The IT techs do NOT (as a rule) "impose more draconian controls than are strictly required". They are TOLD what to do by management.

        #2. If you (as a non-IT and non-management user) want something done differently, then put together a business case and send it up through your manager.

        Back at a previous employer, I administrated 6 servers running various flavors of *NIX, hosting some of our engineering applications. Over the vociferous objections of our IT department. They were charging us (departmental funny money) $40K per month per server that they supported. Administrating 6 servers consumed approximately 10% of my time. So I figure I'm worth $28.8 million a year. Yeah, right. But the sticking point was a requirement imposed upon us at the time by the FAA to

  • My users love me (Score:4, Informative)

    by trolman (648780) * on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:41PM (#38176848) Journal
    Well most of my users love me. At the annual party I get cheers. Everyone complements the IT staff work verbally and in writing. Once in a while a hater will hate. Really all it takes is to treat the users like people and things will work out just fine.

    I figure that out of every hundred users there is going to be at least one hater. I have three haters. If you are IT and feel disrespected it is probably by the few selfish and self-centered people. Just ignore their phobia and treat them like adults. One day they will grow up or get pushed aside.

  • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte AT drunksnipers DOT com> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:43PM (#38176858) Homepage

    How often have you heard things like "My nephew is good with computers, he could do X"?

    In the short history that computers exist we've made them too simple so that the average person thinks it's not complicated to keep those things running correctly (or develop new and better versions of it). The average person thinks a car (or even airplane for that matter) is more complicated than a computer. And this believe also translates towards the price they are willing to pay for it. Although that's not a bad thing, expect when you expect a Trabant to perform like a Ferrari.

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Are you suggesting that computers are more complex than airplanes? Maybe if you're talking about the nuts & bolts of how the silicon works, but at the sysadmin level, no way. If my email client is crashing, that is not a problem on a level with figuring out why an airplane went down. I expect the IT department to be able to fix it out without reinstalling Windows. If they can't, then I think I'm justified in criticizing them.

      • on the email client in question. We've had a user with Outlook so messed up that wiping the computer was the best option. We probably could have figures out the cause, but would you rather wait a week for us to get that done, or an hour to restore an image?
    • How often have you heard things like "My nephew is good with computers, he could do X"?

      In the short history that computers exist we've made them too simple so that the average person thinks it's not complicated to keep those things running correctly

      It's not. Computers are essentially maintenance free these days. I mean what maintenance does a computer require these days? Security updates? They apply automagically, on my computer while I'm asleep. Software updates, pretty much all automatically. Defrag? Windows does this during it's quiet times. What do you actually think is required for a computer to keep it running correctly? Keep it virus free, but that pretty much applies to a car too (don't crash). If you actively need to do maintenance on a compu

  • by Daneurysm (732825) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:50PM (#38176904)
    I used to work in IT. When I was in IT I figured the reason we were so generally hated was that whenever we pop up it's to fix something that is broken or to change something that isn't. So either we showed up at an emergency or we showed up to create one...or at least I was sure that's how it was perceived. Most of the time it was to roll out changes of some sort. This never went over well. Add to that the difficulty of grabbing an IT guy for a moment for something small "sorry, fill out a ticket" sounds very cold. Of course if we didn't adhere to that system nothing would ever get done.

    As seen from the IT department it's a dynamic issue, and a rather complicated one at that.

    Now that I'm no longer in the IT department and have to deal with the IT department I'm pretty everybody hates the IT department because fuck those guys.
    • by Stevecrox (962208) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:35PM (#38177810) Journal
      No in my experiences it is IT's insistence on security practices with zero thought on how this will impact the end user. A few examples:

      I was looking after a Jenkins server for a project we were running, Jenkins was running on the latest version of Tomcat with a Java 6 runtime. However due to customer requirements there was also a Java 5 runtime which as being used to generate the build. IT felt the need to un-install the JDK 5 and upgrade the the machine's Java 6 (to the version with Oracle in its name). The removal didn't update the Java_Home directory causing Tomcat not to work. They decided to do this just as we were starting an Integration & Test phase for a major release. The Jenkins server was linked to me on their records but at no point did they think to mention it to me.

