A Day in the Life of a Sysadmin…

A Day in the life of Sysadmin
Jason parked his car, scooping up his latte and laptop bag as he headed toward his office. After a weekend well spent with his family, Jason was ready to start another week. This week was especially important since many new hires would be joining. For Jason’s company, these new employees would help propel and sustain the growth it had recently experienced. Jason powered up his Mac and looked through the window at the distant mountains shaded by a cloudy, gray sky. He chuckled at the gloomy weather – it was a metaphor for the day and the weeks ahead of him. Everyone in the company was excited about the brighter future of the company as the number of employees continued to grow. For some, it was a sigh of relief to have more teammates to share their workload. However, for Jason, the company’s continued growth represented an increased workload of creating hundreds of profiles, generating email addresses, and assigning licenses to make sure the new hires had the right access to start their “First Day at Work”.

For someone highly skilled and trained on system administration, infrastructure management, and other critical computing skills, creating employee accounts was really a boring and wearisome task

While this monotonous work was essential for the company, Jason had not envisioned these would be his daily tasks. For someone highly skilled and trained on system administration, infrastructure management, and other critical computing skills, creating employee accounts was really a boring and wearisome task. Jason felt guilty for not feeling the same level of excitement as his peers did for their company’s growth. He sincerely wanted to be as happy as anyone else around him, but he was torn between the emotions of excitement for the growth of the company and the boring and mundane tasks he had ahead of him for next couple weeks. Jason’s job, like many of his peers across the industry was valuable, time sensitive and crucial. New employee profiles had to be created before the first day at work, emails addresses and laptop had to be assigned, and the employees had to be given access to systems like ERP, CRM and cloud applications with right privileges and licenses.  An HR person would open the ticket, and someone like Jason would follow the monotonous ritual of tasks one after another. New employees would never know, but Jason was their superhero for a ensuring a superior “First Day at Work” experience. Often Jason would also be pulled into real critical issues like production outages, deployments and system updates across the critical infrastructure running his company’s business.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, something always fell through the cracks, and more often than not it was the employee onboarding. Whenever this happened, it was brutal. Just few weeks ago, a VP of Sales was hired, and his accounts and access were not created in time because his start day coincided with some production outages. Because of this, the new VP of sales could not do much on his first day at work and was very upset about it. Jason remembered the dread of being called into the IT Directors office that fateful afternoon. Jason shuddered out of his dreamy trance, or rather out of the memory of a nightmare, and started working feverishly to handle on-boarding tickets on ServiceNow. It was not long before it was past lunch time. Jason looked out of the window and saw clouds parting away and a few rays of sunlight peeking out of the clouds onto the mountain peaks. As Jason picked up his keys and stood up to grab a quick lunch at nearby deli, he started thinking, there must be a better way to automate employee on-boarding and identity and access management… Let me figure that out he promised himself as his sport car engine revved. The promise of lunch and a renewed motivation to automate this process revitalized Jason as he got ready to tackle the rest of the day and the weeks to come.

Author's Note

It is a fictional story of our everyday hero Jason, but it is a systematic problem that can be solved by a smart rule-based integration of HRIS (Human Resources Information Systems) and Active Directory or Azure AD. This simple smart automation can save many valuable and costly work hours of highly skilled sysadmin resources. Automation can ensure an excellent First Day at Work experience for new hires by providing much desired superior EX (Employee Experience). And it can let sysadmins do the work they love to do. Not only it can provide great experience for everyone involved and cut down on costs, but also it can mitigate the security risks of someone walking away with access to critical systems and sensitive business information upon termination.

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