Making the Wheel Rounder
|Product: Compleo Suite
Overall Rating: 3.760
In looking at this month’s product, I’m reminded of an old B.C. comic strip in which one character brings a square wheel to the patent office. He’s followed closely by someone rolling a round wheel. It makes me think of the saying “Don’t reinvent the wheel,” which generally means that instead of going back to the drawing board and starting over, we just tweak something to make a needed improvement.
A lot of IT tasks that we’re required to do for our user base generally fall in the tweaking category. By doing something fairly simple, we can substantially improve how things get done at the office.
This is kind of what I’m thinking while reviewing this product. It fills a nice niche and adds a lot of functionality in terms of the total usability output. It also allows making some big changes with little effort. This month I look at Compleo Suite 4 from Symtrax (www.symtrax.com).
I had no real issues on the installation. We did have one minor license-code issue that’s being resolved as I write this, so in theory you won’t have it.
Installation is in two steps—one part on the PC, the other on the IBM* System i* platform. It would be nice if it were all together, but I can see Symtrax’s reasoning.
Ease of Use
I highly recommend a walkthrough with this product. It’s a lot easier to have tech support show you how to work with spool files and use the tool to isolate the columns and fields you want to work with the first time, than to waste time figuring it out yourself. Once you’ve walked through it a time or two, accomplishing tasks in this GUI-based product should be easy. This isn’t to say that the users guide should be ignored; it’s well written and useful. But a walkthrough gives you a jump-start.
The manuals are well done with good pictorial examples on what to click and how to use the product. The thing I liked with the writing style is that instead of telling you to click on a functional button by name, they just place the button icon in line with the documentation. Saves having to think.
I did find that the lack of an index at the back of the manual didn’t help when I needed to look things up, and the online help index could use some bolstering.
Everything I tried worked as I expected it to.
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