Office of Learning and Information Technology
University of Wisconsin CIO Council
December 13, 2007
Friederick Center, Madison
- IBIS Executive Steering Committee
- IT reporting
- E-mail issue
- Supply Management project
- HRS update
- WiscNet update
- Future BCN
- Oracle update
- UW-Extension registration system
- SIS Roadmap follow-up
- Owner groups for interfaces
- HRS collateral and related systems
- Meeting dates
CIOs and their Representatives
Ed Meachen attended a meeting of the state's IBIS Executive Steering Committee yesterday. Dan Schooff is the project sponsor. The steering committee is made up of heads and deputy heads of state agencies. The committee's focus is on facilitating communications. The budget for phase 1 is $25.5M. They are endeavoring to have one, common vendor file that is shared by all agencies. It will be maintained by the state controller's office. Only those purchase orders that are open for fiscal 2009 will be entered into the system.
Twenty contractors, three technical staff and five team leader positions will be recruited. Business expertise will be drawn from within the state agencies via re-assignments of 80% of peoples' times.
The state agencies are generally supportive of the project despite concerns about the timeline.
Ed Meachen has spent a considerable amount of time working on the reporting requirements specified in Act 20. After careful examination of the legislation, it is clear that every clause is predicated upon the IT strategic plans of the institutions, which should be focused on large IT projects that cost over $1M or are designated "high risk" even if they cost less. Most, if not all, institution-level projects are under $1M. Presumably, hardware procurements and ongoing maintenance fees aren't considered IT development projects.
If the Board of Regents (BOR) is concerned about something in an institutional IT plan, they can hold up the project until they can review it. The Joint Committee can also be brought into the discussion.
The institutional strategic plans are slated to go to the Board in March. The large/risky projects have to be reported twice per year. The legislation appears to imply that if a project's completion date or budget changes, the BOR needs to be notified.
Some of the Act requirements for the UWS are parallel to those that are applicable to the state agencies, and some are not. The state has various control strategies that aren't applicable to institution-level projects.
The UWS Common Systems and other systemwide projects are the only ones which are likely to meet the Act's reporting criteria. The Common Systems Roadmap serves at the strategic plan for the UW System.
The UWS OLIT office is working with the BOR to define what deliverables are required by March 1.
Given the statutory governance structures at the institutions, it isn't feasible to generate actual IT strategic plans (as opposed to project plans) for the institutions that don't already have them by March 1. It would be possible to submit both current and out-of-date plans from the institutions that have them. Links to the plans at the institutional websites would be sufficient.
A legislator asked the Legislative Fiscal Bureau to report the costs of running the UWS institutional email systems. At many UWS institutions, it is difficult to separate email costs for students, faculty and staff. The costs of surrounding services are also difficult to disaggregate. Ed Meachen explained that the UWSA staff who talk with the Legislative Fiscal Bureau have replied with a letter based upon the CIO Council's email discussions. It is not yet clear whether this will be sufficient. Bruce Maas reported that he participated in a panel discussion at the recent ECAR Symposium which revealed that there is no clear consensus among institutions of higher ed as to whether or not email should be outsourced. The Burton Group reports that it is too early for institutions to buy into email outsourcing services in a big way.
Ann Marie Durso reported that UW–Parkside's Microsoft Live contract is working well. Microsoft has 570 schools and over 7M students worldwide using the Live product, including all of the K12 and higher ed institutions in Chile. Microsoft is working on the issues that the CIO Council has raised. The student accounts are good for a lifetime with no charge. Email can be restored in the event of a technical problem, but deleted mail is only kept for five days. The university still controls the entire front end of the process, e.g., account provisioning and list management. UW–Parkside does not send FERPA-sensitive materials through email. Since going to Live, they are investing almost no labor in student email, which is encrypted and has a much better interface than their legacy system. UW–Parkside has chosen to provide first level help desk services. More than 50% of help desk tickets are generated by faculty and staff, not students. In the next step, the email traffic will be routed directly to Microsoft instead of being re-routed through their Ranger mail. Once this happens, UW–Parkside will no longer need to filter the student email. Microsoft does not own the contents of email messages and, in the event of a subpoena, would defer to the university's processes.
The Council agreed that it is not out of the question for any other UWS institution to outsource with a free, commercial email service. Several institutions are looking at free, commercial services for alumni.
UW-Whitewater has looked at their costs for providing student email, and the result is much less than the alleged $10-$12 per mailbox that is quoted in the press. It would be worthwhile for the other UWS institutions to perform similar analyses.
