Today, in Scoble’s post, “Missed big HR meeting“, he closes with “Now, let’s get back to work figuring out how to make our customers lives better.”
Well here is some advice for Bob and the gang over at Microsoft from a customer, “Fix what you got before you go trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” and “Eat your own dog food.” There has been one constant theme out of Microsoft Business Solutions since they purchased Great Plains. And that is, “Make everything look like Outlook, don’t worry about broken or half implemented features.”
Here is a hard example. Notes for customers, products, sales orders, you name it, are stored in a single table as a 32K text chunk. There is no revisioning of the notes and if one user accidentally deletes a note by clicking on the wrong poorly named action button the note is gone. Poof it never existed. This has to be one of the most rinky dink set ups I’ve ever seen. Apparently this feature was implemented by a high school intern and since no one in Microsoft Business solutions uses the notes — it’s never been fixed. This architecture bug is so bad and can be so costly, I’ve had to write a specialized “diff” utility to track and keep a revision history for notes. Nothing like blowing a 10K deal because some fscked up and missed an important note that had been inadvertently deleted.
This is just one of many architectural blunders that MS never seems to get around to correcting — I guess if you make it look pretty enough people won’t care that their headed twoards the poor house.
Come on folks, this is an accounting application. An ACCOUNTING APPLICATION not an image editor or a roll-up cube. Boring and reliable is what brings the boat back to port. Fix the issues, then worry about making it look like something it isn’t. I can’t believe that sysadmins at MS don’t lie in wait for these geniuses to go strolling down a dark hall alone.