Ah, the federal government at work. When you install a new computer system, you generally do so to make your office more efficient. Not with the government. It turns out that a new SAP powered computer system at two offices of (of all things) the Federal Technology Service (the GSA's info tech procurement group), has slowed things down to a crawl. They're blaming the training procedure, but it says people were trained... but apparently they were trained without actually seeing the system they were being trained on (no, seriously). The article claims that the GSA was shocked to discover that practice and theory didn't match, and that employees actually needed trainers on hand to help them when they actually had the new system in place. Of course, one reason why they might need training is that the system sounds ridiculously complex. It now takes 15 (count 'em) steps to save a file. Meanwhile, bills go unpaid, orders go unprocessed, and the group insists they're going to muddle through because turning back is not an option and "workarounds" will upset the auditors. Apparently, the $46 million of our tax money spent on the system did not go to any usability testing. Among the other descriptive phrases used in the article: "someone bursts into tears almost hourly," "it is very, very difficult to learn the new system," "unnecessarily complicated," and "not always intuitive." Sounds great.
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