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Thread: Does BMWMOA need to hire outside IT staff?

  1. #1
    Registered User miairhead's Avatar
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    Does BMWMOA need to hire outside IT staff?

    Is not enough being spend to make the Web site work correctly? I found you can not buy a Sweepstakes ticket, I use 3 different computers, with different version of Microsoft windows and different browsers: yet I can not get a ticket purchased. Errors after putting in credit card information. I guess someone figures tickets are not a priority, so I guess I'll just spend the money on Lotto tickets (and give the state more money to waste).
    Tom
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  2. #2
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    HA!!! That is funny, have you ever worked with an IT department??????????

    Start reading Dilbert, you will get the point!

    It will either be a patchwork, that no one else can navigate to do maintainance, or you will have to click 25 icons to do the job one should do!
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    While poor IT folks do indeed create the problems in Dilbert- a competent IT function that documents its work does not.

    The recent website screwup ought to be an embarassment to someone. Major upgrades fail for only one of three causes- lack of knowledge, lack of planning, or lack of resource or some combination.

    There is also only one proper way to do major upgrades - that is to build and test in a duplicated environment separate from the operating environment. And only make the upgrade when it is proven to work. There may still be some minor fixes needed but they should not be of a type that prevents interim use if this simple rule is followed. This recent upgrade has the signature of one done on the fly...

    Clearly, there is insufficient effective attention to IT issues at MOA as evidenced by repeated problems over the past 6-7 months. Of the sites I look at regularly, for exmple, it is the ONLY one repeatedly flagged as a malware source. Trying to do everything with hard working volunteers and a staff that probably has no truly competent IT person isn't likely to be the better way forward.

    There is perhaps some consolation. It is after all only a MOA. This country's very expensive health care industry is even further in the stone ages- still unable to effectively exchange data and test results, that leads to huge wasted $ that all of us pay for every day.

  4. #4
    Registered User miairhead's Avatar
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    Yep 20 years

    Yes I worked in IT, and not only did I have Windows, Lotus Notes, ERP programs, I had various production programs to support (Steeplechase, Allen Bradley, etc.). So yes, I aware of how hard it is to keep 'IT' working. I was not able to say, sorry that 2 million dollar line will be down for ???? and it may not work correctly when up again.
    The question was should BMWMOA hire outside help, but it you want to bad mouth me, enjoy. Now lets bring up gay marriage, and taxes too.
    Tom
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  5. #5
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Transition

    I agree with MIAirhead and racer7: this transition was poorly done. The execution by the IT people who did the work was poor - as racer7 points out the work should have been done and proofed independently before going live. These goals are clearly achievable.

    The work difficulties also suggest that the process used by MOA staff or the Board to pick the contractor (I don't know how the selection was made, nor who was chosen) was not as good as it could be. I understand that the previous MOA web system was a patchwork and difficult to transition to something more coherent and user-friendly and easier to manage, but the work should have been placed with a contractor who could have managed the work better.

    I don't know enough about managing IT to have an opinion on whether this work should be brought in-house or not. Wherever the work is done, not all IT people are incompetent even if they're portrayed that way in the comics, and substandard work should not be accepted as inevitable.
    Last edited by dbrick; 04-14-2013 at 08:17 PM.
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  6. #6
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBRICK View Post
    I don't know enough about managing IT to have an opinion on whether this work should be brought in-house or not.
    Took the dogs for a walk and thought about it, and actually I do have an opinion. I spent thirty years running a very small business, where I was my own IT department. I also spent six years working for a local government with more than 2000 employees and significant IT multi-level and multi-function challenges. The government entity had an IT Department, which I thought did a very good job.

    On balance, I don't see the MOA as large enough (either administratively or by membership) to justify a permanent in-house IT staff. If the system is up and running, one doesn't need a even a single employee to keep it so; if the system fails or needs a significant upgrade, a Department small enough to have been fulltime affordable to the MOA is unlikely to be able to have sufficient manpower and technical chops.
    David Brick
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  7. #7
    Registered User WalterK75's Avatar
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    Is it possible there is enough IT expertise among members that they could be used to maintain the website? In short, a kind of open source situation where qualified people volunteer to maintain things? I don't know if this would work or not, but it might. In fact, I don't even know if this isn't already being done.
    Walter

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    Well, if the site was attacked and damaged then they HAD TO do it now and do it as they went along. I don't believe they had the luxury to plan this out ahead of time.

