Reference no: EM131301
Too Much Of A Good Thing?
Claire Valerian is a systems analyst at Califon, Inc., a large distributor of electronic equipment. Her primary responsibility is to make certain that the 127 end-users at Califon's U.S. headquarters can access data, post to accounts, send and receive e-mail, and accomplish all the other duties they need to perform on the corporations local area network. She describes herself as a facilitator and troubleshooter. She must respond quickly to the users' complaints and needs, and even provide training for novice users. It's a demanding and time-consuming job, and until two weeks ago, Claire was spending up to 12 hours a day one-on-one with her users. She spent much of her time traveling to various sites in the different corporate buildings. The telephone was not much help, because Claire had to see for herself exactly what the users saw on their screens. Now, however, a utility program called LANSCAPE has changed her workday completely. The utility program and telephone at her desk allow her to solve user problems without ever having to go directly to the user's workstations and terminals. The program allows Claire to view and actually take over the activities of network users. Typically, her first task upon arriving at her desk is to check her e-mail messages for trouble spots, print the messages out, fire up LANSCAPE, and call each user one at a time.
"John, this is Claire in Systems, You left me a message about a problem with the inventory reorder module. I've got your screen up on my terminal now. Can you get out of the word processor and transfer to the inventory system?... Good, I see the main menu... Now the reorder module. Go ahead and repeat the steps that got you into trouble yesterday... OK, fine...OOPS, I see what you did. The system asks for ENTER and you hit RETURN. What kind of keyboard do you have?... That's what I thought. For now, remember to hit ENTER. I'll get the maintenance programmer to change the module to accept RETURN too. Sorry about that... Thanks, good-bye."
Then Claire goes on to the next call. "Bill, this is Claire in Systems. Your word processor bombed? Why don't you repeat the... Oh, I see the problem. Your working with the old version, 2.3. I'll delete it from the system. You'll have to remember to use V2.4 from now on... No problem. Good-bye.
Claire is delighted with the LANSCAPE utility. She roves electronically from one troubled user to another, seeing on the screen exactly what the user sees. The amount of time it takes to solve the problems is about the same, but because she can solve them from her desk, she has eliminated all the frustrating delays of travel time. She is at her desk when the users call, and they are pleased with the fast response time.
Claire even has time to scan users' activities without their making a request. Her troubleshooting has become more proactive than reactive. She can scan a number of users without their knowledge, and when she finds one in trouble, can interrupt and help.
"Harry, this is Claire in Systems. I'm looking at your screen now... I know that you didn't call, but I thought I'd beat you to the punch. You can speed up that multiple posting to a single customer by using the TAB key instead of updating the record for each entry.. Yes, like that. Glad to be of service."
Last week, Claire and her boss, the director of user support, met with the Vice President of Information Systems, Art Betony, to evaluate LANSCAPE. Claire said, "Without this program, I'd have to control the activities of every user in every systems test and move from one building to another. With LANSCAPE, I can watch over their shoulders without being there. LANSCAPE is inexpensive and easy to use. I fully endorse its continued use and recommend we obtain additional copies and make it available to all support personnel." The three went on to discuss the increase in user satisfaction and productivity that had resulted from the use of LANSCAPE.
Yesterday Art was having his usual Tuesday lunch with his boss, Executive Vice President Alberta Wilson. Art couldn't stop praising LANSCAPE.
Alberta seemed especially interested. "You mean you can tell me at any time what people are doing?"
"Not quite," Art answered. "We can only see the screens of the users who are logged in. But of course, that's exactly what my people need for their purposes.
"But the people that you observe this way...do they know their screens are being observed?"
"No, not unless we tell them. The LANSCAPE program doesn't change anything on their screens. Of course, that's a necessary feature of the system, because my people have to see exactly what the users see."
"Could you install LANSCAPE on my terminal, in my office?"
"Of course. But what value would it be?"
Alberta leaned forward and whispered. "I shouldn't reveal this outside the Human Resource Department, but I think I will to enlist your support. Here at headquarters, we may have one or more persons dealing in drugs. We have suspects but no proof. Somehow these people are taking orders and making deliveries right on the premises, during company time. I suspect they are using the phone and maybe even the computer to make their deals. We have tried various surveillance methods to no avail. What I want to do is use LANSCAPE to randomly check on what the suspects are doing. Then, if we catch them red-handed, we'll have our evidence and can prosecute."
Art frowned and said, "Gee, I don't know if I should give you that software, Alberta. Let me think about it and get back to you."
Write an analysis of this situation and recommend actions.