Arguably, the greatest challenge I had faced during this entire saga was communication with business users and working with unprecedented constraints. While it is nothing new that there is common misalignment in perspectives between the IT developer and the business user, I believe it is still worth sharing the authentic real-world hurdles I had to face:
I. Limited platforms to run technical implementations — While most ETL processes are ideally implemented in Python which is both lightweight and has a vast number of data-centric libraries as compared to Java, this scenario is only favourable if pre-existing setups had already been in place.
Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case in many companies at this point in time (much less a public healthcare company) and only applicable to workplaces where a well-established technical culture has long been present & consistently reinforced.
Considering that the places most in need of technological enhancements to improve their work efficiency often are places which not only have a lack of technical facilities but also many staff members with non-receptive attitudes towards “technological solutions”, there is a bitter irony to this; which in turn leads to many unpleasant ripple effects. To be objectively fair, a majority of these workers are definitely not lacking in aptitude or altitude—for industries such as public healthcare, the short turnover time and urgent nature of their assigned tasks reinforces their natural inclination to be more risk averse, hence falling back on their conventional (and usually manual) approaches to doing things.
With the stringent requirement for minimal set-up and installations, it led to the most instinctive choice of using Java programming language due to its platform independent property.
II. Acceptance that business users have limited technical-related awareness — While I initially did not intend on building a GUI for the app, it quickly occurred to me that a handful of users had trouble running the following command to execute the application:
java -jar <name of jar file>
as per any other compiled Java software. The rather surprising revelation that 40% of users had trouble opening their Windows CMD/Shell Terminals/PowerShell Terminal hit me hard 😨. Therefore, To avoid this issue entirely, I then proceeded to build the application’s interface which requires a mere double-click of the mouse 🖱️ to execute.
III. Overall opinions on adopting a sustainable…
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