Shark Tank: Exactly the wrong choice

SEVERAL rounds of layoffs have cut IT staff to the bone, says pilot fish who has survived. But in the latest purge, the IT manager got the chop too, so it's a board member who delivers the "kill list" of those whose access needs to be cut off. "The one IT staffer laid off?" says fish. "The network admin who handles all access rights to computer accounts, phones and door security cards."

IT SHOP is moving to new quarters, and to cut downtime, one tech decides to move one tall rolling rack full of servers to the new digs himself at 6:30 a.m. At 8:30 a.m., IT pilot fish arrives to find the place in an uproar and water everywhere. "The tech said he was looking out for exit signs and clocks," fish says, "but he missed the sprinklers overhead." Or, more accurately, didn't miss them - and when the rack sheared off the sprinkler heads, water rained down for 45 minutes before tech found the right person to shut them off.

COUNTY HR manager asks consultant pilot fish to create electronic employment forms that can be e-mailed to departments for data and signatures to cut the need for paper copies. And when fish demos the system - complete with audit trails and electronic signature authentication - HR manager loves it. There's just one more thing all 11 departments want, he says: a "Print Form" option so they all can have paper copies.

PROBLEM with this antiquated health care database is that it won't let users "disenroll" a head of household while leaving the rest of the family enrolled, says pilot fish who uses it. Work-around is to insert "dummy" in the first-name field for the head-of-household record. Which works fine until someone uses the database to generate notices to households, says fish: "Quite a few complained after being addressed as 'Dear Dummy.' "

Try "Dear Sharky": You get a snazzy Shark shirt if your true tale of IT life sees print - or if it shows up in the daily feed at

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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