27 April 2009

New, now, next!

There's been quite a bit of buzz lately about the next operating system to come out of Microsoft, namely Windows 7. Seems the recent reviews are proclaiming Windows 7 to be Microsoft's best release yet. That's great news. Glad the pundits approve of Microsoft's work. But before we all go running out to purchase the latest and greatest, perhaps we should consider a few things. Care to think this through?

For those of us with a server in our Practice, did you know Microsoft released Windows 2008 Server back in, yes, 2008? Are you also aware that the vast majority of Practice Management software, including the cutting-edge Dentrix G4, is still not certified for Windows 2008 Server? What does "certified" mean, you ask? Well, it means if you call technical support with a problem and tell them you're running their product on Windows 2008 Server, they'll likely end the conversation right there. It means they have no obligation to support you.

But surely workstation operating systems are "certified" much quicker than server's, right? Well... considering the fact that it's fairly easy to run into limitations of digital imaging products when using Windows Vista, I'd give that a lukewarm maybe. Also considering that Windows 7 builds upon Vista, that splash of water I just threw on your parade is getting a little colder. And finally, the chances that technical support will help you install their product on your new Windows 7 system? (That last one was actually a joke.)

So the moral of the story? New technology is great. Advances are made every day that promise to better our lives in and out of the office. But please, please, don't go rushing out to buy the latest gadget, gizmo, or operating system (in this case) without first considering your current environment. And if you're not sure, just ask.

04 April 2009

Amazingly bad advice.. But hey, it's cheap!

"The assistant's brother takes care of the computers, and when he's not available we call another computer guy." Meanwhile, I'm looking at a rather successful dental practice. Are they feeling the sting of the current economy? I'm sure. As is everyone. But that's no excuse for past decisions, made long ago, because they were easy, and yes, cheap.

This particular experience likely wouldn't result in a drawn-out lesson if it weren't for the awful state of their systems. Perhaps the Doctor realized how poorly the environment was put together, because what brought me through the door was a dire request to setup offsite backups through our online service. No trust in the stability of your systems? I can certainly see why. When I walked in, one of the three front office systems wouldn't even start. And "support" would be getting back to them at some point. Not quite sure when.

My question: Why would anyone entrust their business, one that relies heavily on technology to function, to someone that happens to know a thing or two about computers and is cheap? I understand some people have a problem spending money on infrastructure and supporting said systems. But when you lean on the infrastructure in order to provide your services, why accept the cheapest possible option? There's a reason a common phrase even exists, "you get what you pay for."

I honestly just feel bad for the Doctor. The environment is teetering on collapse. And when it does, the practice will need to take a vacation in order to recover. Perhaps then I will receive a phone call. Hopefully. Not for me, but to help the practice move forward appropriately. But then, it seems I'm always fighting fires.