Office of Learning and Information Technology

University of Wisconsin CIO Council

January 15, 2009

Madison, WI


CIOs and their Representatives
Nancy Crabb
Dave Dumke (by teleconference)
Jack Duwe
Chip Eckardt (by teleconference)
Marsha Henfer
Tom Janicki (by teleconference)
Ron Kraemer
John Krogman
Kathy Pletcher
Bruce Maas
Ed Meachen
Bill Meyer
Elena Pokot
Brian Remer
Mike Sherer
Ken Splittgerber
David Stack
John Tillman
Doug Wahl

Kolleen Apelgren
Lorie Docken
Ruth Ginzberg
David Hart
Jim Lowe
Paul Moriarty


Mike Sherer is the new interim CIO of UW–Platteville.

Roundtable Discussion on Campus IT Budget Planning

Ed Meachen reported that the budget committee of the Common Systems Review Group (CSRG) met on Monday with three new members. As an exercise, across the board budget cuts were discussed for each Common Systems project. There is concern about the pending impacts of the Human Resources System (HRS) implementation on institutional budgets. Further discussions will be held regarding possibly mitigating institutional contributions. The Budget Committee is well aware of the challenges the UWS institutions face in contributing to the CSRG budget in this fiscal environment.

As of today, most of the CIOs have encountered one of three fiscal scenarios:

  1. Their institution is taking a wait and see attitude regarding the budget situation and the CIOs have not yet been involved in contingency planning.
  2. Their institution realizes the value of IT, even in tough economic times, because of the efficiencies it can realize. Therefore, the CIOs have thus far been spared from any cuts.
  3. Their institution is going through an exercise of modeling cuts ranging from five to ten percent.

Bruce Maas from UW–Milwaukee explained that the situation appears to be shaping up as bad as he has ever seen. He distributed a set of guiding principles for IT budget management that were developed in concert with faculty governance. He is planning to meet with every dean and vice chancellor. He has outlined for the provost 10% in potential cuts and the consequences of each. UWM is in the process of moving the general access computer labs to a self service model. The central IT division is taking over management of the Apple Store from the Bookstore and trying to funnel all campus Apple purchases through it to generate a modest amount of revenue to pay for a support FTE. The IT division is looking to get more involved with the hiring of IT staff in schools, colleges and divisions. Similar to UW–Green Bay, they are looking at virtualizing the general access computer labs so that students not physically in the labs can still run the software. Enrollments are expected to be down, which makes the situation worse. The crisis is providing opportunities for new discussions with stakeholders.

Jack Duwe from UW–Madison reported that they are also modeling a cut. In his opinion, the CIOs may not know actual magnitude of any cuts until after the state budget is passed and governor's vetos have gone through. Since DoIT at UW–Madison generates a significant portion of its own revenue, they need to estimate revenue challenges due to cuts experienced by their customers. There may even be some increased demand for their services due to customers turning over functions to DoIT instead of running the operations themselves. DoIT is cautiously hiring staff because their position count is down. The campus strategic plan is undergoing a nearly final review and the DoIT strategic plan will be subsequently released to mesh with it. One goal will be to reduce duplications in IT.

eThority Discussion

The Student Affairs division at UW–Milwaukee has purchased an eThority software product for use in extracting data into an operational data store for budgetary commitment control over multiple years. Gartner calls it a data discovery tool. The company claims it requires no training on the part of end users. Bruce Maas distributed a campus newspaper article from his provost that expresses her support for the International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) requirements management process for making IT decisions. This process was not used in the eThority procurement at UWM. 

A second document, written by an advocate from UWM's Student Affairs division that described the product and the procurement process was distributed. A third document was distributed that outlined the payments for the product and subsequent SQL consulting services. Data is being pulled into eThority from WISDM. Server, storage, workflow, maintenance and personnel costs on the part of UWM or UWS have not yet been clearly documented. Bruce Maas encouraged the other UWS institutions to consider UWM's total investments once the system goes live before making any of their own investments.

At other UWS institutions, individuals within business units are enthusiastic about the demos they have seen of eThority and iStrategy. Ed Meachen noted the explosion of data discovery tools, such as eThority and iStrategy, in response to the need to understand data. Comprehensive business intelligence tools for the entire UW System will be expensive and the implementation timeframes will not be quick. On the other hand, a proliferation of data discovery tools across the UW System institutions could ultimately add up to a largely hidden, but more expensive investment. The council expressed the need for adequate requirements definition before procurement, including the possibility of using and/or expanding the capabilities of existing products and near term upgrades. 

UW–Parkside has had good experiences with iStrategy, but the campus-wide staff investment in forming data definitions has been larger than anticipated. The CIOs are concerned that these efforts by business units to acquire data discovery tools have not included discussion and planning with the Shared Financial System (SFS) team. The CIOs are further concerned about the long-term impacts of going down disparate paths with SFS, student systems and HR projects, and the impact of acquiring different solutions on different campuses.

