Friday, October 15, 2010

If LIS companies sold Cars

 A. Deciding What To Buy

One fine day you realize the benefits of owning a car. It seems clear that this car will ‘revolutionize’ the way you commute. Therefore, you decide to call the the nearest car dealer. The car dealer asks for a detailed statement regarding your commuting needs and features that you wish to have in your car. Any omitted feature (eg. a steering wheel or breaks) will later come as an ‘added feature’ at ‘a nominal extra cost’. After several calls and visits from their sales team you finally get to sit down with the dealer's chief designer. By the way, a break light can be painted green and indicator lights can be magenta. It does not seem to matter, since every other car on the road was designed by its own user with the dealer's designer.
 
B. Signing On The Dotted Line
 
On the big day your contract is presented to you. Per the contract, this car will have a limited warranty and a requirement to upgrade it with a newer model every 3 years, because the manufacturer may not be willing to support your old legacy car. Also, you need to buy a license to drive “X” number of people at a time in this car. If you want to take your son’s friend (X+1) to a football game, you will have to either apply for an extra user license or make extra trips. Now that you own your car, you need to maintain a team of ‘car specialists’ to support it 24x7x365. You need to pay the dealer a ‘small orientation fee’ to train your people to manage your car. 
 
C. Driving Your New Car
 
After several mysterious updates the mechanics living in your backyard carefully assemble your car. A fight breaks out between the the dealer's mechanics (who want to go home) and your own recently hired car specialists  (who need the dealer's mechanics to show them the ropes). Finally, they hand you the keys to your car. Before the mechanics leave, however, a team of middleware managers arrive at your house and promise to fix any of your car's shortcomings, simply by adding some of their own parts. On the day that you decide to test drive your new car, you find out that you can only drive it on the roads maintained by your city’s infrastructure (IT) department. Going to another city will cost you extra at each ‘interface’ for that city en route. Before you decide to buy a GPS, you will need to first check if your car can support this ‘extra hardware’ and if it needs to be ‘custom programmed’. Without that GPS, it looks like you will never know where you are in cyberspace. 
   
D. In The End
 
You resign to the fate of owning an expensive car that is slow to drive, limited to a single city, needs a lot of maintenance and is frequently down for repairs. You seldom (if ever) travel over 10 mph, waiting for the day your city infrastructure department upgrades their dirt tracks to asphalt roads. Your budget is perpetually threatened by a nearing upgrade, or the possibility of having to buy a new car because the manufacturer went out of business. You realize that before the car, you took a reliable bus to work. Now you drive (under 10 mph) to work to make enough money to afford a car, a team of your own specialists, and some middleware guys. Perhaps this was not the ‘commuting revolution’ that you had hoped for.
 
Submitted by: Gaurav Sharma (sharmag@upmc.edu)

Comments

1. Jules Berman said...

This is one of the funniest pathology informatics articles I've ever read. Blog entries like this are a tremendous asset to the JPI.

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