I recently came across the curious case of Mr X, whose job is similar to mine: he supports an ERP database, although his db is more financially orientated whereas mine is more production orientated. Mr X and I have worked before at a previous company and with a different program. I inherited the ERP database that he had helped to construct and supposedly maintain. Over the course of several years, I simplified and streamlined the procedures which use the database, making life much easier for its users.
Mr X was initially employed by a senior manager, a champion of Mr X, for a six month period, during which he was supposed to move his company from one ERP program to another. Apparently, once that period was up, he claimed that his work had not yet finished. After sixteen months, he is still there. It appears that Mr X has utilised a variant of Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureacracy (see below) to ensure that he never leaves; instead of using his energy to improve conditions for users, he uses his energy to keep his job (something very important in these difficult economic times).
Apparently he had kept all administrative powers to himself, so much so that a user (who might be described as a power user) has to ask Mr X to open accounts for new customers. I, on the other hand, have little interest in being so involved in day to day operations and gladly give to certified users the privilege (pun intended) of opening accounts. If I spent all day doing that, then I would have no time to spend on doing interesting things, such as developing and training.
According to this power user, an outside person was called in the other day to examine the database and make recommendations. Things would never have got to this level had there not been a change in management, in which Mr X's champion left the company.
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.