More on the Charity Finance Directors' Group's IT Conference:
Michael Jackson from Sage gave the opening speech on lessons that charities can learn from the commercial world. He spoke for 15 minutes when he had a 45 minute slot...
Ian Smith from Oracle UK had more to say, particularly on "Embedding CSR (Corporate Social Responsiblity)" - their involvement in Childline for example.
The thing that stuck in my mind from the presentation was the comment "People should fit their process around the software". The reason he gave was that if you have people using standard software then upgrades are cheap, because you don't have to upgrade all the little customisations that have been built in. I think he's talking about big off-the-shelf-and-customised packages.
This does go against my programmer's brain as the user is (almost) always right, but I can see how it applies to big systems. I don't know much about the new NHS central booking system, apart from the fact that it's late, but as I said before, sometimes there are cases for not fitting in with the way that thousands of GP surgeries do their business.
On the other hand, I could go into a surgery and be told "we can't do that because the system won't let us" and get annoyed with that. I really feel tension with this point.
Maybe it comes down to cost. If you can pursuade people that its better to fit the software because it's cheaper in the long run, and you want to keep your job don't you, then they may accept it. Healthcare is pretty much free in the UK, and I would guess that GPs aren't paying for the new system, so they don't see the cost benefit in standard processes.