Office of Learning and Information Technology

UWS CIO Council Conference Call/Meeting

December 12, 2005



CIO Retreat – Ed Meachen

The dates for the CIO retreat will be March 16-17, 2006. The agenda will focus on benchmarking using the EDUCAUSE Core Data Survey and the ECAR Student Survey. Various speakers and topics have been suggested, including the California State methodology for studying baseline funding needs for academic computing.

Many of the UW System (UWS) institutions participated in the 2005 EDUCAUSE Core Data Study ( and have access to the raw data. Different peer groups among the 908 participating institutions can be defined for comparison purposes, e.g., UW–Madison has compared itself against its participating Big 10 peers and found itself about in the middle, although it provides more services. UW–Milwaukee has also used the data to compare itself against the Urban 21 and its three closest peers. The call for participation in the 2006 iteration of the study will be announced in January.

A number of the UWS institutions participated in both the 2004 and 2005 EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) Student Surveys ( Many of the UWS institutions have already committed to participating in the 2006 iteration which will be held in the spring semester. Participating campuses need to facilitate:

  1. IRB approval or exemption. See
  2. Random samples of freshmen and seniors
  3. Sending of email to selected participants

Raffles for gift certificates are held to encourage student participation.

Each institution will receive copies of its own summary data versus summary data for all other participating institutions. Judy Caruso of DoIT has undertaken some analyses of the data from a systemwide perspective. She can provide systemwide analysis of the 2005 data for any questions that the CIO Council would find valuable. She will distribute a list of the survey questions to the CIO Council and suggestions for systemwide analysis should be sent to

BCN Advisory Council – Ed Meachen

The BCN Advisory Council will meet on January 21. UWS representatives will help staff a CALEA panel.

TCO for Printers – Brian Hutchinson

A mechanism for aggregating information and concerns regarding the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the printers available on the state contract is being investigated. A couple months ago, UW–Oshkosh forwarded a document from its perspective, but there has been no response from DOA. DOA has approved exceptions on specific orders for UW-Eau Claire in a timely fashion, but not a request for a blanket exception for particular models. UW–Platteville has also received exceptions.

At John Krogman's suggestion, a small committee will analyze large capacity, black and white printers and prepare a TCO template that campuses could fill out to provide support for a blanket exception and provide information for the Board of Regents.

Procurement Update – Lori Voss

The UWS has received a bill of $700,000 from DOA for the ACE initiative ( six months of service that covers Silver Oak services, the IBIS e-procurement process ( state procurement services. The CBOs will discuss the bill next week. All UWS institutions are urged to track any additional costs they incur as a result of using the contracts. DOA is making calls to UWSA Purchasing regarding questionable purchases, some even as low as $200. To date, there are not Wisconsin specific web interfaces to the required vendors, nor are there efforts to ensure the vendors are operating within the parameters of the contracts.

The UWSA's participation in the IBIS e-procurement effort is still being defined. IBIS requirements may go beyond the capabilities of the purchasing module within the Shared Financial System (SFS). The requirements will likely include electronic workflow and purchasing approval. These functions don't exist in the current SFS feature set. The first piece of IBIS won't likely be in place until 2007.

It is not yet clear if Adobe will put restrictions on the use of concurrent licensing.

UW–Madison IT Review

In light of Annie Stunden's upcoming retirement, UW–Madison will have an external IT Review in March led by Jack McCredie of UC–Berkeley. The first day will include discussions with the IT staff and the second day with others on campus. Annie Stunden would appreciate participation from some of the UWS CIOs on March 8.

Report from Common Systems Review Group – Ed Meachen, Dick Cleek, Annie Stunden, Ken Splittgerber, John Krogman

The last Common Systems Review Group (CSRG) meeting included a tour of UW–Madison's DoIT infrastructure. There was agreement that KRONOS is a UWS Common System and all campuses will share in the costs whether or not they use it. CSRG also recommended that Kronos implementation planning (for classified and student staff) should also be incorporated into that larger HR/payroll planning process. The maintenance (gold) will be renewed for three years and costs ($154,600/year) will be distributed to all of the UWS institutions. The release 5 Upgrade to KRONOS will be paid from the Common Systems fund.

The CSRG discussed a ten year repayment plan for the Common System budget deficit. The basis for allocating costs has not yet been determined. The CBOs are reviewing different allocation methodologies.

A draft of the shared maintenance costs for many of the Common Systems for fiscal year 2006 has been emailed to the CIOs.

At tomorrow's Collaterals meeting, a fresh look will be taken at some of the Common Systems infrastructure, such as Informatica, Brio/Hyperion and First Logic.


Report from Steering Committee – Don Mash

The Appointment, Payroll and Benefits System (APBS) Steering Committee has met with representatives from Lawson to discuss an organizational structure for a five month, high level planning and design phase. The main deliverable will be a detailed project plan with costs and milestones. The usable work that has been done to date needs to be included. Many people have changed roles recently, which will need to be taken into consideration. After the plan is released, the Lawson go live costs will need to be evaluated in light of DOA's plans and the projected costs of continuing to run the legacy system.

