Separating IT from the Bench


  • Service Provider

    We often point out that some work is IT (Business Infrastructure) and some is Bench (which goes by many names, but is not a business discipline.) Often defining which is which is difficult and often, there is overlap. Figuring out which is which and why people gravitate to one or the other and how they work together and why they exist is important. Bench is, other than generic business management, the closest field to IT/BI so it is good to understand why it is separate.

    First.. what is IT? IT is, in a Venn Diagram sense, where bench and business overlap. IT is primarily a business discipline with some technical leaning. It's the technical underpinnings of a business, the infrastructure. IT cannot exist where there is no business.

    Bench, however, is pure tech. Bench workers often exist where there is no business. But also exist in businesses, of course.

    The key difference is that bench does tech, period. It if isn't technical, it can't be bench. IT does business, if there isn't business being done or business logic being applied, it can't be IT. There can be overlap between the two, potentially a lot, but there are clear cases where one cannot be the other. IT makes business decisions, this applies from L0 helpdesk up to the CIO. It may not always seem like it, but they do. A Windows System Admin knows why to patch, when to do it, how to coordinate business needs, weighing risks of patching against security concerns, thinks about costs and risks and so forth. Everything comes down to business need and understanding that.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender @dafyre and I were discussing this offline and I felt it was best to bring it here. Lots of good ideas being thrown around.


  • Service Provider

    Examples of bench work that are very common include anything based around the CompTIA A+, which is the big industry bench cert, or to a lesser degree the Server+. Entry level bench work is common in PC repair shops (including internal corporate ones), in telephone stores and so forth. Geek Squad is the largest bench employer in the US.

    High end bench is often in a datacenter. Server Tech is the most common job role and often involves rack and stack, non-electrician cabling (the kind that is not run in wall or in floor), drive replacement, parts replacement and so forth. Tasks that are technical, but purely technical.

    Google and Amazon are likely the largest high end bench employers. Also high on the list are HPE and Dell.



  • What do you consider someone who sets up the server, and then install a hypervisor on it, VMs on that hypervisor, and then VMs, and maintains those VMs?

    Oh, and also replaces a drive on the server if it goes wonky?


  • Service Provider

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    What do you consider someone who sets up the server, and then install a hypervisor on it, VMs on that hypervisor, and then VMs, and maintains those VMs?

    Oh, and also replaces a drive on the server if it goes wonky?

    From the description, bench. You've not mentioned a business anywhere. If you are assuming that this role will do all of this while making business decisions as to the setup, need, etc. then it becomes IT. But there are loads of people doing this role via scripts and no business insight or knowledge at server vendors that are clearly bench.

    If your description of a job is all tech and zero business, that's bench. But I think you are not describing it well.


  • Service Provider

    Example:

    IT/BI: Decide on a server that works for the business. Decide on a hypervisor that meets business needs. Install hypervisor on server with settings chosen in consideration of the business needs. Operating said equipment to meet business objectives.

    Bench: Take server, install hypervisor as instructed. Do this without regard for business needs.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    What do you consider someone who sets up the server, and then install a hypervisor on it, VMs on that hypervisor, and then VMs, and maintains those VMs?

    Oh, and also replaces a drive on the server if it goes wonky?

    From the description, bench. You've not mentioned a business anywhere. If you are assuming that this role will do all of this while making business decisions as to the setup, need, etc. then it becomes IT. But there are loads of people doing this role via scripts and no business insight or knowledge at server vendors that are clearly bench.

    If your description of a job is all tech and zero business, that's bench. But I think you are not describing it well.

    Yeah, let's say this person is a one person employee at a company, and they are responsible for choosing the hardware, software, and everything else involved.



  • I don't think that Bench is the best term for what you're describing. For that matter both terms are too invested with meaning. Bench is too specific in common usage and IT is too general. You may have to appropriate different terms to be effective.


  • Service Provider

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    What do you consider someone who sets up the server, and then install a hypervisor on it, VMs on that hypervisor, and then VMs, and maintains those VMs?

    Oh, and also replaces a drive on the server if it goes wonky?

    From the description, bench. You've not mentioned a business anywhere. If you are assuming that this role will do all of this while making business decisions as to the setup, need, etc. then it becomes IT. But there are loads of people doing this role via scripts and no business insight or knowledge at server vendors that are clearly bench.

    If your description of a job is all tech and zero business, that's bench. But I think you are not describing it well.

    Yeah, let's say this person is a one person employee at a company, and they are responsible for choosing the hardware, software, and everything else involved.

    Then hopefully they are IT. Of course, lots of businesses hire people with a bench mindset, experience, expectations and manage them as bench and will likely get bench results.

