As MCP Magazine is learning, change can expose you to some unexpected challenges.
The Ouch Factor
As <i>MCP Magazine</i> is learning, change can expose you to some unexpected challenges.
- By Linda Briggs
Change is painful, as we all know. I’ve been reminded
of that lately because MCP Magazine was recently
acquired by a new and rapidly growing company called 101communications.
That in itself wasn’t really painful, although severing
emotional ties to the previous owner of five years was
tough. In fact, the acquisition promises some long-term
gain for all of us.
But the transition process… ouch! Moving staff,
many of whom work from remote outposts, to new networks
and procedures and infrastructures has been, well, agonizing.
Like each of you, we’re not part of a business that
can come to a grinding halt, or even a temporary slow-down,
while a new email system is put into place or while our
Web sites are moved to new servers. Nor can we pause while
each staff member is issued a new computer and those 150M
.PST files are exported and then imported. We have to
get a magazine into your hands every 30 days and keep
several heavily trafficked Web sites up and running, just
as you have to continue producing whatever it is that
drives your company or clients. So we’ve been slogging
along, through numerous miscommunications, system down
time, loss of server permissions, missing email, mis-mailed
paychecks, and strange Web server problems. Through it
all, I’ve been thinking of you.
If you’ve been through an acquisition, and figures
I’ve read show that a fifth of companies these days
either have been or will be merged or acquired, this story
is nothing new to you. These are the sorts of things that
happen whenever two companies merge and combine systems.
And here’s why I’ve thought of readers: In many
ways, this is the same kind of misery that we’ll
all be going through with a move to Windows 2000. Pain.
Unsettled feelings. Newness. Unfamiliar ways to do things.
Arguments over who’s in charge of what. Time wasted
that you didn’t have in the first place.
For this issue’s cover story, we asked our top writers
and editors to look at Windows 2000 from both sides—the
cool new stuff they can’t wait to implement and the
“hey, what happened to…” complaints. Although
their remarks are indicative of much of what’s exciting—and
what’s missing—in the new product, we really
won’t know for many months what sort of pain a migration
will elicit. There simply aren’t enough companies
out there that have gone through them. As Michael Chacon
remarked in his January “NT
Insider” column, “The cautious majority
[of network administrators] will watch with a careful
eye and then follow behind, plucking the arrows out of
the backs of predecessors and marking their locations.”
One thing is certain: The migration is gonna hurt. Knowing
that going in, and accepting it, might help when a key
server is down, users are screaming for access, and you’re
wondering exactly why you chose this career, after all…
If you’ve experienced a merger or acquisition in
which systems had to be combined, I’d like to know
what worked and what failed. You can email me at email@example.com
Linda Briggs is the founding editor of MCP Magazine and the former senior editorial director of 101communications. In between world travels, she's a freelance technology writer based in San Diego, Calif.