Top 5 IT Complaints, the academic edition

Yesterday and today I met with all the academic leads: department heads, division heads, deans, etc. Two groups of about 25 each. Basically, I sat there and took notes while they complained about everything. If I collapse all the issues into the top five, here they are. Note how they don’t seem related to the academic mission and how they don’t seem that hard to solve. My thoughts in italics.

  1. All my passwords keep expiring and none of them are synchronized. Yes, this sucks and we need to change this. I’ve been here less than 4 weeks and I’m already annoyed.
  2. I need more space for my email and for my files. What? You mean that 250 mb isn’t enough? HAHAHAHA. No, really, they need more space. A lot more space.
  3. I can’t see my grant information in the financial system. Huh.
  4. I requested enhancement x to system y and I never heard back, or if I did hear back, you wanted all this boring information like a project scope statement. Can’t you just do what I asked and do it a lot faster? Maybe. We have a 4-year backlog on our development projects so clearly we need to redo this entire workflow and rethink our resources. blah blah blah.
  5. I’m tired of all this innovation. Can’t we keep things the same? We’re tired of it too. And, no. (I pointed out that one innovation was the idea that we don’t expire passwords but just enforce strict password rules and this shut them all up for a while).

2 Responses to “Top 5 IT Complaints, the academic edition”

  1. kdghty said:

    Mar 28, 08 at 6:23 am

    Did you find this disheartening or challenging? Does it enforce a feeling that they haven’t a clue of what can be done that’s exciting and new? Was it really as petty as all that? Or is it just that past efforts have been so insignificant that they need someone new and vital to show them the light? Or are they so cocooned by their own immediate concerns that the greatest visionary in the world couldn’t get through, and those who have tried have had the life and joy sucked out of them, thrown their hands up in despair and exited?

  2. admin said:

    Mar 28, 08 at 4:37 pm

    1. challenging
    2. yes, it enforces that feeling but more it enforces the feeling that our environment is so bad that it’s really limiting people’s imaginations
    3. yes
    4. I think you’re right–or at least I like to think I can show people the light
    5. nah, I don’t think anyone’s really tried. The final comments from one of the biggest cranks was something like, “Look, we really want to be happy with technology. We just need to have our needs met.” So, I think they want to be engaged and enlightened, but it’s hard when they have a lot of petty obstacles.

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