Once again a client has rejected the idea of automating data collection in Excel by using a “Submit” button on the file and some VBA code to push the data into a Database in a single point on the corporate network, in favour of emailing the files around becuase “I understand how that works”. Then I get the email saying “Now that I’m getting files back I’m having trouble copying and pasting them into the target program I need the data in (??) Can you help me with that?” (??)
Also in the past week another client (who uses an automated app I wrote 3 years ago every day without fail) also asked for just a template so they can “Copy and Paste” the data manually from emailed spreadsheets as well – while I had suggested this be locked down and automated as well.
This is the 5th time this has happened to me in the last year. That’s 5 apps that could have been slick, cost-effective, efficient and productive for the clients are instead relying on manual operaton, mean more work for them and are massively exposed to error and failure at critical times. All that could have been made simple and efficient by implementing just a little bit of automation and a little bit of network discipline.
But as Simon Murphy recently alluded to on his Blog(http://smurfonspreadsheets.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/oh-the-irony/), it looks like the demand for our sevices MIGHT be going up, so we’d better think about putting our feet down and insisting that clients use the technology the way it should be used as we have learned through our experience and expertise.
I know I am going to start refusing to do “half-assed” solutions just because I need the business or because I covet a potentially big new client. I know the customer’s always right, but do plumbers and electricians let the customer tell them how to do their job? I hope not. So we shouldn’t either.