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Mailbag: Are you the go-to person?

Jan 05, 20063 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Readers weigh in with their messaging management woes

My recent newsletter that recounted the story of an individual who ran into all sorts of problems managing his company’s geographically dispersed e-mail systems generated quite a bit of response from readers.

Here’s a sampling:

* “I can sympathize with your panelist – the team I’m on also ends up with the ‘burden of proof’ when something goes wrong mail-wise. Tracking down the correct individuals to address an issue, allowing for time zone differences and then having to walk them through detailed steps to fix the root causes eats up a LOT of time.”

* “While I moved on from my last job a while ago, I was responsible for running a Web site dev/hosting company’s network – while we weren’t a big company we ran mail for about 180 domains. Your description of having to support remote mail servers and customers seems like a direct description of my old job.”

* “I work for a reseller, and we feel the same way your contributor does. Worst of all is when the intended recipient of an e-mail sent by one of our clients blames our systems for delivery failure. Without fail, we must prove categorically and without doubt that our mail servers (Microsoft Exchange, GroupWise, SendMail, whatever) are not part of the problem before the recipient will even ask their system admin if there might be something wrong on their end. Quite frustrating.”

* “We had 14 sites in Georgia. HQ was primary support. And yes, I wrote how-to’s that I e-mailed freely as needed, even though non-technical management frowned on wasting time composing them. The whole idea of the User Manual I had orchestrated was deprecated. We identified a knowledgeable remote office user and worked through them; we relied heavily on pcAnywhere before we latched onto WebEx and moved up to XP with Remote Assist. We didn’t use consultants for Internet configuration problems (hard to find in rural Georgia) and some were doozies.”

* “The bulk of our IT environment is outsourced to multiple vendors. While outsourcers may provide guarantees on service levels, they don’t provide guarantees concerning the knowledge levels of their staff, and as they also experience a larger turnover compared to our full-time staff, it’s imperative that the ‘go-to’ people are available to provide continuity of knowledge. Suffice it to say, our roles are not (yet??) on any outsourcing hit list!”

Thank you to everyone who contributed their comments for this article.