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The Democracy Of Chaos Yeah Right

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Palyne Gaenir

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User since: 04 Mar 2000

Articles written: 2

I just read an article moaning about the illogic or faulty thinking in attempting to impose control on an intranet. Hmmmm.

I used to work on an intranet in a corp newly aiming for some centralization and control of their intranet. The whining never ended there, either. I was one of the people who actually wrote higher-muckeys outlining why it was necessary. (Augh! Commie! -- no, really -- there was good reason.)

Folks who moan about attempts to control or centrally manage intranets are generally people without any responsibilities for information OR net on an intranet, I've found.

Not until you have seen the hideous and nearly unreadable (not to mention un-navigatable) home pages that house the only version of some important engineering document -- as well as 200 copyrighted images posted without permission, an airbrushed semi- naked beauty and a couple of religious texts, all just dying to contribute to lawsuits costing your company mega-bucks -- have you glimpsed the reality of an uncontrolled intranet.

When you discover that the Really Important Engineering Document is in fact six versions old and incorporates numerous errors and omissions from current product specs that could, potentially, screw up the company product -- and this is even more fun if the company product at stake is something our government (not to mention the pilot) may be depending on desperately in a war -- then you discover the reality of the RESULTS of an uncontrolled intranet.

When you discover how many of your Really Important Engineers are earning half their Really Important Salary doing web secretarial work that the web team could have done for 1/3 that or could have simply automated into a far better system, then you see the side- effects of an uncontrolled intranet.

How many guys in the factory doing actual WORK at $15/hr got laid off, so those Really Important Engineers could keep their great salaries -- spent posting ugly animated gifs on their little personal home pages on the company intranet? This is not a rhetorical question. The first thing you find when you begin to review a sprawling intranet is that apparently, hundreds or even thousands of employees think building web pages is a lot more fun than whatever their real job is supposed to be.

How much cost -- in all directions -- is generated by multiple versions of the same thing and thousands of intranet users not knowing (a) where to find what they need or (b) if what they find is current and accurate?

The point of controlling an intranet is not the glory of control. Only ignorance would point that kind of finger. It is the glory of users within the company being able to quickly find accurate, up to date information for their needs. Last I heard, this was in fact the central point of a centralized intranet.

I realize controlling an intranet is as much an ongoing and hair-loss- inspiring job as trying to control a spoiled three year old. I don't envy big intranet managers or Oracle DBAs -- I try not to criticize such wonderful animals -- those jobs are a pain in the butt and that's why they make the big bucks. But someone's gotta do them. If they don't get done, everyone suffers.

Next time you hear someone griping about the evils of attempting to impose "control" on an intranet, imagine yourself a busy employee trying to find "real" information in online chaos. And hurry! -- you have a deadline. Imagine the worst web site you've ever been to, and then multiply it by a few thousand. There's your intranet, your pool of professional information. Got that visualized? Good. If there's a web site somewhere (with the item you want) that is current and up to date, good luck finding it and good luck being sure it is when you do.

And don't complain. That would be politically incorrect on the internet, where Real Men insist on "the democracy of chaos" and only nerds talk about "management". Excuse me. While all those cool cyberdudes wax poetic on the freedom-loving nature of the web, others of us need to get something done. Thank [search: god*] we have well managed intranets at our disposal.


Reference: Storming Fort Business at UpsideToday.

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