VI. Information Systems: Managing IU's Information Assets

Recommendation 6: University-wide prioritization, coordination, oversight and planning are required in the implementation and development of institutional information systems. In order for these systems to work together in a seamless manner and accommodate an ever-increasing number of users, UIS should implement common interfaces and a common information delivery environment that facilitate their integrated use. A new Student Information System should be a top University priority.


Action 35. The Office of the Vice President for Information Technology should establish an effective mechanism for overall prioritization, coordination and oversight of planning for the development and life-cycle replacement of University information systems.

Under this Action, OVPIT, through the UITS University Information Systems (UIS) Division, was given responsibility for all central mission-critical information systems in 1998. The University Information Systems Implementation Plan was then prepared to describe how the Actions in this area in the IT Strategic Plan would be implemented over the five years of this Plan. Since its approval, this Implementation Plan has guided the prioritization, coordination, and planning for new University-wide information systems.

A comprehensive advisory committee structure was established for the Student Information System (SIS), the Human Resources Management System (HRMS) and the Financial/Procurement Systems to provide overall advice and guidance to the development and implementation of these initiatives and ensure that end users and functional units are involved in systems design and development of major information systems. A more extensive committee and project team structure involving faculty, students, functional unit staff, and executive administration was established for the SIS and the HRMS systems. Under development is a Steering and Design Committee for the emerging Administrative Transaction Processing (ATP) environment where all enterprise-class administrative applications will operate.

Action 36. IU should implement as soon as possible a new Student Information System in a way that integrates identified best practices in providing services to students and is adaptable to future changes.

NOTE: Action 36 is subdivided in the UIS Implementation Plan as follows:

In May Indiana University announced a major initiative to overhaul the University's enterprise-wide information systems. This is the largest software engineering project that IU has ever carried out. Each facet of the re-engineering initiative delivers an important component of technology infrastructure to support IU's administrative needs. Plans include a customizable Web-based environment to enable students and employees to carry out their administrative activities in a self-service mode. Students will be able to register, pay fees, take part in advising, and check course and degree requirements. Faculty and staff will be able to access their personnel data. An information environment is also planned for executive management, deans, directors and other University staff to carry out reporting, information extraction and data analysis with timely, consistent, and meaningful information. The University expects to complete the implementation of these new information systems by 2005.

Indiana University is partnering with PeopleSoft, Oracle, IBM, and Compuware in this initiative. The model that the University is using to design, develop, and implement these systems with vendor partners will be state-of-the-art in higher education.

In June UIS hosted a University-wide UIS Reengineering Conference to communicate widely to the institution the status of these major initiatives, encourage their participation on committees and teams, and begin initial comments on transformation and change in the operational units.

36a. Student Information Systems (SIS)
Two faculty administrators were appointed as co-chairs of the SIS Steering Committee, and a project team was formed that includes technical staff from UITS and functional staff that have been dedicated to the project by key campus offices and University Administration. A detailed plan was completed for the April 2000 delivery of Admissions Phase 1 (Recruitment, Contact, and Event Management), which is on schedule for production use in Spring 2000. The admissions application and evaluation modules are on schedule for rollout in Fall 2000.

The academic structure prototype was established to assist in managing the system security, access, reporting data, mass change operations, and the automation of processes. Populating tables for the academic structure began, including such key items such as institution, campus, location, term structures, grading schemes, academic calendars, and academic organizations. A full walkthrough with all SIS constituencies was held in October. Findings were presented to the Steering Committee which unanimously approved the "multiple institution" approach for IU. Local Implementation Teams will be formed for each division across IU that will be a part of the Spring 2000 and Fall 2000 implementations.

36b. Human Resources Management System (HRMS)
A project plan was created for the first phase of the HRMS implementation. Fall 2000 implementation for the HRMS Phase 1 electronic documents is on schedule. The initial technical infrastructure required to link the common front end for administrative applications to the PeopleSoft back end was completed. Prototypes were created for the electronic documents (e-docs) that will replace the paper Personnel Action Form and the current payroll voucher. The initial conversion specifications for person data and job data from the old Employee Database to the new PeopleSoft tables were completed. The initial analysis on the linking of the New e-docs and PeopleSoft to the old payroll engine in HRIS for Phase 1 was completed.

