Friday, April 21, 2006

When did we stop KISSing?

Throughout our lives we are surrounded by increasingly complex technology. This is true for Mobile Phones, Software and how services are offered.

What happen to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle?

Not so long ago technology evolution was driven by need. As an industry the software development sector has created an environment where platforms change faster than the consumer (the coder) can keep up with the changes. This has left companies in a situation whereby they can no longer estimate how long it takes to produce something as the code and technology underneath the demand is constantly changing and the developers always want to be at the bleeding edge.

For example there is a company that has created a front end onto it's billing platform such that a CSR can perform their job. The complexity is reasonably low and could be written in Java Script. But this company has been ruled by the developers so we have Struts, Java web tiers, EJB's and all manner of code parts inside the user interface. This has left the company with very few subject matter experts that can actually implement and support the product. Also in a couple of months it will be old technology in it's own right.

The same situation is replicated in other objects that influence our lives, phones that are cameras, cameras that are music players, fridges with internet access. What's the point. I am a firm believer in the more basic a thing is the less things there are to go wrong. I have a phone that I make calls on, I have a camera that I take pictures with. They are designed for and fit for a purpose..... KISS.

The final note is on how companies try and sell us services. Paul Jardine has previously written about "when is free not good value". This same approach is used by way too many Mobile Operators. Send x SMS and get y minutes free when combined with z MB of download and umpteen Video Calls on your new 3G phone.

Convinced?? probably not... this is why I like the approach T-Mobile have taken with Flext. Pay x per month and get y back as a cash discount on a first come first served basis. One month I make a lot of voice calls early in the month, so I get more discounted calls. The next month I end a lot of SMS's, so I get more SMS's free. Ultimately it doesn't matter how my usage patterns change I always get $y's worth of events free.

KISS at it's best, what do I want free stuff. What is the stuff? whatever I happen to use that month.

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