NMCI survey finds most users satisfied with portal

'We are on our way to gaining a deeper understanding of the needs and issues of our NMCI customers.'

'Rear Adm. James B. Godwin III

Rick Steele

Is there a slow-moving sea change happening in how users view the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet?

Nearly three-quarters of a random group of NMCI users are satisfied with the performance of the portal and contractor EDS Corp., Navy officials said, citing the latest customer satisfaction survey.

The NMCI program office announced the results of the fourth-quarter 2004 survey, which found that 72.2 percent of users were satisfied with the program. The previous quarter's survey found 71.9 percent satisfied.

The $8.8 billion Navy and EDS program connects more than 400,000 sailors and Marines at more than 300 bases worldwide through a single network.

The road ahead

'We are on our way to gaining a deeper understanding of the needs and issues of our NMCI customers. The data collected by this survey is invaluable to our team in providing a clear path forward for resolution,' said NMCI's director, Rear Adm. James B. Godwin III. 'I am confident we will progress in customer satisfaction as we deliver a world-class intranet, ready for the pace of today's Navy-Marine Corps team.'

Since the surveys began a few years ago, the NMCI program office has steadfastly declined to release a complete copy of the questionnaire, instead just issuing a release about the results. Godwin said releasing the results would challenge the 'integrity of our data.'

A little less than one-quarter of the 44,601 users who received the online survey responded. Godwin said that rate of response is consistent with industry surveys.

The NMCI survey random- ly targets all users and asks them to rate their satisfaction with hardware, software, network performance, help desk and problem resolution, training, and service delivery, as well as overall satisfaction.

Many users have suggested the need for an independent organization to conduct future surveys. Some Navy officers have said that with the Navy and EDS conducting it, respondents are reluctant to give their true opinions.

Backing up that claim are the e-mail messages and letters GCN continues to receive detailing challenges of the NMCI program.

NMCI leaders acknowledge that some issues persist, resulting in some dips in customer satisfaction. The areas drawing loudest complaints are network performance times, e-mail services, and Web and Internet access.

'These areas are greatly affected by the high degree of security required of the NMCI system,' the service said in a statement. 'The size of the world's largest intranet network and the security requirements necessary to ensure a safe and secure environment have caused the end user delays and difficulty with straightforward tasks such as logging on and logging off.'

Godwin said NMCI and EDS are working to resolve these issues.

'We're focused on improving the NMCI user experience,' said Mike Koehler, enterprise client executive for EDS. 'Together, we are building on an established common, stable and secure computing environment to achieve a better balance between customer usability and network security.'

This year, some new services will be added to NMCI, including remote broadband access, Microsoft Windows XP and a new online catalog, Koehler said.

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