Thursday, January 26, 2012

Enterprise Time Tracking Software Idiocy

Going between client sites all the time I also get to touch a lot of "enterprise" time tracking software packages. Most of these must be the most retarded (apologies to those with mental disabilities, there is no way you could actually invent something that dumb).

Of course, companies need to know what their employees and consultants are spending their time on. This is not the problem. But ERP systems' (they want to be called this, but they aren't). The problem is, in a word, usability. And this leads back to the classic dichotomy between the two types of software in the world:

Elective Use Software

Compulsory Use Software

Elective Use Software:

By definition, it's what a user elects to use. In order to be elected, this software must provide some sort of value or reward to the user, usually revealed in a day-in-the-life product planning exercise. The test is simple: Does a user's day or particular activity get markedly better with the product vs. without? One can also use the term made famous (but not invented by) Steve Jobs: "suck less"

The hallmarks of software of this sort then, is that provides utility, and so is actually something you can use, and will use because it makes your day better. Not only that, but most software of this nature also has the job of convincing you of the utility it provides quickly, and intuitively.

Compulsory Use Software:

Classic IT software falls very much into this category, as does just about anything labeled "enterprise". Because the person purchasing the software is not the person using it, usability, and by extension, productivity takes a back seat. Really. Look at SAP, look at the time entry systems where you work, and stuff written by your internal IT departments for internal consumptions. Cumbersome user interfaces, unclear instructions, and overall very unintuitive.

The irony. The enterprise planning software and time trackers actually impede productivity as they are designed today. Bravo.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do you have Dream? That'll be $10, please.

Apparently it still costs $10 to see Dr. Martin Luther King's speech in case you missed it.

Awesome. People will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their bank account and depth of their rolodex.

In other news, the SOPA protest is in full swing. It is definitely an interesting list of supporters, who won't be getting any of my money. Ironically, the right-wing "let freedom ring" people are in full support of this bill, since it purports to stop the Chinese from stealing our stuff. mmkay.

See the money trail at (a prime target for a SOPA shutdown when this passes, for sure!).


Oh, wait, the bill says I can't. And I can't link there either.

Ironically, "Open Congress" is listed as a supporting corporation - what's up with that?

About 21 MILLION dollars have been donated by supporters of the bill, notably to:

Rep. Eric Cantor [R, VA-7] $668,192
Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28] $590,398
Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5] $557,107
Rep. James Clyburn [D, SC-6] $486,927
Rep. Michael Capuano [D, MA-8] $465,500
Rep. Bruce Braley [D, IA-1] $438,839
Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] $416,100
Rep. Allyson Schwartz [D, PA-13] $409,019
Rep. John Boehner [R, OH-8] $403,800
Rep. Gary Peters [D, MI-9] $395,798

Sen. Harry Reid [D, NV] $3,502,624
Sen. Charles Schumer [D, NY] $2,648,770
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D, NY] $2,080,651
Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, CA] $1,431,843
Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA] $1,364,872
Sen. Robert Portman [R, OH] $1,363,009
Sen. Patrick Toomey [R, PA] $1,291,744
Sen. Michael Bennet [D, CO] $1,019,172
Sen. Mark Kirk [R, IL] $911,296
Sen. Patrick Leahy [D, VT] $905,310

Of course, none of this is fishy, one bit.

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