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How do you justify the existence of a SysAdmin

By Mr Tom in Technology
Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 10:11:41 AM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

(Also submitted to the other site...)

How do you convince a board of technophobes that having a full-time SysAdmin is preferable to outsourcing their IT function?


A friend of mine is a System Administrator for a small not-for-profit organisation in London. This organisation has a dozen full-time employees, and he administrates all of their IT functions apart from the website (including support). Since this organisation has no revenue streams other than donations and conferences that they organise, they have had to focus on cutting costs. And it looks like the IT department is the next for the chop. The directors have given my friend until 16:00 BST to basically justify why they're better off with an in-house SysAdmin, and not outsourcing their entire IT function to a consultancy. As he is the only technically-knowledgable person in the organisation, this is likely to be an uphill climb..

And this is where you can help - and your chance to vent spleen about the problems, costs, and associated difficulties of outsourcing a company's IT function. Has your company outsourced business-critical functions? What happened? Do you work for a contractor/consultancy? What are the downsides to consulting for a technically illiterate organisation?

In short - how does a System Administrator justify their existence?

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Poll
SysAdmin in a small company?
o Essential 35%
o Useful but inessential. 45%
o Take it or leave it 2%
o Waste of time and money 4%
o Doomed. 12%

Votes: 74
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How do you justify the existence of a SysAdmin | 42 comments (38 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
SysAdmins and the source of IT life (3.85 / 7) (#1)
by gbvb on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 06:30:17 AM EST

System administrator is essential for IT. Even if you were to outsource most of the operations there are certain things that only a System administrator who has a stake in the company he works for, will be able to provide. For e.g. if your company were to develop an application that uses some sort of a cluster mechanism, a sys admin belonging to the company who understands the core business will be able to contribute in the development of that network topology and the application requirements than any consultancy company.
He can understand and provide input to the developers about the problems that might arise in the business if a certain route of development is taken.
Only he can understand the both sides of business..
Of course, this is all in IMHO..

No good reason. (3.20 / 10) (#4)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 06:47:45 AM EST

Either a permanent or an outsourced SysAdmin would do the same taks.

The advantages I see for a permanent SysAdmin are of a different kind completely, not technical: if treated well it will be loyal and supportive of the objectives of the organization, a consultancy by no means will give that kind of loyalty.

A consultancy can and will change personnel according to their needs, not according to the needs of their clients. If they think they can get away with somebody of less caliber and send the experienced guy to earn them some money somewhere else there is nothing to stop them, thus the client company is always exposed to loose expertise pertaining to its own systems. But wait a sec, a permanent staff can resign any time....

No, no reason whatsoever. He should get a contracting position with the consultancy, now that would be funny.





Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
Depends entirely (3.81 / 11) (#5)
by StrontiumDog on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 06:55:16 AM EST

on the quality of the out-sourced system administrator. It's a cost-effectiveness tradeoff.

If outsourcing a sys admin means that basically a consultant is hired to sit in all day at 50 quid an hour, then obviously the organisation will not be better off, unless your friend is pulling in gigantic rates.

If outsourcing is done with some kind of ASP model, then other factors come into play. Usually there's a fixed rate per month (prices vary, but usually start at around 500 quid a month), for which N basis hours are allocated. A certain maximum response time for emergencies or incidents is negotiated, usually 1 hour, 4 hours, 8 hours, 24 hours or 48 hours. The sys admin comes in a fixed number of days a week and does his thing.

Whether this will work depends on how complex his task is. If it's straightforward network and hardware management, and simple software configuration, then no problem. If, as is often the case in small organisations, the sys admin is a jack-of-all-trades doing everything from scripting, helpdesking, to marriage guidance counselling, then the difference will be huge. Also, it's my experience that ASPs like their customers to have small, uniform, standard software configurations and do not fancy supporting out-of-the-ordinary software - in fact they will usually include a subclausule in the contract to this effect. "Windows NT and Office only, and all other software or problems or damage caused by or pertaining to non-supported software is not covered by this contract".

