The federal government's beleaguered Job Network system, which went live July 1, is still under fire with users claiming miserably slow response times and persistent outages as the system struggles to cope with 3.2 million transactions daily, according to documents obtained by Computerworld.
A survey conducted by a Job Network Member organisation reveals the new employment assistant EA3000 system rarely reaches a workable speed for many regional centres, with average ‘hang’ times per transaction between 10 to 30 seconds or above. Some users claim they experience delays of up to one hour and 20 minutes to log on to the system.
Response times rated "excellent" [less than 5 seconds] only outside business hours of 9am and 5pm, the survey reported.
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations employment systems manager Anthony Parsons admits the system has experienced "response time issues" and another outage, but says the department has taken steps to overcome the problems including the recent addition of new servers.
Parsons says this latest outage was due to human error after the server team, preparing the addition of new servers to EA3000, thought additional servers were offline, unaware of the capabilities of automatic file replication facilities within .Net to push files across to production servers. The result was corruption of some key EA3000 operational files, although Parsons said JN members could have "easily worked around the outage temporarily" via a spreadsheet that could then be uploaded.
While some JN members are having none of it, they can at least see the lighter side of the new system’s foibles. Requesting anonymity, one member told Computerworld the outage meant “No Vocational Profiles (resumes) could be loaded to be automatically job-matched for positions in the sex industry.
Given that the loading of VPs is all that is currently happening with the transition to ESC3, it means the entire industry stopped. There is an offline system called EA3000 Lite, but you need the ID to use it; to get the ID you need access to EA3000," the JN member said.
Parsons also suggests some users experiencing difficulties can do more to help themselves although his offer of intensive assistance has a strangely familiar ring to it: "If some JNMs are still having issues, perhaps they have internal network complaints or poor bandwidth to blame, as we've lowered the response times. But for those with issues, we're sending out our technologists to [check] their configuration, and assist in a successful outcome. We're helping them understand what they can to do help themselves," Parsons said, adding that JNMs who tendered for contracts in the ESC3 were told their systems had to be XP compliant.