Project ADAPT was supposed to make everyone's life simpler.
But nine months after it replaced the University's financial computer systems--and the way staff use them--administrators are angry, accounts go unpaid and everyone is frustrated.
In the post-ADAPT world, nothing is simple.
ADAPT, the effort to centralize Harvard's aging business databases, has been in the works for more than five years. It is now projected to cost $112 million.
When ADAPT's first phase went online July 1, it instantaneously and dramatically transformed jobs across the University. At last count, 4,193 people in every laboratory and every educational department at Harvard use the system.
ADAPT is about more than just computers. It is about the way Harvard's administration works--or does not. The implementation has been plagued with problems.
Many users say the new financial systems are painfully slow. They say it creates more work. They say bills don't get paid, and professors don't get reimbursed.
Officials from Harvard's 10 faculties, most vocally in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), have butted heads repeatedly with the University administrators who oversee the system.
Now, as central administrators struggle to fix the system, they must work with the faculties to mend broken lines of communication. And they must convince faculty and staff that the $112 million being spent on Project ADAPT is not in vain.
The Trouble With ADAPT
Steven C. Wofsy, Rotch professor of atmospheric and environmental science, calls it "user-hostile."
"It has been very difficult to get the required data in electronic form," he writes in an e-mail message. "We have a large number of grants to manage, for which we have our own system to merge data on salaries, travel, other expenses, and on income."
Project ADAPT: Defining the MissionEarly in his term as president, Neil L. Rudenstine asked his staff, "How many people work at Harvard?" But they
The Party Lines Vs. From the RanksKennedy School of Government: The Party Line: "It's a transition. In time we're going to glean so many benefits...All implementations
Project ADAPT Timeline1948: Harvard develops a mainframe-based electronic accounting system. 1993: The University's vice presidents meet and discuss data problems. They decide
Adjusting To Project ADAPTCommunication breakdown between central administration and schools is root of problem Five years in the making, the first phase of
LettersProject ADAPT is Making Improvements To the editors: Careful readers of "Faculty Blasts $112M Computer Systems" on Project ADAPT (News,
A Promise Kept: Project ADAPT Gets New Name, Shows New FaceAfter the rocky launch of Harvard's new financial systems last year, University officials say that all plans for the next