Worse than the product


I have no particular company in mind but my experience of over a quarter of a century working in senior positions within IT has taught me one thing – IT companies often seem worse than the products they sell. Let me explain.

How many times have you been in a sales or pre-sales meeting when the people from the company have told you how fantastic, innovative and flexible their product is only to find that it does not live up to the hype when you come to install it?

How many times have you asked for a seemingly simple, to you, development to be made only to find that it drags on for weeks and months?

How many times have you logged a support call for the umpteenth time to fix something they promise has been fixed already only to find that it is a low priority and is unlikely to be sorted?

I am not out to bash IT companies. They provide vital services and create truly wonderful products yet reality often lags behind the dream. Why is this? The answer came to me this morning while eating breakfast. 

The issue arises because of differential timescales. Technology works at the speed of technology while people work at the speed of people. A computer can create a problem, fail, push out spurious results, do something it wasn’t supposed to do in a flash. People can only solve the problem by investigating, thinking about it, devising a solution, testing what they have done and then implementing it. As technology continues to speed up and increase in its complexity then the difference between these two timescales continues to expand. 

Yes, the new system can do everything that was promised as long as people are able to absorb and adapt to the technology. They can only do this at a human pace. Such change takes place in a human timescale.

Are IT companies worse than their products then? No, not really, they just operate at different rates and some recognition of this would help customers come to terms with the levels of service that are possible.

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