Why do Oracle say ‘per diem’?

I was prompted to write this post after a comment to my posting ‘why are intranet applications so difficult to use?‘ by Calluna55 which picked up that big software vendors must sooner or later start to improve the usability of their intranet applications.

Oracle are a successful, global, software vendor.  BT uses their products like their ebusiness suite.  However this product has a strange phrase ‘per diem’ for claiming expenses.

Now, I know this phrase is well known in the US but Oracle are a global company with many customers outside the US.  Surely an option to simply change it to the equivalent phrase in another language exists?

NO!  is the answer.  To change a simple phrase ‘per diem’ to one that is more meaningful either means a very expensive and difficult re-coding of the heading by an Oracle code expert or changing every phrase to another language.

I’m sure for other countries like Germany, France, Japan, etc, that is the obvious option but many people either speak English as their first or second language.  ‘Per diem’ is not easily understood.

It’s another example where software sold by vendors like Oracle could be more usable by enabling small changes to be made easier.

The more usable the software is, the cheaper it is to make changes, the easier it is to upgrade to new versions = more business for the software vendors.

With a global recession in 2009 isn’t this a simple thing software vendors could do to help themselves as well as us?

2 responses to “Why do Oracle say ‘per diem’?

  1. Ack-sher-ley… quite a few of us older folks in the UK have come across the phrase “per diem”, thanks to Latin O-level!

    Seriously, it’s a good point and underlines what I said about the new kids on the block. An example: a client of mine wanted to be able to change a label on a field from “Company” to “Organisation”. The mainstream system, which is not a bad system by and large, wouldn’t allow that. The hosted system offered as a competitor allowed it no problem (as it distinguished between what something is called in the database and what users wanted to call it, and just mapped the two together). That kind of configurability is essential for hosted systems, as these newer companies don’t have the army of expensive consultants or resellers to change things for clients, so they make it possible (and easy) for the clients to do it themselves.

    No prizes for guessing which system the client picked!

    • That’s the kind of usability we need to encourage. What was the name of the vendor? What was their product?

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