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When not configuring hardware, what's a Sys Admin to do?

kimndave9
1-Newbie

When not configuring hardware, what's a Sys Admin to do?

I've had the crazy idea that a Sys Admin for a Pro/E system would spend
a lot of time working to elevate the abilities of the system's users.
This by creating training material, utilities, guided training, and
integrating higher levels of the company into the ways of using PTC
software to their advantage.

Am I wrong?

Dave S.
5 REPLIES 5

That is wishful thinking for sure. It all sounds good on paper, what you
stated plus, creating company standards and countless other projects.
However, what really happens is that a sys admin usually ends up dealing
with the pdm system of choice and that is what really consumes 95% of their
time. Speaking for companies with 10 or more users. All of the other
projects you speak of get started but will never get completed to a high
standard.

Regards,
Ron Rich
BenLoosli
23-Emerald II
(To:kimndave9)

Ron is very close to the truth on what a Sys Admin does. I've been doing it for 24 years.
Started on UG V5 with 2 workstations. With no PDM to worry about back then, spent a lot of time writing GRIP code to automate some functions in UG that were very time consuming and tedious. Wrote some code to post process the NC file generated by the UG post processor to build a tooling setup sheet for the shop. Also some code for a special tapping cycle that the post wouldn't generate.
Moved to another company and wrote a set of programs to release drawing by moving them from a check to a released folder. Did some hardware evaluations, too.
Changed jobs and the new company was transitioning from UG V9 to V10. All the GRIP programs had to be checked and changed for the new functionality. We had programs to create and populate the drawing formats, release the drawings and hardware (nuts, bolts, washers, hydraulic fittings) selection. Also did hardware testing and selection for the first batch of Windows NT computers. Then corporate decided we needed to switch to Pro/E. Wrote standards for both UG and Pro/E so the users would hopefully design to some level of standard convention. Along with that came Intralink and time was spent on administering the files. Users just hit File and don't care about where the file ends up in Intralink (and PDMLink). As the data management side became more complex, there was less time to write standards, training guides, etc. Started spending lots of time moving files to the proper folder, renaming them, etc.
3 companies later, my admin tasks are testing new versions and keeping the database clean.

Thank you,

Ben H. Loosli
USEC, INC.
Dmi3U
15-Moonstone
(To:kimndave9)

Totaly agree with Ron...


Now days 95% of my time is spent on windchill support. Another 15% is mentoring/training users, another 20% fixing/troubleshooting someone else's problems, another 10% is creating company CAD training, another 25% is maintaining standrds, 5% creating library components, licensing is another 10%, then there are all small tasks another 5%....


It all adds up to around 100%



In Reply to Ben Loosli:


Ron is very close to the truth on what a Sys Admin does. I've been doing it for 24 years.
Started on UG V5 with 2 workstations. With no PDM to worry about back then, spent a lot of time writing GRIP code to automate some functions in UG that were very time consuming and tedious. Wrote some code to post process the NC file generated by the UG post processor to build a tooling setup sheet for the shop. Also some code for a special tapping cycle that the post wouldn't generate.
Moved to another company and wrote a set of programs to release drawing by moving them from a check to a released folder. Did some hardware evaluations, too.
Changed jobs and the new company was transitioning from UG V9 to V10. All the GRIP programs had to be checked and changed for the new functionality. We had programs to create and populate the drawing formats, release the drawings and hardware (nuts, bolts, washers, hydraulic fittings) selection. Also did hardware testing and selection for the first batch of Windows NT computers. Then corporate decided we needed to switch to Pro/E. Wrote standards for both UG and Pro/E so the users would hopefully design to some level of standard convention. Along with that came Intralink and time was spent on administering the files. Users just hit File and don't care about where the file ends up in Intralink (and PDMLink). As the data management side became more complex, there was less time to write standards, training guides, etc. Started spending lots of time moving files to the proper folder, renaming them, etc.
3 companies later, my admin tasks are testing new versions and keeping the database clean.

Thank you,

Ben H. Loosli
USEC, INC.

Well, I have broken it down as follows: (In order of priority.)


#1: User support: Support is the highest priority, because if someone is down and not able to work, they are the most important issue at that moment. Support includes users, software, and hardware. Work with ITon the latter.


#2: Efficiency Improvements: Work with management and others to improve Engineering department processes. Look for bottlenecks, out-dated procedures, etc. Use 6 Sigma and Lean Process improvement methods when possible.


#3: Standards and Best Practices: Standards are things that HAVE to be done. There should be NO exceptions to a Standard. Best Practices are processes. There will be exceptions to Best Practices.


