I was issued a company cellphone over a week ago. Shortly after receiving my phone, I was made aware of a really cool feature on our Cisco VoIP desktop phones. It’s called Single Number Reach, or SNR for short. This works a little like call forwarding, but much more advanced. Basically, it allows my desktop phone to roll over to my cell phone on the second ring, allowing me to answer either one. This means I never have to miss a call, unless I want to miss it. (Shhh…pretend I didn’t say that).
So, like a good little employee, I went straight to our company extranet for help in setting this up. I’m kinda savy when it comes to IT stuff so if it’s something I can do myself, why on earth would I want to bother our super busy IT guys. I quickly found the section in which detailed directions were listed for setting up SNR on my Cisco VoIP phone. The first step, of course, was to click on the link provided and to then log in using my regular credentials. Last Wednesday, this is exactly what I attempted to do.
I clicked on the link and was promptly directed to the required website. I typed in my company credentials and clicked LOG IN. Then, I waited. And I waited some more. All the while I’m staring at a screen with a blue box in the middle that says “loading”. And, I wait a little more.
Hmmmm, I think to myself. Surely it just hung up so I click on the X to close the browser so that I can try again. This time more than nothing happened. My browser was completely frozen. Alrighty then, time to Ctrl+Alt+Delete this bad boy.
Okay, fresh browser opened and time to try again. Same process – website, enter credentials, click Log in. And once again, I got the perpetual “loading” screen. The computer locked up and I had to Ctrl+Alt+Delete again to get things working.
At this point I pick up the phone and call our Help Desk. The very nice guy listened to me describe my problem and immediately informed me that he was not able to provide assistance with the VoIP phone system and he would elevate my issue to Tier 2 support. Okay, I somewhat expected that so I ignored the Trouble Ticket confirmation email that appeared in my inbox shortly after disconnecting the call.
On Monday morning I realized I had not been contacted so I decided to give the Help Desk another call, just to try and speed things up. I opened the confirmation email to get my trouble ticket reference number and that’s when I observed the brief description of my issue. The Help Desk guy had not accurately described my problem and had instead indicated that I was unable to get to the original website. I call back and explain that I can get to the website but the browser hangs every time I enter my log in details. I ‘suggested’ this was a browser issue and not a ‘Cisco telephone’ or website issue. He understood and reassigned my ticket to desktop support instead of the Cisco phone service desk. And you guessed it, that meant I was at the back of the line again so another waiting game ensued.
Late Monday afternoon, I received an email from the Cisco guy, asking if I was still having an issue. I tried to respond to him by clicking REPLY to the email and, of course, the email bounced. I had to look him up in the company directory so that I could send an email to HIS email address and not to the box he had emailed me from. And, wouldn’t you know that he goes by a name other than the name listed in the directory. I had to call someone else to find out how to find this guy so that I could respond to his question.
When I finally found his contact info, I explained that my issue was a browser issue and that he wasn’t supposed to have my trouble ticket. He explained that my ticket had been reassigned to him by the desktop support team.
So the Cisco guy re-reassigned my ticket back to the team that had assigned it to him. I also called the Help Desk again to express my frustration with the situation. My ticket was reassigned and given a priority escalation. I was thinking that surely this would be resolved by updating my JAVA or something. That’s typically been the fix when websites pooped out on me in the past.
Now it’s Tuesday morning and I’m not thinking about my tech issue at all. Besides, this isn’t affecting my ability to work, just my ability to use the high priced features/tools the company has provided to us. If I can’t use my company cell phone to maximize my efficiency, why do I care? Right? So I proceed to do my work and not think about this.
I noticed before my 8:30 meeting that our program management database was returning zeros in fields where there should have been something other than zero. This made the reports I needed to run to do my job useless. Our DBA was going to be coming in late so I knew I was pretty much dead in the water until he got to work and fixed the problem.
Okay, not really huge deal since I was about to go into back to back meetings that typically lasted about 90 minutes. I figured I would just use the down time to do some way overdue office cleanup and filing. Surely, by the time I finished all of that, the DBA would be in and have us a working database again.
