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.

The University Information Systems (UIS) Implementation Plan continued to guide the prioritization, coordination, and planning for new University-wide information systems over the past year.

Advisory committees were extremely active during 2000. The Student Information System Steering Committee, the Human Resources Management System Steering Committee, and the Fiscal/Procurement Steering Committee met on a regular basis to review progress in their respective areas. The MyIU Steering Committee has been established to advise on the design and implementation of the new portal for students, faculty, and staff. As well, the E-Commerce Steering Committee was established to advise on the progress of e-business and e-commerce at IU

The University Information Systems Task Force is reconvening early in 2001 to look at progress on the UIS Implementation Plan and to advise on additional priorities in this area.

Laurie Sullivan was appointed acting director for UIS.

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.

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

36a. Student Information Systems
The new Student Information System (SIS) now under development will, when complete, enable all IU's 100,000 students to move easily through such processes as applying for admission, moving through the financial aid process, updating personal information, and requesting transcripts –all in a Web-based environment.

The first SIS module (Admissions Phase 1) was implemented in September 2000. The components of the Admissions Phase 1 implementation are prospect management, recruiting, communications, and event management for prospective students. This implementation covers all IU campuses, with the project team converting data from 10 shadow systems on eight campuses into PeopleSoft. The first iteration of the academic structure for the University within PeopleSoft was implemented. (The academic structure is the hierarchy PeopleSoft uses to divide the student population into manageable groups of students, not only for organizational and reporting purposes but also for the implementation of academic policies and processes regarding admissions, enrollment, and graduation.)

Campuses, schools, degrees, majors, minors, and grading schemes were some of the data structures configured for Admissions Phase 1. Local implementation teams on each campus facilitated the operational implementation of Admissions Phase 1 in the campus Admissions Offices. Extensive training was delivered for the 250-member Admissions Phase 1 user base. To support the end users and ensure a smooth implementation, project team members were located on site at all 10 offices for the first week following the "go-live" date. The technical infrastructure for this implementation and for future PeopleSoft module implementations was installed and tested, including hardware, operating system, database, PeopleSoft software, batch environment, decision support application, security, and backup/recovery plan. The Admissions Phase 2 modules will roll out in the Fall 2001/Winter 2002 time frame.

Foreshadowing implementation of the modules for registration and student records, which is scheduled for the 2003-2004 time frame, the ability to register on the Web was delivered, in pilot mode, to students in October 2000. Web registration will be available to all students in April 2001.

As a part of the Non-Academic Administrative Services Review initiative, the SIS Executive Committee was asked to consider possible models and ideas for integrating Student Services. The group prepared a model for integration, which was shared with various constituencies.

36b. Human Resources Management System
The Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS) project leadership has updated its project plan. The implementations of the SIS and PeopleSoft 8.0 are critical factors in delivering the electronic documents around the core PeopleSoft software, so the time frame for delivering key components was revised. The updated plan calls for implementation of PeopleSoft 8.0 modules, the electronic documents, self-service, and decision support in December 2002.

Initial prototypes of HRMS electronic documents were completed and reviewed with key stakeholders. Documentation of detailed business rules and processing specifications was completed. The design of the funding infrastructure (accounting interface) was completed.

Progress was made in developing the configuration of the major HRMS PeopleSoft modules and the technical architecture is in place. A full test run of payroll and base benefits was completed. In addition, PeopleSoft 8.0 for HRMS was installed. A set of recommendations on conversions was created.

A number of processing issues have been documented and resolved, including the initiation of the new paid-time-off plan for non-exempt employees, a new, streamlined summer pay schedule, service date calculations, and I-9 processing.

Significant progress was made in the development of the TimeKeeping application, which is on target to be delivered to a set of initial users in April 2001.

36a&b. Common to SIS and HRMS
delivery. A data architect role was defined and filled; this role was created to ensure integrity, compatibility, and integration of data and processes for SIS and HRMS. Training and support models are being shared across the two systems. The security architecture for both SIS Admissions Phase 1 and the initial specifications for HRMS have been created. Management of PeopleSoft "instances" is being handled across the two systems and procedures are in place to handle the systems' customization needs to ensure timely upgrades to the new PeopleSoft releases.

Resolution was reached on a number of shared data elements between SIS and HRMS, referred to as "Campus Community." These issues were resolved through integrated project teamwork and extensive institutional review.

36c. Library Information Systems
The new Library System, serving all libraries in the IU system, includes a Web-based catalog that allows users to navigate among the online catalog, Web resources, and Windows applications to search library resources on all IU campuses and to link to e-journals and indexes. The graphical user interface allows users to cut and paste information to e-mail and word processing programs. The conversion of data from the NOTIS and Horizon systems to the SIRSI Unicorn environment is complete; migration from current library systems involves some 5.5-million records. UITS Support Centers and Library staff have together established user support structures. Production implementation was completed in December 2000.

A new authorization method was developed to allow regional campuses access to enterprise systems, while maintaining campus-based licensing integrity for online Library resources.

The new system implementation also provides a major reengineering opportunity for all libraries throughout the University. For the first time, all libraries will use the same bibliographic record format, providing consistency across the University and school-based libraries.

36d. Fiscal and Procurement Systems
Migration of the Financial Information System (FIS) from the HP/Sybase platforms to the IBM/Oracle technologies began in July 1999, and conversion to Oracle was completed, as scheduled, in June 2000.

