Wow, where to start. This is a post that has been on my mind for some months. It’s taken a change of tech that I am using to crystallise some thoughts about how to lay this problem out.

I have always used a PC, from back pre windows to 3.11, 95 and on through the numbers. It’s been part of my life for thirty years. There have been some bumps along the way, but I can’t ever say I have been ‘unhappy’ – just not fulfilled.

I can’t ever say I have been ‘unhappy’ – just not fulfilled

Less faithful behaviour is true amongst mobile phones or more recently smartphones, I have had big periods between the three or four main players – well they were at the time. Nokia’s Symbian system was the first really good platform, along came and went BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, iPhone, Windows, Android – you get the picture.

…..spending extra minutes or hours on tasks that should take twenty seconds.

For the last few months, I have been using a Chromebook. Amazing value at under £200 – a 13 hour (real) battery life, super portable and with Internet access almost everywhere – a great piece of kit. The trouble with it is that it fell short in some areas, no REAL word support meant converting docs or when using the online version missing out on some of key, yet more obscure features that are only found in the full versions. I was always spending extra minutes or hours on tasks that should take twenty seconds.

Macs were “too expensive” and I’ve never used them, I am writing this on one now, it’s not THAT bad, but gives me some much loved and missed functionality not present on the Chromebook.

This is not them versus us or mine is better than your tech post, but setting the scene.

To be blunt, I don’t like it. It makes or seems to make my life more difficult,

I am currently in possession of an iPhone for the first time in three years, I say currently as it’s about to go swim with the fishes in a canal sometime soon. To be blunt, I don’t like it. It makes or seems to make my life more difficult, less of a digital assistant and more of a ball and chain.

It’s fun using iMessage and Facetime, it’s pretty good whilst travelling or messaging Internationally . . . . if THEY have an iPhone / Apple product and it has some really good features, for me and perhaps more for other people.

To be clear, Android – has its issues, not so much as an OS but due to the different iterations that exist. So this feature is not on this device but is on that one. That manufacturer has released Version 7, this one has not.

I am ignoring Blackberry and windows as mobile OS ecosystems, as both appear to be an end of life or the equivalent of a distant relative in a care home, out there, but not really visited by many, harsh, but true.

So what do I do? Do I try and continue to find peace and being at one with my little black friend, to make it work, to ignore the things I hate, to carry on missing notifications, to being bounced chrome to safari to goodness knows what.

It took me five minutes to set up my iPhone and an hour for apps to be sync from Android and to go back it will take the same.

We cannot say the same of our ticketing infrastructures, can we? Back in the day some vendors offered monthly contracts, with their sales patter saying “if you don’t like us you can move away” – I always shot this down and perhaps even annual contracts the same – “You don’t change systems that easily – this is not a mobile phone”

So what should make people change or think about changing? End of a fixed term contract? Opening a new facility or as is common this time of year, a boost in revenue from the Panto and the pain that running a show report for 78 performances did to you and your system.

I don’t think these should be at the forefront of decision making. It should be about pain. Pain in the current. The pain of the procurement and implementation and the pain relief of the new system…………but let’s also remember there will be the pain with the new too. I have never seen a project where someone, somewhere in the org did not miss something from the previous system (or the one that pre-dated that.

You need to look at these pain items and work out, how much pain will I be solving? How bad and frequent is the pain, to whom and what is the effect?

Auto-submission of Gift Aid to HMRC is a classic example of this. Once a month, a download in Excel, a small format here or there and then log on and upload the file. How long does it take? How much time will be saved? What value of recouped revenue will you get in excess than with the manual process?

A project last year heard a finance director say of that specific feature “It would be nice, but not a trigger to choose one particular system” – perfect, she got it. However, find 10, 15 or 30 such examples of efficiency and reduction in costs, through multiple suppliers, hosting and automation and you may have something.

We have to make hard choices. This platform may be “Cheap” – we may “make do” but are things EVER going to get better, are they ever going to fix {Insert Bug Here} or integrate with {Really good tool here}.

Spending this week in Benelux countries, I have met some great companies doing cutting edge solution building around ticketing platforms, marketing automation, dynamic differential customer flows or …… just really well written, reliable software at a great price.

If you do one thing this January, sit back and reflect on the pain, look to the future and ask yourself, is this the year I am going to help my business step up and be smart, efficient and forward thinking.

 

 

 

We will be talking about many of these issues around technology strategy at the Ticketing Professionals Conference on the 16th and 17th March in Birmingham. TTI Subscribers can get a 10% discount by using the promo code ‘TTI’ at checkout.

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