When automation meets users, guess who loses?


This organization has set up automated monitoring for almost every piece of equipment on its network, says an IT pilot fish working there.

"Printers are the most common errors popping up," fish says. "The monitoring program will tell me about any error and also when the error has been corrected.

"For example, if tray 2 runs out of paper I get a report through email that the printer is out of paper in tray 2. When someone fills tray 2, I get another email saying that the error has been corrected."

So it's no big deal when fish gets a notification that the printer in shipping is out of toner. And a short time later, he gets another email informing him that the toner problem has been corrected.

But still later that day, the help desk gets a trouble ticket from the shipping department. The issue: The printer still isn't printing, even though a user has changed the toner and the printer isn't displaying any errors.

The monitoring automation isn't reporting any problems either, so fish takes the long walk down to shipping to troubleshoot the printer. Step one is to print a test page -- which comes out with very sporadic printing.

Then he opens the printer, pulls out the new toner cartridge -- and notices something hanging from it.

Sighs fish, "It was the sealing tape that that needs to be removed before use. I removed the tape and replaced the toner, and the printer worked again."

Sharky needs stories! Send me your true tale of IT life right now 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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