We sent Admin Andy out to meet with some of our customers over the past week to learn more about what they deal with on a regular basis.
What you’re about to read happens in the real world everyday. To protect his identity and help him keep his job, we’ll call our system admin “Jim,” and say he works at “Acme International,” a supplier of fine cartoon-grade weaponry.
The Day “Begins”
7:30 AM – Jim arrives at the office, second only to a lone sales rep that beat him in by about fifteen minutes. After booting up his PC he sees 15 support tickets already in his queue from the previous night, though last he checked at 10:30 PM there were only eight.
Jim proceeds to work through his tickets noting some of the more entertaining ones. One of the sales reps was having a problem because their password expired, the same password that they were prompted to change no less than seven times within the previous week because it was going to expire.
Another ticket involves a user having problems when they tried logging into a server, their profile wasn’t loading correctly.
This is a pretty typical morning for Jim, he tries to get to work an hour before the rest of the office starts trickling in to deal with the tickets from the night before. Otherwise he knows what happens when the office is full and he tries to get his work done, meetings, distractions, and “emergencies” from everyone in the office.
Before the day officially begins, Jim is able to knock out eight support tickets bringing his queue to a modest seven.
First Fire Of The Day
8:30 AM – The office starts trickling in, luckily nobody let Jim know that there would be a vendor presentation in the main conference room this morning, which now becomes Emergency #1 of the day as Jim now has to quickly set-up the projector, make sure that the vendor can access the Internet and help them print out what they needed for the early morning meeting.
A CEO In Trouble
9:15 AM – With the first fire successfully put out for the day, Jim gets called in to the CEO’s office. Apparently the new iPad he purchased last night isn’t set-up to work on the network and he needs that set-up ASAP. Though Jim is frustrated as he doesn’t like to allow BYODs on his network, he’s gone through this battle countless times before with the CEO and has come up short each time. Reluctantly Jim configures the iPad to work on the network and gain access to the company’s servers.
It Never Ends
10:00 AM – Finally getting back to his desk, Jim checks his queue for new support tickets, he’s back up to 20. It’s like he’s just hanging out in a giant vat of quicksand, as soon as he burns through a good batch of tickets another group comes in.
From the latest group of tickets that came in, these are some of Jim’s favorites that happen nearly every day:
- HR can’t figure out which printer to choose, there are too many that show up for her and she has sensitive documents that needs to know where they are.
- An outside sales rep is having problems printing to their home printer.
- An installer is on a job site and is having problems getting their mobile device to properly connect in to their network.
Deep In The Queue
Over the next two hours Jim starts going through the support tickets and knocking out the easy ones along with high priority tickets. He drinks two cups of coffee and eats a granola bar he found in his desk. He’s not quite sure how long it’s been in there, but it’s still in the wrapper, so it can’t be that bad.
There were only two calls Jim had to take while he was working through his queue of support tickets, one was from the CEO who had forgotten what the correct WiFi network was to connect his new iPad to, and the other was from a sales rep who couldn’t login to SalesForce. Something that Jim has no access to and has no knowledge of how it works. But as the Sys Admin guy, he’s generally seen as the person that can answer everyone’s problem.
Troubleshooting And Frustration
One nearly daily ticket in Jim’s queue is for a slow network. Though Jim has three tools in place to monitor network traffic, he can’t definitively point to the problem because none of the systems talk to one another. So while he goes through the same 10-step process to fix the user’s issue, he isn’t 100% certain it will work, and gets frustrated each time as he knows he’ll see another ticket come through for the same issue soon enough. Tickets in queue – down to 13.
Lunch Time – Brief, But Free
12:00 – Lunch time rolls around and Jim is invited into the conference room where lunch was set up for a lunch-and-learn for the sales team. Jim usually gets the invite when the office manager orders too much food for everyone. Ham and cheese sandwich, not the best lunch he’s had, but a free lunch is better than none at all.
12:30 PM – Back to the grind, Jim returns back to his desk to find his queue back up to 17. It’s amazing how in just 30 minutes calls and tickets can come pouring in. He only has 30 minutes to work on these before a meeting at 1:00 with the CTO and VP of Operations.
The “Half Hour” Meeting
1:00 PM – A thirty minute meeting about ways to improve the network efficiency quickly turned in to a 2 hour discussion of the largest problems facing the IT department. Of them included, but wasn’t limited to:
- Lack of resources, personnel, and budget
- Outdated equipment
- No uniform policies in place
- Policies in place are not enforced equally if at all
- BYOD – having to support a wide variety of devices
- Printers – so many of them are set-up without being properly connected to the network
- Employees wanting 24 hour support, calling at all hours of the night for simple problems
- Remote users needing to print to local printers
- Login problems for users trying to access the network via VPN
While excited to make sure the higher ups in the company understands the problems faced by the department, Jim has been through these meetings before, and has seen promises made to fix things, but the lack of budget and resources often makes the wheels of motion slow to move.
3:00 PM – Jim finally returns to his desk to find five new voicemails, 22 tickets in his queue, and 17 new emails to sift through. Over the next two and a half hours he tackles a wide variety of problems and puts out two more fires, one involving a sales rep that lost his mobile phone on an airplane, and other rep that was having problems printing out a proposal that needed to be in the mail by five o’clock.
5:30 – Jim finally leaves the office. His day included:
- 3 fires
- 1 two hour meeting
- 18 tickets closed out
- 4 cups of coffee
- 1 ham and cheese sandwich
- 6 problems fixed by simply restarting a PC
- Countless “I need this ASAP”
Jim will no doubt check support tickets from his laptop at home and will most likely answer one or two “urgent” calls from people on his network needing immediate help.
Sound familiar? That’s why we believe you’re a superhero. Share your ‘day in the life’ story with us!