Software acquisition -- the hard way

This family-owned tire manufacturer's small IT department has been looking for a help-desk ticketing system for the past few years, says a pilot fish on the scene.

"We were looking for a help desk and asset management tool," fish says. "I started here as an IT intern two years ago, and the techs at the time had me taking inventory of our stock room. I would add inventory items into the asset management portion of the help desk app being tested.

"When I started working here full time a year later, we still hadn't come up with a help desk solution, so my boss tasked me with evaluating different possible solutions. I found several good choices -- most of which I had seen previously during my internship."

Fish types up a report of his findings and submits it -- and as is often the case, hears nothing more about it.

Not long after, a PC used on the tire manufacturing line crashes, and fish has to set up a new hard drive for it, complete with shortcuts to network applications needed for the manufacturing process. Fish asks the operators what apps they use and sets up the shortcuts, and the PC goes back into production.

But a few weeks after that, someone discovers that the line hasn't been running the right rubber, because the PC is missing an app that shows the operators which rubber they're supposed to be using -- an app no one told fish was needed.

Amid the ensuing finger-pointing, the bosses once again decide a help-desk system is needed to document what's been done.

And most of a year after that, there's finally a system in place. "It's a home-built system that our bosses suddenly decided to go with," grumbles fish. "All our hard work in finding a good system was just tossed aside.

"We had a meeting to go over the finer points of this clunky new system. Turns out it's heavily lacking in one key way: There's no asset management, which was one of the main things we wanted with it."

The main thing Sharky wants is your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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