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A New Client Showed Me An Old Trick

A new client showed me an old trick!

A few weeks ago I was reminded about how consultants (myself included) sometimes think we know everything about a certain field. I mean, that is why clients pay consultants an hourly or project fee right? A fee for our invaluable knowledge. This is a quick story and important lesson a new client once taught me.

I was busy incorporating a new powerful ERP system called ABM into our business’s software portfolio and as I was studying all the features and functionality, I stumbled upon a setting to change the border colour/background. The options included pink, orange, red and white etc. These colours are not particularly attractive application background colours, especially since the default blue colour seems so Windows like. While looking at this I clearly remember saying to myself…”This is a bit silly, why would anyone ever change to a bright red, green or even pink, who would ever use this!”

That is, until a few weeks later when I implemented ABM for a new client. I was replacing the clients ERP and POS system, and he asked about how he can distinguish in ABM between two businesses he runs especially when doing a quick POS transaction. He mentioned that his old POS system had different colours to show him in which business he was working.

I will admit, I completely forgot about the “illogical” colour setting, and I told him to look for a small company name in the top left corner. Yes small. Later on during the implementation, while going through some of the settings, I got to this setting. The client asked, “Can that not worked for distinguishing between companies?”. Umm…with a mouth full of teeth I said: “Let’s see”.

Plunk! That is it. That is why they put it in! I looked like a fool for not knowing the answer straight away, but yes, after testing! Eureka! It worked. The client was very happy because now he can simply click on the Blue or Red Screen and know which company he is using.

The moral of the story is this: Even though you (and I) may think we know everything, someone old, even outdated, especially wrt technology can still teach us something very practical and utterly useful, we just need to learn how to eat humble pie and listen.

Cheers to the other 5% of buttons, check boxes, features and setting we still have to fully figure out.
Have a great day.
Hanno Winterbach.

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