The easiest way to find out is if the organisation and your friend agree to a trial period, say three months, in which they try out the services of an outsourcer and see if they like it. If not, then he comes back and no harm's done.

Oh yeah? (4.12 / 8) (#6)
by hulver on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 07:03:43 AM EST

The easiest way to find out is if the organisation and your friend agree to a trial period, say three months, in which they try out the services of an outsourcer and see if they like it. If not, then he comes back and no harm's done.

If my company said that I should be sacked for three months while they figured out if they actually needed me or not, I wouldn't hang around.

--
HuSi!
[ Parent ]

On the other hand (3.40 / 5) (#10)
by StrontiumDog on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 08:09:16 AM EST

If my company said that I should be sacked for three months while they figured out if they actually needed me or not, I wouldn't hang around.

if they did turn out to need you, think of the power you would have, as someone who's proven himself to be indispensable.

Seriously, the article states that it's a non-profit organisation, and I would personally cut such organisations more slack than commercial ones. Not so much out of sheer altruism, as out of recognition for the difficulty of their position.

[ Parent ]

Sysadmin essential.... (4.27 / 11) (#7)
by Nick Ives on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 07:05:47 AM EST

...but only if you actually have your own IT department in house, even if it is just a department of one.

Wether or not the organisation in question needs its own on site IT support is a completely different question. The big question is how heavily do they depend on IT for their infrastructure? If their network just consists of a bunch of Wintel machines that they use for writing documents in word and going on the net via a gateway then it may actually be cheaper to just host any other services they need off site rather than having to pay for a sysadmin to be there every day, after all if they dont handle their own website then they could just as easily move their email to some external provider. If they are running some databases in house then it would probably be more costly to outsource those, and then you have to factor in the cost of a good internet connection so that you have access to your data (which can be expensive here in the UK).

Things are a little different when you look at the aspect of support though. As you describe the board as "technophobes" then I imagine they have a hard time of it when it comes to computers and your friend most likely has to spend a lot of time replacing deleted icons, reinstalling windows, etc. In this case it would probably help a lot if they were to invest in some training for the staff, but sadly this doesnt always help much. If the staff members were to become more proficient at using their computers then the training would be a good investment, but again good quality training would probably be quite expensive upfront and there still isnt any guarantee that someone wont do something silly and cause their computer to become unuseable for whatever reason, so they would have to have some form of contingancy support.

In short, properly moving from their current setup to outsourced network services & support could be expensive in the short term, but may proove cheaper over the longer term. They could probably save a few quid by sacking your friend now and just hoping nothing falls over, but eventually something will break and then they will be in trouble. Unfortunatly they may just need to save money now or there wont be any tomorrow. I wish both them and your friend the best of luck in this matter.

--
Nick
thought of the minute: Are anti-globalisation riots just a reoccurance of the luddite anti technology riots at the start of the industrial revolution? I should probably say that in the story currently on the front page, but I need to go pee....

Leave as soon as possible (3.80 / 10) (#8)
by jesterzog on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 07:21:53 AM EST

And it looks like the IT department is the next for the chop. The directors have given my friend until 16:00 BST to basically justify why they're better off with an in-house SysAdmin, and not outsourcing their entire IT function to a consultancy.

Maybe it's not an option in your friends case, but I'd quit. If they can't already see advantages to having an in-house sysadmin then he'll probably be lined up again and again, even if he makes it through the first round of layoffs.

Personally I'm not sure if there is much advantage to having in-house-anything for small organisations, except for the core functions of the organisation. (Note the term "core functions": they have to make sure they can do their primary objective first.) They're going to keep coming back to this whenever there's a cashflow problem, and wondering why they need a sysadmin.

If he can justify it for now then great - stay on for a few more months. But keep an eye open for another job, and then leave before getting thrown out on the street. The attitude of the directors shows there's little job security, and if they're smart they should understand and respect that.


jesterzog Fight the light


Offer to outsource yourself, friend. (4.12 / 16) (#9)
by Highlander on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 07:54:08 AM EST

Offer them to work part time as a consultant.

This means you negotiate at least 4x the pay per hour you got before, but you only do work that they pay for per hour.