The CIOs are supportive of the recommendation from Ed Meachen to proceed with the requirements management related to business intelligence needs across the UWS, which will be presented to the CSGR on January 22.

Status of PeopleSoft 9.0 Upgrades

UW-Green Bay, UW-Whitewater, UW–River Falls and UW–Plattteville are all on track for going live with version 9.0 of the PeopleSoft student system during the summer.

Employee Information Distribution

Ed Meachen reported that there are still four institutions that haven't supplied email addresses to the Identity, Authentication and Authorization (IAA) project to enable UW System offices to distribute newsletters, Employee Trust Fund statements and the like to all UWS employees. Elena Pokot reported that UW–Whitewater has a policy against the campus-wide broadcasting of email messages except in cases of emergency. Instead, they post announcements on bulletin boards and websites. They are willing to continue to post files provided by UWS for everyone and for individuals, as they do now with pay stubs. They are also be interested in connecting to a UWS portal system for such materials. Other UWS institutions have resource issues that are preventing them from getting the email addresses into IAA.

Jack Duwe recommended that a pilot implementation of a UWS portal be launched in the new few months. Lorie Docken has concerns regarding how such a service would eventually migrate to the upcoming HRS system. David Dumke recommended moving to a portal system now, regardless of what kind, rather than developing a new email system that will be replaced by the HRS system. Ed Meachen will communicate these thoughts to Dick Laufenberg.

UW System Procurement Update

Ruth Ginzberg announced that a new purchasing associate will start tomorrow. A search is underway for the procurement director position and the finalists have been interviewed.

The Department of Justice is trying to determine if it is worth filing a claim against MPC regarding service for Gateway computers. The department may be requesting additional data from the UWS instituitons regarding the numbers of computers and their remaining warranty periods. UW–Platteville, UW–Green Bay and UW–Stevens Point have the largest investments in Gateway computers. It may not be worthwhile for the other institutions to go through the data collection exercise. Institutions that want to do their own bidding for Gateway repair services are free to do so.

The Microsoft Select contract will be renegotiated in August. A committee will be formed soon with volunteers recommended by the CIO Council; perhaps the same people who participated in the last iteration. The program is now known as Microsoft Select Plus.

Dave Dumke distributed an email message to the CIO Council regarding his discussions with ImageNow. Consequently, UW–Stevens Point will be looking into other solutions. The HRS system will generate new demands for imaging and a requirements management effort should be undertaken in the future.

There is now a contract with Huron Consulting for planning the HRS implementation.

The results of the networking hardware bid will be opened in a week.

The UWS Purchasing Office has been asked by several UWS institutions about specifications for software as a service (SaaS), in particular with regards to security. A small UWS workgroup will be formed by Ruth Ginzberg.

Qualtrics Survey Software Update

Bruce Maas distributed a one page summary of UWM's project for selecting a campus-wide survey tool. Until now, UWM has been expending considerable funds in departments across the campus to procure various survey software solutions. Faculty with expertise in survey research were engaged in a requirements management process to identify a vendor hosted survey tool because the UWM data center is very near capacity. Copies of the requirements document are available. Qualtrics and several other products meet the stated requirements. Several institutions within the UWS already have Qualtrics contracts and the vendor has indicated what their future costs might be for a system-wide license for hosted services.

Data Sanitization RFP

Jim Lowe and Kolleen Apelgren reported that the CSRG funded the procurement of a data sanitization product for common systems. The 2007 assessment exercise of the SFS infrastructure recommended moving personal information out of non production environments. Several vendors responded to an RFP offering templates that match the UWS PeopleSoft/Oracle environments. There are two licensing options: running products at the UWS institutions, which would likely require financial investments by the institutions, or running the products as a central service at UW–Madison that would likely be fully covered by the CSRG funds. The CIOs would like to see the RFP document before recommending a strategy. Once the RFP process is completed a demo will be provided via Wisline web.

There was a discussion of the problems associated with providing 1098T forms to be downloaded by students.  Many students thought it was a phishing hoax so the forms for those students needed to be mailed out.  It was a much disorganized process and the company could not do digital signatures.  Jack Duwe suggested that a meeting be called in February for Jim Lowe and Ginger Hintz to begin the planning for next year.  Ginger is scheduling a meeting and Ed will follow up on the meeting.

HRS Update

Lorie Docken reported that the Huron contract had been signed and it included a statement of work for the next phases.  Huron will provide 12 to 14 consultants to work with the HRS Project Team to do a deeper review of the gaps and also more analysis of business processes.    Huron is also looking more closely into the technical and design specs for the system.

Other Items

Elena Pokot asked about network issues and the new pricing model.  Ed indicated that Dave Lois will be discussing the new proposed pricing model at the February CIO meeting.  There was also a general discussion of the federal government’s stimulus package and how it might provide funding for important network infrastructure in Wisconsin

Next CIO Council Meeting

The next meeting of the UWS CIO Council will be Thursday, February 19, 2009.