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Noam Tamarkin

How software systems are selected and decided?

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Hi,

Often in my IT career I looked at a software system and asked (silently) what did they had in mind when they ordered this system?

Another question is why you need 52 systems that most of those serves a very small functionality?

 The explanation goes to the philosophy and organisational psychology domains

Let me tell a almost real story.

One day, the VP marketing of the company came a up with a brilliant idea: Let loan people money to buy our products. Te company will give them better credit than the bank or credit card. In order to manage that they needed a software system. The exact functionality was not covered by any existing system, so Initially, the IT offered a solution that was a combination of AR payment installment and Credit/Debit memo's. The implementation cost was high for the expected income so the VP marketing looked for another solution. He asked an IT consulted that offered a system tailored for that purpose with much less cost. Without any IT department support, the VP marketing commissioned the system from that consultant. 

After a year the company found out that a lot of the customer that took the credit did not pay their debt... 

The company did not want to continue with the program and the the system was left just to follow-up with the debt collection and law suits against customer.

The story did end here but the conclusion is clear: These decisions are not driven by any number of reasons that are not initiated by the IT department. Naturally, the IT department is forced to support these systems once installed.

So how the story ended? I got a call one day from the DBA that told me that I need to make a decision on that system's DB. Oracle did not support the DB version anymore so an upgrade was required. There was no way to know if the system will continue to work after such leap in DB version. There was no source code available, the VP marketing and the IT consultant were long gone.

My solution was simple, I went to meet the only user of that system and her manager. after a short conversation it was clear that there is only one report that is used. The user ran the report, downloaded it to Excel sheet and that was the end. Once she confirmed that all the data is on the Excel sheet, I pulled the plug of that system.

What did I learn? the answer of the questions I started with is always a story.

Think people, not machines.

Noam

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In this blog, Noam Tamarkin provides ideas for improving and better integrating your applications.

Noam Tamarkin

Senior software architect and CTO. Experience in solution design and implementation. Holds the ability to understand complex business processes and translate them to technology. Expert in Enterprise applications, integration, SOA, SaaS. Experienced in project management, technical infrastructure, procurement and manufacturing.

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