The World of “Crisis Driven Systems Decisions”
I use this phrase to describe what a great many unions (and other organizations) use as their systems development “strategy”. In this paradigm there is little thought given to pro-active planning of upgrading software or hardware. Staff skills are rarely considered either.
I am reminded of an old “Seinfeld” episode where Jerry is describing the average man’s attitude to buying underwear. “Men will wear their underwear until the last molecule of underwear is gone before even thinking of a replacement.” Maybe a bit extreme but you get the point. Below are some actual examples of this phenomenon in calls we have received.
1. “Our bookkeeper is retiring and we are thinking of a PC based system”. Current system? – “Books.”
2. “Our printer broke and we can’t find another one that prints “green bar” computer stock for our reports.”
3. “Our COBOL programmer just walked out, can you help us?”
4. “Do you have anybody there who can upgrade our Lotus 123 system? We have had it since 1983 and we love it.”
I often think if the same attitude was adopted towards systems as we take towards automobiles, we would probably see this disappear. If you did drive a 30 year- old car you would probably be envied as the owner of a “collectible”. Try finding buyers for a 30 year – old computer system. No “classics” there!
Here’s what’s REALLY bad about this state of affairs. If this is how your union is operating, things are going to get much worse! We now operate in a world where major software companies “manufacture” these crises by continual “upgrades.” (That’s the one where they move things around the screen and tell you it’s a new version.) More drastically, these major software developers will “kill” development platforms to continually promote the sales of newer products.
Some of this is pure marketing, but much of it is genuinely driven by the pace of technology change. Gone are the days of developing software and installing it on a particular operating system / hardware configuration and then letting it chug away for 15-20 or even 30 years! The longevity of ANY systems in terms of supportability is now much less than that and demands almost constant review and pro-active action. Failure to stay on top of the latest in software development invites continual crises in your union.
If you have such a “crisis” – give us a call. BETTER STILL – contact us to avoid a crisis.