Technology Janitors

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04Jul2010

Technology Janitors

  • By Andrew Garrett
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Back when I was working as a Systems Administrator (commonly known as a SysAdmin), I often referred to myself as an IT Janitor.

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A good janitorial staff takes care of things so no-one else ever has to pay attention to them. In the normal day-to-day events, you should never notice a dirty carpet, full rubbish bins or a lack of toilet paper – these things should just magically ‘take care of themselves’.

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Your IT systems should have a similar level of visibility to that of the floors, walls, ceiling, electricity and plumbing. For most users they should just be part of the background, part of the infrastructure that just works, that doesn’t impinge on their day to day consciousness.

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The role of IT staff or outsourcers in your organisation should be to make that happen as much as possible. The only people who work on computers should be the people paid to work on computers – everyone else just uses the computers to do their jobs. Much like you don’t think about the rubbish bin next to your desk being emptied, or being able to turn on a tap and have water come out of it – these things just get taken care of, work by themselves.

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This isn’t yet the world that we live in, but it should be the goal, the (perhaps unreachable) target. We should be moving towards less complexity, more intuitive usability.

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