Outsourced too far

I’ve written recently about how our research management system was upgraded to the latest version, a 5 month project that upgraded all three environments we work in. The upgrade process wasn’t without its issues, some in part due to work migrating servers to a cloud services provider and having to adapt to their processes.

Following our go-live in mid-November the production environment decided to experience problems with scheduled reports, in particular any report that had EXCEL as its output format, though we could choose HTML and that was fine. The scheduled reports also have capability of being executed manually via a ‘run’ button, however even this didn’t work. We submitted a support request to our vendor and a few days later our QA environment went kaput, suddenly the digital certificates experienced a problem and we could no longer see a login page, and nor could our vendors in the USA.

Following completion of the cloud migration project we’ve now discovered those tasks previously completed by IT staff internally have now all been outsourced, this having implications for those who directly support us, they no longer have someone to ‘tap on the shoulder’ to get the job done. The new cloud services provider must complete the task, which must first be lodged, and eventually they’ll get around to it, possibly within two weeks. What a nightmare.

Eventually our assigned IT staff member managed to get the QA server issue resolved, and we can now log into the box for the first time in 3.5 weeks. Sadly the reports can’t be executed manually, but are at least running overnight as we’d like them to – so we are now 90% the way there. This really does beggar the question, how much outsourcing is too much, when all your IT corporate knowledge within a particular are is lost and that remaining admits it has no knowledge and must rely upon ‘Dr Google’ to resolve, I would argue they’ve gone a step too far.

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