Shark Tank: Power and the IRS

The IRS audits this pilot fish's company, and management decides to give the auditors workspace in the computer room. One afternoon, everyone's midrange applications freeze up. Fish checks it out and everything looks fine, but he can't see the server that links the midrange box to the outside world - it's under a table at which an IRS auditor is on the phone. Not wanting an audit of his own, fish waits patiently. "When she finally got off the phone, I discovered the server's power was off," he says. Diagnosis: The auditor accidentally kicked the power switch, cutting off headquarters and six remote sites.

Just a Hunch Network admin pilot fish gets an e-mail message from one user: "Early on, it seems today will be a bad computer day. Could you check out my computer for unexpected crashes and printing errors throughout the day?" Says puzzled fish, "Guess I should just drop in unexpectedly?"

Vermin Is Vermin Paper company hires a new boss with lots of experience, but none of it is with PCs. At a staff meeting early on, "he mentions his reservations about having a 'roach' on his desk," pilot fish reports. Baffled fish and his colleagues discount the possibility he means bugs or drugs, and finally realize he's renamed that pest next to his keyboard - the mouse.

Dumb Is as Dumb Does Small manufacturing company decides to upgrade its order-entry system. "Since management believes its own tech employees are too dumb to do a decent job, the task is contracted out," says an irritated pilot fish. Three years later, the $2 million state-of-the-art system is ready to go and only $5 million over budget. And the company's customers now do their ordering through brokers, so the system handles at most about 400 transactions per day. "With that traffic," fish estimates, "two fast clerks could have handled it on PCs."

For four months after a new application debuts in his department, this manager complains constantly to the IT director: the system sucks, it's slow, it's worthless. Finally, in month five, help desk pilot fish gets a call from the grouser asking what his password is for the application. Fish fumes, "Apparently, he hadn't even been in it yet!"

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Copyright © 2001 IDG Communications, Inc.

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