  9. #9
    IBA #44567 Ken F's Avatar
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    A nap. What a great idea!! Thanks for suggesting it.

    Ken
    IBA #44567 Pres. Springfield BMW Roadriders
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  10. #10
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    For sure...

    FWIW, my comments aren't meant to insult any of our IT volunteers or the current office staff. All MOA volunteers provide useful services but aren't truly responsible for results- that belongs to management which I would hope is MOA paid staff following Board guidance and procedures. Part of staff responsibility is recognizing when there isn't enough resource or skill to do a job right and ask the Board for what is needed.- as with many small organizations or startup companies, I'm sure we expect one heck of a lot and sometimes too much from a very small staff group..who probably also had to handle a bunch of extra phone duty while the website was down...

    The recent results speak for themselves but have no stated explanation yet. And if no lessons are recorded and corrections made, will repeat when it might be more than just an inconvenience which is all this event is..For example, moving almost entirely to on line sales and having a lengthy failure just prior to an event could impact revenues.

    It is generally a mistake to rely on IT staff in private firms to solely manage organization critical upgrades- that's the role of managment which has to get literate and provide what it takes to do it right rather than simply expecting an IT function, either in house or outside retained, that might well be short of resources, skill or time to make up for what isn't there.

  11. #11
    oogmuk
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    Agree With Tom from Otsego

    I find it interesting that MOA is willing to fork over $160,000 per year for someone to direct a non-profit club, but isn't willing to spend the money for outside IT help. The site has been "under reconstruction" since last December and still isn't fully operational. This would be considered inexcusable in most large organizations. I'm not knocking the in-house people who are trying to do this, I am saying that a portion of that $160,000 would have been better spent on qualified outside help.

    Oogmuk

  12. #12
    IBA #44567 Ken F's Avatar
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    Well, first off this is not a corporation. It's a volunteer organization.

    It is very easy to sit on this side of the fence, and throw stones into your neighbors back yard.
    As with any organization there are a VERY small percentage who are actually motivated/willing to volunteer and help with any task.

    Perhaps this comes with my recent experience with our local club. It seems that no matter how hard I work, how much time I invest, there seems to be almost no participation or involvement other than
    coming to a meeting, having dinner and going home until the next one. Fortunately, I've not had to put up with members bitching about how I'm trying to do things or how I could do them better.
    Otherwise I would have said "shove-it" several times recently and resigned.

    Just something for you people to think about before you write your next post.

    ken
    IBA #44567 Pres. Springfield BMW Roadriders
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    +1 !

  14. #14
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken F View Post
    Well, first off this is not a corporation. It's a volunteer organization.

    It is very easy to sit on this side of the fence, and throw stones into your neighbors back yard.
    As with any organization there are a VERY small percentage who are actually motivated/willing to volunteer and help with any task.

    Perhaps this comes with my recent experience with our local club. It seems that no matter how hard I work, how much time I invest, there seems to be almost no participation or involvement other than
    coming to a meeting, having dinner and going home until the next one. Fortunately, I've not had to put up with members bitching about how I'm trying to do things or how I could do them better.
    Otherwise I would have said "shove-it" several times recently and resigned.

    Just something for you people to think about before you write your next post.

    ken
    Ken,

    I respectfully disagree. This is a volunteer organization with a PAID PROFESSIONAL STAFF. If volunteer IT staff was responsible for the recent IT problems, then they get a bye.

    But a 35,000 membership organization should not depend upon volunteer IT staff. We have the financial resources to pay PROFESSIONALS to provide professional IT services.

    The silence from the BOD speaks volumes.

    Bud
    I used to post here, but now I don't.

  15. #15
    IBA #44567 Ken F's Avatar
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    Ok Bud, I stand corrected (I think). lol So you are saying that the IT Staff is contracted correct?
    Thanks for clearing it up for me and I'm sure many others.

    Ken
    IBA #44567 Pres. Springfield BMW Roadriders
    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."
    -Albert Eienstein

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