DailyPost 2358

All communication in the digital world is interfaced through a software or a few of them working seamlessly for instant communication to happen. There is communication; messages, mails, alerts, notifications which happen with someone at the backend. It is sent across drafted, cleared and communicated by a human element. Given the nature of speed the present business and government requirements need, lots of communication was generated by the software and send across to the concerned based on already decided upon and coded business logic in the system. This is what is called system generated and the term is in use in a large number of scenarios today.

Of the system generated communication a large number comes without the tag line system generated. But a few come necessarily with the system generated disclaimer so to say. The system generated disclaimer is generally used to defend the human being in case of any error, or delay in communication or too many communications or not communicating the relevant information. At times it is used in case of billing discrepancy, which is outside the purview of the present discussion. There are also instances that you might requested for a service or raised a grievance; while you don’t get any communication on it but start getting flooded by advertisement type messages, notifications and mails from the same organization.

Sometime you get flabbergasted by a message of which you cannot make the head or tail of, sometimes not even with the reference of the organization. With lots of effort you find that it related to some transaction quite some time back, and system is generating it after a long gap. Might be the data was not fed or whatever. At times you don’t get a communication was promised by the organization, a necessary one which was needed to validate an already completed activity. Sometimes the system generated miscommunication / wrong and unnecessary communication becomes very difficult to sort out as there is no person at the other end and can turn out be an enormous challenge. People have been spending huge amount of time and energy to sort out and also leads to unnecessary stress.

Software is supposed to be a one stop shop, which it is not. It runs on business logic provided and business logic leading to the communication flow is not a static one. The software communication architecture needs to have the domain in entirety working for the benefit of the customer which is not the case. The siloed system can only deliver only this much, and not beyond. Unlike the time, when there were physical interactions, siloed communication was fine, but not in the digital age. If not for anything else the pace of multifarious communication can be killing. Add to that the SMSs and the call centers. How many times have you been a part of beta testing of software, which is meant for you as the end customer? Never. How many times your complaints related to the software led to any improvement? Never. The sad story is that large scale beta testing, integrating the necessary changes and in production, the need for ongoing change through feedback all seem to be a long way off in the Indian business ecosystem. Iterative software lifecycle is not in our professional DNA.

Sanjay Sahay

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