If you’re yet to hear enough on the dangers of manual workarounds, then a recent concern from our country’s civil servants may help paint a clearer picture.
What the civil servants feared most was relying on manual workarounds for their IT; manual, fix-it-quick personal solutions to IT problems, few of which are ever advisable. Manual Workarounds might prove efficient from a user’s point of view, circumventing an underlying issue with a cheap and cheerful solution, but even in the rare instance that these do save time, they’re rarely as accurate or efficient as they seem.
As anyone who’s ever been forced to rely on them knows, manual workarounds are merely a short-term fix which creates a long-term problem; slowing users down at the start of a sequence and giving lesser results at the end.
Let’s imagine a system automates a process – data is processed by one piece of software, confirmed by a second via a digital signature, and finally enters a database as completed data.
If one of these stages stops responding, and you rely on a manual workaround, you’re filling a database with potentially incompatible or unconfirmed data. Either that, or your output is going somewhere else entirely, waiting for the moment the database starts working again.
There’s also that old chestnut of human error. Not everyone’s workaround is likely to be the same, which is going to alter the accuracy or consistency of your output significantly. Without the rules that govern your data flow, your system may just become a lot more anarchic.
What you’re potentially left with is a mass of still-incomplete, woefully-inconsistent and potentially-inaccurate data, all of which will need re-entering properly. Your workaround hasn’t only wasted time, it’s stockpiled all those wasted hours, and potentially left them to grow into something more laborious.
When it comes to your IT, you needn’t live in fear of every possible breakdown; but it pays to keep your eye on your processes, keenly assessing their long-term effects. If you allow manual workarounds to creep into your strategy, processes and workflows, or foresee them being used by a large number of employees, calculating the effects on your productivity can see you win back those hours and jump-start your productivity.
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