You have to be willing to find more work, though.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

What can they afford? (3.37 / 8) (#11)
by slaytanic killer on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 08:16:08 AM EST

Can they really also afford their mailservers going down, while a consultant takes a couple days to fix it? Sure, maybe they get a really good consultancy, but they'll have to pay for it. And if the consultancy is suddenly very busy...

Here's one thought: (3.42 / 7) (#13)
by RareHeintz on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 08:26:08 AM EST

Your friend has nothing to worry aobut but them. A consultant may have to divide his attention, and may be less willing to offer his attention to a cheapskate non-profit than to, say, a large finance company that provides lots of billable hours.

I know, because I've been that consultant.

OK,
- B
--
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily

Justify it in terms they understand (3.50 / 10) (#15)
by Simon Kinahan on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 08:46:46 AM EST

Find out how much they'd have to pay a consultant to do the job. Its probably more expensive. Don't forget the cost of equipment hire/purchase, since consultants would probably want to replace the kit. Find all the facilities you're providing that wouldn't come as part of a standard package, and explain that they support the organisation's goals.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
That's a very good question (4.42 / 33) (#17)
by jd on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 09:26:45 AM EST

Precicely because the better the admin, the harder it will be to justify paying them. (This is one of those amazing contradictions which has led to engineers deliberately designing products with limited life-spans, with a complexity level so high that only the original engineers can really understand what is going on.)

A mediocre admin is needed constantly, to keep unstable software running and to do "routine" maintenance work.

An OK admin (the sort you generally get, when out-sourcing) is needed regularly. Mysteriously, this regularity seems to be a function of how much a company can pay, versus how much they are willing to pay. Of course, this is entirely coincidental. Honest!

A good admin (the sort you'll occasionally get, and might even find when out-sourcing, but it's rare) is needed seldom. The software is reliable, the security is all in place and the servers are all largely self-maintaining, though a combination of watchdog cards, journalling file-systems, self-repair scripts, and backup tapes. All the good admin should ever need to do is add/remove users (oh, wow! a lengthy operation!), or swap tapes from time to time. The only complex operation is getting the whole setup working smoothly at the start.

A brilliant admin is much the same as the good admin, only they've got a whole stack of CDs pressed for a wide range of common situations, reducing the start-up time. They'd probably also use a jukebox for backup, so that the rewritable CD is automatically swapped, as needed. (Jukebox drives are nice, but they are VERY expensive.)

Now, company X considers out-sourcing, or hiring. If they out-source, they'll get an OK admin, but (more importantly) they'll get the illusion of work being done, because the guy is fairly active. On the other hand, if they hire, they risk getting a brilliant admin. Sure, the work really WILL get done, then, but that means that they'll be paying this person to sit on their backside and drink coffee for 364 days out of every 365.

Given that choice, the bosses will feel they have no choice, but to outsource. No way on Earth will they allow a member of their workforce appear lazier than the managers. That might demoralize people.

Bottom line is this: Appearance really IS everything, in a corporate environment. Actual progress is irrelevent. That's why corporations rarely do anything useful.

And that goes back to the question of how you justify the existance of a SysAdmin. The only admins you can even hope to justify are the incompetent ones, and they're the ones you definitely don't want to hire.

About the only way you can "justify" a System Admin, in today's cut-throat world, is if the "admin" is also doing some other work, as part of that justification. Because of politics, the more "Upper Management" that work is, the better. (It prevents the "why do we need to pay this lazy slob all this money? they don't DO anything!" syndrome from corporate accountants. Accountants and financial advisors don't think in terms of prevention. If it's not there, and not being cured, it doesn't exist.)

This actually goes along with a similar paradox, in the medical profession. The best doctors in the world are the ones almost nobody sees, because they tackle why the problems arise in the first place, and so work with the patient to prevent them happening again.

However, since doctors (and out-sourced admins) are paid by the problem they fix, it's much more profitable to create problems than cure them. They just have to be subtle about it. There hasn't been a need for a single successful DoS attack, or a flu epidemic, since the 1960's. The problems exist, and persist, because those are perhaps the easiest sources of income these professions have.

