Monday, February 03, 2014

The Perennially Dissatisfied User

This laptop is quite heavy; it gives me a pain in the neck and shoulder, I need something sleeker and lighter. Also the battery life should be at least 5 hours if not longer and minimum 1 TB of storage. You know an i7 processor would be great ! Why cannot we shift to the new Windows tablets which are so much lighter and also have a touch interface which makes life so easy ? I would love a larger screen but I am willing to compromise on the screen size if the tablet offers a full HD experience. Did you get what I want ?

This application is so antiquated ! Look at the user interface, this is really Jurassic; it would require a rocket scientist to use it. Why cannot the human machine interface be more like the social media sites which anyone can start using intuitively ? You missed the following key dimensions while capturing the data on the customer ! Where do you expect me to get so much data from ? I am required to sell and not just gather data about customers ! Why do reports take so much time to generate ? Can I see them on my mobile ? Is there an app for this ?

CIOs, software engineers, business analysts, hardware specialists, enterprise architects, for that matter if you are in IT and work with customers – internal more than external – every IT professional faces such questions every day; the above is just a sample of the discussions and challenges that get thrown in almost every interaction. It would appear that whatever you do, it never meets expectations. One interesting observation is that the critique increases with the age of the person and decreases with the tenure within the company.

Typically in the case of software solutions, when you approach your colleagues for inputs on what they want, they would normally start with a broad outline of what they require. You create something, go back for inputs, hoping to get closer to the end point; after multiple iterations you are either going round in circles or far removed from where you started. Do users of technology not know what they want or IT fail to connect to the need ? Every IT guy would vehemently say YES and the requesters would lament that IT guys don’t understand what we want.

Even if we assume that there is a chasm to bridge here, how can the same be extended to a simple request for hardware; can that be so complex ? A piece of hardware is a piece of hardware; differences between devices that organization endorses to the aspirational consumer devices incompatible with conventional corporate legacy systems exist for budgetary reasons more than any other. Mandate, as IT budgets are going up, buy cheaper devices. Yes off course, but why can we not get better battery life and bigger or better screens ?

Diagnosis attempted by wise and sundry professed theories that created industries to remedy the lacunae. Later and not sooner after spending inordinate budgets everyone realised that maybe there was no merit in the models. Evidently it had nothing to do with alignment between business and IT or the fact that the language spoken by the opposing parties has been classified to be incompatible. Then again, the efforts towards change have largely been lopsided. It is neither art nor science; it is to do with the unknown alien characteristic of IT users that IT professionals have been unable to master.

From Hollerith cards to Phablets and wearable technology, the pace of evolution has kept everyone guessing on the next shift. Unsettling yet consistent, the change has created an expectation that does not accept what is, but wants the unreasonable until it becomes reality. Shifting targets keeps everyone running only to find that they haven’t moved much. I do not believe that the game will change in the near foreseeable future. Users will keep asking for the moon, while actually meaning the light bulb and the description matches that of a CFL.

Keep playing the game while you can, sometimes you may hit the target in the dark !

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