Success Secrets 03

How to run IT Support

In order to make sure that your IT support section is successful and is always needed, you must first make sure that your organisation is using software and systems that are going to require support. There is a multitude of ways to do this, so the focus today is on how to make sure you do it with software, whether it be a customer relationship management system, some form of database, an office suite, or some other in-house custom software.

So, you will need to find friends in the industry who can make sure they do a good pitch to your organisation and sell software that is inadequate. Of course they won’t sell it as inadequate; they will sell it as the best thing since sliced bread, and there will be endless promises about how it will increase productivity, efficiency, worker satisfaction, customer satisfaction, shareholder value … you name it, it will help it.

Then, you must work with the most intelligent and the most invested senior managers to make sure that they can use the system and end up being champions for it. It’s ideal if they have idiosyncratic learning processes, different from all the workers, which work very well for them but are the sorts of things that real people simply can’t do. That way the managers can learn enough of the system – albeit by the inefficient trial and error, hunt and peck system – to be able to do what they need and pronounce to everybody else in the organisation how useful the system is. It’s particularly helpful if they have a condescending and acerbic attitude to anybody else who has any appearance of having any trouble with the system so that they can treat them as some form of imbecile, albeit diplomatically, and do it with great lashings of passive aggressiveness.

Next, you have to select suitable staff. They need to have grossly deficient communication skills: that shouldn’t be difficult, these people are in plentiful supply. They also need to have a significant level of disdain and contempt for the people they are supposed to be helping. It’s ideal if they can always speak in a fairly bullying manner and with an air of authority as if they have a direct line to the CEO and speak as their proxy.

There are several things you can train your staff to do to make sure they keep the ordinary worker under control. A principal one is that they must always be aware of policies and procedures that nobody else knows about. That way when your system allows somebody to do something you can maintain your control over the organisation with a scenario like this:

Worker: I went through this month’s products and added the missing details.

IT worker: well you shouldn’t do that! [Make sure this is said abruptly and rudely.]

Worker: but this had to be fixed by tonight, so it’s rather urgent, and the system let me do it. If the system lets me do it, why shouldn’t I do it?

IT worker: it will allow you to do it, but you shouldn’t do it because it is not our process.

Worker: well how was I to know that it isn’t our process, and where do I find out about these processes that no one told me about?

IT worker: you need to ask the question!

Worker: what question?

IT worker: the question about what the process is.

Worker: but if I don’t know that there is a process that I’m supposed to ask about, how do I know that I have to ask the question?

IT worker: well, you have to ask! [Abruptly, loudly, and more rudely]

Worker: but if I don’t know either that I have to ask or whom to ask, how am I supposed to know that I have to ask and whom to ask?

IT worker: well, your manager is supposed to let you know these things.

Worker: I’m not sure that it’s your place to tell me what my manager’s job is.

IT worker: well, your manager is supposed to know the processes.

Worker: but if neither of us has ever heard about these processes, and none of our higher-up managers has told us about them, how was my manager meant to know that he has to tell me about them?

IT worker: he has to ask!

Worker: but if they don’t know that they need to ask, how are they supposed to know they need to ask; and who do they ask, and how do they know who to ask?

IT worker: they need to refer to the process or policy! [Even more abruptly and rudely]

Worker: [screaming by this stage] but if they don’t know that there is a process or policy about this, how do they know that they need to ask about the process or policy?

Once you have a worker screaming in frustration, you know you have done your work. This helps ensure that they feel powerless and that they know who is in control. However, it’s always good to finish off with just one more barb…

IT worker: they need to ask!