36a&b. Common to HRMS and SIS
A team/decision model was developed for campus community issues and where HRMS and SIS overlap. Assignments were made for some 15 outstanding issues, many of which were brought to the Data Stewards, HRMS Executive Committee, and SIS Functional Advisory Committee in December. Space in Poplars was remodeled to allow most Bloomington-based SIS and HRMS project team members to be co-located. IUPUI team members will move into new space in early 2000.

IU initiated and hosted a PeopleSoft meeting with Big 10 colleagues and contributed to a memorandum by several CIC universities to PeopleSoft addressing some concerns. This initiative on the part of IU resulted in the personal involvement of the PeopleSoft CEO. A meeting of the PeopleSoft CEO and his executives with the PeopleSoft CIC institutions took place in mid-January 2000. An interactive Web site was created for the HRMS/SIS projects allowing readers to view project history and current events and to provide feedback. The common committee structure was created to advise all levels of the project. All coding and testing activities for Year 2000 for the current legacy HRIS and student systems were completed. Fourteen new staff joined the HRMS/SIS team in 1999. A few consultants were used when needed.

36c. Library Information Systems
A contract to purchase the SIRSI Unicorn product for use on all campuses was signed in early September. A SIRSI environment was established as part of the IBM-based Enterprise Unix Environment (EUE) initiative and a SIRSI Test system installed. Library and UITS support staff training data conversion algorithms for NOTIS data. Data conversion planning for Horizon data is in process.

36d. Fiscal and Procurement Systems
The Physical Plant Material Management System (MMS) was deployed on schedule in June. This was the first enterprise-level system to use the new Oracle database technology the EUE.

Migration of the FIS from the HP/Sybase platforms to the IBM/Oracle technologies began in July. Conversion to Oracle is on schedule, expected to be complete by June 2000.

The project to retrofit the Purchasing system is under way. The E-Commerce Task Force was established in June 1999 following a joint charge from VP and CFO Judy Palmer and VPIT and CIO Michael McRobbie to create a service to enable the secure use of credit cards to purchase goods and services from IU entities. Since the implementation of this facility in July, IU Press and Athletics have put services in place that utilize it. In Fall 1999, two new full-time staff were added to support underlying e-commerce technology. In January, 2000, the E-Commerce Task Force was given an expanded responsibility to establish a University E-Commerce Strategic Plan. This is expected to be complete in April, 2000.

The TimeKeeping project began in Summer 1999 with 50 major stakeholders defining scope, outlining requirements, and establishing business rules. A two-part implementation phase is timed to follow the Fall 2000 implementation of the HRMS e-documents.

The Electronic Research Administration (ERA) system, Phase 1-Release 1, went live in October, including Proposal Preparation, Proposal Route Sheet, and the Routing/Approval Engine. ERA is the first in-house system developed with Uniface and running under the Universal Request Broker Architecture (URBA) on the EUE with Oracle as the database engine. Release 2 is targeted for January, 2000, focusing on the budget preparation and approved budget integration with the FIS Contracts and Grants System. Release 3 is targeted for April, 2000, focusing on Biosafety (IBC) Protocols.

36e. Departmental Information Systems
Several major departmental information systems, including one for the School of Nursing, were completed or under way in 1999.

When Indiana University Hospital, Riley Hospital, and Methodist Hospital consolidated to create Clarian Health Partners three years ago, the Information Systems Integration Team (ISIT) was formed to work through the technology integration issues between IU and Clarian. A temporary solution allows access to the appropriate systems for people on both campuses. For the first time since the consolidation, Clarian applications can be accessed from IU locations and vice versa. The Clarian Help Desk and the IU Support Center developed, documented, and shared common procedures for identifying problems and assigning problem resolution to the appropriate body. Clarian completed a network review (performed by Lucent Technologies) that focused on the interconnection between Clarian and IU; implementation of recommendations will begin in the first quarter of 2000.

