Complex technology that does not serve mankind

control panel by Elsie esq.

When IT Fails
[Via I, Cringely]

A friend of mine has been in an epic struggle with his mortgage processor and his experience tells us a lot about the state of IT. It started in October of last year when my friend met with his loan processor (Bank of America) to inquire about a loan modification. The loan is actually owned by Freddie Mac. He turned-in all the required paperwork and followed up with an income statement when requested two weeks later. The meeting took many hours mainly because all of the original documents were imaged and put into his electronic file. In late December he was told that his modification was completed, given a new mortgage payment and told to wait on the paperwork.

Nothing happened.

Fast forward to September and guess what? He has had to restart the process three times now. Exactly why the process broke no one can determine. So three times he sent in his tax returns, bank information, income information and forms totaling over 100 pages only to have them disappear, again and again. Each time the process was a little different but the end result was the same — nothing. Process improvement at work yet no change in outcome.

[More]

PAYPAL IS THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD
[Via Balloon Juice]

I just want to say that PAYPAL IS THE WORST COMPANY IN THE WORLD, AND I WILL KEEP SAYING THAT UNTIL THIS REGISTERS ON GOOGLE AND THEY CONTACT ME.

Some backstory:

I’ve had this paypal account for ten years. I also had a debit card associated with it. I lost my wallet in July, and being the responsible party that I am, I contacted everyone to let them know this. My bank and other accounts had no problem with this, but not fucking paypal. Upon trying to get a new card, I learned my account had been limited. Why? Who fucking knows? So now, for the past two and a half months, I have been trying to verify I am who I am. This just makes me full of joy:

I’m verified, but limited!

I’ve spent the last two months trying to verify that I am the person they did business with for ten years, each time to be told that “Yes, you have provided the information we asked for, but we can not verify who you are.”

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Both of these describe similar problems – the systems are now so complex that no one can fix some of them, even if they wanted to. Here we have companies performing disservice for their customers. The companies continue to attempt to fix the problem but have no real understanding of why it is broken or how to fix it. Months go by with no resolution, with lost revenue and lost time.

The corporations really have no solution to this problem. They can not fix it because they do not seem to have any real handle on what is actually happening with the IT.

They really are like the people of the South Pacific and cargo cults. ‘If they just push the right buttons on their terminals, then the technology would work’. All while having no understanding of the principles underlying the technology.

The organizations have no fundamental comprehension of the concepts behind their IT. So, if they keep entering data, in just the right way, the system will somehow work. Even as the data keeps disappearing.

Their only worthwhile recommendation is to start up a new account or start the process over again. Like a country of auto drivers but with no mechanics, the only real solution to bad battery is to tell you to buy a new car.

Would a wooden computer with blinking lights be almost as useful?

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