(Actually DoS attacks, and virus threats, have started being replaced by mysterious cracker vulnerabilities. In all liklihood, it's because those cards have been over-played and people are beginning to ask why things haven't been fixed, already. Good question, and if it had been asked a decade or so earlier, I might even have believed there was intelligent life on Earth.)

In Conclusion: The very best admins, to justify their own existance, have to imitate the most pathetic of admins, to generate a large enough "mision-critical" and "severe" problems to warrant their pay-cheque.

It's a very, very sad world we live in. But it can be profitable, if you like acting.

So the solution is... (4.16 / 6) (#23)
by Armaphine on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 02:04:55 PM EST

...if you are one of these brilliant sysadmins, that can set up a network to the point of being almost self-maintaining: DON'T WORK FOR THE COMPANY.

It would seem to me that if you can set up a network that well, hire yourself out to different companies, and do 'proper' setups for these companies, and perform regularly scheduled maintenance. (Bailing their ass out when Bonzo the wonder idiot goes playing in the server room is, of course, massively extra.) Do this for eight or nine different companies, and you should be in the money if you can sell yourself right.

On the other side, if you do want to stay in the company, then make sure you document EVERYTHING you do. Write it up as a work order / trouble ticket / whatever and document what you do so that you can show the management what it is that you do for a living.

Failing all else, unplug the mail server for a couple hours, and give them a real good reminder of why they keep you around...

Question authority. Don't ask why, just do it.
[ Parent ]

CD Jukebox for Backup? (3.50 / 2) (#30)
by srichman on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 08:25:06 PM EST

They'd probably also use a jukebox for backup, so that the rewritable CD is automatically swapped, as needed. (Jukebox drives are nice, but they are VERY expensive.)

Do people really do backups with CD-RW jukeboxes? It just doesn't seem very practical, when you consider that 100s of gigs is the very low end for most corporate data backup needs.

[ Parent ]

The quick answer: Yes. (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by jd on Tue Jun 19, 2001 at 09:02:59 AM EST

The longer answer:

One of the research facilities I worked at, Daresbury Laboratory in the UK, used a high capacity CD-RW jukebox for backups. It wasn't the largest (and back in 1991 those were still up to 1/3 of a terrabyte!) but it was amazing to hear the robot arm moving the disks in and out of the drive.

[ Parent ]

The short answer is YES, but it's Not A Good Idea (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by briandunbar on Sun Jul 01, 2001 at 02:00:53 AM EST

Do people really do backups with CD-RW jukeboxes? It just doesn't seem very practical, when you consider that 100s of gigs is the very low end for most corporate data backup needs.

It's not the amount of data that makes CD-RW a bad idea for long term backup, it's the media. Tape is a proven storage media, with proper care decades of storage life can be obtained. CDs don't have the storage life of tape, and they're much more difficult to handle/store correctly.

True story. 1/4 in QIC tape spent nearly 10 years in a cardboard box. Box was indiff. stored in an office supply cabinet (hell, I didn't even know it was there). Client needed the data from the tapes, I dug up a 1/4 tape drive from my box of odds and ends and LO retrieved the files w/ a min. of fuss. Try that with a decade old CDROM.


Feed the poor, eat the rich!
[ Parent ]

Outsource yourself (4.23 / 13) (#18)
by thunderbee on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 09:38:03 AM EST

Words probably won't make any difference. I happen to know just the same kind of setup. They outsourced everything computer-related, and ended up with a worst service for a hefty fee. Now they pay everytime a luser calls for support on a windows problem (lots).

But the decision was political, not logical. And even now, with hard facts, I'd bet an arm they wouldn't change a thing.

It's the way of business (and non-profit alike). Get used to it. And as someone else suggested, outsource yourself (or your friend) to them. You'll probably end up making more money while working less.

Probably impossible (3.22 / 9) (#19)
by retinaburn on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 11:20:51 AM EST

Trying to prove to upper management how bad things may get while everything is going good is in my opinion tough. They look around see everything is fantastic and say "Pbbbtt. We don't need our own guy, it can be done part-time by an outside company."