      Same Jenkins server, this was running fine and suddenly the builds starting failing. 3 hours of investigation later I find out its because the Jenkins server password has been changed. Never mind the server username was the name of the project (e.g. projectXYZ). IT came up with a new policy which stated all server accounts needed to be > 48 characters and they had changed them all without notifying a single person on the project.

      How about when IT decided that in a software house no one needed Admin access, which would be fine except they tried to forbid admin access on projects which were developing software which required Admin access (for a number of reasons). Those projects had to go up to the business director and have him shout at the IT head to fix it.

      Or the fact they decided no one should have USB. A great idea except I was working on an embedded project (along with a dozen other projects) which required an unencrypted usb stick to load the software on to the test rig. Once they realised how many people had a problem they tried to limit it. But when your working on a 5 man team only allowing 1 person to transfer files causes you to loose a lot of man hours.

      I can think of dozens of other examples, none of them were dictated by upper management. People hate IT because IT doesn't look at how to better help people work.
    • by King_TJ (85913) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:05PM (#38177988) Journal

      I've worked in I.T. for about 20 years and still do.

      The secret to keeping my sanity, though, has been sticking with only smaller businesses where I had more say-so. I think when you look at larger companies, I.T. becomes another big department tasked with implementing the whims of upper management. That puts I.T. workers right in the line of fire when a change is unpopular, yet they're not even able to articulate a good reason for the change to the upset employees challenging them. All they can say is, "Just doing what we were told." which comes across as a cop-out, or at the very least, a reason to express disapproval at them, hoping they'll report it to their superiors who CAN do something about it.

      Where I work, I'm the only person doing the I.T. full-time. Sure, we have outside consultants we bring in on a case-by-case basis, since I can't do everything (or at least, do it efficiently) by myself. But all in all, I get to run the environment the way I see fit. That means I have to explain myself to the owners occasionally, and we do hold regular meetings to catch everyone up on the future plans and make sure they don't have reasons to veto them. As long as I keep in mind their budgetary limitations and don't propose changes that aren't cost justifiable though, they usually go with what I suggest.

      I can't speak for everyone working there, but overall I get the idea that people are satisfied with the way our I.T. is managed. I'm always amazed when my friends tell me stories of new employees needing wait days just to get their Windows account or email mailbox activated. I've made sure to always get a new hire up and running with their PC and phone on their desk in a matter of 30 minutes or less after they start. We're small enough that when people call with problems, I can usually just go over to their desk in person and get it fixed for them while they wait, too. I think the personal interaction helps a lot, so I.T. isn't viewed as some faceless division of the company that you leave voicemails with when you have issues. I do run an automated web site filter and proxy, but it's configured to only block sites in a few categories we simply can't let people surf while "on the clock" (such as porn or sites known to distribute viruses and spyware). I let them use anything else freely, and tried my best to get management to understand that THEY are the ones empowered to handle problems in that area, not me. (EG. If your employee is constantly on Facebook and not getting work done, you should take note of that as their manager and discipline them accordingly. Blocking Facebook for everybody doesn't fix the problem, because that's a passive "fix" for the problem employee. He/she never gets called to the carpet for their own actions, so he/she winds up wasting company time in some other manner, like Facebook from their own mobile phone.)

  • by hessian (467078) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:50PM (#38176908) Homepage Journal

    Pro-IT:

    1. IT staff are asked to make computers work, when computers are a complex interaction between hardware and software, most of which is shaped by commercial interests for their own profit or created by non-profits with no interest in business use.
    2. Users tend to be unreliable, inarticulate and lack the ability to remember basic procedures in reporting errors.
    3. Businesses inevitably strangle IT for funding where it needs it, preferring to spend on the salaries of managers, touchy feelgood "training," and gee-whiz gizmos that achieve very little.

    Con-IT:

    1. IT managers have difficulty standing up to the demands from marketing and management in order to insist on what is likely instead of what "might be possible."
    2. Most people in IT have poor social skills and aren't as smart as they think they are, leading to them projecting an aura of arrogance that offsets users. Sympathy for the user is often lacking.
    3. Because IT is a hot topic job, the kiss-asses get promoted over the competent and stable, which leads to a proliferation of incompetents while the heroes get driven into the back room.

