If there is one thing I have found out about software it is that all applications are rubbish when you know nothing about them.
Companies buy software tools in the hope that they will sort out their business processes yet don’t put the effort in to really understand how they work. Huge swathes of useful functionality goes unused, the very stuff that could improve the efficiency of the business, and all for the want of some time.
Nobody has time to train in the application because they are too busy doing all the inefficient stuff they have complained about. It is human nature to expect so much for so little effort and so the day after installation the complaints will start. It’s too hard, it’s too complicated, it’s not what we are used to. People will find ways to work around the new system. They will pick up bad habits from their colleagues and add even greater inefficiency to the already burdened system.
When it comes to reporting useful information from the application nothing works either because the data is missing, not because it wasn’t transferred from the old system but rather that it wasn’t there in the first place or that it was incorrect. The system won’t tell management what it needs to know and users will spend more and more time manipulating outfits from the system to make them more meaningful, usually through Excel. All of this adds up to general dissatisfaction with the application and thoughts will turn to replacing it with a new one.
There is a remedy however. It is not very complicated yet it does take effort:
- Allocate responsibility to one or more individuals from each area that uses the software to gain a thorough understanding of how it works
- Use these people to identify missing and incorrect data, you may need someone else to correct and input it
- Also use these people to agree how the organisation is to use the application and
- Get them to train their colleagues.
In the wrong hands and without an understanding of how it operates, any tool is rubbish. Software is no different.