Underused Software Syndrome

Do you have low level anxiety, a feeling you’re not getting everything you could out of your existing software? Is there a nagging guilt that it’s your fault? Does it seem if only you had more time or training you could really master that piece of software and life would be so much easier?

Welcome to Underused Software Syndrome!

I’ve searched for a term for this phenomenon and not found one so I’ve decided to coin my own. Feel free to set me straight if this anxiety already has a name.

I see this low-level fear a lot. The idea that there is something more, some magic, hiding in a piece of software. Finding this magic would result in a life of unicorns, rainbows, and tropical drinks…or so we believe. Part of the challenge is that occasionally we do stumble onto a feature that solves a significant problem or increases productivity. That reinforces the syndrome. Surely the developers added more features like the one we just found if only we had time to look harder. With Underused Software Syndrome, we think software problems are our fault. While it’s right to want to be more productive and to solve problems, it’s wrong to blame yourself.

Underused Software Syndrome manifests frequently in business software users. Users of applications like ERP systems (accounting), CRM (sales), and even Office apps like Excel are common sufferers. The software is so big and complex that user’s blame themselves for not being more efficient. This seems to be a form of impostor syndrome mixed with a little FOMO, the fear of missing out. The user feels that despite their knowledge of their job and the relevant software, they don’t know enough and they aren’t good enough. Surely everyone else is getting more out of the software.

I’m sure this feeling isn’t limited to business software. Video editing and graphic design software seem more than complex enough to generate Underused Software Syndrome feeling. I just have more experience with business software.

In some cases, there’s a financial element to the feeling of Underused Software Syndrome. The idea that software is expensive, and it’s fiscally responsible to use as many features as possible, can sometimes underly the feelings of anxiety. Much like an underused gym membership, people feel guilty if they aren’t fully utilizing it.

In other examples, anxiety may manifest itself based on unfulfilled expectations. Users believe that a software package should have a particular feature and that feature should behave a certain way. Features often manifest differently than expectations leaving users with a vague feeling they missed something.

Finally, there is the fear of missing out. For example, lots of people use Excel and lots of people use a tiny fraction of Excel’s features. Even if they know a feature is there, they have to remember the feature exists at the time they want to use it. Most people are not experts in a given software and most are not getting more out of it than you are.

People like me make this worse. For a long time, I’ve helped people get the most out of the software they own. But that was part of my job. It’s also something I really enjoy, and yet I feel Underused Software Syndrom symptoms about software I deeply understand.

I differentiate underused software from shelfware. Shelfware is software that is not being used. The organization may still be paying maintenance or fees for software they aren’t using at all. Shelfware is easier to address. Ignore the sunk costs and cancel any maintenance or monthly fees. Alternatively, revisit why the software was purchased in the first place and potentially put it to use.

Underused software is harder. The organization is getting some value from the software, maybe not enough value to match the cost, but value nonetheless. It’s hard to toss out software that is being used.

I have a couple of thoughts on options to address underused software and it’s related syndrome:

  1. Accept that value is being generated by using the software. Even if it’s only used for a small task, it is still helping accomplish the task. Accept that this software does this task and move one. Sometimes you just need to accept something and move on.
  2. Evaluate the value of that task against any ongoing costs. A small task with a big cost is not a good value proposition. In that case, it may make sense to figure out if there are additional uses or if it’s time to switch to something else.
  3. Pick one thing to improve and search for that. You’d be amazed at what’s available for any given piece of software. Maybe there’s a need to automate a process or export data, whatever. Someone else has probably already tried it and written about it. At a minimum, you’ll get an answer that something can’t be done. Even in that worst-case scenario, a quick answer makes it easier to stop obsessing and move on to the next thing.
  4. Make sure the organization has the latest version. Underused software may be neglected enough to be on an old version. Updating can reveal improvements in features and UI that help resolve anxiety.
  5. Get some help. It’s a big world. There are books, classes, training, blogs, videos, you name it, on some of the most obscure software ever made. There are resources to help. Use them.

“But I don’t have enough time” is the common refrain. There is a problem, but not a priority. People find the time for a priority. It’s okay if this isn’t a priority right now. When it becomes a priority you’ll make the time. Until then, don’t stress about it.

Fastpath Again Named To Constellation ShortList For Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) And Governance, Risk, And Compliance (GRC)

Horn tooted. Fastpath Again Named To Constellation ShortList For Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) And Governance, Risk, And Compliance (GRC)

On a personal level, it’s a lot of fun being part of a company doing lots of cool things. Keeping up some days is a challenge, but the best kind of challenge.

Summit 2018, now with more community.

We hear community preached a lot around GP, AX/D365FO, NAV/D365BC, etc., but it felt like it was really on display at Summit 2018. Each of the groups had a space uniquely it’s own making it easy for users with common interests to congregate during the day.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed at Summit, especially if you are there alone as the only representative of your company. It ’s tough to split time when there are conflicting sessions. It’s easy to be unmotivated to go out in the evenings. Even if you come with others from your organization, sometimes you don’t want to spend all day and night with them. 

That’s why it was cool to see the Orlando GPUG group hanging out together at a party. This is a group that has gotten to know each other at events throughout the year and now they know each other well enough to have some fun together. It was great that they had picked up a few stragglers along the way, but it’s a lot more fun to be part of the group. 

A number of people commented that they come to Summit to learn, but also to see their friends. I have other friends, but they don’t really understand what I do for a living so it’s fun to hang out with people who do.

Go spend some time with your local UG group this year. Get to know people in your area this year and then come to Orlando and have some fun at Summit 2019. But you have to start now so block out the next local user group on your calendar.