  • by jaymz666 (34050) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:51PM (#38176920)

    What's IT? help desk? Sysadmins? Developers? etc.

  • My experience (Score:4, Interesting)

    by koan (80826) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @05:56PM (#38176962)

    Primarily dealing with end users, they are ignorant (not stupid most of the time) and feel inadequate, as though they should know how to solve their problems but they don't, an attitude that is about as realistic as being handed an F-14 fighter manual and told you will be flying tomorrow.
    What happens when I come into contact with them is they are primed and expecting to feel dumb so they do, and it's some how my fault, God forbid I dumb the explanation down and they "catch on" to that, "I'm not stupid you know" yes yes that's why you're here talking to me.

    To be fair my delivery does need work, I am sure something close to sarcasm leaks out on occasion, I just never saw myself as their therapist.

    With management, I have to say I don't get management, they seem to be baby sitters and I don't need sitting, I am autonomous and some seem threatened by that.
    They have their own set of issues all of which seem to be created to appear they are needed, created out of sheer ignorance (Peter Principal) or just simple minded D-bags that some how got promoted and now you have to deal with them or rather their egos and egos don't make good business/management/IT decisions.

  • by realmolo (574068) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:00PM (#38176986)

    The fundamental problem is that most people don't understand that while they think that piece of software they want installed is PERFECT for their needs, it might not be something that integrates well into the rest of the company's systems.

    The IT department KNOWS that any new system/software that is brought in has the potential to stick around for YEARS, and that it is likely that someone will want to integrate the data generated by that system/software into some OTHER system. Contrary to popular belief, not every file can be opened by every program. Not easily or cheaply anyway.

    Basically, IT wants to make sure that we don't get into a situation where we are FORCED to develop expensive custom software (or expensive support procedures) because some non-IT management-type decided they wanted to use MS Publisher to create webpages.

  • Personal experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:01PM (#38176990) Homepage

    In my experience, doing IT support is inherently a thankless job. Lots of people who do it are bad at their jobs, but the people receiving the support are rarely in a position to evaluate the competency of their support personnel, which makes things difficult. Even if you've done a really good job, the person you're supporting might not think so. If you're doing a crappy job, they might not know that either.

    And a big part of the problem is that, by the nature of the job, if someone is calling you, they're probably already frustrated. They're trying to do something and their computer broke. They've probably already made a few attempts to fix things themselves. Often enough, they've put off asking for help for a little while already, and they're only contacting you now because the problem has hit the point of crisis. So now, then they're completely frustrated and pissed off, they call you, and they're looking for someone to be angry at. Guess what? That someone is you.

    And often enough, you have to tell people that they can't have what they want. It's part of the job. Some employee wants Microsoft Publisher installed, but their boss has said not to buy them a license. "I have a disc. Can't you just install it? My son downloaded it for my home computer, so why can't you do that? If my son can do it, surely you can figure it out?!" Nope. Sorry, I'm not allowed to pirate. I'm not allowed to give you access to this file or that file without some manager's approval. I can't just buy you a new computer-- not unless your boss has budgeted for it.

    The job requires dealing with people when they're at the end of the rope, and even then telling them "no". They're not going to like you most of the time. But they need you, and if you do a good job, they'll like you more than the alternative. It's what you need to settle for.

  • where to begin.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by uncanny (954868) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:02PM (#38176998)
    Lets see, i'm a fire alarm technician where we have about 40 buildings networked together.
    We wanted to upgrade our network and the easiest way to do it would be to set up our own wireless mesh network. Our IT department said "no, wireless networks are our business and you cant set up your own" even though ours would operate on the emergency channels and have nothing to do with them. They whined to management and now we cant set up our stuff.
    So they said "hey, use our network (internet)" ok, so we gave that a try. One big problem, when the building loses power, it loses it's internet, and we cant have our panels not monitored. so now we are stuck using phone lines with internet as a backup.
    And half the time they cant even do a simple thing like provide a jack with a set IP address for us. They even tried to take away admin controls on OUR computers that aren't even hooked up to their network

    if they had just stayed out of it, we would have a very nice and reliable system set up. But i dont hate them, i'm just taking note of all their failures so next time they say "let us do it" i can show how bad of an idea that really is.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:32PM (#38177234)

      If they want you to use their network, then their network needs to meet your needs. If they want to use a particular network for a certain task (FERPA, HIPPA, PCI, Emergency Response, whatever) then they have technical, as well as legal, requirements to satisfy in the configuration and maintenance of that network. Additionally, if it is something that requires 24/7 access and support then they need to have adequate SLAs to provide the level of service demanded.

