It is going back about 26 years now since I had a conversation with a client of mine about why it was so hard to make the simplest change to the software that I was developing for him. After all, he only wanted a few “little” things on the screen changed, so he couldn’t understand how it could be so difficult.
So, I started to explain to him about data and tables and memory variables, etc., none of which resonated with him. He still didn’t see how it could possibly take so long to do so little.
It seems that in many cases, the issue of “Cloud” based software solutions versus traditional self-hosted solutions has become the primary decision point for companies procuring project management/accounting software. Unfortunately, this sometimes happens at the expense of what should be the single most important consideration: functionality.
Functionality is the hard part. It is the hardest for the software company to deliver; the hardest to implement; the hardest for users to understand; and the hardest for purchasers to evaluate. Getting from functional evaluation through to completed functional implementation means “rolling up one’s sleeves” and doing some very detailed work. Unfortunately, all too often, the specter of doing this due diligence is more than people want to embark on. Furthermore, because of all the industry-wide buzz and hype regarding “the Cloud,” people become easily distracted, and end up focusing all of their attention on the Cloud issue.
Most companies embark down a surprisingly unplanned and unstructured path when looking at Project Management software.
Sometimes the initiative starts from the top, sometimes it starts with Project Managers, and sometimes it starts with an IT department. However, it is surprising how often these searches begin without the other players knowing about the search, without evaluation criteria being established, without budgets being established – basically with no plan at all.
Reflecting on 30 years of progress in computing
Back in the “old” days there was the brand new kid on the block in the form of MS DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System), but there was also the somewhat “entrenched” standard of CPM, and of course the first generation of Apple OS. There was also a plethora of mini computers in that era, all of which had their own operating systems. So the poor developers were faced with the age old issue of which operating system to write their applications for. And by the way, for the large number of the current computer users who don’t know the genealogy of the word “App”, guess what, it’s an “Application” and yes, we had “Apps” way back when. In any case most software developers bet the farm by writing their applications for a specific platform and hoped that platform had long legs.