Updated Security and Audit Field Manual for D365FO

We are thrilled to announce that we’ve updated the Security and Audit Field Manual for Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. D365FO is changing rapidly and it was great to be able to incorporate the changes in this update. The new book is available from Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback formats.

 

Lessons from an $8 million fraud

I talk to a lot of users of ERP systems and their feeling about security cover the full range. Many are overly complacent, but occasionally I run into the excessively paranoid. Still, it’s important to understand what can happen. This story is a couple years old, but the lessons in it are perfect for medium-sized businesses.

The article, Lessons from an $8 million fraud includes accidental excessive approval rights, incomplete segregation of duties, work-arounds to “get things done”, manipulation of multicurrency, and exploiting other user’s passwords. All of this started with an accident.

I’ve said before that it’s my opinion that we tend to catch fraud at rough break points. If you don’t catch a fraud at $1,000, your next chance is at $10,000 and then $100k, and finally beyond $1 million. In this case, it started with $1,100. The company had a perfect chance to catch this at around $80k and missed it.

There are a lot of little lessons in here and it’s definitely worth the read.

 

Why Apathy Around Security is More Expensive than Compliance

Companies need to manage system security, maintain segregation of duties, and perform appropriate security reviews, all in a risk-based framework.

My new article is up at MS Dynamics World. Be sure to check out Why Apathy Around Security is More Expensive than Compliance.

Meeting dos and don’ts – I’m sorry, I was on mute. Podcast 3

Today we’ll be talking about Conference Calls and meetings. Listen in as we talk about do’s and don’ts for attending and managing calls and meetings. Don’t be surprised if we get off to…

Our newest podcast episode is up, and hey we made it to episode 3! Be sure to check out Meeting dos and don’ts – I’m sorry, I was on mute. Podcast 3 available now on iTunes, PodOmatic, Stitcher, and now Google Play. Yes, the “Big G” folks finally recognized our genius. Way to be late to the party Google. They are just jealous that GP doesn’t stand for Google Play.

Don’t worry Millenials, Spotify is in the works. They require 2 or 3 episodes before they’ll include a podcast in their service. Belinda will be her usual self and pleasantly badger them into submission. That southern drawl/New York attitude is a winning combination for getting things done. It’s sunshine and flowers until you see she’s holding a lead pipe behind her back.

If all of that is too mainstream for you, let me know and I’ll make a scratchy cassette recording and tape it under a bench in a dark alley so you can feel edgy. Actually, I’ll make Shawn tape it under a bench in a dark alley. Who puts a bench in a dark alley anyway? But I digress…

In episode 3 we take on conference calls, web meetings, IRL meetings (that’s In Real Life for the boomers out there) and every kind of meeting annoyance we can think of. My favorite is still “Sorry, I didn’t hear the question, I was on mute.” Wait, what? More and more meetings are virtual so they get a lot of attention from us.

We’ve gotten good feedback from our first two episodes and we’re figuring things out. Essentially we want this podcast to be if we were out to dinner together and this topic came up, this is what it would sound like. We’ve got a lot more topics to cover, some more serious than others. Let’s face it we started with GDPR, we were going to have to lighten up at some point!

This one is lighter, but still full of great information. We all fall into bad habits and need a reminder occasionally of the right things to do. With that in mind, drive fast and make poor choices.

MBAS Clarified by David Gersten – Bond Consulting Services

When I first saw the name MBS Podcast I became excited that there was a podcast for the traditional Microsoft […]

David Gersten had some thoughts on our podcast, Presenting Convergence…Yeah, you’ll understand after you listen. We encouraged him to blog those thoughts so everyone could share.

Make sure to check out David’s comments at: MBAS Clarified by David Gersten – Bond Consulting Services

Also, we may be splitting hairs, but in this episode, we talk about the upcoming Microsoft Business Applications Summit (among other things) as a replacement for Microsoft’s now defunct Convergence conference. David doesn’t think it’s a replacement for Convergence and he explains why. Here’s the hairsplitting, MICROSOFT had been DESCRIBING it as a combination of Tech Conference, Convergence, and their analytics conference.  MS has backed off of that language for now, but we’re coming at this from two different angles, what Microsoft wants it to be and what it will actually become.

 

 

Weeeee’rrrreeee Baaaack! Podcast 2: Presenting Convergence

You didn’t think we would go away that easily did you? Oh, no, we’re like a fungus. We just keep coming back. Belinda, Shawn, and I return for podcast 2, Presenting Convergence…Yeah, you’ll understand after you listen.

In episode dos, (that’s “dos” as in Spanish for 2, not DOS as in MSDOS, I know my audience) we take a look at the new Microsoft Business Application Summit coming in the summer. Billed as the “convergence of events such as the Data Insights Summit, Convergence, and Dynamics 365 Technical Conference “, it’s literally the convergence of Convergence. Yikes.

As usual, anytime we wax nostalgic …er… talk Convergence (the now defunct/resurrected conference, big C), we end up talking about presenting. That normally leads to odd insights about our personalities. For example, I can’t watch videos of me presenting, and Shawn locks his family in a room and makes them watch his presentations, stuff like that. It get’s a little weird.

As usual, Belinda is her charming self, though I’m confident she edits out brilliant insights by Shawn and me, just because she can. I don’t actually know this for sure because of course…I can’t listen to myself either. She did however manage to trick the folks at Stitcher into carrying this podcast, so I’ll forgive her for anything I made up about her.

As usual, the latest show is available in the right sidebar as well. We’re up on iTunes, Stitcher, and Podomatic. The folks at Google still refuse to recognize our genius. I think it’s just the petty jealousy common in Silicon Valley, so we’ll rise above it…for now.