Office of Learning and Information Technology
University of Wisconsin System CIO Council Meeting
May 19, 2011
|CIOs and their Representatives||Guests|
Irina Bezroukova by teleconference
Joe Kmiech by teleconference
Nick Dvoracek, Director of Learning Technologies, will succeed Ken Splittgerber as CIO of UW-Oshkosh on July 1. Ed Meachen thanked Splittgerber for his years of service and, in particular, effectively leading the Student Information System Executive Committee for several years.
UW Extension’s Community Area Network Grants Update
UW Extension has received two federal grants for fiber infrastructure grant and a sustainable broadband adoption. Andy Lewis is the project manager for the sustainability grant. Getting the people, contracts and federal reviews in place have taken more time than anticipated. There are also backlogs for materials and the synergistic road construction projects.
A webinar is planned for next week that will focus on how Wisconsin can dovetail with the National E-commerce Initiative for Connecting Rural Communities. Additional webinars are planned for the fall along with a virtual inventors and entrepreneurs clubs. There are 40 such site-based clubs in Wisconsin already.
Wisconsin Public Television is producing short video case studies of best practices for broadband use. Outreach educators have been hired to provide site-based educational opportunities in each of the five demonstration communities.
A question was asked as to how build a community area network (CAN) outside of the demonstration communities. Lewis explained that it is possible to bring up a CAN without a grant, and the lessons learned from the grant will help follow-on networks that don’t have external funding. Any resources that are developed by the grant will be shared with all communities.
Further information can be found at broadband.uwex.edu or by contacting Andy Lewis directly. Information is also being distributed via the WiscNet Wire electronic newsletter.
Kathy Pletcher described the efforts in building the NE Wisconsin Community Area Network (NEWCAN) and the interconnection of various Green Bay area networks.
HRS Transition Planning Process
Bruce Maas reprised the presentation he delivered at the Wisconsin IT Symposium on May 11, 2011. He explained that the Human Resources System (HRS) project was driven by a number of factors including:
|•||Legacy payroll system from 1975|
|•||Cobol mainframe architecture|
|•||Few programmers with the requisite skills|
|•||Complex business requirements|
|•||700 shadow systems across the UWS|
The magnitude of the effort can be illustrated by several metrics:
|•||$2 billion payroll|
|•||$5.3 billion enterprise|
|•||24 bargaining units|
|•||72 county health insurances|
|•||5,000 foreign nationals|
|•||60 country tax treaties|
The project included functionality for:
|•||Time and Labor|
|•||PeopleSoft/Oracle financial system|
|•||Legacy budget system|
The design of the transition to the new system was begun in May 2010 and the stabilization will continue through at least January 2012. Maas was responsible for ensuring that the UWS would be ready for the transition phase and documenting what would be needed to run the business after go live. He also focused on designing and building a new Service Center organization to provide operational support.
Maas worked half time on the project in conjunction with a UWS project manager. The Huron consulting group was retained to calculate the amount of work - both per module and cumulative – that would be necessary to deliver services in the new environment. Huron also calculated error rates and break/fix rates and helped size the necessary IT support structure. Huron identified the needed staff roles and competencies and created a staged plan for hiring some 30 people in a four-month timeframe. Meanwhile the UWS stakeholders:
|·||Identified salary rates based on market factors and job responsibilities|
|·||Created job descriptions|
|·||Participated in the recruitments|
The HRS project has necessitated certain changes:
|•||DoIT staff are now co-located with Service Center staff|
|•||Silos between the functional and administrative units have been broken down|
|•||Trust issues are being addressed|
|•||Legacy and new staff are being integrated|
|•||Project leaders and operations leaders are working together|
Some of the unanticipated challenges included:
|•||Running out of time with a fixed go-live date based upon the UWS business cycle, and the budget authorization|
|•||Accommodating the potential impacts of a Budget Repair Bill that was delayed, passed, legally challenged, and finally delayed just days before the cutover|
Some five weeks after go-live, the system is:
|•||Encountering normal challenges such as:|
|•||Training of staff who were not part of the project|
Project accomplishments include:
|•||Brand new call center working well|
|•||Technical and business operational organizations working together effectively|
|•||“Buddy” system of project staff paired with operational staff working effectively|
|•||Command Center decision-making and communications improving|
The next steps include:
|•||Continued stabilization for a period of months|
|•||Two additional releases over the next year|
|•||Replacing workarounds with new functionality|
Some of the lessons learned are:
|•||The need for earlier integration of planning between the project team and the transition team|
|•||The need for eliminating the isolation of the project team and the legacy operational team|
|•||The success from doing better job of planning than any other UWS project|
|•||The success of using an industrial engineering approach to workload estimation|
Ed Meachen compared the maturity of this project with that of the failed APBS project that underestimated the overall complexity of the effort. This is the largest IT project ever attempted in UWS history and Maas’s role in leading the transition on a half time basis was crucial. Elena Pokot noted that this was also the most transparent project the UWS has undertaken. She recommended that the team do follow-up debriefings on a campus-by-campus basis.
