March 16, 2007

The end of an era?

We've been using this one particular electronic document management system for going on three years now. It sounded like the perfect tool - manages CAD and Office files, provides for version and revision control, has a very customizable workflow to manage various processes, etc etc - but there's only one problem.

It's never really worked, not the way it was supposed to. Some problems have been small ones, easily fixed, while others have been rather hugely mountainous; yet we keep chugging along, applying upgrades, and blowing time better spent on actual productive work on trying to fix whatever the Problem Du Semaine is. I think we were handed the last straw today; my staff gave an almost unanimous vote of no confidence in this package. Next week I'll be investigating how to manage certain processes automated by this program and moving all our files back to a basic flat file system.

I'm really torn. I think the potential here is awesome, and after all the sweat and tears I've put into it over these last few years it's hard to think about walking away. On the other hand, my users are not able to get their work done. We've just lost - just this week - 3 days total worth of 4 FTE's time. That's effectively 12 days of work lost. We seem to have approached - nay, smacked full into - the "it's just not worth it anymore" wall.

I'll be spending some significant time Monday on the phone with my dedicated technical support person, but unless something astonishing and amazing happens in the next week, I think much as it pains me we're going to be walking away from this product. Even though I can't find (yet) anything else that does what it does, we'd be better served with a networked flat file system than by this mess.

What a rotten end to a rotten week. TGIF, baby. And it's only 94°!

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