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Under-rated - often under-stated: #348 The Information Systems people

Sure they look a bit uncomfortable in formal wear at the Holiday party, and have this staccato way of talking and use words only they understand which might be about business information technology and cool scientific hardware. Or sometimes you think they are talking about an on-line game that they all play and nobody knows it because they control everything from the firewall-pixel-montage to the spam-thrust-warble oscillators. They have entry cards to special cupboards and closets and rooms that nobody is allowed to go into. But they smile and they are mostly clean.

The computer department they used to be called in the old days. Now they “mitigate risk” and do “governance and business continuity” and “compliance and return on investment.” It used to be that they looked pale from lack of sunlight but now they get out in the open air a lot more and eat healthy and exercise because they want to keep those critical systems going for you. You are the engineering people who make the wealth and really add the value in your company. The Information Systems infrastructure exists to help you get your job done and these people look after the IT framework/backbone {insert other abstract noun here}. So it is almost like they are at your service. You can pretend they exist just for you. They really are nice people.

They like lists. So here.

1. Users of the API (application programming interface) – who extend the off-the-shelf function richness of CHS into a custom cornucopia of extra extensions and put a big tick in the box on their annual review sheet where it says flexibility.  Great. They listen, they translate the halting descriptions of what us the end users need into add-on bits of functionality that save us a lot of time. Like that a lot.

2. They unravel nuances of the data bridges and supplement the data with little tweaks and scripts beyond the call of duty. I can think of plenty of things which saves us a pile of time they have done. Some of it I can’t imagine living without. Hey, those Information Systems people even backed up one utility I used a lot, well more than once a month and then when I got my new desktop PC and it wasn’t there, you know they had squirrelled a copy of it away somewhere so they could put it back. Saved me a lot of time and I was grateful.

Informations Systems support people who spend a lot of time in the sunshine should take precautions against UV radiation.

Informations Systems support people who spend a lot of time in the sunshine should take precautions against UV radiation.

3. Triallists of the new version so that incompatibilities in interoperabilities are detected before a real live user can have their day ruined. It is a deep and wide pasture dotted with surprises where the cows graze out there when you have new software and kudos to the early adopters. They tell us what to expect too so it is not overly a pleasant surprise when there is new and extended functionality. They work weekends so you have continuity of service.

4. They do the backup so that time when all the lights went out and the server never came back on when the lights came back on then that didn’t do harm. Here in Michigan we are now in May, which is the thunderstorm month and I had a call on Sunday (on my way back from playing  a footy cup-tie on Belle Isle on some grass used in the Pontiac Silverdome in the 1994 World Cup I was told) from a friend who happens also to be a customer telling an interesting tale and asking for a little support. The lightning zaps the building and then a piece of equipment powers off and then other bits of network kit bow out and the stage is bare and the spotlights are dimmed so to speak and the stage managers (the information systems support people) start running around frantically for there are no props, no sets or lines of dialog until the systems are brought back to life for the stars of the drama who are of course the engineers and they are the audience too so it is like some improv show with audience participation er, enough of that metaphor  – I feel it will extend until the final curtain.

5. That time you could not work out what to do and it was really simple and you were embarrassed the information systems people didn’t make you feel stupid and were polite and said everybody has the mouse USB connector fall out (see also picture above) and not notice and no, it was no trouble for that person to come away from the hospital where spouse was fairly settled on the ventilator and the anti-venom for the snake bite seemed to be starting to work so the sixty mile drive to see you was a good chance to clear the mind and decompress a little bit. Nobody added to your stress.

8. They know things and can count properly. They can install and configure CHS upgrades. They read the manual and keep their eyes open as they do it.

11. Communicate they most betterly then me.  Nice having smart people on the team running your CHS installation. Keep it up. Both the cleverness and the CHS application.

Hurrah for the Information Systems, the PC and network support and infrastructure managers, their budgets and their professionalism!

CHS, Capital Harness Systems

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About Paul Johnston

Paul JohnstonI help Mentor Graphics customers to be successful, accomplish a more rapid return on investment. My professonal focus is on the Capital product line. Customers need a good technical and commercial understanding when making software system purchasing and adopting decisions and in addressing issues through to best resolution. I am one of the team of experts Mentor employs to support the Capital worldwide. I was born just outside of Manchester England, am now resident in the metro Detroit area of Michigan USA. I have worked for Mentor Graphics for more than 15 years. Visit Paul Johnston's Blog

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