Stories from My Past: Be careful what you ask for

In IT you often find that when you give people exactly what they want, they are sorry they ever asked.

I helped one person who wanted a new version of Adobe rolled out to the entire company. They were working on a project and that project needed a new version of Adobe. Not an unreasonable request. I asked someone to test that new version and they tested it.

A week later that person had a different problem and I went to help them. It turns out that the fix was to upgrade their versionĀ of Adobe just like the other person who was testing it. However when I went to upgrade them they said “Maybe we shouldn’t upgrade this because it might break my other applications.” This was the same person who asked for the entire company to be upgraded the week before. I agreed that could happen, and upgraded him anyway. It worked fine. Problem solved.

Of course I went to my supervisor and told him what happened. The same person wanted the entire company to be upgraded, but not himself personally. You can’t have it both ways.

Often the quick and easy answer seems to be upgrading the software. Many times this is the correct one. I personally like using recent and supported software. However not every company believes in this. Many companies use very old software that is poorly supported or not at all. This is the main cause why they have problems as well.

To me, when you quickly want to make a major change and don’t consider the consequences you are just asking for problems. If I had upgraded everyone that day like it was my technical ability to do, I might have unleashed worse problems. Having someone test a change is so helpful, and so basic in giving the best IT experience for users.

If you want disaster make a quick change. If you want stability, think decisions through.

Switching to Office 365 and Airwatch

If you work in a company and are switching to Office 365 using Airwatch or Mobile Iron can make the process easier.

How? It can help automate many of the things that need to be done with iOS devices like iPads/iPhones. Rather than take so much time configuring things manually, it is remarkable how things can be automatic and self-configuring.

Having used Airwatch and Mobile Iron I have compared them in the link above. There is really no best tool, just a better fit for the kind of environment you have. Personally I really like the interface of Airwatch and I think its ultimately an easier way than Mobile Iron to work.

One frustrating thing with switching to Office 365 is that Outlook for iOS doesn’t have the ability to self-configure. However it is really the most easy email setup ever. You just start Outlook and put in one email address and it asks for the password and configures everything automatically. How great is that?

Using an iPad and Office 365 is a wonderful combination. It really allows a great deal of functionality and in an easy way. I am not an iPad fan, but people who who typical users find the iPad very useful. They like it being easier than a laptop while still having most of the apps they use on a daily basis.

I like that people feel that iPads are useful and they are less complex than laptops to mange and configure. One day all companies will move away from bulky desktop computers and into laptops or smaller form factors. It is frankly silly that any company uses a non laptop/iPad to work.

The advantage of having a mobile computer is too great to easily dismiss. Rather than spend time configuring other workstations, being mobile always makes people more efficient.

The laptop/iPad will one day have its day and Airwatch/MobileIron will be part of its success.