Click here to close now.


SDN Journal Authors: Don MacVittie, Lori MacVittie, Liz McMillan, Dinko Eror, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing: Help Desk Disasters

Saving nickels and wasting dollars should not be rewarded by bonus or promotion.

So many organizations switched to third-party help desk solutions without really putting in place any performance measures or tracking mechanisms to really measure how good - or bad - the support is.

Some executives got a big bonus for "thinking out of the box" and coming up with a cost-cutting initiative to outsource IT help desks. Those same executives do not want to hear all the complaints of people getting no results and wasting a lot of time in repetitive phone calls as well as no solutions to their problems. Even routine problems become time-consuming nightmares because the third-party support person on the other end doesn't understand the caller or the caller just doesn't understand them.

Was it a good solution for IT support? You may have saved some money on technical support costs, but how much executive time are you wasting everyday because the executive cannot get closure on a problem that would have been a routine (and short) support call? If you do an analysis, it's a clear failure.

Executives who made the decision would rather look the other way at a growing and costly problem. Is that considered leadership today in corporations? Not in my book.

First Step: Admit There Is a Problem
Most organizations won't go back and do an analysis on what they have put in place. Do a post-implementation review - if you even know what that is. (What I have seen in several organizations, the person who is supposed to have a strong, global view doesn't even have a grasp on what good systems implementation is all about. How and why did they get promoted into a leadership position?)

No one wants to see that their great decision was a costly failure as well as a waste of time for people trying to get their work done.

Stop looking the other way and trying not to acknowledge that there is a huge problem at many organizations with the lack of people knowing what they are doing in the support areas. They don't.

In talking to people from three different major banks, they all agree that their IT support sucks. Is that a clear enough description by those of you who live by politically correct corporate-speak?

Instead of flowery euphemisms and claiming that the savings outweigh the "small difficulties", face the facts. It is a disaster and by not fixing it, you are propagating the problem as well as losing money every day.

Typical problems encountered:

  • Can't hear the support person. The connection is bad.
  • Can hear the support person, but cannot understand them.
  • Can hear the support person, but they don't understand you.
  • Have to ask to speak to someone else because nothing is being done.
  • If there is a trouble ticket issued, they try to close it out before you get a resolution so their "problem resolved" numbers look good.
  • Making multiple calls for the same problem because it has not been resolved.
  • Other: You tell me - you know these issues are at your organization.

You're Losing Money - Fix the Problem
Let's be politically accurate. If you are in-charge of the IT area or the IT support area, get your head out of the sand. It ISN'T working. Look for a fix.

If you have a non-technical employee making $80,000- $250,000 getting a time-consuming run-around from a $20,000-$30,000 "technician," instead of a quick solution from a $60,000- $80,000 "technician," are you really saving money? How many wasted hours are acceptable per month? Half hour per executive? One hour per executive? Go to your boss or the corporate board of directors and ask how much wasted time per executive is acceptable?

Biggest complaints from the highly paid executives who have to deal with your "cost saving" support (my comments next to them):

  • I wasted my time with this person for several hours, got the resolution from someone else in 4 minutes. (Calculate the wasted time of the executive. Did you REALLY save the company any money on that call?)
  • I was so frustrated I ran this up my organization's management in order to get someone working on this resolution. (So let's see, instead of wasting one executive's time, your ingenuous "cost savings" initiative tripped up several executives into getting involved in what should have been a routine fix)
  • They cut the Network support staff and a security patch that should have been applied was pushed back. ALL the executive laptops that were connected on to the Corporate network had their hard drives wiped clean. Most of us did not have back-ups. (So letting go a couple of $40-$50,000 technicians made you "look good" at the bottom line. Now go back and add up ALL the wasted time you cost the company because all the executives lost all their work on their hard drives and probably will take weeks, if not more, to try to restore all that lost work - if they can. You think this is a "corporate urban legend"? This actually happened at a big-name company and no one ever went back to calculate all the time lost.)

It's time to sit down and do some evaluations. Better yet, get rid of those who don't understand systems implementation or the idea of having a sense-of-urgency in keeping the organization moving forward.

•   •   •

Carlini's book, "Location, Location, Connectivity" will be coming out later this year.

Follow daily Carlini-isms at

Copyright 2014 - James Carlini

More Stories By James Carlini

James Carlini, MBA, a certified Infrastructure Consultant, keynote speaker and former award-winning Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University, has advised on mission-critical networks. Clients include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, GLOBEX, and City of Chicago’s 911 Center. An expert witness in civil and federal courts on network infrastructure, he has worked with AT&T, Sprint and others.

Follow daily Carlini-isms at

Comments (1)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction of desired change. Renowned for its approach to leadership and emphasis on their people, organizations increasingly look to our military for insight into these challenges.
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively.
Containers are changing the security landscape for software development and deployment. As with any security solutions, security approaches that work for developers, operations personnel and security professionals is a requirement. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Kevin Gilpin, CTO and Co-Founder of Conjur, will discuss various security considerations for container-based infrastructure and related DevOps workflows.
Achim Weiss is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of ProfitBricks. In 1995, he broke off his studies to co-found the web hosting company "Schlund+Partner." The company "Schlund+Partner" later became the 1&1 web hosting product line. From 1995 to 2008, he was the technical director for several important projects: the largest web hosting platform in the world, the second largest DSL platform, a video on-demand delivery network, the largest eMail backend in Europe, and a universal billing syste...
DevOps and Continuous Delivery software provider XebiaLabs has announced it has been selected to join the Amazon Web Services (AWS) DevOps Competency partner program. The program is designed to highlight software vendors like XebiaLabs who have demonstrated technical expertise and proven customer success in DevOps and specialized solution areas like Continuous Delivery. DevOps Competency Partners provide solutions to, or have deep experience working with AWS users and other businesses to help t...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Nowadays, a large number of sensors and devices are connected to the network. Leading-edge IoT technologies integrate various types of sensor data to create a new value for several business decision scenarios. The transparent cloud is a model of a new IoT emergence service platform. Many service providers store and access various types of sensor data in order to create and find out new business values by integrating such data.
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
The cloud has reached mainstream IT. Those 18.7 million data centers out there (server closets to corporate data centers to colocation deployments) are moving to the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Achim Weiss, CEO & co-founder of ProfitBricks, will share how two companies – one in the U.S. and one in Germany – are achieving their goals with cloud infrastructure. More than a case study, he will share the details of how they prioritized their cloud computing infrastructure deployments ...
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete en...
Data loss happens, even in the cloud. In fact, if your company has adopted a cloud application in the past three years, data loss has probably happened, whether you know it or not. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bryan Forrester, Senior Vice President of Sales at eFolder, will present how common and costly cloud application data loss is and what measures you can take to protect your organization from data loss.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
The web app is agile. The REST API is agile. The testing and planning are agile. But alas, data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes that force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software organ...
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
Interested in leveraging automation technologies and a cloud architecture to make developers more productive? Learn how PaaS can benefit your organization to help you streamline your application development, allow you to use existing infrastructure and improve operational efficiencies. Begin charting your path to PaaS with OpenShift Enterprise.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at th...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
JFrog has announced a powerful technology for managing software packages from development into production. JFrog Artifactory 4 represents disruptive innovation in its groundbreaking ability to help development and DevOps teams deliver increasingly complex solutions on ever-shorter deadlines across multiple platforms JFrog Artifactory 4 establishes a new category – the Universal Artifact Repository – that reflects JFrog's unique commitment to enable faster software releases through the first pla...
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. Migration to cloud shifts computing resources from your data center, which can yield significant advantages provided that the cloud vendor an offer enterprise-grade quality for your application.
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes.