What are software? Just a mere representations of what we do as a business, what we portray ourselves as our social representation, and what we seek out which we normally can’t without physical interaction of this murky world.
Software now represent a true image of our society, businesses, and stakeholders – it’s the future that is already here.
A short story of dissatisfaction:
I was recently visiting a shopping store, and like many similar shopping stores, they were equipped with POS (Point of sale) terminals, with a retail application and scanning gadgets. As I proceed to the checkout, and seeing that long waiting queues, I noticed something strange that the POS terminals were actually not operational and the staff was using keypress calculators, and pens to sign off the receipts, however, credit card machines were working fine.
It was that instinct of an IT professional and a software tester combined that when finally it was my turn after about 40 minutes of wait, I asked the counter clerk “What’s wrong with your application? And why are you using manual calculator to check out the customers?”
His answer surprised me “there is nothing wrong with the system, we are not using it because it is easier for us to do it manually”
The never ending complaint saga:
Being a software consultant all my life, I have heard these arguments or should I say pretexts, several times from general application users.
On my way home, my mind kept drifting and then I decided to go beyond to understand what really a software is and what it does to your business, and can the use and vice versa, put the harm on its users. Was that the same argument I was hearing again?
“We are really comfortable with our manual practices, please don’t automate us”
“I can do what your computer can do single handedly, and using only one typewriter”
“I am not going to use your system to depict my performance to the upper management”
Businesses are formed with people and process together. The blend does not apart from each other. When you add an extra ingredient of Software Application, the human content tends to resist. It is in the nature of human being. That’s why we have diverse behaviors, social and political behaviors. Same applies in the companies.
A Dangerous but necessary mix!
The organizations with huge earnings and having a large number of human resource to their disposal are continuously facing this challenge. It is part of their resumes’ to adapt, teach, mentor and then change people as per the new systems and software they are implementing.
At the delivery side we have project and system coordinators who work as a coach and mentors for people to adapt changes and then implement the system.
Critically evaluating, a system creates a credible importance in the eyes of the management and the general users. There is an investment of several hours and monetary cost on implementation of such systems. Not forgetting the expectations of the clients for the system to generate the same, even more profits for the company.
This whole mixture of application development, implementation, and operations becomes part of a one company and embeds itself. Good systems becomes part of the business. These systems are invisible in their context and users cannot feel their existence as they are part of their daily routine.
It’s all part of the game:
A problem occurring within the system then does not belong to that system and what the developers have codes, instead it is part of the business that system is part of.
Failure to use POS terminals was actually a blowback for the supermarket and its profits. Just because you cannot drive a way out to use it, you mark it “failed”, is a grave approach from the user’s side. Similarly, at the solution delivery domain, the failure to provide user support, immediate responses to user’s queries, and not reviewing the solution also results in the same dilemma of client dissatisfaction, losing good business, and loss.