Finding a better way

donut shortsightness comic
donut shortsightness comic
donut shortsightedness comic

Life is a process of making mistakes and finding a better way to live.

In every job, I always evaluate the way work is done and offer suggestions to be more efficient. Often those are small shortcuts in ways to use the program, but sometimes I am able to change large ways of working. That is when my value really shows itself.

What often happens in companies is that the way things are done is never questioned. Part of what IT can do is challenge assumptions of how things are done. It is amazing how people try to cut corners and not pay for something and meanwhile create complex and error-prone replacements.

Take for example one company that didn’t want to buy a multi-function network copy machine. This is a copier that can fax, email, and so on. Instead, they set up a dedicated computer with a scanner and then asked people to email from that scanning computer. Meanwhile, those scanner computers are way more expensive to run per job than the network copy machine.

It is surprising the decisions that are made in companies and when you do the math it doesn’t make sense. It would have been cheaper to give everyone a scanner at their desk than to support that stand-alone computer. Stand-alone computers rarely make sense for companies. Many companies try to use them, but they have too many issues to be cost-effective and they present bottlenecks that are unnecessary.

For example, what happens when two people need to email scanned documents? They can’t. With a networked copier, you can scan and email and while those documents are being sent, the next person can scan and email and send theirs. The more money invested immediately pays off you don’t have the time-consuming process of someone manually attaching files to send to someone.

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Whenever you can cut out any manual process you should. It will easily pay for hardware costs many times over. People get stuck on the short-term initial price of something but fail to consider the long-term labor costs. I can never understand this kind of thinking.