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Fri 18 Apr 2008
LDAP Enabler, in the larger scheme of things
Category : Commentary/LDAPEnablerAgain.txt
Quite few years back, when I was working with an insurance company on their underwriting, claims and accounting systems, I've observed that the same piece of contact information can be found in each of the three sub-systems and they're often not synchronised.
And even when we've finally managed to keep them synchronised in one central system, they're not available to the email systems, and so each underwriting, claims and accounting officer would have their own rolodex, diary, Palm Pilot, laptop, phonebook, etc. And I've been wanting to find a way to obliterate all these redundancies, ever since.
So with LDAP Enabler, I have finally a tool that could potentially do all that.
I could enter contact information into the LDAP repository, and have it appear on everyone's Mac, MacBook, or iPhone, which they can then use to email, call, fax, send a piece of snail mail, or pay a visit to the contact.
And lets say I'm in the accounting department and I happen to find that a client or vendor has changed place of operations or contact numbers (often the accounting people are the first persons to know such things), and I can update my system, which transparently is pulling data out from the LDAP server, and so my update consequently propagates to every salesperson's iPhone.
Or someone new joins the company, so you create an employee record into the LDAP database, and this new guy subsequently gets email access, and access to the databases, etc, with just that single password.
While I talk about departments here and departments there, I actually believe that the future is increasingly one of much smaller, two to five-person companies. It's so hard to find good people to hire that I'd much rather work with just my wife, and my friend Hai Hwee, and that's it, the three of us, and I'm much happier for it. With that, you'll want things to just work with the minimum of effort - what I call No Sweat Computing - and hope to run rings round the bigger competitors.
While I'm sitting here writing this in a McDonald's, I take great comfort that my system continues to receive people, lay out my wares, make a sales pitch on my behalf, process the transactions, and most importantly, receive the money and tell me the good news.
So I'll always recommend that it is worthwhile spending time thinking about ways to build good systems. It's the difference between being happy or being harried.