Hating your Software?

I've supported internal users and developers in using SDL Tridion, a Web Content Management solution. I'd also occasionally answer questions on systems or software I was familiar with as well.

Ever have a problem, issue, or frustration with some data or process with your organization's computer system, external vendor, or other service?

I've helped end users realize the first steps start with the end-using expert themselves.

Is that problem...

  • Repeatable?
  • Involve only certain items?
  • Occurring during certain times?
  • Related to certain users?
Help Your Geek
If you can narrow the issue down to a specific item, file, format, user, or computer you have a possible workaround or at least a better understanding of where the problem is.

At any time through this process it feels like more work than it's worth, reach out to your nearest systems geek, service desk, or power user. Many are glad to help; it works best when you've made a good effort on your own and can describe the steps to reproduce the problem.

Otherwise get a screen shot and details to your IT department, your second level of help. There are additional layers of formal and informal levels of escalation. Even Twitter. :-)

Your organization invested in a solution for collaboration, WCMS, purchasing, eCommerce, or fill-in-the-blank. It's worth the time to ensure you can at least do your work.

Knowledge with some of these software packages is growing in importance in the market. Power users are needed for large scale software like SAP or SharePoint. The market is also good if you can find a leading package in the WCM, WFM (Workforce Management), or other large software with a smaller market.

In other words, there are likely companies with possibly smoother running systems paying well for your skills or familiarity with a particular package.

Vendors

Having struggling users is a good sign for software purchasers because it means the system is being used and can be improved. It means there are enough implementations out there to have some good and bad ones.

Negative buzz is even good for the software vendors because it can highlight weaknesses in the product, confirm people are using the software (I worry when I don't hear anything), and frankly increase publicity for your solution. Any feedback is valuable, though more constructive comments can help you fix issues. Congrats, if you have a "I hate you" group, perhaps you're approaching Coke vs Pepsi or Microsoft vs Linux/Unix/Mac notoriety.

And for third-party partners and consultants, visibility into issues can be an opportunity to help. A blatant response would be to attempt to sell services to a company based on its end-user complaints. A more nuanced approach could be offering information, examples, and shared knowledge to the software development community. Addressing user concerns can go a long way towards filtering good will and establishing your credibility.

Don't settle...

"Enterprise software" ranges in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Actual ERP can reach seven figures. With support costs typically running a fraction of the original license purchase, this means the annual support costs for that software might rival salaries of employees. A system never replaces everyone--it always includes processes, technology, and people.

But if a user hates a particular solution, by all means he or she should be able to make the case to management to replace the solution or improve it.

When all else is fails, the user can do it the old, possibly manual, way.

If Tridion's causing your ire and it's not a problem with your organization's setup, consider sharing a suggestion on the SDL Tridion Ideas site, where you can post and vote for ideas (open to Tridion users with an email).

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