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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 590779 5-Mar-2012 16:20
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It sounds like you're doing a much needed service. But just remember that your goal in the meeting is not to establish why these problems are happening, but to ensure that management are aware of the extent of the issues, how they affect productivity and to leave knowing a plan will be put in place to fix the problems by a specific date.

Stick to the facts - which means you can only really make comments on the end user impact. What I mean is, unless you're the guy who unplugged the firewall for them you should be very careful how you bring that topic up.

Good luck.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 590785 5-Mar-2012 16:26
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  All they need to do is to make the image perfect for the working environment and there will be no trouble for years.  Maybe this experience made my standard too high here.  So workload is a possible issue as well.
   


so what are *you* doing to make the image right? normal the issue is not the image, it letting the person know there is a problem with the image, and what that issue is, is the problem. Going "image is wrong" is not that helpful, telling the IT people what is wrong and why it wrong and what needs fixing is a lot more helpful, and then *test* the fix for the IT person after they fix it to sign off the problem is fix.



 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 590811 5-Mar-2012 17:19
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We've got 260 people in this office and there's only 3 of us, we cope just fine. We would _never_ do a mass reimage of that scale at one time though. However, we are support ONLY - in theory we're not supposed to touch the servers or their operation beyond racking them and plugging them in, that's handled by the guys in Auckland (where there are another 350ish staff).

It sounds like your guys are also playing infrastructure role which is a bit more specialised than "general IT support". If this is the case then they should probably have another person to handle that side of things so that the other guys can manage the support role.

We use a deployment server rather than Ghost, as we've got machines of several different configurations so Ghost would be nigh useless to us, although I do use it in cases where we have a number of fixed machines which perform a single task, completely setting up a system in ~30 minutes is so much nicer than the ~3 hours that the imaging process takes.

We've got people here with systems that run perfectly happily for 2-3 years without being touched other than by automated updates pushed out by SCCM and WSUS, plus the usual antivirus etc. updates. Of course, by the same token, we've got people who need to be reimaged every 6 months because they "do things" to their systems.





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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 590812 5-Mar-2012 17:19
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How are IT helpdesk requests logged?

Is there a 'ticket' created when a request is lodged?

Why not implement (or ask management to implement) a 'ticket' system, which would allow helpdesk requests to be tracked from the moment an issue is raised through to completion?

Faults / defficiencies would soon be highlighted to a level whereby questions would be asked.




Michael Skyrme - Instrumentation & Controls



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  Reply # 590814 5-Mar-2012 17:29
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bagheera:
  All they need to do is to make the image perfect for the working environment and there will be no trouble for years.  Maybe this experience made my standard too high here.  So workload is a possible issue as well.
   


so what are *you* doing to make the image right? normal the issue is not the image, it letting the person know there is a problem with the image, and what that issue is, is the problem. Going "image is wrong" is not that helpful, telling the IT people what is wrong and why it wrong and what needs fixing is a lot more helpful, and then *test* the fix for the IT person after they fix it to sign off the problem is fix.





I couldn't agree with you more.   In our case, the software required are pretty much the same every year.  Only versions would be different.  The problem here is not they don't know what should be on the computer but the quality of installation.  Such as no anti-virus, product key missing, or software not activated.  I mean for those things, if they can do it properly on the image, it would save themselves a lot of work later on to do those things computer by computer.  And you are totally right, they never test their solutions so in many cases, the problem is just half fixed and the user need to track them down again and again.  Thanks for the ideas.

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  Reply # 590817 5-Mar-2012 17:33
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Maybe you should at look at getting a terminal server environment for your company with thin clients. Our company has well over 1000 users and there are only 2 system engineers, 1 network engineer, 2 field engineers and 3 helpdesk people. The terminal server environment makes life so much easier for all of us in Operations. A lot of users do have laptops and desktops but we manage them remotely and don't touch them unless the software needs to be updated or there is an issue with it.




Do whatever you want to do man.

  



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  Reply # 590818 5-Mar-2012 17:36
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stevenz: We've got 260 people in this office and there's only 3 of us, we cope just fine. We would _never_ do a mass reimage of that scale at one time though. However, we are support ONLY - in theory we're not supposed to touch the servers or their operation beyond racking them and plugging them in, that's handled by the guys in Auckland (where there are another 350ish staff).

It sounds like your guys are also playing infrastructure role which is a bit more specialised than "general IT support". If this is the case then they should probably have another person to handle that side of things so that the other guys can manage the support role.

