In the film Office Space, when the Bobs, in their attempt to root out corporate sloth and superfluous employees, ask Tom Smykowski (Richard Riehle) that question, his reply is another funny exchange about waste and the ability of engineers to communicate.
“Well-well look. I already told you; I deal with the &%$# customers so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?”
What Tom is saying is that he’s a translator of sorts.
In the context of the movie, Tom’s position appears comically untenable, but in real life, workers often need help explaining their IT needs to a technical professional. They also need help determining what their needs are. Sure, they understand people are having problems with the system, but what are the problems? And is everyone having the same problems? What many companies need is a person to come in, look at how the staff uses the system and find out how they’d like to be using it.
They need a consultant; a Tom, if you will, to analyze what the staff needs and how they work.
Mike Dixon can be your Tom. Dixon asks questions. He learns about your company and how your employees work. He delves into your present system and makes recommendations. Dixon can make changes to your present system, or build you a new one. He can also train employees on how to get the most out of it.
Recently, Dixon was engaged as a consultant for a large firm. We’ll call them Initech. Another IT company had just successfully migrated Initech’s system to Office 365. The employees of Initech were surprised to find that this new system worked differently from the one they were accustomed to using. They needed training, but more than that, the entire staff needed to set up protocols and best practices that met their requirements.
Dixon learned about Initech’s process. He talked to managers and employees and downloaded the records of every support ticket filed by staff members since the migration. Then, he did something creative with that information. No, he didn’t clean fish on a TPS report. He made a word cloud with it. Initech’s manager loved it and it helped her and Dixon see clearly what the employees’ biggest issues were. He could concentrate his efforts on those priorities. So along with helping the company set up their methodology, he could train people on the applications they used the most and were having the most trouble with. When Dixon had finished, Initech had procedures in place, a trained staff, and a streamlined work process that took their specific needs into account.
That’s what Dixon does here.