      It sounds like the problem here was 3 fold. (1) You didn't adequately justify your demands with supporting documentation and requirements, (2) the IT group either didn't understand the request or failed to adequately understand the level of support/service you required, and/or (3) management failed to understand the difference between the two network types being proposed and/or the costs/benefits of doing it the way it is being done vs the way it needs to be done.

      Depending on the organization and heirachy you may simply need to find the person who makes decisions and make your case. The CTO and/or Security Architect should (in theory) understand the argument that people / safety is the #1 priority and the dangerous consequences of inadequate disaster (yes, a power loss is a form of disaster) preparedness.

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:47PM (#38177334)

      I work at an industrial plant. There's three tiers of network. One managed by our control systems group (with a comical emergency stop button to isolate the firewalls). One managed by IT globally with a lovely call centre in another country which we need to call so they can spend half an hour typing up an assignment to our local on site IT crew. And one inbetween network which essentially is computers owned by the engineers and control systems group, but we're not allowed to have admin rights too.

      This crossing over of duties is by far the single worst idea in the world. The IT machines run like a dream and it's easy to get things done. The Control System machines run like a dream and it's easy to get things done. The ones in the middle are a clusterfuck of bureaucracy. It often ends up being a case of we know how to fix it, but we don't have the rights. IT have the rights but don't know how to fix it, and then there's a few hours worth of discussion before someone is allowed to do something really simple, and worst of all the fixes are usually quite critical. The single most frustrating issue we have though is security updates.

      IT don't allow us to do our own security updates (and rightfully so), but these machines aren't managed by IT only administered by them so they can't apply security updates for us, and we can't apply security updates due to lack of admin rights, and round it goes again.

      I will never forget our new radio system. Several repeaters over multiple sites, all hooked together with redundant fibre, some of the site controllers had managed switches that made this in my opinion one of the most complicated network to ever have only 5 machines on it, complete with VoIP routing between the repeaters. All of this was learnt and set up by us within 1 month. ... It took 9 months for IT to approve a link between a VPN box and my machine so we could remotely administer this box which sat in a shed.

      IT is like the government. A big bureaucratic nightmare.

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:05PM (#38177014)

    My anecdote. My new office mate moved into my office. IT did their duty and moved his gear, but setup the KVM switch incorrectly, so he got the wrong two displays on the wrong system. IT's response..."let him fix it". Um, no, assholes, your lazy asses set it up incorrectly. Even though we have the technical ability to set it up ourselves, your stupid IT policies won't let us. So when YOU screw it up, you can come back and fix it.

    This is why we all hate IT.

  • Selling IT (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mseeger (40923) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:22PM (#38177152)

    Usually the IT department is not very good at selling things. Being technically right is no replacement for explanations. If you take some extra time, you can give things a completely different spin.

    I have seen very successful IT departments which were headed by marketing/sales guys. They just focused on selling what their department was doing and why. For technical decisions they had their staff. They were much better off (budget- and apprecion-wise) than the average IT department.

    It is a typical mistake in IT departments to think the manager has to know about every topic. Therefor the best technical guys often become abysmal managers.

    Yours, Martin

  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:27PM (#38177184)

    Slashdotters will have a skewed perception of IT anyway.

    The articles says "a department that is, after all, designed to help and support workers". For certain classes of users, this could not be further from the truth.

    Last time I called IT, they commented on how little I called them. This is because the only reason I call them is for the occasional forgotten password. Everything else, I know it's going to take less time and frustration if I fix it myself. Yes, I know that some people who do this are rogue users who should be shot.

    My department hates IT because they have to carry out the ridiculously over-protective policies forced on a large government department. And because the policy is designed for an army of clerical workers when we are an R&D organization.

