Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yeah, do stuff...

The latest dictat from up high is that we, the IT department, are to start selling laptops to students. This is because that another institution, revered by our CEO, does so.

Well, not quite. They actually provide a room for their hardware supplier to knock out stuff to students. That's it. Us being small, provincial, and in a different county from their supplier, our CEO reasons we can do the same thing ourselves, being as they've probably pissed themselves laughing down the phone when he mentioned it. (Likely sales, I'd guess, might amount to ten laptops a year.)

Quite apart from it not saying - not once, I've checked - on my resume that I am, ever have been, or have any desire to be a shopkeeper - I have a few objections, here.

Firstly, we're an HP shop. And as anyone who's ever had the desire to dig through the HP website can find out, becoming an HP reseller ain't a piece of cake. It requires things of their partners like certified hardware techs, which in turn would require the institute to bother investing in its people. I can understand why they don't, because confronted with a continual stream of half-baked ideas like this one (to which our corporate culture is that it's not OK to raise obstacles, as they interfere with the deep, deep, blue-sky thinking going on upstairs), most of the IT staff, when confronted with the prospect of being actually certified would either:

a) apply for another job straightaway
b) refuse to take the course as they'd have to repay the money in two months when the job they've just applied for is due to start
c) go sick from shock

So being an HP reseller is probably out, then. But he's adamant that we've got to have it, so at some point we'll have to find a way of doing it. Selling ten laptops a year from someone else, jeopardizing our relationship with HP - one which saved us a third of the cost of replacing our network infrastructure with (lower-spec) Cisco gear eight months ago. And I don't even want to know what sort of a deal they gave us on the couple hundred new PC's we ordered at the same time.

I will bet, however, it was worth more than the profit margin on ten laptops. And I haven't even discussed the prospective joy I feel at students coming into my office to make a warranty claim on whatever half-assed arrangement we ultimately inherit. I could go on and say something else, but you get the picture.

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