Here in the IT world it is easy to get an ego about what we do. I don’t know why that is, only that if you ask people in or who deal with IT regularly, they would likely agree. It’s something that we have to recognize and avoid having it interfere with the service that we provide the business.
Today I had a client that has had, according to IT, a very troublesome and needy department. In recent history they had some wireless issues with their hardware, they were using Macs while the rest of the company used Windows desktop OS’. More recently, they complained of the wireless network and asked to be directly wired in like some others in their department. Due to the bad taste left in the mouth of the IT personnel, team members were hesitant to so much as address this issue, much less diagnose it and come to some resolution. This issue had been going on for over a week until the CTO caught wind of the issue and dispatched me to assist in coming up with a solution.
The department in question was indeed having issues as they were working with files several Gigabytes in size while accessing them over the network. They refused (or were unable, citing extreme latency) to work with files locally, reuploading as necessary, and IT refused to yield, citing methodology used by a previous company as being the solution. After gauging what they were trying to do, and their current latency to the internet, I came up with a solution while escorting the IT person on staff out of there as things were beginning to get heated.
After proposing a possible solution to the IT department, I was met with a lot of hostility for working with this other department to come to a solution. The personnel were offended that this department routinely reviewed IT negatively and had an awful reputation, to which the hostility and apathy would only serve to exacerbate. We eventually did get the solution passed and work is going to begin shortly, and perhaps departmental relations can begin improving shortly.
What went wrong here? Based on my descriptions, you may guess that I would blame the rather coarse IT engineer assigned to the task, but that’s not the case. It’s important for both departments to understand that they are each fulfilling the business’ needs. Was the solution revolutionary? No. Can the department function with workarounds until implementation? Absolutely. What we had was an unwillingness to listen on both parts and treat each other as professionals. After the meeting, on my way out the door, I caught the department manager about the fact that we had a solution underway, and a workaround, and why we could not immediately give him what he asked. When the other engineer was there I was unable to explain the situation, but due to the fact that I took his situation seriously and listened to the issues he was having, he was able to be receptive to a workaround until we can get the permanent fix put in place.