Chapter 7: Knowing How to Support and Maintain Your Technology Solution|
Establish a process for receiving and reviewing complaints and suggestions from users.
How do you monitor your system's users' needs?
It may take a while before your new computer system is up and running at its maximum effectiveness. A key maintenance function that you can address immediately, however, is the development of a mechanism for collecting user complaints about the system and suggestions for improvement. Having a process in place for collecting this type of information provides a measure of control for your organization. It allows the organization to identify and document users' problems and concerns with the current system, and helps with decisions about priorities for future investments. It is a simple internal procedure that is treated as a separate issue only because of the trouble caused in its absence. Without such a process, requests for change can build up without administrators realizing that problems are occurring.
To help set up a process for determining needed changes, consider using the following procedures:
Make sure that all users understand the feedback process and that they feel free to use it. Where suggested changes are involved, the user bears responsibility to distinguish important changes from 'nice to have' requests. Where new purchases are requested, the user making the request must provide documentation to assist in the decision making process.
- Develop forms for documenting requests and select a central point for gathering the requests. These can be paper documents or e-mail formats.
- Have your Technology Coordinator (or someone else) document and research the requests and develop a list of possible solutions.
- Maintain a log that shows the date of the request, the source of the request, projected cost and time estimates, who needs to respond to the request, the date(s) of all responses, their priority, and disposition.
- Have the Technology Oversight Committee review the requests and possible solutions in keeping with your organization's system architecture, technology goals and long range plans. The Committee should then prioritize desired changes or purchases and make recommendations to you or your organization's final decision maker.
- Have someone send a reply about what will be done to the originator of the request (unless it is an anonymous request).