An Interview with the Visionaries Behind the New FORT Focus Group

By Lisa Wilson, Interim Assistant Vice President, ORAO

Interviewer: Tell us about the newly formed FORT Focus Group.

Focus Group Coordinators: The FORT Focus Group, initiated by the collaborative efforts of the Office of Research Administration Optimization (ORAO) and Enterprise Data Analytics & Strategic Support (EDA&SS), is on a mission to redefine productivity and end-user satisfaction with the Financial Outlook Reporting Tool (FORT). This new approach to enhancing the user experience isn’t just about resolving FORT pain points; it’s about crafting a pathway for optimal use and pushing the boundaries of what we can achieve with this powerful tool.

Interviewer: What are the Focus Group’s main aims and purposes?

Focus Group Coordinators: We are committed to facilitating a deeper understanding of its functionalities, ensuring effective use of all features for our financial reporting and analysis needs, and promoting the use of FORT by our research administrators and faculty.

Interviewer: What benefits and objectives do the group promise?

Focus Group Coordinators: The group promises to act as a think-tank, develop streamlined processes, advance skill enhancement utilizing FORT, and solve everyday challenges.

Interviewer: Sounds exciting! Is there anything special planned for the organization’s newsletter?

Focus Group Coordinators: Yes! We are excited to announce a forthcoming ‘FORT Tips and Tricks‘ section in our newsletter. This will be a treasure trove of practical advice, shortcuts, and insights from our experiences with FORT.

Interviewer: Who are the members of the FORT Focus Group, and what does their experience with the tool look like?

Focus Group Coordinators: Our group is a dynamic mix of new and seasoned FORT users. This blend is vital; experienced members bring deep insights and advanced techniques, while new users often offer fresh perspectives and question established practices. This diversity ensures that we address a wide range of user needs and continuously evolve our understanding and use of the tool.  

Interviewer: Why is having a range of experience levels essential for the group?

Focus Group Coordinators: Having a spectrum of experience levels is critical. It ensures that our strategies and solutions are comprehensive and relevant to all users. Experienced members can mentor newer ones, fostering skill development, while new users can highlight areas where additional guidance or simplification might be needed. This inclusive environment is critical to maximizing the tool’s potential for every end user.

Interviewer: Any final thoughts on how this new approach may improve the FORT experience for end-users and what’s next?

Focus Group Coordinators: This collaborative approach is far more than a mere reshuffle. It’s a strategic, focused effort to enhance how we utilize FORT, rooted in tangible objectives. We are committed to demonstrating measurable improvements in productivity and user satisfaction. This initiative is about delivering accurate, substantive change that will be evident in the outcomes and experiences of our users.

What’s next? In the next newsletter, readers will have the opportunity to meet the members and coordinators of a cross-functional focus group who bring diverse perspectives and expertise to the table. For more FORT resources, check out EBI’s FORT webpage:

Test Your Knowledge: Take the Interactive Discover the FORT Focus Group Quiz!

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