Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Now that I've been back in the corporate world for the better part of a year, some of my old grievances are returning to the fore.

Today's grievance: Inefficiency Masquerading as Efficiency!

How many times do I have to tell these corporate types that "Brave New World" was a cautionary tale and not a style-guide? Answer: probably quite a few more times.

My company is currently in the process of changing a system. I'm not going to bore you with the particulars of said system, but know that the system is integral to all workflows in all business units, and implementation of the transition from the old platform of this system to the new platform for the system will certainly hamper said workflows. What the fuck did I just say!?

Now while the old platform of the system certainly deserves to be scrapped, being that it is a horrid ugly byzantine inadequate piece of cobbled-together broken-down shit... when compared to the new platform, it looks like clean elegant crystal.

"But the new platform allows you to track 500,000 more parameters of every asset!"

Can I track the 8 critical parameters quickly and easily on a single screen like I used to?

"Well, no, but if you click through to 55 unintuitive sub-windows and sub-pages and sub-fields using our nonsensically inconsistent interface, then, yes, you should have no trouble tracking what you actually need to track, assuming you can find it amidst the 500,000 new things you can track, but will never ever need to."

Can I set certain fields to default to my most common settings so that I don't have to manually re-enter the same data over and over again every single time I want to do anything?

"Well, no... but you can manually re-enter it every time. Eh? Eh?"

And adopting this new "better" system is costing the company how much?

"Well, we're paying the vendor company $100,000,000 for the system, plus another $50,000,000 for the customization, plus another $10,000,000 for necessary enhancements as they become, er, necessary, er, and available. Oh, plus the cost of training you people."

Which is what?

"Only about $150,000."

Oh, that's negligible. What about the cost of the slowdown in productivity?

"There's no way to calculate that, but a loose estimate stands at about 4,000,000 man-hours, company-wide."

That seems rather high, no?

"It's actually a conservative estimate. Have you seen the new system?"

So, that number of man-hours translates to what kind of dollar figure?

"Figure a cost of about $150,000,000."

Bringing us to a grand total of...?

"Three-hundred and ten million, one-hundred fifty thousand bucks."

But the company can afford that with no problem... right? I mean, just because I'm using an 8-yr-old computer and there aren't enough video decks to go around doesn't mean we shouldn't be spending 300 million-

"310 million."

Right... spending 310 million dollars to hamper productivity with an ill-conceived system change. Of COURSE the company can afford that.

"Well, it can't really. But we're hoping that the ability to track so much more information will make some people's routine tasks easier."

How many people's tasks will become easier?

"Possibly as many as... four."

And how many people's jobs will instantly become much more difficult, cumbersome and time-consuming?


So clearly, the day we agreed to adopt the new system platform, the guy whose job it is to say "Holy shit this sucks goat balls" must've been out sick, yes?

"On vacation, actually."

Lucky bastard.

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