An example of sub-optimal constructions with a valid basis in that day and age.

When Karl Benz created the first car with an internal combustion engine in 1886, engineers encountered the problem that such an engine could not generate the torque to accelerate from 0 – 60 kilometers per hour. So, they produced a solution called a gearbox. This system also requires a clutch mechanism to break (on command; with a pedal) contact between the engine and transmission.

In recent years, we’ve moved towards electric cars with electric motors attached directly to the wheels, and torque isn’t an issue.

People now must accept that gearbox and clutch mechanisms are examples of workarounds and are redundant. Just like a lot of (usually tailor-made) ICT. Think of:

  • Decentralized storage. For years, before the Internet was an obvious asset, it was common for a decentralized organization to have application instances by location or by LAN. Think of situations in which each country had its own CRM, or each municipality had its own population administration. You only notice how much pollution is created in this way if you want to return it to a central system, because a higher information value is achieved through better overall overviews.
  • Duplicate registration for reporting purposes. Because it is “convenient” and because you can put together a registration system in an afternoon, you create shadow registrations. Instead of storing and maintaining the master data of a company or person in one system (because it saves weeks of work on a link). What do you do with a notice of removal or an obituary? If you do not know where which data is stored, you will get situations in which you still send congratulations to a deceased person or that you continue to do business with a company that has large payment arrears.
  • One file per version. For about 10 years now, every serious word processing, presentation or spreadsheet program has had version control, so you don’t clutter up a search index with dozens of versions of semi-finished products, drafts, and previous versions. With one file you have one URL, a cleaner search index, and if you still want to know what it looked like 20 versions earlier, you use the right mouse button.

Challenge people! As a consultant you can follow the uncomplicated way and please everyone by recreating a previous solution, but it is at least a moral obligation to suggest improvements. The KIA dealer in Valkenswaard did not try to sell me a gearbox for my KIA EV6 when my wife asked where the gear lever was.