My advice: Your friend should ask each member of management to give him 5 reasons why there are essential. Then your friend should get hired by the consulting company because he already knows the ins-and-outs of the system, thus eliminating any real ramp-up time for a newbie to learn it.

1 upper-management being let go could save an entire IT department in this case.

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho


Cost management (4.13 / 15) (#20)
by aakin on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 11:37:15 AM EST

Have your friend chart out his work hours (i.e. how much time he spends doing what). Then have him write up an invoice for those hours and whatever the going rate for consultants are in that area, and present it to the management, as a hypothetical bill for hiring an outside consultant to do his job. It will get the point across in a method understood by management. - Aakin

I'd leave the second I was asked to justify myself (4.00 / 9) (#21)
by coffee17 on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 01:19:30 PM EST

Part of the reason is that once you're asked to justify yourself, company politics have probably already decided that you're gone. Also, I've learned that companies will swear up and down that they realize that you are needed, but let's face it, the people who actually make the decisions care most about the bottom line, and will abuse their employees, whether it be by underpaying them, overworking them, or just giving them horrid working conditions.

I let upper management know repeatedly that I was not working well with my boss, and wanted either him to be fired, (actually, I think I asked for a justification for his position ;) , for me to be transferred under someone else, or for me to become more or less autonomous, which I mostly am. they refused to do anything... they'd say that they'd look into it, but after 2 months nothing happened. So I gave them my 2 weeks resignation. Boom, suddenly things changed real quickly, I got a raise, and it turns out that the day I set as my resignation date ended up being my ex-bosses date. They understand the bottom line, and if you aren't either walking out on them, or threatening to, it means that they can, and will, squeeze more blood from you.

As a bit of a moral to this story, even with the raise, I'm likely underpaid, got rid of the old manager, but somehow ended up with 2 managers, and the upper management didn't learn anything, because while there was an uproar on hearing that I was quitting, the company didn't get hurt as I didn't, so essentially I just played their game, letting them shove me around, and when I said I was leaving let them cajole me back. We should teach the corporate droids a lesson, and I should have either quit, or at least followed thru on my 2 weeks resignation... letting them buy you back just continues the cycle.

-coffee


Agree 100% (2.00 / 1) (#41)
by plara31480 on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 09:32:08 AM EST

I run a Healthcare IT company, and your absolutely right. The fact that the firm is asking for justification usually means your out. In addition, I wouldn't put up wiht that anyways. Good angle

[ Parent ]
Twelve Employees? (4.40 / 15) (#24)
by SpaceHamster on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 02:07:43 PM EST

This company has only a dozen employees, and requires a full-time administrator? Really, for an organization that small, outsourcing is the way to go; a competent admin should be able to manage that place averaging only a few hours per week. Perhaps if those employees are unusually incompetent or have some special IT needs, a full time admin might be required, but if so, he/she should also be maintaining the web site as well. If the company is as cash poor as you say, then they probobly don't have a very complex site (couldn't afford it), so managing it should be cake.



Sounds like my old job (4.00 / 5) (#34)
by dennis on Tue Jun 19, 2001 at 03:53:32 PM EST

As it happens, I used to work for a nonprofit with twelve employees. Money was a constant problem. Our IT consisted of a couple of us with other jobs, who were clued-in enough to take care of whatever needed doing. There's no way we could have justified a full-time sysadmin.

Website maintenance, as you suggest, is another matter, and if there had been money for it that definitely could have been a fulltime job.

[ Parent ]

Editorial Comment (2.40 / 5) (#25)
by ti dave on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 03:06:48 PM EST

I think I found a hiccup in Scoop.
The Editorial/Topical option is missing on the page I'm looking at, so I'll make this short.

I'd like to see the comment "(Also submitted to the other site...)" stricken from the Introductory Paragraph. It's distracting, and unnecessary.

I'd also like to float the idea of an "Ask Kuro5hin" style section. Many recent submissions would be best suited for that type of section.

