Simplification Made Simple


by Samuel Greengard

I've used a built-in automobile navigation system for the last five years and I still can't figure out the right voice commands to do what I want to do. Microsoft Word offers industrial strength word processing but sometimes I can't figure out an easy way to format a document the way I desire.

And I'm not exactly a technophobe.

There's an important lesson here for business and IT executives: Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

Sometimes it's hard to believe that software engineers, developers and IT architects actually test the products, services and systems they create, so lacking are they in basic features and ease of use. Why doesn't Microsoft Word work more like a Web browser and allow you to keep multiple documents open in multiple tabs within the same screen? Instead, I have to maximize and minimize each document individually. What a pain!

And why can't I highlight text within a Web browser and autocopy the text? I know there are extensions that do this but, c'mon, why else would I select text in a browser in the first place?

I could go on and on.

The same types of problems permeate IT. Colleagues and friends constantly complain about missing features, poorly designed interfaces, systems that require workarounds and assorted other hassles and headaches. You can't make all the people happy all the time, but a lot of problems could be addressed with focus groups and suggestion forms. Mix in good governance and IT management tools and simplification actually makes life simpler.

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