You’ve got it (and they want it)

  

At some point nearly everyone in your organization will want it.

And they’ll want it from you.

And they’ll want it from you for one reason; they’ll think that you have it.

The common thread that connects you to your manager, CFO, HR manager, facilities person, and coffee breath guy is data. Truth be told, data is the biggest reason that you have a job right now. After all, IT is nothing more than agateway to data.

So when they come asking, be sure to get two answers from them:

  1. Why do they want it?
  2. What will they be doing with it?

Your reasons for needing the answers have nothing to do with being a power-hungry Admin (there are other reasons for that). You need to know because each department has their own definition of data, as well as their own reason for needing it.

You have data in a ton of different locations. Databases, registries, flat files, bios’, etc. Depending on what the answers are will tell you which place is the best location to retrieve the data.

Your manager wants to know how many memory dimms the company has. You provide the answer from your blazing fast database and she reports the numbers on up and everyone is fat, dumb, and happy. Unbeknownst to your boss is the fact that your data only includes the memory currently in use on the network. You’ve left out the older (but yet to be decommissioned) computers currently serving a role as door stops, or the 512MB dimms recently replaced by 2GB dimms in preparation for Vista. Oh, and there are the new laptops that came in last week but haven’t yet been placed on the network…

Suddenly the data that your boss has is incomplete. But the problem wasn’t the data. Your data was perfect. You were right. The problem was the scope of the data. This is why you need to know why they need what they say that they need.

OK, so your manager has lower than expected numbers to report to accounting. That’s an inconvenience, but it probably won’t lead to the death of the company. However, some errors are less forgiving.

Your security department believes that a disgruntled ex-employee may be responsible for recent sabotage. They may ask you for his old laptop. But is that enough? Does your security department know that this guy logged onto 37 different workstations and 5 different servers in the week before he was fired? If you have the data, and know the answers to their two questions, you’ll be able to give them what they pay you for. Information.