Step 1. Someone figures out that having disparate time-entry systems is dreadfully expensive, given the hidden costs of maintaining the systems and interfaces, and then figuring out how to reconcile incompatible accounting approaches to consolidate the information.
Step 2. Projects need business sponsors. The sponsor for this project is the executive who suffers most from having the multiple systems. His/her motivation: consolidate to one, at the lowest possible direct cost and shortest development schedule.
Step 3. Nobody in a position to make a decision personally cares about usability because it has nothing to do with either the business case or project sponsorship. Quite the opposite -- excellent usability would raise costs and delay delivery.
Therefore, you don't get usability -- but why would you, especially for a process that only takes a couple of minutes a week (which means, as a practical matter, it comes out of employee time rather than work time)?
The good news: I suspect this might be one of the rare cases where if enough employees raise enough of a fuss, management might actually decide to invest in something better. Be professional about how you express your opinion, but don't hesitate to raise the issue to whomever sponsored the project.
He/she might not care personally, but if a sufficient number of employees lodge the same gripe, it's wholly possible you'll see a Release 2.0 -- especially if you inform the project sponsor that many of your colleagues let mistakes slide through, meaning the company can no longer rely on the accuracy of the now-much-easier-to-consolidate data.
This story, "When bad standardized systems happen to good companies," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Bob Lewis's Advice Line blog on InfoWorld.com.