RE: Outsourcing system administration: how to deal with us

We all read an interesting and instructive story in a topic of anger . First of all, I would like to wish the author to heed the comments and his heart - after all, nerve cells need to be protected.

I want to dispel some of the myths about the Sysadmin outsourcing a little, if I may call it that. I myself have been an employee of the same company for 3 years with a ponytail. The only caveat is that we are not in the Capital of the Russian Federation, but in the largest city by the local standards, N, which is the capital of the region. The competition here is not so strong, but the responsibility, paradoxically, is higher. Well, and a little more about the company - sysadmin outsourcing (hereinafter - sys. Outsourcing, with the permission of the Reader), this is not the main profile of the company. The company is fighting on several fronts, it should be noted quite successfully. And outsourcing has grown as a side service that supports one of the main activities.

So. I am writing this post of goodness in order to improve people's understanding of the sys. outsourcing, including and the thoughts of the top starter of the original post.
There are enough revelations, but in most cases rather banal things are described about the organization of work and about clients, loved and unique. I will try to shed light on the work of outsourcers and characterize the author of the target article as a client.

Warning. This text is good for, but not for the sake of holivar

Pros and ...

In the first post, everything was written correctly. Sis. Outsourcing is a fairly flexible system for maintaining the infrastructure. Everyone knows about all the obvious and hidden advantages, there is nothing to add. However, there are a lot of reservations. Some of them can be noticed right away - “attached sisdamine”, some are revealed later - lack of hands, for example.
All this is specific to sys. outsourcing and you need to put up with it. Cons are also enough. We’ll talk about them.


There are no ideals, one can strive for them, but they will never succeed. Having any sysadmin on staff, sooner or later, he will gain certain ambitions. They will be associated either with the tasks performed, or with the level of payment. And they can be simultaneous. It makes no sense to keep such people - no one will work well. Looking for a new sensible person is problematic. This is especially true for small firms. We know, swam.

Freelance requires a performer high responsibility and decent knowledge. To find such a person is difficult, but possible. Unfortunately, I was not in the shoes of a freelancer, so I will refrain from commenting.

Well, of course, sis. outsourcing. The biggest problem looming as a plus is the attached sysadmin. You can draw an analogy with a doctor, they say de knows all the sores and harmfulness. In fact, it is with one big caveat - it is not always there. Hospital, vacation, emergency All this interferes with the normal work of one engineer with the Client. And here others come to the rescue - more experienced or less experienced (how lucky), but both of them will not immediately understand the essence of the infrastructure without first encountering it and, as a result, will not be able to quickly solve the problem.
These are all obvious disadvantages. You can mark KO, but I had to pay attention to them before I get to the bottom of the situation.

How to be

The situations described in the original topic for the last time were never with us . The following factors contribute to this:
  • lack of manager. Yes, we do not have a manager attached to clients. With our volumes, this is probably normal. The manager is an attached engineer.
  • lack of clear attachment. Yes, we have a conditionally responsible engineer for the Client, but there is no clear reference. We distribute the work so that each of our department (5 people + head) has an idea about the Client. With an increase in the number of customers (exceeded 20), we still begin to divide between the two groups. But we do not interrupt the exchange of information
  • the manager is the engineer himself, so there are no knowledge gaps in IT. Plus there is direct acquaintance and communication with the Client, which also increases understanding.
  • works requiring immediate response receive one milen priority. No more, no less.
  • honest implementation of the so-called planned work. No matter how useless they may seem, they are needed. Of course, the list of works must be regulated with the Client. And, of course, this list should be meaningful. The option is to go see if the LEDs blinking on the servers are not suitable, in addition, the list can reach 40-50 points.
  • self-organization. It all depends on the level of responsibility of the engineer

A separate item - payment
She is only hourly. In general, most of our clients "sit" on a subscriber. It reduces the cost of an hour of work in proportion to the number of hours in the subscriber. package. A big plus is that the response in this case is quick - since a contract has been drawn up where everything is spelled out, plus there is no need to coordinate applications. Exhausting the package of hours does not mean that we will quit the Client, just the rate per hour will increase slightly. Customers working on one-time applications for some time receive some concessions. Such and only such a system seems to us the most optimal.
Works that take a long time (for example, the deployment of AD in a working network of 70+ PCs) are considered by agreement.

