Friday, May 19, 2006

A Failure I Can Live With

I had some good news a couple of days ago, and I just can't resist toting my own horn a little.

A couple of years ago I was subcontracted to write a web based print formatting system. The system could automatically produce brochures, and used FrameMaker as a formatting engine.

I haven't counted this system as one of the great successes of my career. FrameMaker and Internet Information server did not play well together. (Neither did Apache and FrameMaker.) In the end, I solved the problem by writing a small web server of my own. Though the solution worked, my client was not happy with the design. He insisted he wanted the application to run under IIS, even though it was not technically possible. Fortunately my client's client did accept the solution.

Still, my client wasn't happy, so I wasn't happy. Earlier this week a friend of mine told me what became of my 'failed' system.

The system has worked very well for more than five years now. The customer estimates that it has saved about 97% of the costs that would have been incurred without it.

My friend mentioned an estimated cost of about SKR 50,000,000 if the system had not been in place, which would have made the cost of running the system about SKR 1,500,000, and the savings about SKR 48,500,000. As my friend put it, "talk about Return On Investment".

Suddenly I feel a lot better about the whole thing. That kind of failure I can live with.

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