Draft Proposal For HRS Service Center Governance
Bruce Maas explained that HR policy management rests with UW System Administration. The Service Center Executive Committee reports to them as well. The Operational Management for HRS is headquartered at UW-Madison where the DoIT staff and the Service Center Operational Team work together.
The existing HRS governance structures will be in transition for a year. The Service Center Executive Committee will continue but three project groups will be phased out:
|•||Service Center Advisory Committee|
|•||HRS Project Steering Committee|
|•||HRS Decision Council|
The Service Center Executive Committee will expand to include more additional members from around the UWS.
The final composition of the Service Center Steering Committee will include more members from the comprehensive institutions.
The Institution HR Director’s Group already has representation from each institution and HRS will be a standing agenda item at their meetings.
The Service Center/DoIT Operations Leadership and Management Teams will continue to meet on an ongoing basis.
Bruce Maas’s role in the transition comes to a close at the end of May.
HRS Project Update
Elise Barho reported that the HRS system has been functioning well overall since go-live even though there are some frustrations at the UWS institutions. Some of the go-live challenges have been resolved and others will take more time.
In the first 30 minutes after go-live, there was a record number of users who collectively caused significant performance degradation. A number of corrective actions have been taken and additional investments have been made in testing for phases 2 and 3.
Using the Time, Labor and Absence Management module has been challenging for both the UWS institutions and for the project team. The module brings about changes compared to how business used to be done. For example, 90% of people who presumably work a fixed schedule that has been coded into HRS are actually reporting variations each week. Different departments on the UW-Madison campus have large numbers of employees, such as Residence Life, and different processes. Negotiating changes in business processes will require involvement from the UWS institutions over a period of months. Next week, there will be three days of open labs for the UWS institutions to work on the issues and brainstorm a sustainable future.
Short-term challenges exist in payroll because of changes in FICA and business process issues such as the procedures for issuing off-cycle checks. However, the core engine is working.
Communications between the project team and the UWS institutions are still challenging. People prefer to receive single-subject email messages rather than regularly checking the project intranet site for themselves. Call Center volume has been high and the project team is now providing triage services and efforts are being made to inform callers of the resolutions to the issues they have reported. David Dumke recommended a mechanism for the UWS institution staff to provide feedback to the Call Center regarding the actual success of the resolution.
Darrien Jones explained the layers of the HRS technology dependency stack are:
|•||Cypress and TWS|
|•||Reverse Proxy Service|
|•||The Wisconsin Federation|
It wasn’t possible to do a full integration test of the all the layers before go-live. There were consequences of unanticipated actions on the part of some supervisors and the impact of HRS upon the other items in the stack. Fuller testing will be done before phases 2 and 3 to be better prepared for abnormal circumstances.
Lorna Wong reported that the contract for Elluminate Live! was signed in late April and takes effect in June. It is important that the current usage of Elluminate from within D2L is not interrupted. It will also be a challenge to provision the non-D2L usage of Elluminate in the short term because it doesn’t support federated access.
Wong proposed the creation of a central entity for Elluminate at UW System Administration that will provision different levels of administration. Each UWS institution will also need to appoint one or more contact persons for training, coordination, help desk support, user provisioning, etc.
The Council requested a review of the D2L-Elluminate account provisioning by the DoIT Middleware team to ensure that credentials remain secure. Since Elluminate is not yet SAML compliant, the Council expressed concern regarding account provisioning for non-D2L usage. Wong suggested that a manual process for account creation might be needed for non-D2L usage if the UWS institutions don’t want to wait until SAML is ready. The Council members are willing engage with Blackboard to advocate for raising the priority of SAML compliance in their product roadmap.
Bruce Maas suggested that Elluminate present a system-wide web conference on the product components, integration, consulting services and a recommended deployment plan that would open to those from the UWS institutions who work on help desks, access management, learning technology, media support and and training. Lorna Wong would appreciate feedback on her projected timeline and the names of the institutional team members before the webinar.
e-Portfolio Transition to Production
Lorna Wong reported that the UWS has acquired a license to provide system-wide access to the D2L e-Portfolio product effective July 1, 2011. There will not be much work for the institutions that are already participating in the pilot. Institutions that are not already part of the pilot and that wish to implement e-Portfolio will have to pay a set-up fee and submit a participation form to Wong. Orientation sessions for new users are being scheduled for this summer, beginning at UW-Stevens Point on July 8. Wong is also coordinating the system-wide sharing of generic training materials.
