Shark tank: Unclear on the concept

Manufacturing division of a big conglomerate spends US$250,000 on a Web site to show off its product line to customers and distributors and issues laptops to all outside salespeople so they can use the site to display new products. "Our local rep comes by to show us all the new stuff," says a pilot fish, "but he can't log on to the Net." A quick call to the help desk explains why: "We don't want the outside reps surfing," says the IT guy, "so your laptop isn't Internet-ready."

Construction equipment maker is putting new PCs on the factory floor. "Knowing the workers on the floor had little computer experience, we spent the extra money for touch-screen monitors," says a pilot fish. But when equipment arrives and is ready to install, the bigwigs decide to protect their investment from the dirty hands of the factory workers - by putting each monitor in a locked glass cabinet.

Publishing company's IT director pilot fish gets a call from the big boss's secretary: "There's a problem with the royalty report." I'll be right down to look at it, fish says. "Oh no, you can't look at this report," says the secretary. "It's for the boss's eyes only!"

Pharmaceutical company boss puts a short deadline on a hot project: making the division paperless. The team puts in lots of late nights to put documents and forms on the intranet, coordinating with the owners of the documents and setting up the process for making all future items go online. "And the thanks from management for finishing the paperless project on time?" grumbles a pilot fish on the team. "A paperweight with the company logo."

When the Naked Wife virus - the one promising a picture of, what else, somebody's naked wife - first turned up at a big financial company, one IT pilot fish got a panicked call from a departmental admin: "I got this message from my ex-husband!" Right reaction, wrong reason.

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