Sometimes, mostly on a day like today, I’m rather puzzled about our superb ability to successfully sabotage the very common and simple task, of “just making it work”.
1. The Concept
“just because you talked about this feature for two (2) years and wrote it in a concept, doesn’t mean we built it into the product” … Well, apart from “it” being an essential feature for complex customer environments AND migrations! It’s great if I’m being told that we didn’t order the required modules, because they are expensive and someone didn’t think, we would need them… AFTER the platform had been built and ist going into production next week.
… Did I mention, that I need exactly THIS feature to plan a migration in a complex customer Environment this year? Who would have thought of that.
2. The Network
I love standadized products just like the next guy, but they have to fulfill an essential requirement: They need to work!
I have a customer, that I work for as an Account Architect and we literally had to use our managed LAN, VoIP, WAN and now our WiFi Services for them. Some kind of corporate strategy. This all sounded good during the proposal phase and turned into a nightmare during the implementation.
The WAN Service isn’t fully operational, 19 months after we started the project. The Managed LAN is incapable of provinding a single customer location on time that doesn’t need fixing to at least some minor routing configurations, and now they also want to integrate the WiFi network service (the only thing working fairly well so far). VoIP needed three (3!!! for godsake!) replanning attempts and also trippled in cost … just for the data center infrastructure and operation. By the way, the Fax over VoIP still isn’t working and the phones drop the lines like every 2 minutes.
3. Tool Chain
Apart from having to use corporate standard solution, that don’t work as well as their PowerPoint slides, we also had to implement the corporate tool chain, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing … unless it’s our own corporate tool chain.
So we start off a the workplace management system, a neat little shopping interface for the casual customer line manager for ordering an managing users accounts. A bit too much free-text forms for my taste but it works fine so far. All data inserted here is transmitted to the infamous central customer user management system and… for some reason is also transfered back to the workplace management system. That’s the time, when the previously filled forms don’t look exactly like before and some entries are missing.
Somewhere in that big black data-hole is a connection to our ServiceCenter implementation from hell. Someone had found, it would be a great idea to use the company name from central customer user management system as the main key for all tickets in ServiceCenter, instead of the customer ID.
Now, I have customer, that has some international subsidiaries that need to be handled during the email archiving process. In detail, the messages have to be archied separately by country AND subsidiary… which is now impossible since the company name always has to be the same and departments carries a different information.
The best thing about our current portfolio that I can say is: we have some great marketing slides. But it doesn’t scale, doesn’t work, hasn’t been implemented yet, is years behind our competitors, … dare to find out for yourself.
I started at here two years ago in hope, I could be a part of a long needed change to get things like these into a right and working condition. Until now, I gave my best and still feel lost and failing. A condition like this is hard to grasp and even harder to communicate to a customer.
How can I stand in front of a customers service manager and tell him, everything is OK when right behind me everything is breaking down, falling into pieces?
How can I create value for any customer if we WASTE millions on building something on our own, that I can just buy and get delivered within two weeks for a fraction of the CAPEX and no project costs for enigeering?