Office of Learning and Information Technology
University of Wisconsin CIO Council
February 21, 2008
Regent Street, Madison, WI
- Oracle Academy
- Alliance Conference
- 1098T Reporting
- State Template for IT Reporting
- UW Service Center
- Oracle Contract Update
- Procurement Update
- Supply Management Update
- ITMC Conference
- CAF Results & How UWSA Achieved LOA2
- Common System Update
- HRS Project Update
- Advantage Wisconsin Update
- D2L Performance - Letter to Faculty
- Meeting Dates
CIOs and their Representatives
Ed Meachen introduced to new OLIT staff members: Lisa Jewel, the new Library Coordinator, and Andy Taylor, who will support Lorie Docken on issues related to Common Systems and large projects.
Tom Scott explained that the traditional interaction between IT departments and endusers progresses through the phases of argument, code development and product release. The process then repeats. Even 25 to 30 years ago, that process was changing. Today, we purchase completed systems because it provides faster time to implementation. This obviates the relationship between the IT staff and the end user community. The IT staff don't really know their way around the code and the endusers don't know how to get the product to do what they want.
The solution is fewer traditional IT staff and more "setup artists". These are people who know the product so well that they can configure it to do what the endusers want. As Doug Hendrix says, we know how to use products to do what we've been doing, but not how to exploit them to take us into the future. To do this, we need to change IT divisions from coders to consultants. Oracle consultants cost from $200 - $300 per hour on a contract basis and the demand is so high that the supply isn't large enough to provide a pool from which we can hire regular staff members.
The roadblock to training our own consulants is the lack of affordable opportunities from Oracle University. HUEG has approached Oracle University to act as a reseller of training credits at a discounted rate. Oracle doesn't allow this across institutional lines.
Another solution would be to grow our own IT consulting staff in the UW System via the Oracle Academy, which has three distinct academic curricula:
- Introduction to Computer Science and Business, which is focused on technical high schools
- Advanced Computer Science, which is focused on college and university computer science departments
- Enterprise Business Applications focused on 2 and 4 year post secondary students and graduate students in computer science and business schools
There are perhaps 9 staff members already within the UWS who already have Oracle Advanced Computer Science training. Perhaps the UWS could institute one or more Advanced ERP programs to grow our own consultants from our existing student base.
The CIO Council was interested, but the challenge is to encourage faculty to adopt someone else's curriculum. This is a long term approach that won't help with finding talented staff in time for upgrades a year from now.
The UWM IT center has developed a strategic partnership to with its School of Information Studies on curricular issues.
Ken Splittgerber observed that the long time business analysts who work in IT shops are retiring, which is causing concern within the business units.
Ed Meachen recommended the formation of a small group of CIOs to pursue this further, perhaps in a 2 + 2 arrangement with technical institutions.
Ed Meachen reported that tomorrow the chancellors will discuss attendance at the Alliance Conference once more in light of the state's travel restrictions and the compelling justifications that are being raised from around the UW System. The Las Vegas location is problematic despite the value of the training and the economy of having a mid-week conference in that location.
One strategy for reducing the risks of upgrading to Student Administration version 9.0 includes bringing training into the state. The UWM staff feel that the most important part of the Alliance Conference is hearing from the Oracle staff.
According to Tom Scott, refunds of the conference registration fees are not possible.
Ed Meachen reported that reporting of 1098T tax forms students was outsourced for the 2007 tax year. The company sent email messages to students that looked very similar to a phishing scam. Some students and parents have reacted negatively, and this is bad practice in light of the security awareness campaigns at the UW System institutions. The upside is that the reactions show the effectiveness of the security campaigns. Bruce Maas recommened that IT security professionals be involved in the formulation of RFPs for new products.
Ed Meachen explained that the policy that he and the CIO Council created for reporting large projects was submitted to the Board of Regents. He also reported to the board that it was not feasible to supply IT project plans this year except for those institutions that already had such a document prepared. Links to the institutions who already have such documents will be posted on the OLIT website, along with a high level summary of the themes and issues that are common to those plans. All UWS institutions will need to report a plan in March 2009. The question is whether all of the UWS institutions should follow a similar template and/or dashboard. If so, approval for that approach would be sought at the April 2008 board meeting and the format delivered to the regents by June 1.
A draft template will be discussed at the next CIO Council meeting.
