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Death to the Corporate Techie

I want to simply point out a few facts about network services, technical support and what you get when dealing with a certain large enterprise operation and a medium size service provider, which I don’t feel the need to mention ...

Aug 25, 2006

A Baudelairen Experience

By Greg Richburg, Netricks, Inc.

“How many times must I shake my bells, And kiss thy low brow, dismal caricature? How many shafts, O my quiver be lost, Ere I hit the impalpable, mystical mark? We shall wear out our souls in cunning design and demolish many…” touted the late great Baudelaire over one hundred and fifty years ago. Anger, disdain, and contempt for what was he so enthralled on?

Well, in all due respect, I use the epic poet to perhaps shed a glimmer of light on a pathetic situation which has affected not only my small company but a few of my client’s as well. I want to simply point out a few facts about network services, technical support and what you get when dealing with a certain large enterprise operation and a medium size service provider, which I don’t feel the need to mention, (eh’hem Ti^^# W^RN#R and Arrrrrrr..), that may just be suffering from growing pains.

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My company, Netricks, Inc. is small, so small in fact that I know almost all two hundred and fifty clients on a first name basis. Yes 250, most here in the beautiful San Joaquin Valley.

We are so small that my three full time engineers, my two coders, graphic designer and two in house clerical staff members are proficient with either network or web related design. We have a system of checks and balances in place that we can answer most problems and issues quickly without leaving the customer waiting and waiting for answers and resolutions. However, we end up relying on larger corporations for numerous services which we cannot possible provide.

Let’s face it, we can’t do everything. We need the infrastructure that the larger corps and enterprise outfits offer. Now the main point I want to protrude is how intertwined everything actually is between e-mail hosting and Internet service. That is where the common problem occurs.

As well as networking and superior technical services, Netricks offers true hosting solutions for web design, database development, e-commerce and e-mail. We are not an ISP (Internet Service Provider.) For the most part, we rely on the AT&Ts and SBCs to provide that service. Although there are excellent smaller outfits here locally that give much better person to person service, like Integrity Networks run locally by Rod Caglia.

Integrity, like Netricks is small enough that its top employees are all efficient and hands on. Every employee is a top employee. Whoever you speak with there will for the most part be able to offer you expert service and support. Technical issues get handled immediately and without delay because they know their equipment and can easily handle their offerings.

In my experience, the larger companies promote their top engineers and the technical support gets handled by younger, less experienced personnel. I have witnessed several such cases recently where the ISP improperly routed multiple e-mail systems and my clients were unable to send and receive e-mail from certain hosts. In their minds, it all pointed to Netricks as the culprit to the problem, since it is Netricks that handles their e-mail service.

Yet, as most network engineers understand, it is the ISP’s responsibility to rout e-mail properly. If there are issues with the ISP’s domain name services infrastructure, problems will exist with routing e-mail; that is a fact. My expert engineers pointed this problem out to multiple technicians at these un-named organizations. And the ISP techs could not “find” any problems. Hmmmph, imagine that.

Over and over again they blamed us (Netricks) for the miss-routed e-mail. Now I service over 250 companies with my e-mail system and the only clients that were suffering from the routing difficulties were the clients that used that certain ISP Un-named company (out of RESPECT). Coincidence? I think not!

Over and over I met with my clients telling them that we would get to the bottom of the situation. I tried to assure them that the problems were not due to our e-mail system and that we would work with their ISP to resolve the issues at hand. Every time my engineers would call the ISP, a trouble ticket would be opened, of course. We would have to sit on our asses and wait for them to call us back. Usually they would get back to us the next day. Tick tock tick tock…

Multiple times they would tell my techs that they found a problem and fixed it and multiple times the problem would persist. Call after call, day after day the issues remained and we were the ones left waiting in the wings, feeling the pressure, looked at as the damned. Yet our hands were actually tied. Finally we would get the issue escalated to the “next level” tech at the ISP? Over and over again these issues went on. It took weeks to finally resolve. And in the end, our original remarks about the issues with the ISP were absolutely correct.

It took weeks of problematic service and countless calls to the Internet Service Provider in order to finally get the issues escalated. That was the hard part. Once we got the trouble ticket beyond their low-level technical support and into the hands of a qualified engineer *** Poof *** the problems went away. They finally listened.

Why was it so difficult? I tell you, growth can kill. It is not I that wishes death upon the corporate techie, for they are indeed good for my business. Yet, I believe that it should be important to small companies like mine and also large to higher qualified support all the way down the ladder. And I leave you with a mystical thought from the Old Great, yet in a modern flavor:

“If you haven’t hope, one strange experienced hope,
That Death, like a new sun afloat in the sky,
Will cause the flowers of their [Corporate] brains to bloom!”

The Echoes of Baudelaire neigh ricochet as swift as the keys falling on deaf ears. We can only attempt to influence the layman’s ways with truth, however un-poetic it may indeed be. Perhaps they will listen next time, perhaps. Nonetheless, I hope they read and learn.

Have a nice day fair ladies and gentlemen.

Greg Richburg is the owner and operator of Netricks, Inc. a Fresno California Web Design Company. Greg also runs the Fresno California Entertainment News Portal Valley411, an international modeling agency, Moda Star Models and a web based Swimwear and clothing company, Bella Chica Clothing.  Find more article written by Greg Richburg at Netricks Tech News Articles.

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