Computer systems need ability to 'talk' with one another

  • Posted: 2/7/2013 11:04 AM
    6/1/2013 5:59 PM

Most businesses these days can not seem to operate without a computer system of some sort to keep up with day-to-day sales, inventory, human resources and or billing. Of course, none of this would be worth a toot without proper entries, and therein lies the problem.

When merchandise arrives, it is scanned or manually entered and automatically added to what remained in inventory or shows up as a new item.

When a piece of that inventory is sold, it is scanned or manually entered and is drawn out of inventory, which, in turn, ends up on a sales sheet and a re-order sheet when requested.

It makes it difficult to make mistakes when scanning except on that rare occasion when the wrong bar code is slapped on a package and, because we have become so reliant on this process, checking the label against the contents seems to be too much to ask. When it comes to end of the month, billing a properly programmed computer attaches purchases to the proper buyer and prints out a bill - that is, if the buyer code was entered properly at the point of sale.

For the most part, this system works, and each computer in each section "talks" to each other.

It seems there is miscommunication in the City's computer system, or one computer is angry at the other and refuses to give any information, or those responsible for making the changes are just too busy to get it right.

Most would think that if you had city utilities, your address would be connected to the billing department, the tax assessor's office, waste pickup and more, but not in North Augusta.

Here's a scenario: You move homes, so you go down to pay your final bill and give a change of address. Some weeks later, you receive your deposit in the mail, which comes as a pleasant surprise. Six to eight months go by, and you receive a notice from the tax office that you have not paid your property taxes for the previous year. You know you never received a bill.

Fast forward to the next year when the IRS is waiting, and it makes you think about the property taxes so you go online to see if you can find your bill and, to no surprise, it is there, but at the old address. It's more than a year later, and your address still has not been changed in the system.

The utility department has the new address but the tax assessor's office does not. It's a neat way to possibly take someone's property for back taxes if they are are so inclined; however, the point is that all of these departments should interact with each other on a computer system.

If an address changes in one department, it should either automatically change in another or red flag it for a human to find out why it is red flagged. By the way: try finding a mailing address for any individual office anywhere on the North Augusta website. It is virtually impossible.