Update on conversations with DOA – Ed Meachen

When Don Mash met with the DOA Secretary in October 2005, they discussed the state's plans for HR and payroll and agreed to cooperate. Ed Meachen was appointed the UWS representative to the state's process. He has been meeting with several different groups at DOA, in particular Kate Nolan and her staff from the IBIS project. The implementation of the IBIS erocurement module is slated to begin in 2006. The implementations of the HR and payroll systems are not scheduled to begin until later in 2007.

Don Mash and a Lawson representative have been looking for an opportunity for the CIOs to meet with Lawson at their offices in St. Paul. Ed Meachen will coordinate a meeting after DOA indicates its direction.

APBS Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Structure – Jack Duwe

Regardless of which HR system is chosen, there are APBS organizational issues within the UWS that are being addressed by a subcommittee. A draft document has been prepared that lays out the role of UWS System Human Resources, the functional and technical responsibilities of a UW System Service Center, the role of the Service Center Operational Director and two committees:

  1. an advisory committee of personnel directors, CBOs and IT directors
  2. an executive committee that would look at long range strategies, major business processes, issues between Common Systems and the annual budget

There was no sense among the subcommittee members of a future that would include more than one service center, but the subcommittee was not charged with identifying where the center would be located or who would run it. Don Mash noted that the UW–Madison staff are currently involved in running major aspects of the legacy system and will need to be involved in any future scenarios.

SFS 8.8 Upgrade Report – Elise Barho & Dwan Schuck

8.8 Upgrade Status

The Shared Financial System version 8.8 upgrade was completed two days behind the original plan due to a problem that occurred on Thanksgiving day that necessitated rerunning certain processes. The original plan called for guinea pig campuses to use the system on Monday 11/28 and it was actually available to them on Wednesday.

There were some start-up issues which have all been remedied. The Accounts Receivables/Business Integration customizations that UW Extension required in order to to conduct their business in the near term was initially not working. In the long term, some 3,500 account codings may have to be renamed in order to use the module as delivered. Doing these recodings manually before the upgrade would have required thousands of hours of staff time.

Support requests from the campuses are settling down. There are some miscellaneous carry over tasks such as: nVision improvements, bank reconciliations,1099/W2 processing and WISDM encumbrance data cleanup

Lessons Learned

Given all of the communications, it was surprising that post go-live some users were attempting to conduct business in the training system. The site leader concept was extremely valuable and they were instrumental to the success of the upgrade at each campus. Afterwards, some admitted that they didn't test certain items as thoroughly as they should have. The group will remain intact going into the future to advise on strategic directions.

The project's methodology was to practice everything that was executed. A change that occurred in mid implementation showed the downside of not sticking to that strategy. The importance of scrutinizing and challenging all customization requests was affirmed because they will burden the system for life.

Bruce Maas noted that this upgrade effort provides best practices for the UW System to remember going forward. It was done by and for UW System on a frugal budget. It confirms that the UW System does know how to run projects. The site leaders responded to the leadership of the team. Ed Meachen will talk with Doug Bradley about issuing a press release.

Strategic Directions

There is an effort underway to define and implement an SFS governance structure that will result in alignment with the UWS institutions for strategic initiatives such as grants management and migrating UW–Madison off of the legacy system.
In particular, there will likely be focus groups for each functional area that are comprised of the site leaders. Overall coordination for payroll, grants and accounting systems needs to occur either in the CSRG or a project management office.

Future reports to the CIO Council will be made regarding progress on defining an SFS governance structure and determining directions that add value. There are over 60 small to large projects in the queue that need to be prioritized. The policy and relationship impacts of the IBIS eprocurement effort on SFS need to be anticipated and managed.

Learn@UW Utility Update – Alan Foley and Kathy Pletcher

Jeanne Blochwitz is visiting the Microsoft Technology Center in Chicago. Desire2Learn (D2L) performance testing will be conducted there in January at no cost. In early February, she will participate in an executive planning meeting with both Microsoft and D2L.

Progress in projecting D2L performance and capacity for fall 2006 was discussed. A full report will be given at the February CIO Council meeting. Over Thanksgiving, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) installed a software patch and they will do a hardware upgrade and install Microsoft Datacenter in January 2006. Their experiences will be watched closely.

If major hardware upgrades are required for fall 2006, the procurements will need to be initiated soon. Splitting apart the combined UWS database would require less time than a hardware upgrade, but once apart the database could not be put together again.

Some end of semester impacts are occurring at Learn@UW as more use is made of the gradebook.

New members have been added to the steering committee. One issue under discussion is expanding evening and weekend technical support.

Next CIO Council Meeting

The January CIO Council meeting has been cancelled. The next CIO Council meeting will be on Thursday, February 16, 2006.