"We pulled out a plum in this terrific book by the founder of a US-based design agency examining the vexed question of why business software tends to disappoint.
It’s a question that most of us have given up trying to answer. Because the wrong supplier got chosen? Because IT has no idea about business? Because business has no idea about IT? Because the wording of the RFP was bad? Because things changed partway through the selection or development process? Who knows, so we shrug and creep from project hell to the new world…of what also turns out to be project hell.
All of these attempted answers have some validity but it’s rare for a writer to come up with such a cogent, trenchant polemic as Hambrose manages here. As you might expect, Hambrose focuses on software design, suggesting that software given to users all too often fails to reflect the way they work or want to work. So it falls into disuse, is detested, or management comes up with some spurious justification for the enormous amount of money invested in it."
—Martin Veitch, CIO Magazine
From the Inside Flap
Why business software doesn't work—and how to fix it
Every year, businesses waste billions of dollars on information technology that doesn't communicate clearly with the people who use it. This fundamental flaw causes errors and delays, lowers profits, and can even endanger lives.
In this groundbreaking book, technology designer Harold Hambrose shows executives and managers how to turn underperforming digital assets into powerhouse systems—how to specify small changes that dramatically boost productivity, how to reduce training costs, and how to ask vendors the right questions.
Wrench in the System reveals:
Why so many of our essential software systems are needlessly confusing
How to make low-cost changes that provide direct, measurable benefits
The hidden costs of forcing people to adapt to clumsy electronic tools
The secrets of matching software to the needs of the company
How to leverage the power of technology for innovation
Information technology is still in its adolescence, and Hambrose explains that because the industry has grown so quickly, it's still in an awkward phase. Software manufacturers have been in such a rush to add new features that they haven't paid enough attention to the human beings who use their products. Most software systems are built to fulfill business requirements and technical specifications, but often they fail to meet expectations because they aren't designed to anticipate human needs. As a result, much of our most powerful business software is ineffective and underutilized.
With compelling case histories and an engaging narrative, Hambrose exposes popular nonsense about software systems and shows how to evaluate them and measure their performance just as we do every other product.
This timely book by an industry insider tells decision makers what they need to know to un-lock the full potential of one of their biggest business investments.