Saturday, 6 December 2014

Clever Trevor

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK
or LinkedIn here

ICT types can in general follow that trait, that they are 'attracted to the shiny'. Although pretty techie really, I try hard to play that down and work with my clients to tackle their problems first, and then choose to use the tech later. I like the shiny, but tend to come back down to earth pretty soon.

I remember back in my former life dealing with housing management system developers. In some ways it was like managing a large housing group ICT team and several different types of qualities were essential. You need steady staff and some that really can think out of the box. I have also worked with people I would term visionaries. These are great ideas people, but can be very poor planners or finishers.

The struggle with what technology, components, development or other tools to use, is a continuous one. With operating systems, supported tools and environments changing faster than ever, it's tricky to keep on a path of righteousness in keeping our applications relevant to the processes we wish to support.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago, when sitting through a system supplier demonstrating their contractor portal. You know the concept I am sure. A webpage that smaller, local responsive repair contractors could use to receive works orders, vary and complete them in a simple environment. Everyone should really have such a thing, if the volume supports it.

My client, who I won't name (, nor the supplier 8-) really needs to purchase and implement a contractor portal. The horses were led to water and the demo started. The portal demonstrated was indeed sexy, it was obviously not pure HTML and the sales staff were open in admitting that some components needed to be initially downloaded, for it to function.

An innocent question was asked. "Could our contractors, if they had mobile coverage, use a Smartphone to access works orders and vary/complete them on that. It might be a great benefit that might help us sell that to them. The components needed to be downloaded were Silverlight ones. You can perhaps guess what was asked next.

"Your Silverlight components, which Smartphones and browsers will work with those?". As we clocked through iPads, WinPhone8, Androids, WinPhone6.5 etc, it had to be admitted that we had limited options, even at present with Microsoft/Nokia mobile offerings.

A hush went over the room. A possible spin off benefit, was turning into a reason why this was not the portal for us. Oh dear! Had anyone considered retaining an older, more simple portal, or making it intelligent enough to detect a lack of Silverlight and operate in a more narrowband type manner? Well sadly not. The Silverlining is that my client will be going ahead with the portal regardless (yay - thank goodness).

So, the moral here for me is to keep some of those Clever Trevor's under control. They can be enormously useful, but question all the outcomes and try to think out of the box. Although something could be designed for one purpose, it may be used for a very different one, out in the field!

Related Post: Do you like the best of both worlds when you think KPIs?


You can link with me on LinkedIn here - It would be great to connect !

Ian Dury & the Blockheads - Clever TrevorIan Dury Blockheads - Clever Trevor.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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