    They actually want to impose VDI on all of us - you have to justify not having it. Everyone I work with has a mix of custom tooling (users AND developers) that means that making a virtual machine image for each of them, or even for each user group, would be a nightmare. We are the least suitable set of users for VDI I can imagine, but hey, since we're the "tech guys", we get to be the guinea pigs and try it out first.

    They're experimenting with Windows 7 - but not with 64-bit versions, which some of our apps are starting to need, because the enormous suite of software they install to enforce policy doesn't have a 64-bit version yet.

    They changed our anti-virus from Symantec, which ate about 10% CPU time when checking, to McAfee, which eats about 40%. I/O heavy processes that used to take around 2 minutes now take 8. They got McAfee free in a bundle - it's a shame about the cost to our productivity. The snoopware that checks every path on your drive - including ones inside archives (yes, including jars - we're mostly Java developers) will thrash your disk for about 20 minutes and then will consume a whole CPU core for another 10 zipping up the list to send back to base. Since the change of antivirus, reading all those files of course also thrashes the CPU. This grinds some of our machines to a halt so well that you can watch the display being rendered, one raster line at a time.

    Not a day goes past without my colleague cursing because his machine is doing the bidding of the IT department instead of compiling his code.

    But what about the things they do for us? The things we ask for?

    If you ask for software that's not sold by one of our official suppliers, they'll subcontract one of them to : buy it for you, mark it up 10% and then deduct the whole cost from your budget. Once this process took 13 weeks - by which time, the job the software was intended to speed up was already complete.

    If you lock out your email account, they tell you to get in touch with your "local email admin". You can't get into the address book to find out who that is, without your email account.

    To be honest, I ran out of anecdotes in that department there, because I barely ask them for anything ; as I said, it's easier to do it myself.

    We get that IT is a department that perceives the majority of users to be hapless idiots who would install a worm that caused Armageddon in exchange for a smiley pack for their IM client. To be honest, as developers, we can really sympathise with that sometimes. But we get very frustrated being tarred with the same brush, because the tar makes doing our job so much harder.

  • by godrik (1287354) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:29PM (#38177200)

    I usually need a lot of tools because I have a versatile job. As a researcher in a university in a close R&D department, I often have to test tools and analyse data that come a little bit from everywhere.

    Often I have root access on my machines. Once I did not have root privilege on my desktop because of "security policy". I ended up asking IT to install software frequently. For some reason the IT guy believed he could do my job better than me and knew which tools I need better than me. Every time, the IT asked me stupid question, like
    "why do you need an installation of pdflatex? you have latex already!!"
    "well, the journal we are submitting to uses pdflatex and our article does not compile."
    "In my experience, journal use latex"
    "!? well, this one doesn't"
    "I see. Why don't you install it on your home directory?"
    "I could, but installing a latex distribution manually is a nightmare. As root, it only requires installing one package and let the package manager do its job. In 10 minutes it is installed, properly configured and will update automatically with the system."
    "Latex is not updated very often, so the automatic updates are not very useful. You could install it based on a chroot in your home directory" ... it went like that for about 20 minutes
    Two days later:
    "Could you install ruby on our computing nodes?"
    "Why do you need ruby? It is not a very good programming language and it is significantly less efficient than alternatives like python."
    "Because I need tool-foo which is written in ruby."
    "Oh I see. Instead of tool-foo, you could use tool-bar which is written in java and does almost the same thing."
    "Well, I need tool-foo because tool-bar does not have a feature I need."
    "Which feature? In my experience users ask for many different tools without wondering if another tool happen to have the proper features." ... It went like that for 30 minutes.
    the week after
    "Could you install git on my machine and on our computing nodes?"
    "Why do you need git?"
    "To have versioning of my code and experiement"
    "We have an svn server, why don't you use that?"
    "because the svn server has a limited capacity and it relies on accessing the network, which is not accessible on our computing nodes. But git is point to point and works great over ssh."
    "I see. I guess we could set up a git server to synchronize the machine..."
    "Well, I don't need a git server. I just need the git package to be installed"
    "... so I need to install a new virtual machine. But I will need to connect it to the LDAP. Oh yes the problem of accessing from the computing nodes, so I could modify the settings of the firewall..."
    "I don't need a git server I just need git. I'll synchronize on the file system"
    "... but if I change the setting of the firewall, you could access the SVN server. So why don't you use SVN?"
    "because the SVN server will never support the load I am going to push to the repository"
    "I see. In my experience, people in university use git mainly to contribute to open source software and not for actually working."
    "... *sigh*"

    I let you imagine the day I requested a kernel update...

