Ah, I see where you went wrong - you tried to do the right thing via the right channels. Rookie mistakeI think it may well have been versions of the same thing. It metastasized quite rapidly.
For your email example, I'm not sure that your conclusions are entirely correct. I had the same experience and wrote roughly the same VB macro in my first job, which I then carried around with me. I had to go through the manual install process for every new terminal or person who wanted it because I could never get a sysadmin to group install it. The problem wasn't (this was over 10 years ago) just nobody identifying / solving the problems, it was absolute resistance of 'the system' to anything that didn't come from them, and often the incompetence of the various alleged professionals (several times I was told that they couldn't install a macro amounting to all of 9 lines in case it had a virus ... they literally couldn't understand 9 very simple lines of VB).
Over the years I saw several of examples of that naming convention fix from various people who did basically what we both did - one may well have been yours! It wasn't the lack of solutions that was the problem. I encountered the same issue regularly in a 'cyber' job out when everyone first got excited about it in 2009-2010. There were plenty of specialists, they had identified and often proposed solutions, and remarkably, in the early days, they all agreed (largely because the answers were such low hanging fruit). But the 'system' was structurally incapable of listening. This was how absurd it could get. One time about 30 of us were called to an SME conference specifically intended to identify these kind of problems/answers. 30 out of 30 of us made the same point as our top concern at the conference start. Yet the (non-SME) Major running it refused to address the point because he believed it was outside his terms of reference, set by another non-SME superior. This despite an SME who outranked them both being present (but, of course, from another command).
A top-down system that inflexible will always fail to leverage the ideas it contains, regardless of where it places its people.
[geeky thread drift]
I also looked into trying to get something installed system wide but quickly found we would need a formal (and funded) change request. That wasn’t going to happen: it was impossible to quantify the benefits in monetary terms (an unknown number of users manually renaming an unknown number of emails) and a solution was only needed because users were ignoring the mandated naming convention. If users behaved, there was no need to spend money on a solution.
So I created a tool in Excel. Everyone had Excel.
My version allowed users to target a specific email folder, could add date and time, stripped out problem characters, allowed users to replace characters and words (to replace, say, ”Main Building” with “MB” or add keywords), highlighted excessively long titles, added classification, and used dynamic arrays to compare every email’s index (44+ characters) with every other email’s index to identify and preserve the last email in a conversation. It could then export the emails (in msg format) into a target folder or network drive.
I then let it spread by word of mouth across the Info Mgmt community.
[/geeky thread drift]
Part of the problem that is preventing MOD using IT to streamline working is that there are very few staff with an understanding of unit needs / ways of working and an understanding of what the IT can actually do.
If you can embed geeks into units and give them the task of finding ways to streamline info / data usage within the unit, a lot of military personnel effort can be freed up and focused at pointy-end stuff.