    Easily a majority of people in IT get there from falling in love with bench work, so the tendency for IT people to act like bench is pretty high. This bench mentality is a component of the "I own the network" attitude we often see. Because essentially all people get to the bench world via building or managing computers at home and always see them as things that they "own".



  • @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    I don't think that Bench is the best term for what you're describing. For that matter both terms are too invested with meaning. Bench is too specific in common usage and IT is too general. You may have to appropriate different terms to be effective.

    When you hear bench, you think PC tech or at least I do.



  • @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    What do you consider someone who sets up the server, and then install a hypervisor on it, VMs on that hypervisor, and then VMs, and maintains those VMs?

    Oh, and also replaces a drive on the server if it goes wonky?

    From the description, bench. You've not mentioned a business anywhere. If you are assuming that this role will do all of this while making business decisions as to the setup, need, etc. then it becomes IT. But there are loads of people doing this role via scripts and no business insight or knowledge at server vendors that are clearly bench.

    If your description of a job is all tech and zero business, that's bench. But I think you are not describing it well.

    Yeah, let's say this person is a one person employee at a company, and they are responsible for choosing the hardware, software, and everything else involved.

    You're a bench it. We'll just splinch the two and put IT in the middle replacing the "en".


  • Service Provider

    @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    I don't think that Bench is the best term for what you're describing. For that matter both terms are too invested with meaning. Bench is too specific in common usage and IT is too general. You may have to appropriate different terms to be effective.

    Hence why I keep using IT/BI. Business infrastructure. The career of IT, not the buzzword the DOL throws around or that SUNY Albany uses for librarians.


  • Service Provider

    @IRJ said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    I don't think that Bench is the best term for what you're describing. For that matter both terms are too invested with meaning. Bench is too specific in common usage and IT is too general. You may have to appropriate different terms to be effective.

    When you hear bench, you think PC tech or at least I do.

    That's the majority of the field. But it's the same job that datacenter folks do. Just like how desktop support and mainframe admin are the same job, just different scales, in IT/BI.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    I don't think that Bench is the best term for what you're describing. For that matter both terms are too invested with meaning. Bench is too specific in common usage and IT is too general. You may have to appropriate different terms to be effective.

    Hence why I keep using IT/BI. Business infrastructure. The career of IT, not the buzzword the DOL throws around or that SUNY Albany uses for librarians.

    But if we're having fun with the semantical hairs then Information Technology is too broad to be used in this context.


  • Service Provider

    @IRJ said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    I don't think that Bench is the best term for what you're describing. For that matter both terms are too invested with meaning. Bench is too specific in common usage and IT is too general. You may have to appropriate different terms to be effective.

    When you hear bench, you think PC tech or at least I do.

    It can be called "Tech."



  • The problem with Bench is that it has a pejorative connotation in common usage. If you were to tell someone that handles enterprise systems and infrastructure that they're just glorified bench workers on a larger scale they would be offended at the characterization.


  • Service Provider

    @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    The problem with Bench is that it has a pejorative connotation in common usage.

    So does IT at this point. IT has become another term for bench. So any negative of one carries to the other, sadly.



  • @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    What do you consider someone who sets up the server, and then install a hypervisor on it, VMs on that hypervisor, and then VMs, and maintains those VMs?

    Oh, and also replaces a drive on the server if it goes wonky?

    From the description, bench. You've not mentioned a business anywhere. If you are assuming that this role will do all of this while making business decisions as to the setup, need, etc. then it becomes IT. But there are loads of people doing this role via scripts and no business insight or knowledge at server vendors that are clearly bench.

    If your description of a job is all tech and zero business, that's bench. But I think you are not describing it well.

    Yeah, let's say this person is a one person employee at a company, and they are responsible for choosing the hardware, software, and everything else involved.

    You're a bench it. We'll just splinch the two and put IT in the middle replacing the "en".

    This made me LOL


  • Service Provider

    @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    If you were to tell someone that handles enterprise systems and infrastructure that they're just glorified bench workers on a larger scale they would be offended at the characterization.

    I think the "glorified" bit is the issue. If you pointed out that they do the same job but on an enterprise scale they'd either just acknowledge that that is true or admit that they are ashamed of their job. It's not that they are glorified, it can be a hard and rewarding job. It's just not IT.

    Accountants aren't offended when you tell them that they just do math. Or that they aren't IT. That bench people often feel that way (I've never had professional bench people act that way, though) is weird. Why do a job that you are ashamed of, and what shame is there in being technical?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    If you were to tell someone that handles enterprise systems and infrastructure that they're just glorified bench workers on a larger scale they would be offended at the characterization.