Cheers,

ti_dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

Oooops. (2.33 / 3) (#26)
by ti dave on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 03:11:08 PM EST

Not a bug. No Editorial commenting outside the submissions queue. My bad.

Still like to see some discussion about a new section. Should I write something up?

ti_dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
I don't know how to take this (2.50 / 4) (#27)
by psctsh on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 04:14:52 PM EST

But I know I'm interested in you writing up a meta article suggesting some sort of a "help!" or "ask kuroshin" topic/section. There've been plenty of recent articles justifying such a modification to scoop. Heck, maybe we'll even see it get implemented sometime in the future! (it can't be *too* hard...)

[ Parent ]
Briefly... (2.00 / 5) (#28)
by mcherm on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 04:25:21 PM EST

Should I write something up?

Yes.


-- Michael Chermside
[ Parent ]

The bizarre catch 22 all sys admins face (4.55 / 18) (#29)
by ellem on Mon Jun 18, 2001 at 04:33:52 PM EST

Good sys admins are invisible. Everything just works. People don't know he/she is even in the company. Try to justify your job if you're a good sys admin

Bad sys admins are high profile. They're always "fixing" things. Much easier to justify your job when you suck.

grrr.
-- hmmm... this looks like /.
screwed (3.57 / 7) (#31)
by Zero Tolerance on Tue Jun 19, 2001 at 01:36:59 AM EST

As others have pointed out, a good sys admin is invisible because s/he runs a smooth ship. So, if you have to justify your existence, you have to figure out:

  • Is it pure politics and the decision is already made?
  • Do you (your friend) have a reasonable chance of convincing them with a good argument?

If it's not only politics, then it comes down to money, and you have to justify it that way. And productivity. Will their lives be easier with or without an in-house solution? Frankly, a small place with few IT needs might not need an SA of their own, and perhaps it's time to hit the market ...

I've seen too many places that go for the consultant because, hey, they're "professionals" in the we've-got-a-company-and-wear-suits sort of way. Such firms often don't value what they've got ... oh well. As they say:

Image is nothing. Thirst is everything.
ZT

--------
Give a man a fire and he will be warm for a day. Set a
man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life.

can't justify myself (3.00 / 8) (#32)
by Scrappsez on Tue Jun 19, 2001 at 02:39:12 AM EST

Without needing the five 9's, or having 20,000 users. I can't see what a sys admin does that some good programming can't take care of. Well unless their also stuck with ms office support.
I work for a college(i admin 900+ users, 5 servers) In reality I spend like a day quarter doing administration, the rest is browsing freshmeat, and whois'ing sources of portscans at geektools. I hope the justification for my job I gave was lame enough I don't have to come back.

Bah. (3.25 / 4) (#36)
by mindstrm on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 07:41:38 AM EST

That's because you do your job properly, I'd guess.

You are not paid for what you do; you are paid for what you are capable of doing.


[ Parent ]
Paid For Sincerity? (3.25 / 4) (#37)
by Aztech on Thu Jun 21, 2001 at 10:26:49 PM EST

Yeah... but you have to admire his honesty. Obviously his boss would look at this in a different light.

What college do you work for again? :)

[ Parent ]
Hah. (3.50 / 6) (#35)
by mindstrm on Wed Jun 20, 2001 at 10:52:31 AM EST

That's a good question. How do you justify it?

First, you find out how much outsourcing will cost, and weigh it against your salary. That's not where it ends.

Then you point out the things that are different between outsourcing and having someone in-house. Dedication, freindlyness, some of the little things they won't get when they outsource.

The end result should be obvious.


The BIG reason (3.25 / 4) (#38)
by briandunbar on Fri Jun 22, 2001 at 11:44:54 PM EST

It's NOT cheaper than doing it in house. Doesn't matter what they say.

Look. Unless the outsourcing company is going to do *less* than your in-house sys admin, their costs will be just as much as your current sysadmin PLUS their profit.

They can talk leveraging skills across a team and synergy of effort and play mirror games with accounting and blah blah blah but I'm right.

