IT – The Cost of Ignorance

I’ve been in IT Support in one form or another for my entire working life. Even in jobs where it wasn’t the reason I was originally employed, eventually the role has become IT focused for two reasons: 1) I’m good at it, 2) there’s always a need for it. There are exceptions, of course; some places employ external companies to cover their IT needs and those people don’t want some nobody stepping on their toes. Companies spend an inordinate amount of money on IT. Any why wouldn’t they? IT is integral to any modern business. But, besides the original creation of the infrastructure, it needn’t be.

Support, as it currently stands, should have no reason to exist in the modern age. This post is absolutely a case for why my job shouldn’t be something that’s required as a job in its own right. Do you know how the vast majority of IT people find out how to fix new issues that pop up when they don’t know what to do? They Google it. The people who Google their problems at work are the same kind of people that save stupid amounts of money by not “calling a guy” when something breaks at home, instead hopping over to Youtube and upskilling themselves to solve the issue. So consider how much time and money a business would save by not only outsourcing IT support, but doing away with it altogether!

Unfortunately the reality of the situation is much less positive. The vast majority of users point-blank don’t bother to read error messages. I’m not talking about knowing to note down the error code of a blue screen or something like that, I mean that they hear that DOING and an error message pop up and their brain shuts down completely. There’s no troubleshooting, no attempt to close the thing their doing and try again, no reboot, etc.

So what you have in an office environment is an IT team that’s positioned to jump on whatever issues may come up with a plethora of programs that they’ve never actually had hands-on experience with. The IT guy then works out what the program is supposed to do (because the user is almost never prepared to explain it themselves), what it’s not doing, and how to fix it. This can take time, because we’re not just working on fixing the issue at that point, and there’s a learning curve involved. Once we know, that information is there for good, and the next time it comes up, the resolution will be quicker.

But consider for a moment that this is completely unnecessary. Do you know who the best positioned person to troubleshoot a niche program that only one department uses? It’s that department. Obviously. Rather than seeing an issue fixed once and then immediately disregarding all of what they’ve just seen, a user should be expected to learn how to resolve it, and to disseminate that information to everybody else on their team. Effectively, here we’re talking about slowly phasing out IT Support in favour of every person in a business being able to troubleshoot their own issues. And if that person in particular doesn’t know how to sort out the problem, you can be more or less certain that somebody else on their team can.

There is no such thing as a ‘computer person’ and the excuse that “I’m just not a computer person” is frustratingly pathetic. IT is exactly like anything else which relies on information retention; read, do, remember. Congratulations, businesses around the world, I just saved you untold millions of your local currency.

However, to the detriment of companies’ bank accounts everywhere, and to the benefit of mine, this is never going to happen. Viva la Google!

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