#4: User Training: Training can be as simple as 30 minutes of one on one tutoring or as complex as Upgrade training for Wildfire for the entire engineering department with outside instructors.


#5: Communication: Communicate what you are doing and what you have done on a regular basis to your management as well as your users. Tell management how much time the new Best Practice will save the company. Tell the users so they know that there is a new Best Practice that will make their life easier.


#6: Staff Development: Create a development plan for yourself. Where are the gaps that need bridging? Fill any technical or managerial gaps with training. Create a user group composed of your best / most influential users. A User Group is a good test bed for software updates, new procedures, and other changes as well.


#7: Planning and Budgets: Start planning for next year now. What Projects do you want to get done? How complex are they? How much will it cost? For budgets, show ROI as well as what it will cost. The budget document might be the only document some of the upper management sees from you all year so make sure it is done right.


#8: Investigate New Technologies: Lastly, keep an eye out for new technology that will improve things and make life easier. Do we need new plotters, workstations, software, or servers. What will be the next big thing?


I try to follow this as much as possible, it really does help clarify what you should or could be doing.


-marc


CAD / PLM Systems Manager


TriMark Corp.

That was an intriguing topic title, and it's been great to read the responses, particularly Marc's list. There's a lot of experience on this exploder, I'm sure many people will chip in with their own perspectives.



In my time as a CAD Admin for over 10 years, currently looking after 700 Pro/E users and 300 Autocad users, I've found my time split between a huge range of tasks, with users and servers at the top of the priority list. Problem-solving is the most common thing, whether computer-related, or engineering-related. RealVNC and Microsoft Lync are useful for the remote-access troubleshooting.


To help raise skill levels I've developed various things over the years - my current focus is a series of in-house webcasts, each one looks at a specific topic and is run via LiveMeeting for colleagues all over the world, plus it's recorded for the benefit of others. I also have various short movies showing practical tips and tricks - long ago I gave up on the idea of printed or even online training material - I just don't have the time to be a documentation monkey. PTC University is coming on well, and the LearningConnector is a welcome addition: joining up Pro/E with eLearning.


Talking of PDM systems, our main project just now is migrating intralink 3.4 to PDMLink 9.1 - and that's progressing well so far: hope to get the first data over in a month or two. Intralink has served us well for many years, but the more I use PDMLink, and the more people I deal with who are sharing files across locations/servers/product-lines, the more enthusiastic I am about getting everyone on a 'joined-up' system. From a PDM-skeptical position a few years back, I'm certainly on the bandwagon now...


To foster CAD standards, I have a framework of global/regional/product configs and settings, and this will evolve in the new system to help bring everyone on to more common ground.


I'll stop there, though this will be an interesting thread to monitor.


Edwin Muirhead, CAD Manager, Weatherford



In Reply to Marc DeBower:



Well, I have broken it down as follows: (In order of priority.)


#1: User support: Support is the highest priority, because if someone is down and not able to work, they are the most important issue at that moment. Support includes users, software, and hardware. Work with ITon the latter.


#2: Efficiency Improvements: Work with management and others to improve Engineering department processes. Look for bottlenecks, out-dated procedures, etc. Use 6 Sigma and Lean Process improvement methods when possible.


#3: Standards and Best Practices: Standards are things that HAVE to be done. There should be NO exceptions to a Standard. Best Practices are processes. There will be exceptions to Best Practices.


#4: User Training: Training can be as simple as 30 minutes of one on one tutoring or as complex as Upgrade training for Wildfire for the entire engineering department with outside instructors.


#5: Communication: Communicate what you are doing and what you have done on a regular basis to your management as well as your users. Tell management how much time the new Best Practice will save the company. Tell the users so they know that there is a new Best Practice that will make their life easier.


#6: Staff Development: Create a development plan for yourself. Where are the gaps that need bridging? Fill any technical or managerial gaps with training. Create a user group composed of your best / most influential users. A User Group is a good test bed for software updates, new procedures, and other changes as well.


#7: Planning and Budgets: Start planning for next year now. What Projects do you want to get done? How complex are they? How much will it cost? For budgets, show ROI as well as what it will cost. The budget document might be the only document some of the upper management sees from you all year so make sure it is done right.


#8: Investigate New Technologies: Lastly, keep an eye out for new technology that will improve things and make life easier. Do we need new plotters, workstations, software, or servers. What will be the next big thing?


I try to follow this as much as possible, it really does help clarify what you should or could be doing.


-marc


CAD / PLM Systems Manager


TriMark Corp.


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