Creds? 11 years in IT, both sides of the house.


Feed the poor, eat the rich!

Dear Management... (3.25 / 4) (#39)
by Zapata on Sat Jun 23, 2001 at 10:16:32 PM EST

How I justify my job:

1) Information is the lifeblood of this company.

2) The network is the circulatory system.

3) The sysadmin is the heart.

You may not notice your heart but you wouldn't decide to 'outsource' it, would you?

If you did, that artificial heart would likely be less efficient and more expensive.

Most folks only replace their hearts when they notice they're not working.

Is there a problem? I feel fine.


"If you ain't got a camel, you ain't Shiite."


SysAdmin Essential (3.00 / 2) (#40)
by plara31480 on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 09:27:31 AM EST

Unfortunately, for any firm in most businesses to compete and prove successful they must be able to both focus on thier core business knowledge and leverage technology. If technology is used a tool to execute on their biz model, then utilizing an outside firm with the resources to leverage theri model and operations is critical. I currently run a company in the Healthcare IT sapce and utilize both internal and exertnal firms for IT. My main issue with internal System Admins are, unless they are heavily documenting their architecture, design and updates (shich they usually do not) you are critically dependent on them. They may threaten to leave or make inappropriate demands and you are in a difficult situation vs. a company whom you can hold their feet to the fire as well as insist solid documentation and reviews of your infrastrucutre with you.

What id expect from the managemnt side (1.50 / 2) (#43)
by jnx on Mon Jul 02, 2001 at 12:37:10 AM EST

Working full time in a management position, here is what i would expect: 1. First, to know how much of the hours this guys spends are on 'continuos support'. thats to say, just to keep thing running. 2. how much time is he spending on support. 3. how much time in new proyects or special services(ie, "hey, lets setup this instant messaging thins in house and see how it goes") 4. just wating for hell to break loose So, based on (1) i would see how good he is in his work. then, based on 2 i would lame are my users or diffult the system he set up. and, based on 3 i would see how critical is to have the function in house. basically, if we dont care about point 3, then outsourcing should be the way. 11 people can be managed with little hours. on the costs side, ill have to take in consideration how good or bad is his setup, to think on the fees for a new setup. but its not a good argumen for him to present. no one like being hostage. About being entraped, i rather be entraped by a person that a campany. you can always make him do the documentation. The key point i think is what value does the company get out of his not administrative work. because if he is used rightly 100% of his time, in house is cheaper. Then theres the focusing on core stuff, but that could be like saying that they cant hire a maid, they must hire a 'temporal personnel agency'. if they use their computers, they will tak advantage to the benefit of having someone inhouse. if they can justify the cost of having someone full time. jnx

from management (3.25 / 4) (#44)
by jnx on Mon Jul 02, 2001 at 12:40:14 AM EST

Working full time in a management position, here is what i would expect:
1. First, to know how much of the hours this guys spends are on 'continuos support'. thats to say, just to keep thing running.
2. how much time is he spending on support.
3. how much time in new proyects or special services(ie, "hey, lets setup this instant messaging thins in house and see how it goes")
4. just wating for hell to break loose

So, based on (1) i would see how good he is in his work.
then, based on 2 i would lame are my users or diffult the system he set up.
and, based on 3 i would see how critical is to have the function in house. basically, if we dont care about point 3, then outsourcing should be the way.

11 people can be managed with little hours. on the costs side, ill have to take in consideration how good or bad is his setup, to think on the fees for a new setup. but its not a good argumen for him to present. no one like being hostage.
About being entraped, i rather be entraped by a person that a company. you can always make him do the documentation.
The key point i think is what value does the company get out of his not administrative work. because if he is used rightly 100% of his time, in house is cheaper.
Then theres the focusing on core stuff, but that could be like saying that they cant hire a maid, they must hire a 'temporal personnel agency'.

if they use their computers, they will tak advantage to the benefit of having someone inhouse. if they can justify the cost of having someone full time. jnx

How do you justify the existence of a SysAdmin | 42 comments (38 topical, 4 editorial, 0 hidden)
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