Saturday, May 10, 2008

Daptiv Hell...

I must first state that the opinions I express here are truly my opinions and are in no way the opinions of my current employer.

Right now I am experiencing Daptiv Hell. This post is essentially the result of all the the pent up frustration I have experienced while implementing Daptiv over the past 4 months.

What is Daptiv? It's a "Project Portfolio Management" system with various time-tracking and reporting capabilities. It's sold in units of individual user licenses that access the application in the typical ASP fashion.

What's really shocking is that I've been in the software application development industry for almost 30 years and never really experienced what it's like to be "stuck" with an awful application. It's an odd feeling for me in that I have always been able to make a computer system do what I wanted it to do. However this is mostly because I had the tools and the access. My situation with Daptiv is different - I feel like all my data is just beyond my reach. Furthermore, the data that is there needs some attention but the process is too tedious.

We currently have a portfolio of about 75 projects. I have not been able to get even one of these projects in a condition with which I'm satisfied. This leads me to the whole Daptiv Support relationship. Basically, the Daptiv Support personnel seem to be programmed to provide 3 basic responses to a situation:

"Here's a Workaround..."

Some of the problems you encounter have a known workaround. I believe the workaround is known because the problem is brought up so very often. For example, when you decline a timesheet, there's no place to enter a textual description of why you're declining it. So, someone completes their timesheet and submits it for approval. Sometime later it is returned by their supervisor as 'Declined'. No reason why, no highlighting of the offensive area, nothing. Just "Declined".

Not to worry! Daptiv has a "workaround"! They suggest that you edit the timesheet comment that is entered when the person initially submits the timesheet. It's a somewhat convoluted "solution" and it's not likely that the original submitter would know where to look unless you establish some sort of procedure wherein everyone understands that the reason behind a declined timesheet can be found in the original timesheet comment.

It's on the "Road Map" for this year...

This is another beauty. When problems are brought up in the various Daptiv forums, eventually a Daptiv employee will try to put you at ease with "we have plans to include this in a future release". Don't expect anything more specific. The flaw here is that there are several problems that have been discussed ever since early 2006 yet they are still on the "product road map". No one's actually lying here - Daptiv may have plans to include something in a future release but, to no one's surprise, plans can change.

Submit it as a "Feature Request" that our product team can evaluate...

This is another one that really gets me. To use the current vernacular, I wonder if Daptiv eats it's own dog food. If they did, there's no doubt in my mind that they would run into the same issues that their users run into and they could drive the "Feature Requests" with just as much insight as anyone else. Personally, I think it's another deflection tactic.

In a future post I'll be venting about the 17 some-odd support requests I've opened over the past 16 weeks.

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