Action 37. UITS, working with the users of IU's administrative systems, should develop a common interface environment that will support the efficient and effective accomplishment of the day-to-day administrative tasks of the University.

The System Integration Team (SIT) and Usability teams are working together on this initiative with a user-centered design focus (see Actions 44 and 45). Workshops on user-centered design and usability were conducted in Summer and Fall 1999. The Administrative Transaction Processing (ATP) environment has evolved from the initial common interface environment initiative and is being developed to provide a uniform method for faculty and staff to access and conduct administrative activities. It will offer e-docs to replace paper forms used for administrative business or will replace current electronic transactions. The ATP environment has been prototyped and should be in place in June 2000 to accommodate future phases of the ERA, FIS under Oracle, and the HRMS e-docs.

Action 38. UITS should enhance its current information and IT architectures to include the use of "thin client" technologies, and employ multi-tiered architectures in future software development.

NOTE: Action 38 is subdivided in the UIS Implementation Plan as follows:

38a. Thin client
Two successful projects were deployed in 1999 using thin client technology. The Physical Plant Material Management System (MMS) was deployed in June. The IUN campus switched to this technology in Fall 1999 for its FIS users. Work began on capacity and a financial plan for expansion beyond the MMS. A plan is in place to use thin client technologies for the Spring and Fall 2000 implementations of the SIS.

38b. Enterprise Unix Environment (EUE)
Equipment was installed in March for the PeopleSoft Student Administration and HRMS production environment. Capacity requirements were gathered and a plan defined for hardware purchases for FY 1999-2000.

38c. Strategic Database Management
IU acquired a University-wide license to the Oracle database system as part of its information systems re-engineering project. This license provides Oracle to all faculty for research purposes as well as for the University's administrative systems. The transition from Sybase database technology to Oracle is the most substantial the University has ever made in this area and an implementation plan was developed to guide this transition. An Oracle database environment was established in 1999 to support ERA and MMS. Fifty-five UITS staff received Oracle and data modeling training in 1999.

Action 39. UITS should develop a consolidated information delivery environment, leveraging technologies already in use and expanding on these with newer tools. And UITS should complete implementation of an enterprise-wide data warehouse environment, currently in progress, to support university data access and information about this data. The participation of information users and all units affected is essential.

Implementation of the first phase of the IU Information Environment (IUIE) initiative is scheduled for Spring 2000. Sybase to Oracle data conversion and data modeling for the IUIE were well under way at the close of 1999. Staff were trained in Uniface Development, Web Application Server, and Component Based Development, all integral to the system.

An IUIE development team, established in late Fall, is using the new Component Based Development methodology to set up reusable modules. The team has documented high-level user scenarios and detailed business processes related to the IUIE. The Object model and plan for this effort are complete and Uniface and Web development work about to start. Hardware has been installed, and configured to support a Development and a Test/Quality Assurance environment for this application, and for its support of the Decision Support Data Warehouse.

A new development environment for SQR report writers is in place. It will be available to the SIS and HRMS report writers in January 2000. Progress has been made in converting the Decision Support data warehouse from Sybase to Oracle. Scripts were developed to convert existing data structures and data content to the new structure (rdbms), and these will be ready for production use by March 2000. The underlying configuration of the new Oracle data warehouse is finalized and standards established. Conversion of existing batch processes will continue through March 2000.

Action 40. OVPIT should reconvene the Committee on Institutional Data and conduct regular meetings with the goal of defining data administration and access policies for institutional data.

The reconvened Committee on Institutional Data (CID) is working closely with the Committee of Data Stewards (CDs) on University-wide data administration and management issues. UIS is active on both Committees.

Creation of a Data Administration group within OVPIT/UITS has been approved. This new function will establish standards and procedures in support of institutional data policies outlined by the CDs and the University IT Policy Office. The group will also work on information policy development and education, data modeling and classification, collection and maintenance of documentation and descriptive information related to technology resources, definition and documentation of data access, and authorization procedures.

Action 41. The UIS Division must continue the Year 2000 readiness initiative. This work must be completed according to a demanding timeline or the business systems of the University will fail.

