The business unit we share our building with had a flood back in July, 2012. A water pipe burst and showered water all over their primary office space and left them with four inches of standing water on the floor.
Unfortunately, they didn’t find out about the burst pipe until the following Monday, when they started showing up for work.
Computers, monitors, printers, carpets, cubicle walls and furniture, all had to be replaced. But…they didn’t replace them.
See, their business group was running about 30% under projections at that time, and they couldn’t do anything to get right again. So instead of buying new stuff, they decided to take the insurance money they got and do a little redecorating.
Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not in charge.
Flash forward to now. Computers which were antiquated then are slogging to the electronics graveyard in zombie-esque staggers, and slowing down the performance of the people who use them. So the division has to cough up some money to buy new equipment NOW, when they’re still 21-25% under where they’re supposed to be. So, the computers being replaced are all Windows XP machines, and the new ones are all Windows 7 machines. It’s a completely different operating system. Foreign if you don’t use a computer at home, or if you haven’t replaced one at home since, say, 2006. Or use a Mac or *nix. So…we have users getting new computers at work, and they don’t know how to use them.
My teacher’s heart breaks when I see this. It’s part of my nature to tell someone what they need to know, whatever it is. If I have the information, I want to share it. On the other hand, if I expect you already KNOW the information, I have little patience for questions or guesses. (My poor, loving spouse can attest to this; I have no idea why my expectations are so much higher of her, but it’s completely unfair and unreasonable. I’m sorry love.)
So this morning, I’ve watched someone who just had a new computer deployed last night struggle all morning with using it. See, the IT support "team" for this business group only shows up once every two weeks. Every OTHER Wednesday now. So, they came in and set up the computer for her, installed brand new versions of software for her, and then set it out on her desk. They continued messing with it until after 4PM, and the user goes home at 4PM. So she was gone when they finally finished.
This morning there’s no one here to tell her how to do things in her new system. So she’s blundering through, trying to figure things out, and I asked if I could help because this is the second person they’ve done this to. I’ve been doing what I can to assist, but I’m not an expert on their systems, and only a marginal excuse for an IT support tech with Windows 7. So I’m limited in what I can help with, and how much.
It’s bad enough so the users prefer their old computers, with all their quirks and sluggishness, to the new ones, because they’re at least familiar with those quirks and have come to expect the sluggishness. (Which, of course, doesn’t stop them from swearing about it or banging their desks and mice over it.) The old and familiar is far preferable, so it seems, to being thrown to the wolves with the new and exciting.
So, I take a few minutes – which I can’t bill for or recover for our business group in any way – and try to talk them off the ledges and show them how cool and fun Windows 7 can be. And, when our company starts rolling out Windows 8, I imagine I’ll have the same fun experience(s) with my own team.
I just hope I can remember to be patient, and kind, and gentle with them. I’ve been able to do that with the other group so far, so I owe it that much more to my own team.
Still, it’s a bit disappointing to find the IT people aren’t doing more to educate and inform users about the new stuff they’re getting. In a perfect world, I guess, they’d be holding their hands through the transition. Instead, they do as little as possible, but that’s true of every IT person I’ve ever known. Including me.
Here’s hoping I can learn from their example…an example of what NOT to do.
How’s it by you all?