The customer is always right! Well, almost always

We do not divide Clients into important and not important. And not even because they are all about the same. There are big ones, there are small ones. And for those and others to hold on to.

However, the division of Clients into “good” and “not so” exists. Will explain.
The very first impression of the Client is usually the brightest. How he communicates, what tasks he sets, how he assesses his current state, how he approaches the financial issue. Further, after a couple of months or 5-10 visits, the overall picture is completed. It becomes completely clear when something falls off at the Client.
In general, equating the Client with “good” and “not so” comes down to how adequate he is.

According to a well-known law - it is impossible to argue with the Client, he is always right. But one cannot build good relations on this, because by fulfilling all the whims one can coolly harm him (spoiling the process) and oneself (tarnishing one's reputation). Example - if you need a file server, then buy a piece of iron for 100 tr. somehow stupid. But the nephew of the guard said to the Client’s representative that the servers are just that and are cheaper - everything sucks. Of course, we can deploy Windows Search Server on it and make versioning of documents, but for an office of 20 people this is superfluous. It is better to put a SAN or NAS and enjoy life, sometimes re-reading the logs.
It’s me that you need to direct the client’s thoughts in the right direction. Brand Dropbox? Is it justified? ActiveDirectory? The right thing, set! Buying an additional server? Let's try to optimize performance on existing ones!
By showing the difference in time and, most importantly, money, you can strengthen the credibility in the eyes of the Client.
There is another unspoken rule that is usually followed in outsourcing firms - you need to try to unify and standardize as much as possible. If udalenka, then everything through a VPN (if possible). If the mail server is preferably the same for everyone. Etc. Then it’s much easier for other engineers to sort out the unfamiliar Client.

A little more about Customers

Here one more small nuance pops up, the deeper the engineers of the outsourcing company get into the Client’s infrastructure, the more difficult it will be for the Client to refuse their services. This is a little trick. After analyzing the market offers of outsourcing firms in our city N, we focused on the products Mi ***** ft. Since they integrate well with each other, they are quite convenient and, quite recently, quite stable. Well, other outsourcers have little experience with the products of the famous software giant.

About us, fighters of the outsourcing front

I am more fully satisfied with my work. She is my first constant. A year later, I completely understood the process of the company, two years later I completely understood how to carry out all the tasks. At the end of the third year, I began to come up with tasks myself. Something was accepted, something not. In general, such work develops sociability and stress tolerance.
A little bit about wages - like many other firms have a salary + percentage. So it’s profitable to work, in the literal sense of the word)
Often, for different jobs, you have to linger in the office or at the client. In this case, you can either come back a little later the next day, or leave the revised hours set off for subsequent days off or to increase the RFP. Comfortable enough.
Different emergency rushes happen - it happens, we work both on weekends and on holidays. The specifics of work require this.

Dear atman !
Unfortunately, in this situation, you have no choice but to change outsourcers. Whatever the payment, as the comments correctly noted, the attitude of the performers will not change that. There are no irreplaceable people, you just need to search.
I hope your attitude towards sys. outsourcing that company is not much spoiled. I am sure that in Moscow there are enough more responsible companies.
I wish as soon as possible to get rid of the difficulties in my IT company and find peace on this front.


The client from the target topic is very interesting from the point of view of the company. He is adequate, understands IT and can pay. Engineers especially appreciate the first. And about the main thing:
  • Money engineers can not be lured, even if you "cut the cabbage" directly into their pocket
  • It is advisable to be friendly with the engineer, as in this case, the tension decreases and work comfortably for both
  • Demand an immediate response in emergency situations from the management of an outsourcing company. This is org. moment and the engineer can affect little
  • Asking questions is helpful, and it is helpful to ask for answers. Keeping toned performers
  • Everyone loves cookies and tea. During such a get-together you can be very good friends with an engineer

Together with the conclusion
As you, dear readers, probably managed to notice, I write the word Client with a capital letter. This is not casual, because self-esteem Customers value most. And personally, I try to follow this.

I hope, at least somehow clarified the picture of the sysadmin outsourcing. Of course, I didn’t explain much from the topic of anger, but I told a little about how we are trying to strive for the ideal.
I ask for comments on spelling in PM.

Added “RE:” to the title. Thanks Goblinoid

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