Monday, June 19, 2006

Slashdot | Gates' Replacement says Microsoft Must Simplify

"I am sure Microsoft did an unbiased evaluation of what mail server to run internally? Lol... yeah right.

Give me another company that uses it for 60,000 employees and you'd have a point (not saying there is no such company, I have no idea.)"

Here is my experience with a large (I think it was probably in the 60K range or better) company running Exchange/Outlook: Yes, they do it, but they don't do it well.

You have some company information stored on file servers, other information stored in Outlook folders (or maybe the proper terminology is Exchange folders). None of it is indexed in any way so that it can be found without a brute force search. Some of these folders are out of date and pretty much read-only because they don't want to hire a team of gatekeepers to ensure that it is otherwise. Other folders are more up to date by allowing just about anybody to update them, which occasionally leads to them being updated with bad info or being wiped out altogether: "Let's see, was the last backup done recently? Did any important changes happen after that? Oh well, maybe it wasn't that important. Just to be safe, I'll load a copy of everything I might ever want to use onto my company laptop and take it home, leaving it in plain view in the back seat of my car for a few weeks. Ooops, now where did that laptop get to? I wonder if it would be better to report it stolen or just forget about it. Those company inventories aren't very reliable anyway, after all, they keep the results in a public Exchange folder. HAHA!"

The inmates are running the asylum in many corporate DP shops these days, both large and small, and we have Microsoft (first among many) for providing idiotic tools for idiots to use to so efficiently mishandle important data. I don't see anything changing soon, with kids in grade-school now being required to turn their homework in as Powerpoint presentations.

The PC paradigm shift that allows us all to do things with computers at home has infected the thinking of most companies these days, simply because so many new employes of such companies got their computer education using home PCs for both personal and school work/play. They don't know any better, they don't know any different, and if you try and explain it to them you just get a blank stare, or worse, a "knowing" argument, that as long as we "encrypt some stuff" all will be OK.

I predict the inevitable collapse of much of this infrastructure. I'm not Ludite enough to avoid using computers, but I'm going to avoid being at the epicenter of it all by not using Windows and much Windows based software whenever I can avoid it. My exposure to Notes mostly second hand, observing a friend use it where he worked, was that it handles workflow issues a lot better than Exchange. If it works the way it appeared to work, then yes, it would be harder to administer, because it does more. There would be concurrency and validation issues that Exchange handles by ignoring them.

I bet what brings Microsoft to its senses more quickly than a change at the top will be a change in the way home users use their computers. Yes, today grade school kids may be submitting homework in Powerpoint on floppy disks, but tomorrow they may be using a web based tool and not know what a floppy disk is. Those web based tools will have to deal with validation, backup, encryption and a few other things in order to even be viable solutions. In the mean time, local PC oriented programs will not have changed in any fundamental way since the days of DOS.

Whether it takes a disastrous collapse of this bad infrastructure, or just a generational change, back really, to robust centralized server solutions, there will hopefully be a day when people look back at our day of data loss and corruption and laugh and ask themselves: "What WERE they thinking?"

No comments:

Post a Comment