  • by gatkinso (15975) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:43PM (#38177304)

    Development machines should be on a separate network that IT is forbidden from touching. A network that is insulated from the corporate office network.

    Most IT departments simply cannot deal with their corporate users... when they end up in the engineering department conflicts ensue, and the engineers 1) are usually right, and 2) well, they are funding everyone's paycheck, so in a sense they can't be wrong.

    What happens with the secretaries and suits... well the IT types can go right ahead and have their way.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @06:56PM (#38177416)

    And when I've worked in ITish positions, nobody seemed to hate me. Of course, our current department is full of excellent, skilled and emotionally stable folks (the rest were fired or quit), and I've always gone out of my way to be helpful when asked a question. Maybe there are some clues here.

  • by Streetlight (1102081) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:10PM (#38177558) Journal
    My wife works for a very good company that depends heavily on modern technology. IT supports a VPN so that she can use her company supplied laptop at home if it's necessary. IT keeps changing the interface connection to the VPN as well as he access to her private and public company directories without telling anyone. She finds this out every time she brings he computer home. She ends up spending an hour or so trying to figure out how to connect to the VPN then to her online company storage. Usually she has to call IT from home and, if she gets in touch with a person that knows what happened, the IT person spends considerable time figuring out what went wrong and reinstalling the necessary aps. To restate: this happens every time she brings her laptop home. By the way, the laptop is connected to the company's intranet continuously at while she's at work. You ask why folks hate IT. Pretty obvious to me.
  • by SolusSD (680489) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @07:33PM (#38177798) Homepage
    Part of the reason is most companies hire incompetent morons to staff their IT departments. Just b/c you passed a few certification tests doesn't mean you can tell your face from your ass.
  • by cliffjumper222 (229876) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @08:07PM (#38178006)

    Our IT team is really the best. They are hugely popular with the staff and I can't imagine a better team. It's a 100+person R&D facility with 3 IT people. Here's how they do it:

    1. Invisible firewall - there is one, but you can FTP, ssh, etc. to your heart's content without noticing it. It's even possible to run P2P apps. Of course, if it's non-work related then you're signing your own pink slip. Also, they do audit all PC applications on the network remotely, but I've never been queried and I run some really odd apps sometimes.
    2. Simple to use Help ticket system - and they're fast in responding.
    3. Adequately staffed - that helps.
    4. No restriction on smartphones hooking up to the Exchange server - company doesn't pay for any phones or service though.
    5. Multiple VPN services available, so if one doesn't work, try another. Worse case, SSL VPN is available or webmail over SSL. Helpful when traveling abroad or visiting companies that block VPN ports.
    6. Support for Windows & Linux, but if you want to run a Mac you can. They'll support you as much as they know.
    7. Software purchased under $2000 doesn't need to be vetted, reviewed, quoted or anything else. Just buy it on the dept credit card - with your manager's approval of course.
    8. Printers everywhere - we are a printer company, so that helps, but we have competitor's products too, so if one fails and you're waiting for it to be repaired, you have at least two others to print to easily.
    9. Copious amounts of network storage for shared files. All RAID. All backed up.
    10. Large email quotas, which are instantly upgraded for power-users.
    11. Overall a can-do, but pragmatic response to requests - want a load of email or docs archived? They won't waste their time or yours burning DVD's, but they will copy it to an HD and vacuum pack it for you.
    12. Finally, no, and I really mean no, draconian controls or policies. Just don't set up a rouge WiFi AP or download porn. Basically, the cardinal rule is - get your work done and be a star.

  • by jklovanc (1603149) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @09:55PM (#38178752)

    It goes something like this;
    If someone is asked to approve a complex project that would take years to understand they generally trust the recommendations of the experts and say yes or no. They generally do not ask for changes that do not understand.