We use a deployment server rather than Ghost, as we've got machines of several different configurations so Ghost would be nigh useless to us, although I do use it in cases where we have a number of fixed machines which perform a single task, completely setting up a system in ~30 minutes is so much nicer than the ~3 hours that the imaging process takes.

We've got people here with systems that run perfectly happily for 2-3 years without being touched other than by automated updates pushed out by SCCM and WSUS, plus the usual antivirus etc. updates. Of course, by the same token, we've got people who need to be reimaged every 6 months because they "do things" to their systems.




hmmm.... to get professional support for servers.  We had a problem three years ago.  No one could save Office files on to network drives for a month.  After they got someone from outside and fixed it, Tech Support told us it was Microsoft's fault that they didn't design office very well.  I knew it's BS but it's not like I can say you are lying stright away in front of everybody.  Back to the topic, maybe you are right, server job is a bit too much for them.  Thank you for sharing valuable experience.  Very helpful.



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  Reply # 590823 5-Mar-2012 17:47
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MikeSkyrme: How are IT helpdesk requests logged?

Is there a 'ticket' created when a request is lodged?

Why not implement (or ask management to implement) a 'ticket' system, which would allow helpdesk requests to be tracked from the moment an issue is raised through to completion?

Faults / defficiencies would soon be highlighted to a level whereby questions would be asked.



The first computer crisis meeting I attended was 4 years ago, they blame everything on "communication".  So one of the guy set up a PHP page for logging the jobs (and there's a priortise system from 1 - 5).  PHP site is not very stable, it went down a few times last year.(server problem)  However, today, one of the techie just told someone "I haven't check the help site for weeks."  Users normally won't get a reply unless it's a simple request like "I need a new keyboard".  This year, some people are having trouble with their user account.  They emailed tech support and tech support promised to sort it out in two working days.  They waited for two weeks without any reply.  Then they went to the management, tech support then give them out over a week. (8 or 9 accounts).



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  Reply # 590825 5-Mar-2012 17:55
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billgates: Maybe you should at look at getting a terminal server environment for your company with thin clients. Our company has well over 1000 users and there are only 2 system engineers, 1 network engineer, 2 field engineers and 3 helpdesk people. The terminal server environment makes life so much easier for all of us in Operations. A lot of users do have laptops and desktops but we manage them remotely and don't touch them unless the software needs to be updated or there is an issue with it.



I actrually suggested that to them three years ago because I remember Waikato Uni's running the same thing in the library and it is fast.   But Tech Support told me it is too expensive to get a terminal server and it is cheaper to keep as it is.  I don't have the knowledge of that so I just kept quiet.  But in 2009/2010, we have been running XP 32-bit with 8GB RAM.  The manager was quite happy that we've got more RAM than other places so I couldn't say anything either.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 590844 5-Mar-2012 18:47
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deepeye:
MikeSkyrme: How are IT helpdesk requests logged?

Is there a 'ticket' created when a request is lodged?

Why not implement (or ask management to implement) a 'ticket' system, which would allow helpdesk requests to be tracked from the moment an issue is raised through to completion?

Faults / defficiencies would soon be highlighted to a level whereby questions would be asked.



The first computer crisis meeting I attended was 4 years ago, they blame everything on "communication".  So one of the guy set up a PHP page for logging the jobs (and there's a priortise system from 1 - 5).  PHP site is not very stable, it went down a few times last year.(server problem)  However, today, one of the techie just told someone "I haven't check the help site for weeks."  Users normally won't get a reply unless it's a simple request like "I need a new keyboard".  This year, some people are having trouble with their user account.  They emailed tech support and tech support promised to sort it out in two working days.  They waited for two weeks without any reply.  Then they went to the management, tech support then give them out over a week. (8 or 9 accounts).


Find a new company to work for.

Seriosly, if this is acceptable to your management team, they may not be around for much longer.

Just out of curiousity, which ISP are you working for........? Laughing




Michael Skyrme - Instrumentation & Controls

gzt

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  Reply # 590887 5-Mar-2012 21:06
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At the moment it sounds like you are just going to go head to head with a couple of guys. That is unlikely to be helpful at all, not one bit.

I might also take a wild guess that they do not have the experience (and remuneration) to handle a network, there could be any number of reasons for that, also probably not helpful right now.

What you need to do is create a clear plan of action and know the reasons management and these guys will support it:

1. Measurement
2. Stats assessment
3. Improvement

There are plenty of open source packages available with good feedback to users. You don't want your guys spending time maintaining their own PHP, they are too busy for that. Discuss and pick the one that is (a) quickest to set up in your environment and (b) suits your needs.