    I think the "glorified" bit is the issue. If you pointed out that they do the same job but on an enterprise scale they'd either just acknowledge that that is true or admit that they are ashamed of their job. It's not that they are glorified, it can be a hard and rewarding job. It's just not IT.

    Accountants aren't offended when you tell them that they just do math. Or that they aren't IT. That bench people often feel that way (I've never had professional bench people act that way, though) is weird. Why do a job that you are ashamed of, and what shame is there in being technical?

    You appear to be missing the point. It isn't their work that they might object to, but the pejorative appellation your proposing applying to it. An accountant would object if you said that all they are is a glorified calculator.



  • @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    What do you consider someone who sets up the server, and then install a hypervisor on it, VMs on that hypervisor, and then VMs, and maintains those VMs?

    Oh, and also replaces a drive on the server if it goes wonky?

    From the description, bench. You've not mentioned a business anywhere. If you are assuming that this role will do all of this while making business decisions as to the setup, need, etc. then it becomes IT. But there are loads of people doing this role via scripts and no business insight or knowledge at server vendors that are clearly bench.

    If your description of a job is all tech and zero business, that's bench. But I think you are not describing it well.

    Yeah, let's say this person is a one person employee at a company, and they are responsible for choosing the hardware, software, and everything else involved.

    You're a bench it. We'll just splinch the two and put IT in the middle replacing the "en".

    I see what you did there.



  • @scottalanmiller

    Where do you peg SEO? It's a bit of tech, a bit of marketing, a bit of business...


  • Service Provider

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller

    Where do you peg SEO? It's a bit of tech, a bit of marketing, a bit of business...

    Not really. SEO is pure marketing. There is no tech or business in it.


  • Service Provider

    @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @Kelly said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    If you were to tell someone that handles enterprise systems and infrastructure that they're just glorified bench workers on a larger scale they would be offended at the characterization.

    I think the "glorified" bit is the issue. If you pointed out that they do the same job but on an enterprise scale they'd either just acknowledge that that is true or admit that they are ashamed of their job. It's not that they are glorified, it can be a hard and rewarding job. It's just not IT.

    Accountants aren't offended when you tell them that they just do math. Or that they aren't IT. That bench people often feel that way (I've never had professional bench people act that way, though) is weird. Why do a job that you are ashamed of, and what shame is there in being technical?

    You appear to be missing the point. It isn't their work that they might object to, but the pejorative appellation your proposing applying to it. An accountant would object if you said that all they are is a glorified calculator.

    It's only pejorative if they feel that way about the work, though. To make the accountant sound bad, you have to use the word glorified. I'm not calling them glorified bench, I'm calling them bench. Call an accountant a calculator and that's actually the old term for the accounting job. Nothing wrong with that.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller

    Where do you peg SEO? It's a bit of tech, a bit of marketing, a bit of business...

    Not really. SEO is pure marketing. There is no tech or business in it.

    So the editing of the pages is marketing? The use of tracking codes, etc.?


  • Service Provider

    The term "glorified" is pejorative. Saying someone is at the top of a specific profession, is not.

    A CIO is a top level IT person, not a glorified one.


  • Service Provider

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller

    Where do you peg SEO? It's a bit of tech, a bit of marketing, a bit of business...

    Not really. SEO is pure marketing. There is no tech or business in it.

    So the editing of the pages is marketing? The use of tracking codes, etc.?

    Absolutely.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller

    Where do you peg SEO? It's a bit of tech, a bit of marketing, a bit of business...

    Not really. SEO is pure marketing. There is no tech or business in it.

    So the editing of the pages is marketing? The use of tracking codes, etc.?

    Absolutely.

    So marketers are responsible for programming websites? That seem like a IT -related job to me.


  • Service Provider

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @BRRABill said in Separating IT from the Bench:

    @scottalanmiller

    Where do you peg SEO? It's a bit of tech, a bit of marketing, a bit of business...

    Not really. SEO is pure marketing. There is no tech or business in it.

    So the editing of the pages is marketing? The use of tracking codes, etc.?

    Absolutely.

    So marketers are responsible for programming websites? That seem like a IT -related job to me.

    1. IT doesn't program websites either, that's engineering.
    2. We don't program websites for SEO.

  • Service Provider

    Departments involved in a common websites:

    • IT runs the web infrastructure.
    • Engineering makes the content management platform.
    • Design makes the website for marketing.
    • Marketing designates web content (which results in SEO.)
    • Sales talks to customers that the website attracts.

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