Thursday, 8 October 2009

Communicate! For the Love of Sales Communicate!


You are pitching for a multi million dollor/pound/euro deal. You are in the boardroom of your customer. The CEO, CFO and various other boardmembers are in attendance.

You turn on your laptop to start your presentation. You insert your tumbdrive with the presentation on it.

Access denied.

I have to admit to being thankfull that it was not me in that situation.

Unfortunately I took the call from the poor bugger though.

That morning I had been politely informed from the corporate security team that a new security tool had already been pushed to all laptops which locked down functionality in terms of USB/CD-ROM/DVD access.

Salesguy had been in the office and logged on and had the tool had been pushed to his laptop before he went to the customers site.

Bad timing.

So along with this persons issue I had calls that swamped my service desk from all sorts of people who needed access to these devices due to their work.

A simple matter of communication letting us know that this was happening would not have resulted in the loss of a rather large sale.

Using the principles of Release and Change Management would certainly assist in reducing these issues. Needless to say the actual tool was buggy and we had an awful lot of work that needed to be done to recover. Luckily I had a great ICT support team and we managed to get through the issue but not without an awful lot of pain. I mean A LOT OF PAIN.

Its not fun getting chewed out for something that you had no idea about and little to no control over.

Communication is vital.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Hello? Anyone There? We Heard There Was A Riot!

How to deal with the unexpected.

We get a trouble ticket stating that a remote site in a third world country had no network connectivity. This was reported to us from an automated system rather than a human.

So we start the usual investigations - ping and trace routes.

Always timed out with the last hop being a local ISP. Very odd.

We tried to get in touch with relevant persons on site and at the ISP. Absolutely no joy. What could we do but wait for someone to arrive on site and contact us (we left numerous messages and emails).

During our lunch break one of the lads working with me had a news aggregator and the city where our site was located appeared. Large scale riots reported.

Madness, Mayhem & Anarchy apparantly.

So we knew that it was going to be a very long day waiting for someone to arrive on site. Eventually (I think possibly the following morning) we get a message from the site manager.

"Unable to log on to network, office broken into and damaged"

We then activate our local external engineer who arrives on site and calls us back.

Engineer "I found the problem, the network is gone"

Me "Ok...just reboot the switches and servers and lets see where we are"

Engineer "That could be a problem"

Me "?"

Engineer "Well...unless we can get data across two tins cans a long length of string I am going to need alot of CAT5"

Me "?"

Engineer "Yes...the robbers took all the copper cabling from the building"

Me "!"

Sometimes....things happen you have no control over.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Dr No's Secret Lair!

I have worked in many different places and environments but this...this is awesome.

Link to the Lair of Dr No.

Yes. I want one. I don't know what I would do with one (well actually I do but for the sake of a cheap joke lets ignore this part) if I had one. Maybe take over the world ala Pinky and the Brain?

Jokes aside I wonder how many other shelters are available and in a position to be build out as data centres. Certainly this facility would have many inherent advantages for high availability data centres that you would not find elsewhere. One downside I can think of is the usual remoteness of these places.

I would also find it hard to resist to play the role of Q in such a place!