Letters to Redmond
September Reader Letters: IT Pros Fight Back
Readers share their thoughts on the changing IT landscape, the return of Microsoft's Windows Start button, administrator headaches and more.
In his July 2013 column, "14 Reasons to Fire Your IT Staff," Windows Insider columnist Greg Shields wrote: "Complacency is the enemy of progress, and too often IT pros with a modicum of 'secret knowledge' hold their employers hostage to it. They cite slippery reasons for security, best practices, laissez-faire and hand-waving in order to prevent useful changes from happening. Sometimes your IT pros don't have the company's interests at heart." He listed 14 red flags that signal an IT pro gone bad -- and his column ruffled more than a few feathers.
I strongly disagree with Shield's red flag No. 1: "[Watch out for] a lobbyist for a Windows 8 Start button. Progress means sometimes evolving the UI."
Disliking and rejecting a technology that's crammed down our throats just because -- one that's also disruptive and will confuse our users' workflow, increase implementation costs, reduce productivity and require a complete retraining of users -- is actually the hallmark of a good admin.
A bad admin is one who blindly says, "Yes, Microsoft, we'll accept what you put out regardless of how stupid it is or how much it will disrupt our office."
Fire someone for perpetuating the negative UX with Start button changes in Microsoft Windows? I'd probably hire that guy over anyone who thinks it's a movement in the right direction.
How much market share did Microsoft lose recently? Legacy IT is legacy.
Cloud computing is here and Windows is going to be on the decline until Microsoft fires Ballmer and gets a visionary leader in the door.
Some of this list I can agree with but there are a couple items that are total nonsense: "Requests spend more time in committee than getting provisioned" and "an administrator is still creating user accounts instead of leaving that to HR."
You can't blame those two items on an admin. Those are business-driven problems.
If a company's change control committee drags its feet at approving requests, that's not the fault of the admin. And it's not an admin's fault if the business can't get its act together in a timely manner.
The same goes for suggesting that an admin should just magically automate Active Directory account creation. If the business won't spend the money required to implement such a solution, or if the business won't adopt such a practice, it's not the admin's fault.
I know some IT managers and CTOs that should be fired immediately according to those two items alone. To blame an admin for a job that higher-level jobs should be doing is lame.
Damning IT professionals without a note on their real-world budget problems, business pressures and logistical constraints?
Do you trust the cloud? Do you trust Gartner? Do you understand Microsoft licensing costs and complexity for the small to midsize business? Maybe the cloud will eventually eat into Microsoft's core software licensing business and provide unicorn app nirvana, but in reality it's a big world out there with many different dependencies. Sweeping statements like Shields' allow CEOs and directors to launch new project demands without asking or understanding the reality.
15th reason to fire your IT staff: They can't keep up-to-date on the latest technologies because they're too busy putting out fires trying to run existing tech on servers that should've been replaced years ago. Their skills are out-of-date because they can't afford to take any time off for training, much less pay for it and then have some time to digest the material and experiment with it.
Fire your IT staff and move to the cloud. Hand your requirements to sales reps and reminisce fondly about the days when you had your own staff with your own change control board instead of being at the whim of contractors.
This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.