    On the other hand, when people are asked to approve a project the understand or think they understand, like the construction of an outhouse, they are very likely to make suggestions and demands on specifics of the project. Should there be a hole in the door, If so what shape? etc.

    Some of the frustration from IT is that ever dev tends to think they are "special". Yes, you may want to use the IDE you are used to but since IT does support that IDE they do not have any way of certifying that the IDE, or supporting installs, do not have security holes that can compromise the network. If there is a hole and it is exploited it is IT and not the user that gets in trouble. Possibly the IDE does not work well with the standard IDE and even though you may be more productive you may be causing other devs to waste time. Your builds may not be compatible with the production builds because your IDE uses different libraries. Even if you can prove that you are actually special you are among the X number of "special" people in the company each with "special" rules that have to be kept track of by every member of the IT team. There are many things that a dev does not see that go into creating a saleable or usable product.

    One of the biggest issues that users have with IT is their seemingly frustrated and dismissive attitude. There are a couple of sources for this.
    1. When an IT person refuses a seemingly simple request it may be due to the fact that IT wanted exactly that to happen but have been overruled by someone higher up. The IT person is not frustrated with you but is frustrated with having to shell out the party line that the IT department does not want to support but is forced to.
    2. The refusal may also be due to best practices, investigation and experience that the user does not have. The IT person has taken years to acquire this knowledge and is not going to try to condense it down into a 30 second course for every user that makes a request. Sorry but "works on my home computer" is not a good enough answer for a corporate environment. Just because someone is a dev does not make them a network or security expert. Many devs these days are code monkeys that know little about how large networks or development departments operate.

    3. Many times a dev comes up with an issue that should have been known before hand if the dev thought about it and made the proper request for an adjustment. Since that was not done the dev now wants the IT person to drop everything they were doing and fix the dev's issue. I hate to say this but the IT department is not sitting around on their hand waiting for emergency requests to come in from devs. I have seen this poster in many places;"Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part". So now the dev wants a seemingly simple change to a server and it told to wait. What the dev does not know is that the small change may effect the test and production servers. What needs to be changed to accommodate the request? Those test images may be invalid and have to be re-done (test will wipe servers many times during testing). Will this change break other software on the prod server? A simple, " I need to use a new version of X" or "I need to use this package" request could have huge ramifications.

    Many devs, even "senior" devs, I have worked with tend to be myopic and focus on how a decision effects them without looking how it effects the rest of the employees. One issue is the USB memory stick issue. It has become a major security hole mainly because Windows allows an autorun when a USB stick is plugged in ( that is a stupid decision by Microsoft). Even if there is a "do you want to run this" prompt too many users just automatically click yes. Many IT departments have outlawed them because they cause

  • by 9jack9 (607686) on Sunday November 27, 2011 @12:00AM (#38179478)

    I knew a renegade IT professional once. Man he was good. You could set your system on fire and he'd restore it from the ashes using a spare hard drive he had in his back pocket, the old monitor that you didn't know was gathering dust behind the file cabinet, the backup you didn't know had been run, a piece of gold duct tape, and a penny.

    He fought for the users. He wouldn't dress the dress code and he sneered at standardization. He'd install VMS on your sneakers or Linux on a pocketwatch if he thought you needed it, and if he didn't think you needed it, you didn't actually need it.

    He read everyone's email, knew everyone's passwords, and kept everyone's secrets. Asset Management had to just trust him, because they certainly weren't ever going to get him to actually explain where everything went. Once he touched a piece of equipment, he owned its soul, and it was his. You could take a system across the country and lock it in a closet and when he whistled, it would gnaw off the security cable and brave mountains, deserts, snow, and rain to make its way home to him.

    There was no better person to have on your side when the chips were down. He'd repair a crucial DVD by licking it just right, recover a crashed drive with a precision tap, and restore a cluster by whispering secret endearments to it in a forgotten language. He once kept the CEO's presentation running by bypassing the failed router with his body.

    Did I mention? He fought for the users. Stuff worked in his wake. It usually wasn't pretty, it usually wasn't the standard answer, but dammit, it worked.

    He got laid off. Upper management didn't see the value-add. They never do. Idiots.

System going down in 5 minutes.

Working...