Friday, February 27, 2004

Tale of Multifunctional Devices

I just had sort of a... dirty thought.. after reading the title. Maybe I should write an X-rated version of the story below? Hmmmmm... Like I've said, you know when we all loose our jobs there won't be much left for us to do besides sell pornography on the internet (there I said it again... pornography). I'm still waiting to see if it shows up in the ad banner.

I'm sure everyone who works in a large corporation has a similar story to tell...

Once upon a time there was an executive high, high up in an IT department who decreed that money should be saved company-wide. That an innovative (it's always innovative) cost-savings solution to be enforced throughout the land.

So he and his subjects decided to draft up a plan to remove 2 of every 3 printers and 1 copy center per floor everywhere in the company/kingdom and replace it with a magical machine that supposedly was a Printer/FAX/Copier all in one. It may have been that the device actually served as a stapler as well. Although this new fangled device was to be a godsend of efficiency and innovation, at least 1/2 of the vassals on every floor would share this printer.

There was never any consideration to the quality of the machines or their actual performance (as the model has many functions, it also has many interactive parts... thus, the more parts, the more of a chance that something will BREAK). The printer itself was very much like one of those magic Chinese puzzle boxes that had secret pieces or drawers. In this case the printers had many handles, drawers, cabinets and apertures. There are many nooks and crannies where obstinate pieces of paper would become lodged and cause jams. Nor did they give the slightest thought to the possibility that so many people using a machine would cause it to break down more frequently. Each day or at least every other day the loyal subjects would discover that they could not receive their printouts. Or they would have to open the computer and examine its many nooks and crannies... trying desperately to follow the enigmatic digital readouts and make sense of the color coded and numbered knobs and latches to get the printer to function once again.

The IT overlord did not encourage his people to look over the documentation and note if the correct drivers that were installed in all of these printers that were distrusted far and wide through the land. Some of these drivers were not compatible with the systems, so many of the hapless vassals who printed certain critical documents would encounter blue screen after blue screen.

If you want to have some numbers as to how much employee time (therefore dollars) has been wasted because of the so-called cost-savings, I’m not sure it would balance out with the projected savings the printer decree was to bring. But cost-savings numbers whether on parchment or in a PowerPoint presentation are as good as divine right when your people are salaried (indentured) and the cost of all administrative tasks is supposed to come out of their working time.

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