Feedback worth listening to

On January 30, 2006, in Rants, by

I was reading a post on the coding horror blog and the post about “good bugs versus bad bugs” reminded me of a company that seemingly takes feedback and does nothing with it.  No, I’m not talking about Microsoft here…but rather one of my LOB apps CCH. 

They do something in their tax program that just is inconceivable to me.  You see there are times that we need to fill in a form called a “Power of Attorney” where we can talk to the IRS (taxing agency) directly.  And there are specific identification numbers that we use.  Unique to each partner in the firm.  So when we migrated from Lacerte to CCH you can imagine our surprise that the “supposedly” less robust Lacerte, who all along has this master firm database ability to quickly and easily pop in a partner listing of unique info that was global to the program has been able to do this all along, but when we got to the CCH program, it cannot do this. 

It’s a database program mind you…. in reality…and a basic database function….the ability for the program to remember unique data for each partner without having to individually place it in each taxpayer… it’s now a “feature request” that we’ve put in for three years.

Now I cannot imagine that larger firms don’t see this as a feature request.  I cannot imagine that larger firms don’t have umpteen times in a day that they need to fill out a power of attorney form.  And the fact that this process is so manual, and that I have to keep a document separately to keep track of this information absolutely boggles my mind.

Why does it take a number of customers to wake up to a fact that they are missing out on something only because they haven’t compared the features of a competing vendor to realize that neither vendor seemingly designing the software in a manner that optimizes what is the basic function of the program.  A database… a gathering of data.  Not a word document that has to be opened each time to enter in a data, database.  But an all encompassing program that keeps track of everything that the user of the program might need to do their job?

There are times I really wonder if any of the app developers are listening to the right people. 

Are they listening too much to the bleeding edgers?  Are they listening too much to the folks that have been using the same tax software since 1913 and they haven’t changes their technology ways one iota?  (Okay so I’m exaggerating, but I kid you not, people do not change and migrate to new ways of techology well at all).  But truly, are they listening to the users of this software?  Sometimes I wonder.

My guess is that many of you reading this blog are not “users” of SBS but Var/Vaps.  And you are not the “users” of the software.  Oh sure you use the admin consoles and what not, and you still have to from various third party apps like Level Platforms or MOM and what not cobble together the “Var/Vap” console that you’d love to have (and that I swear I was at a AICPA Technology conference a few years ago and Bcentral was supposed to do something similar in the accounting space, but I digress) but in reality, you aren’t the users of SBS.  

There are times that I don’t think the vendors out there listen to you guys the “Admins” of SBS.  But the problem is and will always be the marketplace of SBS.  We’re cheap down here, let’s face it.


One Response to Feedback worth listening to

  1. Tony says:

    I think the reason people don’t like upgrading, is because of the issue you raise…there always seems to be some kind of Gottcha:

    “Oh, I know you used to hit this one button for this report, but now all you have to do is go to this menu, hit this drop down, enter your date range, input your mothers shoe size, turn three times to the East and then hit display report. Then to print….”

    If you add the learning curve to actually takeing a step backward, then the reason is clear. And people remember that kind of stuff for years and years. It becomes the stuff of legends at the water cooler.