SIS Executive Committee Update
Ken Splittgerber reported that the Campus Solutions Forum on April 21 included at least 116 participants at both the Pyle Center at via videoconference. The April timeframe appeared to work better than the previous July Forum. The entire three-hour session is available for streaming on the web. Separate streams of the nine individual sessions are pending. Longer follow-up sessions will take place at the WHEPSUG conference.
The first face-to-face meeting of the Student Information System (SIS) contacts from each UWS institution has been held. The group discussed the redesign of the Central Data Request (CRD), the MILER resources and the status of the General Ledger interface. The SIS contacts will meet twice per year; once after the Forum and once at WHEPSUG.
The SIS Executive Committee is looking for replacements for three members. To stay informed, Splittgerber recommended that people subscribe to the communications list via the Student Information Systems link in the Communities section of the SIS communication hub, comsys.uwsa.edu .
Role of UW System and CIOs as an OLIT Interest Group
Ed Meachen recalled the formation of an advisory committee charged with examining the structure, budget, funding, value and future of UW System Administration. The committee’s first meeting is on May 31. The facilitator is former UW-Superior chancellor Terry MacTaggart.
Preliminary work is underway and Meachen enumerated the six major efforts that are undertaken by the UWS Office of Learning and Information Technology (OLIT) in cooperation with partners:
|1.||Technology for teaching & learning|
|2.||Development and top level management of major administrative systems|
|3.||Wide area networking|
|4.||Library automation and collection enhancement|
|5.||Overall UWS IT planning|
|6.||R&D in emerging technologies.|
OLIT will engage various interest groups, such as the CIOs, the library directors and the Learning Technology Development Centers in preparation for its engagement with the advisory committee.
Much of the revenue that goes to OLIT is passed through to support library subject matter databases, networking and other services that are used by all of the UWS institutions. In the event of budget cuts to UW System Administration, these services could be impacted which would result in increased costs and/or decreased services to the UWS institutions.
Assembly Bill 14
Dave Lois reported that Assembly Bill 14, if passed, would largely deregulate telecommunications in the state and remove much of the Public Service Committee’s (PSC) enforcement authority in 2013. Potential increases in rural phone rates would no long be held in check by the PSC. The PSC would also probably not be involved in regulating Voice over IP traffic (VoIP). The future of the Wisconsin Universal Service Fund under this bill is unclear.
Dave Lois reported that work is going forward on the items in the WiscNet strategic plan. An additional enterprise services director is coming onboard. A recruitment for a service director position for the CANs will be opened soon. A chief technology officer will also be recruited, possibly as a shared position with UW-Madison. WiscNet can provide the customer service front-end for technology services based at the UWS institutions as they do now for the network infrastructure, which is largely based at UW-Madison.
At the direction of the board, three teams of WiscNet staff are looking into investments in the areas of infrastructure, fiber and CANs.
IAA/IAM Governance Structure
Chris Holsman reported that at least one UWS institution has experienced issues with the my.wisconsin.edu portal due to students not fully logging out when using shared computers. The onscreen messaging will be improved to make it clear that all browser sessions should be closed.
The automated feed of HRS data to institutional Oracle Campus Solutions implementations is operational. Additional campuses can be brought onboard during the summer.
The Authorization Hub is on track for retirement at the end of the calendar year. The major volume of traffic is due to Learn@UW which is why the UWS institutions are being migrated to federated authentication.
WiscNet, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison are sponsoring three Wisconsin Federation events in July. Details are on the WiscNet website .
The UWS needs better governance of the technical infrastructure and direction of the identity management system, as many new services are due to come online. Ed Meachen and Lori Docken recommend broadening the existing governance mandate as opposed to creating a new group. The IAA Memorandum of Understanding that is signed by the UWS institutions may be rewritten to better define the charge.
Alternative to Adobe Forms
Some UWS institutions are using Qualtrix as an alternative to incurring the licensing charges associated with using Adobe’s fill in the blank forms that include capabilities for saving data.
June CIO Meeting
The June 23 CIO Council meeting will be held at 780 Regent Street in Madison.
Meeting dates, directory of the UWS CIOs and meeting summaries are available at http://www.uwsa.edu/olit/cio/