Implementation AFAS software system: poorly supervised, too many time constraints

The implementation of the AFAS software system at the university in 2020 was insufficiently supervised and occurred under too many time constraints.

The UG should have started planning for the change years ago, says consultancy agency Wielinq in the evaluation report it wrote for the UG.

AFAS was suffering from various problems almost immediately after its implementation. Users were complaining about having to work with an entirely new system that didn’t work properly.

Many UG employees were insufficiently prepared for the change, if they’d been informed of it at all. In the meantime, the support hotline was often unreachable because of the sheer volume of calls.

Step by step

Wielinq says the university should have included AFAS in the programme beforehand to allow a step-by-step collaboration. But there was no completed project plan, nor a plan B or even an exit plan.

Because it involved such a large IT project, the UG should have also relied much more on the knowledge of its own CIT department. According to Wielinq, CIT was engaged in the project too late in the game.

Culture clash

Another problem was the culture clash between the uni and AFAS. The UG values its routine, while AFAS is a more pragmatic company, the researchers write. ‘At the start, this seemed to be refreshing, but later in the programme, it led to problems and frustrations.’

During large-scale systemic changes such as these, a cultural match is of crucial importance, says Wielinq. This means that the company that provides the new system should receive detailed information about an organisation’s characteristics so it’s aware of the requirements the system needs to meet.

In order to create this cultural match, the UG should have specified the immense diversity not just within the university but also the individual faculties. Many users complained that AFAS didn’t match the university’s structure, since AFAS is a centralised system, while the UG and its faculties are particularly decentralised.

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