Saturday, 14 January 2012

Understanding a network

Recently I've been spending time with several prospective clients and I've found a few quite horrible things. The common, awful things stem from a complete lack of disclosure by the incumbent IT support consultants. In one instance, one of the clients aren't even allowed to have administrator access to their systems! They can't add or remove users, or perform any basic administrative functions. They are being kept in the dark and spoonfed bullshit by the IT guys. So when they get a hugely expensive proposal to upgrade their systems, the first, maybe even the second time they fall for it and finally they call someone else in to look at it.

What I've found is awful - barely ethical behaviour by the IT consultants, systems with non-genuine software and lies to the client. Networks that are probably capable of so much more being poorly managed - even by basic standards. For example, several of them have multiple sites with poor data delivery - but rather than look at the bandwidth as an issue, the IT guy is telling them the servers are under performing, but an analysis of the system shows plenty of overhead available in disk, cpu and memory capacity. The bandwidth is the problem, but again, rather than work on that, and fix some poorly configured routers, there are inaccurate reports of server issues - for example "the server is running out of RAM, that's why it goes slow..." but checking the RAM shows that there is plenty free and the system isn't swapping at all.

I just find this completely unethical. Why not consider some different options if things aren't working properly? It's been my experience that a client is willing to accept that new ideas come up and give different options for an office to be more productive. It's also been my experience that a client won't be looking to replace an IT consultant unless they are very unhappy and willing to risk the potential for damage to systems for the opportunity to get a more reliable system that they can trust and at the end of the day that's what this is all about - trust.

Without trust then the relationship is over. It's very obvious but people get lazy and without checking to make sure they are looking after their clients, well sloppy behaviour becomes prevalent and then its time for someone else to take over, with the client paying an awful lot of expense both in time and pain of changeover, plus the loss of valuable site knowledge.


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