Thursday, April 18, 2013

Study finds charity IT departments regularly turn off network to show organizational dominance, have a laugh

A new study says the majority of US charity IT departments turn their computer networks on and off at regular intervals to demonstrate their organizational power.

The study of more than 3,000 charities, conducted by the US Center for Charity Stuff, found that 67 percent of charity IT managers admitted to interrupting their network. Half of these said they did it to show their importance within the organization, especially to the Finance Department. Thirty percent said they did it because they needed a laugh. The remaining twenty percent had a variety of reasons for turning the network off, including paranoid delusions, the need to reset their online gaming platforms, to cover-up online poker sessions or because of demon possession.

“This survey gives a rather unique insight into the minds of IT managers at US charities. Most of them seem to be cranky, insane or insanely cranky,” said Dr. Boris Snidely, CEO of the Center. “It appears that most US charities are experiencing some kind of network interruption purely because the IT department wants them to.”

The study asked IT managers at US charities a number of questions, including what motivated them. The results confirmed other surveys – most IT departments are underfunded or inconsistently funded, have high turnover and are underpaid. But Snidely says the questions about motivation yielded a number of unexpected results.

“What they said about the number of help tickets they receive didn’t surprise us. It’s when we asked what they do with them that we got some really interesting results,” said Dr. Snidely.

According to the survey, half of all help ticket requests are usually ignored. In most of those cases, automated messages are sent making it appear that the IT department is working on the problem. Some IT managers only act when second or third requests come in on the same ticket.

Other findings from the study found that most IT answers to network, computer, software or other questions are usually made up and that a third of the time even the IT department doesn’t know the answer.

“We believe that IT managers are felling very vulnerable in their organizations and have a deep seeded need for recognition,” said Snidely.

A spokesman for the Association of Charity IT Leaders dismissed the study as “fluff”. Spokesperson, Dibble Brewer says IT managers only follow the same practices as other professionals at US charities.

“We all know why finance managers screw up the odd pay slip and why administrative managers forget to order those over-sized paperclips we wanted – it’s to show who’s boss,” said Brewer. “Our members are just doing the same thing.”

A follow-up study by the US Center for Charity Stuff has been put on hold indefinitely because of a major computer network crash.