The Year 2000 initiative was completely successful. Thanks to five years of careful preparation and planning, all enterprise-wide information systems made the transition to the year 2000 without any significant problems. UIS staff had inventoried, assessed, remediated, and tested all systems. Campus task forces worked with departments to ensure that important local equipment and data were not overlooked. Contingency plans were also put in place. Recommendations were documented on the Year 2000 Web site and through print and online publications. Relationships with external service and supply partners were carefully evaluated. Data exchanges with financial institutions and the federal government were assessed and tested. E-mail went to all IUB account holders in December with preparation instructions.

OVPIT activated a Y2K Command Center to monitor rollover activities starting 12/31/99. The Command Center coordinated communication during this critical period with UITS staff, operational departments, and Operations Centers at all campuses. It was officially closed at 12:30 pm on January 4, 2000, reporting no significant problems at IU. UITS staff continue to monitor systems.

The fact that IU suffered no significant Y2K problems with its information systems is a comment on the years of hard work that UITS staff put into remediating Y2K problems on all of its systems. Had this work not taken place nearly all of IU's central, mission-critical information systems would have failed. IU's response to the Y2K problem was conducted jointly with the Office of the Vice President for Administration; both Offices worked extremely effectively together to meet this challenge. IU's investment in addressing potential Y2K problems will have long-lasting benefits: among them, an assurance that IU's strategies for preparing for other unexpected events are well defined and up-to-date.

Highlights of this effort included:

Action 42. UITS should complete a disaster recovery plan with increasing levels of recovery based on systems priorities.

A plan is near completion for coordinating the recovery of computer systems and associated services in the Wrubel Computing Center in the event that the facility is rendered unserviceable. The plan provides an emergency response team and procedures for notification and gathering, damage assessment and salvage procedures, and internal and external communications, among other functions. A limited systems recovery site is being planned at a separate location at IUB, where environmentals and networking are being pre-installed to support relocated and replacement computer systems. This capability should be in place by April 1, 2000. Once these procedures are proven effective, planning for the recovery of critical services University-wide will commence.

Action 43. UITS should implement massive storage technology for storage of the University's institutional data, migrate tapes over time to the new environment, and integrate this technology with database management systems to support image, sound and video data types.

The complete automation of the storage of all the University's institutional data was finalized in 1999. All 24,000 3480 tape cartridges were converted to the new massive data storage system, the 3480 tape library was dismantled, and most of the 3480 drives were removed. A dual-copy facility was developed to improve the IBM Virtual Tape Server reliability and disaster recovery abilities, demonstrating IU's technology leadership in VTS implementations. A draft of the operations staffing plan was completed and two FTE lines were reassigned to other areas of Operations as Phase 1 of the plan. Equipment was installed in support of a first quarter 2000 project allowing the IBM SP systems that are part of the EUE to use the tape robot.

Action 44. UITS should incorporate user-centered design techniques and Usability Lab testing into all major systems development projects. This activity has been combined with Action 37 and focuses on the delineation and implementation of a complete methodology for application design, development, testing, implementation, and operation. Several workshops and training courses on user-centered design and usability were conducted.

Action 45. The UIS Division and the Advanced Information Technology Laboratory should continue evaluation and experimentation that will keep IU on the leading edge of new information systems technologies to be employed in the University's business systems.

The UIS AITL has been incorporated into the Systems Integration Team, which is overseeing Actions 37, 38, and 44. This team is concentrating on leading-edge technologies that will ensure integration of the re-engineered University information systems. A suite of Compuware Corporation tools was acquired in June for the design, development, testing, implementation, and operation of applications. A shared development environment was established, ensuring a coherent strategy for all enterprise-level development. More than 26 UITS staff were trained on the basics of Uniface Development; core groups were trained on Uniface advanced concepts and Web Application Design and Deployment; and consultation to the development teams continues, focusing on the ERA, HRMS, SIS, and the IUIE systems. UIS will soon establish a position dedicated to looking at future IS technologies that can be used for the University's information systems.


V. Teaching and Learning  |  Table of Contents  |  VII. Telecommunications

January 2000
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