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 E-Commerce Task Force, charged with establishing a University E-Commerce Strategic Plan, engaged the consulting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers to assess the University's e-business activities and recommend future e-business strategies. A report was provided to executive leadership of the University. The strategy will take into account such activities as paying tuition over the Web; expanding business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions; offering a range of electronic payment options; and assuring proper accounting, tax, and auditing procedures in e-business transactions.

The architecture and design for the TimeKeeping project, commenced in Summer 1999, were completed in July 2000. A widely representative advisory committee has reviewed designs at every stage and initial implementation is expected in April 2001.

Release 2 of the Electronic Research Administration (ERA) system, which focuses on budget preparation, is targeted for April 2001. Release 3, which focuses on biosafety protocols, will follow. ERA is the first in-house, Web-based system developed with Uniface and running under the Universal Request Broker Architecture on the Enterprise Unix Environment with Oracle as the database engine.

TOPSweb, the replacement for the first release of the Web-based catalog purchasing system, was successfully converted from Perl/CGI technology to the strategic development and operating platforms utilizing IBM, Compuware, and Oracle technologies.

36e. Departmental Information Systems
Applications were developed for Nursing, IUB Orientation, the IU Publications Office, and The Tales On-Line Project.

IU-Clarian Information Systems Integration Team
A steering committee –comprising the Clarian CIO, the Clarian CTO, the School of Medicine (SOM) IT Director, the Associate Dean of Continuing Medical Education, and two UITS directors –was established. The original thirty-person committee was disbanded and replaced by targeted workgroups reporting to the steering committee. A monthly meeting of SOM local support providers and Clarian technical staff was instituted to discuss solutions to identified problems. The end results include:

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.

Action 44. UITS should incorporate user-centered design techniques and Usability Lab testing into all major systems development projects.

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.

These Actions are driving the development of the MyIU portal, which will offer the University community a single Web-based entry point to all of the University's information systems. The portal will offer information from many formats by way of a single, easy-to-use front end and serve as the user's home page, enabling access to information systems and services with a single sign-on. Content will be customized according to each user's role within the University (student, staff, faculty, prospective student, and so on). MyIU will enable robust transaction and information delivery environments. Dynamic in nature, the portal will be able to send data to users from other applications and direct users to other environments. A prototype was demonstrated to various user groups for their feedback in May and June of 2000. A pre-production release is planned for April 2001.

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.

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

38a. Thin client
Following the 1999 pilot of an environment using Citrix Metaframe with Microsoft Windows Terminal Server, coupled with the move of the Financial Information System (FIS) at IU Northwest to this technology, a robust and scalable environment was implemented in June 2000 that supports all FIS users on the other regional campuses and about 50% of the FIS users at IUB and IUPUI. The remaining FIS users were migrated in 2000 and the environment was implemented to support the first phase of the SIS delivered in September 2000. The architecture uses the newest server technology from Compaq, producing a highly scalable and supportable environment that minimizes floor space and management overhead.

38b. Enterprise Unix Environment (EUE)

Using the massive data storage tape robot, Tivoli Storage Manager (formally IBM, ADSM) automates all backups for the Enterprise Unix and NT environments. The hierarchical storage feature migrates archived log files to the tape robot reducing demand on disk capacity and database management.

38c. Strategic Database Management
The University's deployment of Oracle for support of enterprise systems continues to progress, including the transition from Sybase database technology. Currently, 35 deployments of Oracle exist to support enterprise applications; several more around the University support instruction and research.

New production uses of Oracle include:

Development, testing, and other specialized instances are in place for all production environments. Plans call for completing the conversion of all remaining UIS applications to Oracle within the next three years, running on the IBM RS/6000 SP platform.

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.

The IU Information Environment (IUIE) is a comprehensive strategy for providing Web-based data reporting and analysis tools to facilitate access to and use of the University's enterprise data stores. The core environment was completed in August 2000 and the first phase was implemented on schedule to support the first release of the PeopleSoft SIS initiative in September 2000. The Decision Support data warehouse was converted from Sybase to Oracle in June 2000.

IUIE will offer access to published reports, a library of pre-defined interactive queries, and ad hoc access to downloaded data. Access to sensitive material will be protected by appropriate security.

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.

A new data administration group was convened within the OVPIT to establish standards and procedures to support institutional data policies outlined by the Committee of Data Stewards (CDS) and the University IT Policy Office (ITPO). The group will also work on information policy development and education, data modeling and classification, collection and maintenance of documentation, descriptive information related to technology resources, definition and documentation of data access, and authorization procedures. The Committee on Institutional Data is meeting on a regular basis and considering data access issues for the upcoming institutional systems.

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 (Y2K) initiative was very successful. Details of the effort are recorded in the 1999-2000 UITS Accomplishments Report. Throughout the year, progress was tracked as leap year, registration and fiscal year 2000 closeout all passed without incident. A few minor Y2K-related problems were found and fixed early in the year.

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 should the facility be 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. Engineering of improvements for data and voice networking, electrical power, air conditioning, and other infrastructure required to support systems relocated in the limited systems recovery site (HPER 161) are near completion. Once this infrastructure is finished, refining and testing command and recovery team response procedures will begin.

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.

Back-ups for the new Enterprise Unix and NT environments are processed with the IBM tape robot, and nearly all production servers in the Wrubel Computing Center machine room are being backed up using automated software and an older tape robot.

IU continues to track improvements in storage technology leading to the implementation of Storage Area Network (SAN) environments for the University's information systems. IBM SAN technology is being considered as part of the Enterprise Unix Environment implementation, and planning is in progress to bring automation to the server back-up processing in the IUPUI machine room.


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

March 2001
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