Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Remote futility.

Because of the "inclement" weather the Northeast was having, a huge number of Bank employees decided to stay home and use VPN to access. There were even a large number of people who had never used VPN before attempting to get on for the first time. And, as might be expected, the system couldn't handle it. When I got in at 7:30, the queue was already building with users who couldn't get on.

It didn't take long for use to be informed that this was a known problem, that there was nothing that could be done about it (short of fewer people using VPN) and a front end message was put up. Everyone calling the Helpdesk was told, up front, that there was a known problem with VPN.

Of course, this didn't actually deter people from staying on the line to say essentially, "I heard there's a VPN problem but why cant *I* get on?"

Part of it is that everyone likes to think they are special. That these issues only affect other, less important people. Some even go so far as to think that if they can only get across how important they are to The Bank, that we can perform some magic and make it work for them. This is apparently what prompted the directive that if people from the Financial Services Group were to call about VPN issues, we were to open a ticket. This ticket wasn't going to actually solve their problem because, in essence, the problem was unsolvable. And then, actually looking at what happened to the tickets that were created, I found that the Function Desk was just closing them. Exactly the same thing we were doing for everyone else but without the lie that the ticket we were opening was actually going to accomplish anything.

One caller told me, "You know, I was in the Business Resiliency meeting where we talked about beefing up the system to handle volume like this but They didn't want to hear it."

"They," of course, being management who were being asked to spend money on a situation that might happen once every five years. Well, now that it happened THIS year and the Financial Services Group is crying all about it, maybe they'll have themselves another meeting.

Of course, if people had just come in to work, this wouldn't be happening. The branch people came in to work. The call center people came in to work. The Help Desk came in to work. I walked three miles through ankle deep snow and freezing rain to be here on time (it was a little too treacherous for my bike). The least the FSG people can do is get in their Beemers and Hummers and come in to work like the rest of us.

Of the 106 calls I took for the day (30 more than anyone else), a third of them were telling people what they had already heard during the front end message.

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