Jack Duwe invited Dick Laufenberg and Carla Raatz to discuss data requests from UWS institutions and state agencies to the Service Center. Carla Raatz explained that this issue came to a head with requests from campuses for views of peoples' email and home addresses. When the views are launched, there will probably be a lot of requests for the data. The default will be that campuses can access their own data to the extent that people have made that information releasable.
Dick Laufenberg distributed a list of the types of newsletters, ballots and other communications that are distributed to all employees in the UW System on a regular basis from the UWS, ETF and DOA. One example is the Trust Fund News. The distribution formats vary between personalized hardcopy, email messages that include a link, or files. The UWS institutions have been complaining about the number of data files they are receiving. Last fall, there were many solicitations for benefit enrollment opportunities and the like.
Changes in the unclassified leave policy will result in a number of PDF files being sent to each institution. Some campuses will surface these documents in portals, others will forward them to employees as email attachments. At some institutions, a matching between each person ID number and social security number has to take place locally. All of the processes are error prone and the stakes with social security numbers are high. A more standardized approach would be valuable and prudent.
As an example, Bruce Maas suggested that ETF provide the UWS institutions with the requirements they are trying to accomplish regarding their surveys as opposed to handing the UWS a solution. John Krogman pointed out that delivering the unclassified leave statements electronically is another example of a top down directive that came on top of all other work with no involvement of the UWS institutions as to the best method to achieve the desired results. David Dumke suggested there should be a general set of standing requirements that could be used when responding to specific information and distribution requests. Some of this functionality could be built into the new HRS system. Kathy Pletcher suggested that principles and processes be defined now in preparation for the new HR system.
Ed Meachen will coordinate the formation of a working group the includes both IT and HR staff.
Doug Flee and Lori Voss reported that progress has been made in the Oracle database contract negotiations. Decisions need to be made on whether or not additional products, such as Real Application Clusters, Active Data Guard, Provisioning Pack and Configuration Pack, will be purchased. The UWS is still waiting for receipt of an ammendment from Oracle to update legacy product names. A three year maintenance cap is being offered to the UWS, instead of ten years as in the previous contract.
The decision at hand is whether the UWS should pay one amount to true up according to the existing contract terms, or spend significantly more to add products that would enhance reliability, availability and performance under a new contract that is based purely on headcounts. Several Council members pointed out that the additional products would directly benefit the UWS Common Systems more than individual institutions. It would be better for the CIOs if at least a portion of the costs came to the campuses as part of the Common Systems charges rather than as an IT license cost.
The consensus was to go forward with additional products and to try and share the costs with the Common Systems.
The purchase order has been processed to pay the current maintenance on the existing set of products. Partial bills for maintenance contracts, not including the true up, have already been distributed to the UWS institutions.
Lori Voss introduced Ruth Ginzberg who has been with the procurement office for a month. She has been working on Apple's request to have a self service agreement signed at the UW System level. Some UWS institutions have already signed self service agreements, which makes sense for the institutions that want to do their own Apple warranty work. It does not make sense for those institutions that want to engage in do-it-yourself maintenance and acquire such parts as keyboards, mice and memory because there is already a WSCA contract for ordering peripherals. Due to issues with the WSCA contract, another alternative is being pursued.
Yesterday, DOA held a seminar on software licensing. The presenter contended that the economic downturn is going to drive the large software vendors to lawsuits as a replacement revenue stream. It is important to be as diligent with license compliance as possible.
Ruth Anderson reported that the supply steering committee just had its first meeting. There are already two draft reports from Ciber Inc. on the use of functionality in the current production systems and the charter of the new project. The scope of the supply management project needs to be defined. The UWS is looking to be as strategic as possible in acquiring goods and services, but the tools currently at our disposal are rather outdated.
There was a discussion of the new travel restrictions and the consensus of the CIO Council was to go ahead with the April in-state ITMC meeting. In particular, Ed Meachen hasn't yet had a chance to brief the IT staff in general regarding the HRS project and collateral systemwide technologies, including BPI, data warehousing and identity and access management. Perhaps there could also be presentations from those who go to the HEUG conference. The conference registration website will be activated next week.
Stefan Wahe and Dave Alarie discussed the Follow-up Assessment Report for the Credential Assessment Framework (CAF) effort. UW System Administration will be compliant at the Level of Assurance-2 (LOA-2) this spring, and UW–La Crosse will achieve it in the fall. There are still issues surrounding whether or not there is a unique person or object attached to each token or identifier.
