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Andrew Newnham

Andrew Newnham

By Andrew Newnham (Fruition Data)

When a piece of software insists that it must be used in a certain way, which contradicts your business practises, a workaround is often used as a quick fix to trick the software into thinking that it is still being used properly.

For example a piece of software may insist postal or zip codes must be 5 numbers long, yet here in Australia we only use 4 number post codes. So a workaround in this situation may involve entering an extra zero at the start or end of the post code. For example Sydney NSW (post code 2000) may become 02000 or 20000.

So considering a workaround is very quick and easy to implement, why shouldn’t they be used? Furthermore as workaround are most often required when doing business administration work, this is not necessarily time you can bill to a customer.

Time Factor
Assuming you charge $100 an hour, and let’s say you need to use a workaround on average once per hour and it takes 1 minute to use the workaround. Well over the course of 3 years (the average amount of time between system upgrades), that comes to $10,400 in wasted time. That’s simply time spent working around a small problem, for example entering appointments into your calendar and your appointments database.

Training
You need to ensure that everyone in your organisation is using the same workarounds otherwise each employee may be using a different workaround for the same problem. For example, one person may be entering in “N/A” into a field, whilst someone else is entering in “Other”, whilst someone else may be entering in the code “0”. Whilst you may understand what they mean, your reporting systems probably don’t.

Reporting
Using the post code example above, in Australia there are legitimate post codes which start with 0 and end with 0. Thus if one person is entering in the code 02000 with a fake zero in it are they talking about the post code for the ANU ACT which is 0200 or are they talking about Sydney NSW which is 2000? So using this example if you need to run a report based on sales by post code, and you’ve being using an extra zero to make 5 digit zip codes, unless you are positive that everyone has been using the same workaround for converting 4 digit post codes to 5 digit zip codes, you may find your getting some sales in some very strange or non-existent places.

How to solve the problem?

Contact a software solutions company. We can find out of there are options which can fix the problems with your current software, or we can recommend a new software solution which doesn’t require use of any workarounds to be used.

So if you would like to know more about databases, data storage, and software in general, feel free to give Fruition Data a call on (02) 6100 3780.

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