I recently got back from my trip to Las Vegas for a Symantec conference. I never really thought that Symantec would be able to throw an event that would hold my interest and actually get me exited, but they pulled through. Just being in the presence of so many other companies struggling with CMS implementations and deployment strategies was a big morale boost for me. I’m not alone, and the difficulties in getting my company to the Utopia that our Symantec sales rep promised us are common and (more importantly) surmountable.
But not two days back and I’m facing the reality of how things are. We have four Helpdesk teams, all with their own way of doing things. Someone emailed me and said “Hey Slowest Zombie, we got some new VAIO laptops in and it’s a pain in the butt to get them rolled out to our end-users. Can’t you get this automated like everything else?” Well, my answer was not short. I could have said yes for this one new laptop, but what about the next new laptop and the one after that? I brought up the fact that the end-users we support are currently given the choice of whatever laptop they want with no limits. The complexity of laptop drivers, dealing with custom system image discs, and the fact that (especially with VAIOs) there’s rarely more than two users in the company who end up ordering the same specific laptop brand and model all adds up to the fact that the time to automate the laptop deployment process will probably never generate benefits greater than just dealing with each one manually.
It’s very disheartening to hear the response “This is how we’ve always done it and how we’ll keep on doing it forever” from one of the most senior helpdesk staff members. It’s completely understandable – their customers have come to expect that type of flexibility – but someone somewhere signed a VERY expensive contract that said “Let’s buy Altiris and in the end we’ll save money by making things efficient.” Well, I’m offering up a path to get there, but no one is interested in even talking about possibilities or discussing things that would change the way they approach support. It makes me wonder if I’m just spinning my wheels trying to engineer a solution that no one really wants, and all this rant is just about dealing with one of the four helpdesk sites – I’ll be honest and say I’m not looking forward to even attempting to build a process that works for all of them.