Another day at an Indian College

23 Feb 2006

Today I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend a meeting with the director of my college to present the CMS solution for our institute that we had been working on for the past 6 months. It was a wonderful experience and it opened my eyes to what was actually happening “in the boardroom” all this while.

The meeting started off with everybody introducing themselves, and then proceeded with the actual presentation. At first I thought that the director was only giving part of his attention, but surprisingly, he had carefully analysed every point presented and raised his very valid concerns at the end of the presentation! Experience does matter; this was my first such meeting, but he would have attended thousands of such presentations.

Some of his questions were however, outdated. He was still concerned about security: “How safe is the system against hackers?”. How is one supposed to convince someone in non-technical terms how secure a system is? No system is foolproof, everyone knows that. We have to take the plunge, and he simply has to trust us and believe that we’ve taken a lot of precautions against any unwary event.

Also he didn’t quite digest the idea of a CMS: “Anyone can change the content of the website?”, well, we explained that it was not quite “anyone”, but only people authorised to do so, such as the heads of departments. He still insisted on a “webmaster”, a final authority through which all changes have to approved and only then published to the main website. This defeats the purpose of a CMS itself and the concept of distribution of work; here the webmaster will again be burdened with the task of maintaining an institute’s website and approving every single change or addition of notices: however big or small they may be.

And on the other end we have Wikipedia flourishing!

Probably things might not change until the next generation take up important administrative positions, people who are more open to solutions that technology can offer. I still have professors in my college who are not entirely convinced that computers indeed offer better and efficient solutions to existing problems and would rather do things the “Good old way”.

But of course, I still remember of how my own parents were apprehensive of using the credit card online a few years back. Today, my mother buys even the grocery online!

I guess time heals all!

That being said, the college is in good hands, the hands of an experienced person who deals issues with caution. Right in his own manner.