In search of lost time

Simple math stumps a computer system.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

At the healthcare IT vendor where this pilot fish works as a supervisor for a group of Level 2 support engineers, a CRM system is used to track the time they spend resolving customer issues. That’s important, because management expects them to spend 75% of their workday doing this type of work, and if it’s not recorded properly, the group’s time reports won’t be accurate — repercussions sure to follow. In short, every minute counts.

For fish’s group, every keystroke counts, too, so they come up with a request for a simple tweak to the CRM. As it is, when you open up a new time entry record in the CRM, it provides a start time. You then fill in the end time yourself after you complete the task.

The idea is that everyone could eliminate some keystrokes if default end times were also provided. Eventually, the vendor’s internal team makes that change and rolls it out. Now, if you create a time entry record at, say, 9 a.m., the record has a start time of 9 a.m. and a default end time of 9:15 a.m. If the task takes you 15 minutes, you just leave the default time unchanged. Mission accomplished!

If only. Fish’s team soon discovers that the CRM is recording those 15 default minutes as 14 minutes, and no one can afford that lost minute, which would add up in the course of a day or a week. To ensure proper calculations, the group has to override the default end time and enter 9:15 a.m. manually. Total keystrokes saved: zero.

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