Many users have voiced frustration over the switch from Infonet to Peoplesoft.
the Gauntlet

Peoplesoft frustrations rise

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Frustrating," "confusing," "the devil," "a total nightmare," and "PeopleHard" were some of the many heated labels heard from University of Calgary students concerning the new student registration program PeopleSoft.

PeopleSoft was implemented in Feb. to replace Infonet as the new student administrative system. The welcome, however, has not been warm. Accordingly, when asked about their opinions on PeopleSoft, students did not hold back.

"I feel it's a major inconvenience for everybody," said first-year education student Joti Sharma. "It's very difficult to access, confusing in terms of paying fees and figuring out which classes to register for."

Sharma was just one of many students eager to voice their dissatisfaction about Peoplesoft.

"It's a nightmare for picking classes, I have hardly used it since classes started because I try to avoid it" said fourth-year environmental studies student Megan Evens, "I haven't heard anyone say anything good about it."

These comments describe the general sentiment towards PeopleSoft from students that have endured the transition from the Infonet. When talking to both first-year students and old Infonet users, feelings of dissatisfaction and desire for an alternative administrative system were expressed.

"For a guy like me, who went straight from high school to university, I've never done this stuff before, so I would like a better way of registering that isn't so hard to use," said first-year science student Sepehr Nemati.

Another first-year student Kira Maguire shared this mentality.

"I think it's a pretty poor program," she said. "It's very difficult to use and very slow and inefficient. It was very frustrating"

Many stories of having to wait long hours in line for registrar assistance for comparatively minor issues have become a growing trend when speaking to these students.

Although PeopleSoft comes equipped with help menus they can be very frustrating to use according to second-year geography and history student Rica Hanson.

"The help menu is basically a joke," said Hanson. "It does very little to help you learn to navigate through PeopleSoft."

Dissatisfaction with PeopleSoft was not only expressed by students; faculty members also had strong opinions of the new system.

"Cumbersome, awkward, inefficient, not well thought out, long learning curve," stated office administrator of biological sciences David Bininda. "However, generally it's workable, but just not a very pleasant experience."

Bininda has worked with students trying to register for classes on PeopleSoft and explained that students have been generally agitated with the new system.

Accordingly, a strong consensus of discontent over PeopleSoft can be seen virtually everywhere you go on campus. Difficulties with registration and fees, lack of consistency and efficiency, awkward navigation, and the high learning curve to use PeopleSoft represent the majority of issues being heard.

These concerns caused users to ask why Peoplesoft is still being used.

It is an expensive venture to change to another system this late in the game and would more than likely be cost-prohibitive explained former program director Grant Watterworth, who was directly involved with the implementation of the many phases of PeopleSoft.

"Implementation of any new program is going to be challenging--a large amount of resources have been allocated for training; however, training takes time," he said. "When a system is first implemented, it is then when students need to the most support systems and unfortunately, at the beginning is when we have the least amount of support systems for these students and their problems."

Watterworth explained that all the problems experienced by students, PeopleSoft is generally a better system for the university as a way of consolidating many different and separate systems into one larger one that can keep track of everything together.

"The system underlying PeopleSoft is sound," said fourth-year computer science major Juan Rivera. "It seems to do the job it's supposed to do. The problem lies in the interface that is presented to students. In terms of it design. It's like a poorly designed web application that you need to be familiar with to fully understand it. However, once you get used to it, it is quite a bit faster than the old Infonet."

Watterworth explained PeopleSoft was not just a student administrative system but included accounting and finances, as well as human resource applications-- Infonet was unable to do all these applications efficiently.

"Infonet was an old system which was at the end of it's usefulness," stated Watterworth, "[The Infonet], created and implemented in the mid-1970s to early-'80s, did not provide the proper support for the growth of this university, therefore a better system had to be implemented."

New options available to students via PeopleSoft, such as wait list options, swapping classes instead of having to add/drop, as well as the fact that PeopleSoft does not need to go down for 8 hours at a time for backups saves the university quite a bit of time explained Watterworth, noting that it also allows students to access the system 24/7.

The problems experienced by students are related to a lack of knowledge of how the program works. However, the student body really hasn't enough time nor motivation to properly learn this program.