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Messages from Focus Groups

October 20, 1995

Focus groups are one source of information for the project to restructure computing services across Penn. Themes from the following three focus groups are compiled below:

  • Small Schools Group (computing support providers from Penn's smaller schools)
  • ISC Administration Committee (advisory group to Information Systems and Computing)
  • Super User Group (computing support providers from across campus
Messages from the focus groups are divided into things people "want more of" and things people "want less of." Messages are further categorized by type of client--leading-edge, mainstream, novice. (Clients are speaking of themselves; support providers are speaking of their clients.)
============
WANT MORE OF
============
                                        Leading-  Main-   Novices
                                        edge      stream
                                        users     users

SUPPORT
1. More people to support increased
   client base                              X       X       X
2. Immediate troubleshooting (every-
   thing's an emergency)                    X       X       X
3. Broad support--all levels from easy
   to difficult questions, newest to
   oldest software versions, basic to
   complex networking                               X
4. Train the trainer and roving
   trainers                                         X
5. House calls                              X       X        X
6. Support beyond 5x8. Toward 7x24          X       X
7. Support-the-supporter services                   X
8. Bootstrap services (ramp up)                     X
9. Integration services                             X
10.Resources and incentives to help
   clients learn technology                         X        X

STANDARDS
1. Buy and support standard desktops,
   NICS, applications, etc.                         X        X
2. Universal e-mail                                 X        X
3. Enhanced distribution of software
   and documentation                                X        X
4. Enhanced policies on electronic ethics           X

NETWORKING
1. Increased network reliability            X       X
2. Increased network bandwidth              X       X
3. Increased network services (WWW,
   security, etc.)                          X       X
4. Ease & reliability of remote access      X       X
5. Growing network that will support
   latest venture                           X       X
6. Reliable voice & video interaction
   (Distance learning, remote working,
   hoteling)                                X       X

SOFTWARE TOOLS
1. Integrated tools that are easy to use            X        X
2. Tools that let me do more research
   and delivery on my own                           X
3. Electronic calendars                             X
4. Easier presentation tools                        X
5. Modular technology (makes things
   quick & cheap)                                   X

DATA
1. Quick, clear access to data                      X

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES
1. Key to success: Knowing what business
   we're in                                         X
2. Local support (they know me and
   my needs--but it's expensive)             X      X        X
3. Local support with strong central
   ties                                             X
4. Collaborative advisory boards and
   task forces (keeps everyone talking)             X
5. Find ways to fund and provide
   incentives for peer support ("Hey Joe"
   support)                                         X
6. Subsidize adoption of new technology      X      X


============
WANT LESS OF
============
                                        Leading-  Main-   Novices
                                        edge      stream
                                        users     users

WHERE TO GO
1. Navigating undocumented support
   structures (Only insiders know
   where to go)                                     X        X

SUPPORT
1. Supporting both ends of the
   spectrum (how to educate the
   bottom while running after the
   top?)                                            X
2. Answering same questions over
   & over (develop FAQ's and teach
   people to use them)                        X     X
3. Support other people's clients
   because they aren't happy with
   their own support                                X
4. Supporting non-traditional
   clients (e.g., alumni--but e-mail
   not a problem)                                   X
5. Hard to support remote locations           X     X

DATA & APPLICATIONS
1. Data that is hard to understand
   (data should be clear & current)           X     X        X
2. Center does not respond to schools'
   application development needs                    X
3. Duplicative shadow systems                       X

COMMUNICATION
1. Minimal communication with infra-
   structure providers (need to know,
   e.g., when you're going to have big
   impact on the network)                           X
2. Ignoring non-traditional schedules
   during project roll-out (not all
   schools on same calendar)                        X        X
3. Insufficient time to incorporate local
   roll-outs                                        X        X

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES
1. Welfare model (don't give away
   technology)                                      X
2. Unfunded mandates                                X


restructuring     model     pilot     taskforce     data    


Please note: This material is no longer current and appears online for archival purposes only.
Use the search and navigation tools above to locate more up-to-date materials, if they exist.
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