Kathy Pletcher asked about using generic business accounts for student employees in various offices, such as student@uwX.edu or librarian@uwX.edu. Stefan Wahe replied that it is important that attributes be passed along to IAA to ensure that such accounts do not have access to SFS or other secure systems. In other words, it is not required that every record in the credential store be at LOA-2 so long as the appropriate records are specifically designated LOA-1. Another alternative would be to have two separate credential stores, one for each level of assurance. Most of the UWS institutions answered the prior surveys in the context of their entire credential store, which would make it difficult to ever achieve LOA-2.
Kathy Pletcher asked about the CAF requirement that specifies each individual must produce a picture ID to get an account. Generally speaking, students are not required to produce picture IDs during the registration process. Stefan Wahe replied that only those who gain access to the secure systems would have to produce IDs and the credential store would have to make note of that fact. Identity proofing doesn't have to be the responsibility of the IT department, it could be done elsewhere on campus.
David Alarie believes that those who run the applications systems need to determine what level of assurance is required, e.g., SFS may require a different level than the library system or D2L. For the present, LOA-2 only applies to those people who use SFS.
Elena Pokot focused on the distinctions between self-service access versus management access that would allow individuals to look at records of people other than themselves. Until today, the CIOs were under the impression that they were trying to provide the same level of assurance for everyone on campus.
David Dumke asked for more specific guidance toward meeting the requirements in light of these new understandings. UW–Whitewater has proposed a sliding scale of compliance. The next step will be to do a third assessment in August 2008 that will include the auditing of some of the controls, e.g., a review of password policies.
Before the meeting, Ed Meachen distributed a potential funding scenario for Common Systems. A presentation will be made at the chancellor's meeting tomorrow the covers the Common Systems budget for this year, the proposals for the various projects and the net budgets approved by the Common Systems Review Group (CSRG). The costs to continue with other other projects have been examined carefully and there will likely be questions from the chancellors about whether additional cutting will be possible. The costs of the HRS and Supply Management projects in fiscal year 2009, and the ultimate migration to Oracle Fusion, are largely unknown at this point. It is hoped that the chancellors will approve the budget.
The Common Systems financing plan carefully divides financing from budget. Four financing scenarios will be presented to the chancellors that are based upon a model that can be adjusted with different parameters for payment schedules, debt reductions, etc.
Lorie Docken reported that five of the six HR System team lead positions have been filled with highly qualified, experienced people who will start by the end of March. There is one failed search.
The approach to the fit-gap process is being refined. Elise Barho has been talking with the UWS institutions regarding how they can be engaged, both as individual institutions and regionally, especially with regard to processes that vary across the UW System. There will be weekly Friday teleconferences that cover the fit-gap progress and the status for the week. Overview sessions will be broadcast and archived via Wisline Web. Site leaders at each campus will coordinate participation in the events.
All of the agendas for the fit-gap sessions have been completed except one. Those will be distributed shortly. The steering committee has already participated ina five hour overview of the HR product. Steering committee meetings will be held monthly.
Advantage Wisconsin is the strategic framework that UWSA and the Board of Regents will use for interacting with the UWS institutions on the Growth Agenda for the next 10 years. It is designed to be flexible to dovetail with campus needs. Budget requests for 2009-11 will have to be structured around the ten action items.
The UWS libraries have been working on a research budget initiative for 2009-11. Researchers rely heavily upon electronic resources, but the libraries have not had an increase in purchasing power over the last ten years despite approximately 10 percent annual increases in journal costs, not to mention the need to expand resources into new areas. Electronic journal subscriptions tend to be more expensive than paper resources, but they are what the faculty are demanding. Over the last decade. unds have been significantly shifted away from paper to electronic resources. A DVD is being produced for the March provost meeting that will highlight the library needs from the perspectives of students and faculty.
Kathy Pletcher reported that D2L performance issues have led to a faculty resolution at UW–Whitewater and talk of similar actions at the other UWS institutions. She has drafted a letter to the faculty that has been shared with the D2L steering committee. She will send the letter to the CIOs that they can circulate or not as they wish. A report will be issued shortly regarding the steps that are being taken with the D2L company to improve their underlying business processes.
The next meeting of the UWS CIO Council will be on March 20 in Madison. Meeting dates, the directory of UW CIOs, and CIO Council meeting summaries are available at: www.uwsa.edu/olit/cio/.