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This IT department inherits responsibility for the company's electronic door lock system -- which isn't so bad, even though the only guy who really understands it is gone, says a pilot fish on the scene.

"The person who originally set it up and administered it moved on to greener pastures," fish says. "It is a complicated system, but with most of the setups done, the majority of the work to add new users and replace lost badge numbers is pretty simple."

But then comes a request from the individual in charge of safety and environmental issues for the company: "The recycler needs access to the east gate from 2 to 4 p.m. on Fridays to pick up recycling bins. Please provide a key fob with access to this gate during these hours."

Should be a simple matter, right? But the process of setting up new schedules is convoluted, and the two techs left in charge of the system have never done this before.

And after plenty of trial and just as much error, the techs are ready to give up.

Fortunately, the owners of the company have just acquired the "greener pastures" that the previous guy left for. As soon as the deal to acquire that competitor closes, he's available as a resource. With his help, the new schedule is programmed into the system and pushed out to the appropriate locks -- and it works.

IT sends the key fob to the recycler and all is well -- for about two months.

Then another email comes from the safety guy: "Last week, since there was a holiday during the week, trash and recycling was delayed by a day. The recycling truck was here on Saturday and the key fob he was given did not work."

Sighs fish, "After all that effort and frustration, it was ultimately determined that the truck driver should have access to the gates from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, which was already a schedule setup in the software.

"Chalk up yet another frustrating exercise in futility. If only this was real exercise..."

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