It’s easier to use Excel


Our VP Services heard quite an interesting comment from some of the team members at a recent implementation of Tenrox project management software. This customer has spent several months and tens of thousands of dollars to implement the Tenrox solution for end to end billing and cost accounting. The system manages projects that are initiated from salesforce.com (opportunities that turn into projects), through to project planning, execution, billing, invoicing and accounting integration; the full project life cycle. Virtually the entire work is complete, including all integration points, live and functioning.

In what was to be a routine call on project status in preparation for the eminent go live date, the customer's project team declared that using Excel was easier and they have decided to consider reverting back to working with Excel.

I find this comment quite astonishing.

Yes, Excel is easier. Paper is even easier than Excel. As a matter of fact, just leave it to the memory of the managers to run the projects right as well as to bill accurately and on time. Lack of accountability, poor traceability (who did what when) and transparency, the potential for errors and worse fraud is also more likely with this type of thinking. One thing is for sure, there is a lot more job security in a company like this. You can make yourself indispensable with fancy manual processes and spreadsheets flying all over the place.

I hope the leaders of this company watch the news sometimes. To see how loose processes, lack of accountability/transparency can lead to total disaster … this whole financial mess we are in came from this kind of thinking. Not one person has gone to jail and yet so many innocent people have been hurt by this crisis. Everyone is losing their jobs and their homes because a few people were able to game the system, and, it seems, get away with it.

Yes Excel is easier … so is smoking, binge drinking, gambling and fraud … in the short term.

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  1. #1 by Rudolf Melik at February 12th, 2009

    They have not stopped just yet but considering it. I will share any other feedback if I get more details.
    Agreed, software and IT people have not thought of everything. As an industry, we are trying harder than ever to understand our users and make it easier for them to get their job done.

  2. #2 by Jacqueline White at February 12th, 2009

    I am NOT surprised by this decision to remain with Excel at all. It is sad this company expended so much energy only to back out at the end on their implementation though.
    I am guessing that there were probably very valid reasons for their decision to halt the implementation at the last moment. Do you know what those reasons were?
    IT and software as an industry are still not offering the flexibility needed by business. Most software packages need many more options for configuration through paramaters. IT developers and engineers continue to believe that they’ve ‘thought of everything’ when engineering software. They are wrong.

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