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My company will be working on restructuring/rethinking the whole IT infrastructure for a small company (about 25 employees). A part of this is a migration to Google Apps for email, calendar, etc. That leaves many other things to think about (file sharing, business processes, etc.).

Is there any "best practice" way to gathering data from users about what are the actual pain points, what needs to be improved, of a more "scientific" way than simply asking/guessing?

I was thinking of running a software usage monitor such as RescueTime for each employee (with their approval), during, say, a week.

What are the other means of assessing user needs when given the opportunity to make as many changes as needed to IT infrastructure?

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Tools like rescuetime will do it. As for asking the users, that is important for a number of reasons (not least the psychological ones) but you will end up with what they think they do and not what they actually do from that survey. And isn't it customary to monitor what users use and how they use it before deciding what new system to migrate to, rather than decide to migrate to google apps then decide to check up on what people actually use and how they use it? –  RobM Apr 24 '11 at 22:14
    
That's exactly my concern, although I'm not worried about the choice of platform, but more of the way it can be accommodated with whatever their biggest challenges are. This is not a case of switching as an upgrade, it's more taking a step back to make sense of a patchy IT infrastructure that has emerged over a period of 3 years. –  Andrei Apr 28 '11 at 16:05

1 Answer 1

BPR(Business process reengineering) - here you will find definition, terms, approaches, criticism and literature.

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Thanks, I hadn't though about this in terms of BPR. However, this seems too high-level for this situation, isn't there a sub-field of BPR or another field that deals specifically with technology usage patterns inside an organization? Remember, we're talking about a small company here, and we're only be working on technology, not business processes, although I see how the two are closely linked. –  Andrei Apr 28 '11 at 16:11

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