Agree on service levels (response time and resolution time) for different types of helpdesk calls you will classify together. Not everything will be done in the service level time, make sure they understand that is ok. Meet for 15 minutes weekly (or even daily) at first to discuss logged calls then monthly when the system is working well to review the stats and how those are improving.



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  Reply # 590924 5-Mar-2012 22:11
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gzt: At the moment it sounds like you are just going to go head to head with a couple of guys. That is unlikely to be helpful at all, not one bit.

I might also take a wild guess that they do not have the experience (and remuneration) to handle a network, there could be any number of reasons for that, also probably not helpful right now.

What you need to do is create a clear plan of action and know the reasons management and these guys will support it:

1. Measurement
2. Stats assessment
3. Improvement

There are plenty of open source packages available with good feedback to users. You don't want your guys spending time maintaining their own PHP, they are too busy for that. Discuss and pick the one that is (a) quickest to set up in your environment and (b) suits your needs.

Agree on service levels (response time and resolution time) for different types of helpdesk calls you will classify together. Not everything will be done in the service level time, make sure they understand that is ok. Meet for 15 minutes weekly (or even daily) at first to discuss logged calls then monthly when the system is working well to review the stats and how those are improving.



Man.... every point you made you hit the nail right on the head.  This is very very helpful.  Thank you so much.  



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  Reply # 590937 5-Mar-2012 22:22
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Guys ... Thank you for sharing all your ideas and experiences.  I wish I had asked for help about this earlier.  This problem has been there for ages and no one could ever change "the system", not even my manager.  The information/ideas I gathered today in the past 8 hours has been more productive than the meetings we had in the past 4 years at work.  I'll be spending the next few days to formulate what I am going to say at the meeting base on what i've learnt here.  Hopefully it will make some postive changes.  Cheers.

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  Reply # 591051 6-Mar-2012 09:22
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deepeye:
billgates: Maybe you should at look at getting a terminal server environment for your company with thin clients. Our company has well over 1000 users and there are only 2 system engineers, 1 network engineer, 2 field engineers and 3 helpdesk people. The terminal server environment makes life so much easier for all of us in Operations. A lot of users do have laptops and desktops but we manage them remotely and don't touch them unless the software needs to be updated or there is an issue with it.



I actrually suggested that to them three years ago because I remember Waikato Uni's running the same thing in the library and it is fast.   But Tech Support told me it is too expensive to get a terminal server and it is cheaper to keep as it is.  I don't have the knowledge of that so I just kept quiet.  But in 2009/2010, we have been running XP 32-bit with 8GB RAM.  The manager was quite happy that we've got more RAM than other places so I couldn't say anything either.


32-Bit Windows XP won't use 8Gb RAM - it can't!!

Only the 64-Bit version of Win XP can address more than 3Gb of RAM, but there is a tweak to get it to 4Gb (but no more than 4Gb). They money they've spend on the additional 4Gb is wasted as it can't ever be used with the 32-Bit OS.

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  Reply # 591055 6-Mar-2012 09:27
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deepeye:
MikeSkyrme: How are IT helpdesk requests logged?

Is there a 'ticket' created when a request is lodged?

Why not implement (or ask management to implement) a 'ticket' system, which would allow helpdesk requests to be tracked from the moment an issue is raised through to completion?

Faults / defficiencies would soon be highlighted to a level whereby questions would be asked.



The first computer crisis meeting I attended was 4 years ago, they blame everything on "communication".  So one of the guy set up a PHP page for logging the jobs (and there's a priortise system from 1 - 5).  PHP site is not very stable, it went down a few times last year.(server problem)  However, today, one of the techie just told someone "I haven't check the help site for weeks."  Users normally won't get a reply unless it's a simple request like "I need a new keyboard".  This year, some people are having trouble with their user account.  They emailed tech support and tech support promised to sort it out in two working days.  They waited for two weeks without any reply.  Then they went to the management, tech support then give them out over a week. (8 or 9 accounts).


That is absolutely shocking! Are the companies management/owners not worried that a whole lot of their staff can't do their jobs for weeks on end???

We had a major server issue about 7 years ago. It happened on the Friday night and we worked the entire weekend (on very little sleep) to have things in a state where staff would at least be able to do some work when they arrived on Monday morning. And my mid-morning Tuesday all services (and 99.5% of files) were restored. (Basically it was a corrupted RAID 5 array - data jumbled, but there had been a lot of changed files in the 24 hours since last backup, so not only did we have to restore several Tb from LTO, we also had to piece back together what other changed files we could. Nasty!)

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