Irritation about teething problems new software system
In the first week, the help desk was practically unreachable by phone. ‘That’s correct, and we regret that’, says Erwin Boelens, Best Practice 2020 project manager. The help desk should be able to help several people at once; their main number transfers to ten sub-numbers so there’s always someone to answer the phone.
But once implemented, that system turned out to have some issues. ‘We did fix it in the end’, says Boelens. ‘At four o’clock on Thursday I was told the issue was solved. Unfortunately, it took way too long.’
The communication concerning the implementation of the new system is one of the main irritations for many employees. Across various faculties, people simply have no idea how to perform routine tasks in the system, ranging from the new purchasing system to administrative tasks. Many things remain confusing.
One example is the lack of a delegation button for professors, allowing them to pass administrative tasks on to secretaries. This is an essential part of many secretarial offices who are there to relieve professors and other managers. Now, these tasks are left up to the managers who have to do more administrative tasks.
Employees assume that this function will soon return to the system, but Boelens isn’t sure. ‘We’re still working on how to put that delegation function back. I understand how the employees see it, but it’s not like professors suddenly have to do a lot of work they didn’t have to do before. It’s minimal.’
To elucidate employees, the Best Practice 2020 team has been taking stock of which parts of the system still need to be explained, and which ones don’t. In spite of the widespread lack of understanding of the new system, Boelens says the employees should try to figure it out intuitively.
‘Some staff members have already worked that out. That’s how the system was built. In the meantime, we’ll be visiting managers to take stock of what we have to change in terms of documentation and training.’ Boelens says sessions for that have already been scheduled.
Employees also have positive things to say about the new system. In many cases, they understand how Best Practice 2020 is a long-term improvement over the four outdated programs it’s replacing. They do feel that a proper test before the implementation could have prevented much of the current unrest.
Boelens explains that the system was in fact tested before it was implemented. ‘An external partner tested whether the system did what we intended it to do. It was also tested by several dozen end users in December. Based on that and other factors, the board of directors decided to launch the system according to the original schedule.’
For now, the team will be busy fixing the system’s teething problems. ‘We’re currently in a phase where we’re trying to determine and solve the problems’, says Boelens. ‘We have to make certain priorities in that. We’ll first focus on things that are urgent, and then continue down the line.’
It’s Boelens’ ambition to fix all the teething problem by March 1. ‘But we should definitely have got rid of them by the second quarter.’
Translation by Sarah van Steenderen