The Great Enterprise Software Swindle

After nearly four years working for a Fortune 50 company, I am now completely convinced that the term "Enterprise", as applied to software, is synonymous with "crappy".

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

Good comment, Jeff! :slight_smile:

Many years ago I did work on programmable logic for a system I was working on. At that time, I formulated a rule of software: The more it costs, the less it works. We paid $5000 for a piece of software which allowed one to program and simulate these devices. What the app does is NOT simple, but the bug count was astounding.

I think the more it costs, the less users you have, and somehow that turns into ‘spend less on QA’. Sad really.

Agreed! In addition to being a programmer, I have been an adminsitrator for both Oracle Financials and Peoplesoft. I can tell you that both of these products are absolutely horrible. There’s no excuse for it, but the big corporations just keep buying the junk lilke it’s candy…

Of course, both of those products are implemented in Java, but that’s another story (or is it?)…

Well, when you have an extremely complex multi-server distributed application being written b y a friend of the boss who once read “Learn Vistula* Basic 4 in 21 Days”, you have to expect certain sacrifices…

*(No, that’s not a typo; the title refers to a knock-off product from a company in the CIS that closed it’s doors in 1999.)

I used to work for a software company exactly like this. They sell ‘enterprise’ systems for the insurance market. The software is terrible, and riddled with bugs, but they continue to sell it to this day and make an enormous amount of money from bug-fixing. They have no formal design process, do no RD and have no formal development process. (The application is written in VB6 and is comprised of 1500+ (count 'em) COM components shiver)
Hence, out of a company with 50+ developers, at any one time at least half of them are bug fixing.

It catches them out of course - out of the 6/7 customer implementations I worked on while I was there, every single one of them was late, over budget, and about to result in litigation. The final project I was on was a 3m+ implementation for an insurance company in the Southern Hemisphere - it was 3 years behind schedule and milions of pounds over budget. Eventually the customer canned the project and wrote off the cost, deciding to extend the lifetime of their current inadequate system instead.

But then, the company still turns over 20m+ and the directors live in big house and drive Porsches and Aston Martins to work. It’s then I think to myself ‘who is the mug here?’

I currently support an Enterprise product for small/medium sized manufacturers that is poorly written, supported, documented, etc. In the relatively small pond of people who administer this program I am in all modesty in the top 1% of them.

However, the program is so poor that I am reluctant to mention any association with the product. I was speaking to a colleague the other day and likened my job to someone who works at a sewage treatment plant. Both are fairly well paid, have a great deal of job security, but your entire job consists of working with crap.

Although this comes far after the original post, my basic definition of Enterprise is massively overpriced, sold to ‘decisionmakers’ who have no clue what they’re buying, and imposed on tech team.