The EUC Failure

Unnecessarily complicated login processes demonstrate how far there still is to go.

I've been thinking a lot about end-user computing (EUC) these days, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, we feature a Q&A in this issue with Sumit Dhawan, the Big Cheese when it comes to VMware's EUC efforts. As you'll see, VMware is all over this field, in multiple ways.

The other reason is my wife. She's an OB-GYN who's been in the industry for 28 years now. She does lots of high-risk work with indigent populations, and loves what she does.

Or at least she used to. She is now firmly of the opinion that computers are ruining medicine. And that is a direct condemnation of EUC, because that's where her frustrations lie. Her hospital uses one of the most popular medical programs in the world. I won't name names, but if you work in the medical field, it's quite likely you've used it in the past or use it now (and just for the record, it's not a VMware product). It's connected with several other systems, and adds up to a nightmare.

Her frustrations start with logging on at the start of each shift. She has to go through eight different screens to complete the procedure. That number is not a misprint. She was so upset by it that she actually wrote them down and showed them to me. For any end user who's not an international spy, that's simply unacceptable.

But the number of screens she has to go through to do a simple history and physical on a patient makes the logon seem like child's play. Then there are the upgrades; every time the system has one, important things change and she has to re-learn key functions that have either disappeared or moved to new areas of the maze. She's convinced there's a Minotaur at the end somewhere.

In all, my wife estimates she spends four times as much time on the computer as she spends on patient care. And a lot of that is due to poorly thought out EUC on the part of the software vendor. She wants to help women have babies; instead, the bulk of her time is spent scrolling through computer screens, filling out forms and charts.

EUC vendors, you can do better. You have to do better.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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