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The problem with DIY IT

  knowledgebase  :: network status

  1. Neglect. DIYers do not know to pay attention to the finer details, and consequently neglect vital areas. Eventually, something in one of these areas breaks, and this takes the DIYer completely by surprise.

    Examples: fails to maintain licenses; allows domainname to expire; fails to manage disk space; fails to manage backups; has no long-term IT strategy

  2. Incompetence. DIYers do not have knowledge or experience to guide them, so they often make beginner's mistakes. This occurs both during procurement and maintenance, resulting in a poorly-planned, dysfunctional system.

    Examples: buys a product that will not do the job, or is incompatible with existing or planned systems; breaks something while fixing something else

  3. Poor performance. As the DIYer does not understand the details of the system, everything is left in a default, unoptimised state. This results in a slow system, which wears out faster, and uses more electricity and generates more heat and more noise, and takes up more space. Fancy features are never used; customisations are never done; connections between disparate systems are never built. Nothing is ever improved - the best the DIYer can do is keep it working.

    Examples: backups take forever due to unarchived data; computers run slowly due to all services enabled, tempfiles never deleted etc

  4. Complexity. As time passes, the DIYer's mistakes cause more and more problems, which they partly fix and partly fail to fix, breaking some other things in their attempts. These partly-fixed problems then start to interact with each other in very unpredictable ways, resulting in a system which is fragile and generally unreliable. As the DIYer had little idea of the initial problem, the interactions between issues are completely mystifying to the DIYer, and they are never fixed.

    Examples: program features fail to work; programs crash inexplicably; machines require reboots to make them work properly

  5. Cost. The DIYer thinks they save money, but by the time their mistakes are cleaned up, and associated downtime taken into account, their costs are substantially higher than if they had paid a professional to do the job quickly and correctly, the first time. Instead, the DIYer suffers long-term, constant issues, which dramatically impacts upon business performance, and has a consequent effect on the bottom line.

    Examples: saves £50 by setting up a new employee's email account themselves; costs themselves £300 resolving lost inbound emails due to incorrect configuration

At heart, there is a management problem. At a minimum, the management is failing to conduct a cost/benefit analysis - it should be obvious, when the numbers are run, that they are not saving money. The management are also misjudging the abilities of the DIYer. At some point, the management have disconnected themselves from the problem of managing their IT, and entrusted that problem to the DIYer, and that trust is misplaced. While the management may have misplaced this trust with the best of intentions, this does not change the fact that it is a mistake.

To avoid these problems in your business, we recommend you either employ an IT expert, or use an outsourced support service.