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Why Call Down the Totem Pole?
Old 09-29-2016, 05:43 PM
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Jay 2K Winger Jay 2K Winger is offline
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Default Why Call Down the Totem Pole?

So there are a variety of other service and support desks at The Client. Most of them support specific applications or organizations. In some cases, the IT Service Desk has no capability of sending trouble tickets to these desks, in which case, the user is supposed to contact them directly for assistance.

Today, I got a call from a user who was having various access issues. They mentioned a specific application (let's call it "Chain"), in particular. So they reached out to Chain Support. Chain Support checked, said everything looked good on their end and advised the user to try contacting a separate desk, who support a service on which Chain runs. (Let's call this service "Anchor.")

Anchor Support looked into it, and said basically, "Your information is valid in [Major Directory], but it needs to replicate into [Smaller Directory] for Anchor and Chain to work. This will happen automatically, and should take place within 96 hours."

These calls to Chain and Anchor Support had been several days ago. User was a little impatient (not too bad, all things considered) and today reached out to Anchor Support to see how much longer it would take for her information to replicate into Smaller Directory. Anchor Support gave her a set of instructions on how to manually add herself to Smaller Directory-- instructions that wouldn't work until after the automatic replication period had passed. User tried these instructions, and run across an error.

So naturally, rather than contact Anchor Support-- the people who were the experts on this sort of thing, the people who'd given her the instructions in the first place-- the user decided to contact the IT Service Desk.

We don't have any access to Anchor (or Chain, for that matter) to give any sort of major assistance in these matters. I advised her that she should really try reaching back out to Anchor Support, but she insisted there had to be something else going on. (Because of course.) So I humored her and sent a ticket along to the account problems team so they could check her account/profile/whatever.

Seriously, though, IT Service Desk is farther DOWN the totem pole than Chain or Anchor Support. And if they're the ones who gave you the "bad" instructions, why not reach out to them again? Sigh.

EDIT: Annnnd I just got an email from her. She reached out to Anchor Support, who told her what to do, and she was able to get her info updated and get into Chain. See? You talk to the right people, you get helped right away.
PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

There are only four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!

Last edited by Jay 2K Winger; 09-29-2016 at 05:50 PM.

Old 02-07-2017, 02:07 PM
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Jay 2K Winger Jay 2K Winger is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 5,407

Sigh. I just had another case of this sort of thing.

For the purposes of obfuscation, let's say that applications and internal websites at The Client use something called "Dots" to authenticate users. Quite often, calls from lusers to the IT service desk wherein the lusers cannot access a site or app is down to the lusers' Dots being out of date/corrupted/otherwise nonfunctional. Thus, we at ITSD will just push out a new set of Dots, which the lusers import to their systems and voila. There are two methods of Dot importation, either the import Dot file is sent to the user via email, or it's run directly from the Dot site. However the file is accessed, it's run the same way.

That's background. Now onto the call I took this morning.

Lady is having a problem with her Dots. She is trying to import them to a browser (let's call it "Vex"), but in her words "They aren't sticking." She's tried importing them several times, but it keeps failing. This tells me I don't need to push out new Dots to her, since she's already tried that. So I say, "Okay, we'll need to send this over to Dot Support--" and then she interrupts me, "I'm with Dot Support."

Well, shit. All of ITSD's documentation about Dot issues says to send tickets up to Dot Support. We have NO information about who is above them in the hierarchy, apart from Dot Engineering, who are Tier 3 and are usually only engaged when it's a widespread issue. And even then, ITSD usually sends the issues to Dot Support, who will then reach out to Dot Engineering themselves.

---What takes place between here and the next bolded line ended up being entirely pointless---

While I'm puzzling out how to proceed, Lady notices that she's on Vex v20, instead of Vex v15, like she should be. I mention that v20 is the latest version, but she tells me, "That's for Windows 10, we're not using v20 on Windows 7." I check my Vex browser's version, and sure enough, it's v15. So Lady asks if we can uninstall v20.

That's tricky. I check the Control Panel, but Vex v20 is not there to be uninstalled, while v15 is present. Lady asks me to help delete the v20 shortcut icons-- which for some reason requires admin rights-- despite my warnings that this will not uninstall v20 itself. I check the App Center, where a lot of new applications can be installed, and it shows v20 as installed, but there is NO option to uninstall it.

So Lady asks me to uninstall v15 so it can be reinstalled, believing this will work. I'm dubious, but I go along with it. I uninstall v15 for her, we reboot, and I reinstall v15. But v20 is still installed.

---After this point, we finally get to try to replicate the problem.---

So I go to try to run the Dot importer from the Dot site, but she protests that I'm using the wrong browser. (Which, to be technical, I am, but that's only because the Dot importer can only be run from the site in said browser.) I briefly wonder whether I should try to explain myself, but then I ask her to show me what she was doing. After all, she's from Dot Support, she therefore knows more than me about this.

And she was trying to import Dot files directly from her network drive into the Vex browser. She was activating specific settings while she was doing so, but then the Dot she imported does not show in the Vex Dot menu, and she has to try to import it again, and it still will not stick.

I profess to her that I am completely unfamiliar with the method she is using, "we don't use this method at ITSD," and she confirms that it's a newer method they're presently testing, and that ITSD will be told about it when they get it finished.

"Well, then there's nothing I can do to help fix this," I tell her. "I know nothing about this method, so I couldn't even begin to guess how to fix the problem." Lady is clearly a bit frustrated, but says she'll talk to the Dot Engineers for further assistance. And she hangs up.

I spent 20 minutes going through all this, and it was completely pointless, because the problem is with an unofficial still-in-beta method that only the Dot Support folks know, and she herself was in Dot Support. Rather than call up the hierarchy, like she should have, she called down the hierarchy instead and wasted everybody's time.

PWNADE(TM) - Serve up a glass today! | PWNZER - An act of pwnage so awesome, it's like the victim got hit by a tank.

There are only four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because I choose to walk!
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