VA office takes surveys online

A Veterans Affairs Department office has responded to the National Performance Review's
call for performance measurement systems by adopting electronic surveys to measure
customer satisfaction.


Charles "Dick" Potter, a management analyst in the Performance Analysis
Service at VA's Budget Office, said he likes Raosoft 3.2 from Raosoft Inc. of Seattle
because it can do things that would usually be done by hand, such as tabulating results of
open-ended or narrative questions.


Potter said no special coding is necessary for such analysis with the Raosoft product
for Microsoft Windows. For example, he can analyze the distribution of respondents'
answers even if they are not "yes" or "no."


The VA Budget Office bought Raosoft 3.0 for Windows for less than $2,500 through an
IMPAC card purchase near the end of fiscal 1996. The master copy came with licenses for
five concurrent network users. A free upgrade to Version 3.2 for Windows arrived later.


Wayne Quick, a VA computer specialist, said the client-server software runs on a
Digital Equipment Corp. Alpha 2100 server, which is moving from a Novell NetWare network
operating environment to Windows NT. Potter said the VA desktop users have 486 and Pentium
PCs.


The client software requires 4M of RAM, said Catherine McDole Rao, president of
Raosoft.


Refining the survey's 19 questions took 63 different design iterations, Potter said.
The Performance Analysis Service got back 105 usable responses from 284 hard-copy surveys,
which were necessary because some of the recipients work outside VA headquarters,
including several in Congress and the Office of Management and Budget.


Potter said his group plans as many as 10 surveys next year, many of them
all-electronic.


Other Raosoft customers include the Air Force, Energy Department, Federal Highway
Administration, Interior Department, Navy and U.S. Mint.


The company's EZSurvey 1.0, a 32-bit data collection program, can distribute surveys
over the Internet, LANs or e-mail systems. An unlimited-use license is $199 until Dec. 1.
Software Spectrum Inc. of Dallas is Raosoft's General Services Administration schedule
reseller.


Contact Raosoft at 703-642-5295.


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