Tech Tunes

Not having an investing background, when I came to my current position I found the learning curve to be quite steep.  I serve as the project manager for an outstanding firm in my home town. My projects are either dependent on technology or are aimed at improving our technology. While I am tech savvy, I learn about what I don’t know a lot of the time. Working with the fantastic folks in our Technology Department has taught me a lot and answered a few of my long standing questions about tech people and helped me sing a different tune about it.

What do those people do all day, anyway?

The easy answer is that they are our tech support. That means they keep computer stuff running, fix stuff when it’s broken, and continually explore and seek to improve our technology. That can be actual computer hardware or software, which continually evolves and constantly has issues that must be resolved. Also I don’t think most people know that my techy friends are often Cyber Warriors, fending off attacks on our sites – from capable people around the world with nothing better to do with their time. When the need arises, it’s not optional.

Our team problem-solves a lot during their days. Our dealings as a financial firm rely on several highly specialized technology vendors. In addition, our office functions depend on software you see in most offices and homes.  In my experience, the hardware and software vendors tend to promise very high, and deliver really low and slow. Our tech team spends a lot of time balancing working with vendor issues as well as helping the over 200 offices in our field throughout the country in addition to supporting our growing in-house office staff. It can be a lot like the kid’s game, Whack a Mole. Knock down one and two more jump up.

Can’t they be more prepared?

I admit it, I have thought it over the years. Not saying everyone is always ready, but the nature of tech support is that every situation is new. It has to be thought through, figured out, mitigated, and then tested – and almost every scenario is different. So, I’ve learned to just let that question go.

Why don’t they help me immediately?

I have to say, I’m impatient and want what I want when I want it. I would go further to say I need what I need when I need it. I hate being relegated to turning in a request ticket or “shoot us an email” or those stupid chat sessions.  But until my partnership and interactions with our tech team, I didn’t realize that 100 emails can land in one of our folk’s inbox easily in a morning. The phone sometimes rings off the hook with the same type of issues. Each issue usually takes a long time to solve. Sometimes what is asked of my geeky friends seems pretty reasonable – and sometimes it just isn’t. If your tech folks don’t answer quickly, it’s possible they are goofing off, but I would bet that in our “lean” world – that there just aren’t enough horses pulling the cart. So yelling at them is sortive like yelling at the grocery store clerk about the prices. They didn’t set’em and they can’t change’em…. if you need to yell, yell at whoever can do something about it.

The truth of the matter is that my friends in technology are neither appreciated highly – or screamed at as much – until something doesn’t work. It’s a lot like the electricity. People don’t think about it much, until it fails – and then it really becomes the focus.

Needless to say, I’ve changed my tune when it comes to my friends in technology support roles. I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts about this topic.

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