One of my jobs involves inputting attendance records and notes for students who participate in Supplemental Education Services in a large California school district. The service the district has employed to handle all of the pertinent student data completely sucks. Don’t believe me? Go to http://www.cayen.net/index.asp. Immediately you might notice that their outgoing links just point back to their own website. Oh, but their website is *receiving a makeover.” See http://www.cayen.net for an equally laughable experience.
Are they serious?! “The leading provider in program management software for SES and after-school programs…” *Cries*
The silly “program management software” they’ve thrown together to manage all sensitive student data, student testing, attendance, etc, is just so incredibly difficult to use. I am mostly only able to use the site appropriately when I use IE 8. Even then, some input features on the site only work with Firefox. It’s incredibly annoying and unbelievably buggy. And, they charge SES providers money to use support hours. They get away with this by offering a “free training” session in the summer. Then, you’re expected to know exactly how the system works. I have absolutely no problem navigating the system, but I have many support *issues* — such as: this critical piece of data will not save unless I re-open another window and double click and cross my fingers.
My main question here is how people get away with pulling the wool over an entire school district’s eyes? There is a serious problem with the ability to sell software as a service to customers who just don’t understand the value of good software. Knowing how the site *should* work, I have an endless number of complaints. However, if I just thought the error was my own fault, I might actually be stupid enough to pay for support hours, or even hate on my own skills/user inability. I think it’s a shame that anyone can get away with making users feel like it’s their own inexperience with a piece of software that is causing them problems. And then to make money off it when it’s the software’s fault, unbeknownst to the user… that’s just criminal.
Right now, this entire system is down because the database server appears to have crashed or is improperly configured. Whatever. The system has been down for the last three hours. I’m not even sure who to contact because their contact info is unavailable. My contacts at the district continually let me know that everything I need to know about how to use the website is ON THE WEBSITE in the *HELP* section. (They have no idea what’s going on themselves.) Conveniently, the help section can’t be accessed when the site keeps spitting out “Microsoft OLE DB” errors.
Just because you are paying for a piece of software doesn’t mean it’s worth anything.
I am annoyed. End rant.