About 10:30 I’m sitting at my desk punching holes in papers to be filed when my IM opens up and one of our desktop support guys says he’s going to remote into my machine and get me fixed up with my broken website issue. I sit and watch as he downloads an updated version of Java (see, I told you that might be it), installs it, and asks me to try logging into the bad website. I log in. I crash. He kills the browser and goes on to make some more changes in my system. I sort of pay attention since I’m only need to enter my password every now and then. After one series of changes he goes to the misbehaving website and logs in with his credentials. BAM….perfect. Worked like a charm. I get all excited and he asks me to log in. BOOM goes the website. Yep, it locked up. Within seconds, the IT guy is calling to ask me to come to his machine and log in there. He suspects the problem is with my windows user profile. I walked to his office and logged in without a hitch.
He asks if I have about 30 minutes for him to rebuilt my user profile. I actually did since I couldn’t do any real work with our broken database. He’s able to do it all remotely so I just go back to my desk and continue cleaning while I watch to make sure I’m available if he needs me to enter my password.
Time goes by. Lots of time. Way more than 30 minutes time.
IT guys calls to tell me files are being copied and he would check back when they were done. What I didn’t realize was that he grabbed one folder that contained about 20 gigs of data. During the copy process of this 20 gigs, my CPU usage jumped to 100% and basically nothing was happening. IT guy #1 goes home and passes the problem to IT guy #2, who brings a can of condensed air to my desk to blow on the laptop fan to try and cool it down so that maybe it would start working again. We all know that killing a process like that could corrupt all of the files involved and well, that would just cause me to freak the *bleep* out if I lost this data.
More time passes as we sit and discuss the hows and whys of what’s happening.
At some point, Mr. Cisco joins us in my office for the idle chit chat as we watch the little status bar struggle to reach completion. And it finally does at about 3:00 in the afternoon. IT guy #2 checks a few things to make sure all of files were copied and my programs are working properly. He gets my Outlook reconfigured and declares victory.
At this point I announce “Not so fast”. I needed to see if I could log into the unruly website. Luckily, Mr. Cisco was still standing there and watched as I pulled up the site, entered my credentials and clicked Log In for the final, successful time.
But oh was it short-lived.
Mr. Cisco looked at me with a weird little head tilt and said, “You can’t set up the Single Number Reach feature, I have to do that for you in the Cisco system.”
I asked him to repeat that.
And he did.
I think this was the point that my head exploded. I asked him to please explain since I had been a model employee and researched and followed all of the company provided directions to a tee.
Have you ever put you faith in the belief that when a company goes to the trouble to provide lengthy, detailed instructions for their employee to follow, in an effort to reduce the need for help desk and IT support, that the information provided is accurate and complete?
I did. Silly, silly me.
In all of those instructions, there was never one single word about having to submit a help-desk ticket to request a Cisco profile be established. At no point did it indicate to me that as an employee, the instructions provided were useless because as an employee, we cannot initiate the Single Number Reach for our own phones. THIS MUST BE DONE BY THE CISCO SUPPORT TEAM, ONLY. As the employee, we can only change a setting or two once the feature has been set up.
UGH! UGH! UGH!
What ensued was a rant of epic proportions, most likely heard by people in the parking lot outside. I honestly went ape shit at that moment and contemplated killing the messenger. Of course, I realized he was not at fault here and let him leave unharmed. He had my SNR set up about 3 minutes later.
Let me recap this for you. I wanted to turn a feature of my desktop phone on so that I could receive all work calls on both my desktop and cell phones. I followed all of the directions provided to me. Because I couldn’t get to the site I was directed to log into, it was established that something in my system was corrupted and needed to be fixed. Now, keep in mind that NOTHING else about my laptop was misbehaving. NOTHING was wrong with my laptop or my ability to perform my job on it. Numerous hours were spent trying to resolve an issue that didn’t even really exist. Had I not followed the directions I was given, I would have NEVER known my user profile was corrupt and I would never have had to have a new one created. I would have never lost an entire day I could have spent actually doing my job. The Help Desk guys I talked to over the previous week-they could have been taking care of real issues. IT guy #1 and #2-they could have been solving real problems of employee who actually needed their IT help. And Cisco guy-well-he could have spent the time troubleshooting my non-problem more productively by setting up my user profile last Wednesday when all of this started.
Did I mention this basically restored my laptop and all of my settings back to factory new? Did I mention that I spent hours reconfiguring my programs back to way I needed them in order to be an efficient employee. Mail files had to be reinstalled. Office ribbons and shortcuts had to be established. Windows shortcuts and features had to be rebuilt. Oh sure, my files and favorites were still there so I should be grateful that my non-problem didn’t wipe those out.
Because someone got lazy and failed to type the words “In order to have SNR turned on for your phone, please submit a request to the help desk.”
So….how was your Tuesday?