About 1.5 years ago, UWS bought the entire PeopleSoft supply chain suite. A recent UWS Supply Management Implementation Planning Project (SMIPP) report only focuses on purchasing, not the entire change. Ed Meachen reported that the scope and charter for the entire project has not yet been determined. The SFS Executive Committee has decided to create a steering committee for the project. Ruth Anderson will head the committee. Both she and Ed Meachen are the sponsors. The Ciber consultants that are working on DOA's supply project are doing extensive interviews and looking at DOA's relationship to the UW System. The SMIPP steering committee will need to stay connected with their counterparts from DOA.
Ed Meachen reported that the HRS visioning conference went well. Data on the business drivers are being aggregated. Michigan has reported that their business stretch goals took several years to fully realize after implementation. A draft agenda for a one day summit meeting at the Stevens Point Holiday Inn on January 7, 2008 will be distributed shortly.
Responsibilities of the institutions teams will include local communications, change management, fit-gap analyses and testing. Ed Meachen hopes to hire a change management consultant for the event. Brian Rust, his DoIT staff and UWSA staff are being engaged to develop a communication plan. Drafts will be shared with the CIO Council. Ed Meachen would like to see the communication plan continue after the implementation of HRS so that it can serve other projects as well.
Resumes of candidates for the six project lead positions are in. Interviews will begin before Christmas. Another new staff member will report to Lorie Docken and assist her with managing the budgets and business processes behind the scenes.
The WiscNet budget has historically been based upon accounting for bits which was equitable and put the member institutions in control of their costs. An unexpected downside was that it fostered a culture of bandwidth poverty. The Board, led by David Crass, has a new budget for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 that will include, at most, a 2% increase in fees in 2010, regardless of use.
The 2008 budget and fees will be based upon actual use. November 2007 measurements will be used to generate the bills that go out in January 2008. In future years, there may be some school districts using as much as the UWS institutions, which will likely lead to inequities that will need to be addressed.
Providing server certification is a new service for WiscNet. It was first developed for the k12.wisconsin.us domain because WiscNet is their server certificate authority. Pricing is very favorable and can be extended to the .edu members without any changes in their current server certificate authorities.
Ed Meachen is going to a BCN Advisory Board meeting later today. The state CIO has had extensive conversations with DPI and others. He recognizes there are certain issues with the business BCN model that is resulting in the slow loss of customers as a result of price sensitivity, particularly in urban areas. BCN is considering re-examining the use of the Universal Service Fund for education and lowering the postalized bandwidth costs. Ed Meachen is optimistic about using the former to help the UWS pay for BCN costs. Most customers are basically satisfied with BCN, especially K12 video users and those in rural areas.
The state CIO would like to expedite the next BCN contract. It is not clear what role the UWS should play, if any. The CIOs would be willing to use a BCN contract if it was competitive, not mandatory and not multi-year.
Reducing the local loop costs for the UWS institutions would require leasing or owning separate lines into the network core. Perhaps next year, investments should be made along these lines in exchange for the stabilization of the WiscNet bills that was discussed above.
Doug Flee and Nina Boss summarized the progress in the discussions that have taken place over the last month with Oracle. Licensing rights for the 1998 products have been clarified in 2007 terms. There is verbal agreement that the contract words "Advanced Networking Option" can be read as "Advanced Security Option" for data at rest, as well as in transit.
If the UWS is committed to acquiring additional products, Oracle has agreed in principle to greater flexibility in licensing products on a server by server basis and the licensing of other database components. The de-coupling of maintenance costs from IPEDS data may also be possible if additional products are acquired.
The team has narrowed the list of Oracle product offerings to five that may enhance database security, availability and DBA workload. The next step is to put together a business case for whether or not these products should be licensed on an enterprise level. Presumably, the products could be folded into the existing maintenance agreement.
Oracle is interested in discussing the potential for purchasing the Fusion middleware and the SOA suite, but those products would have to be discussed as a separate procurement. Meanwhile, UW–Madison is in the best and final offer stage of their identity management RFP.
Oracle has provided their 2008 terms and conditions language, which Lori Voss is examining. On February 23, 2008, the caps expire on the current maintenance contract.
The CIO Council would like to see any contract additions promoted by the Common Systems Review Group.
Bill Meyer reported that three years ago UW Extension put together an RFP to replace the registration system for non credit courses at UW–Madison, UW–Milwaukee and UW Extension. A product that was still in development was chosen because of long-term experience with the vendor (g3system.uwex.edu). Business process analysis has been underway since the Spring. Some of the other UWS institutions became interested in the effort when PeopleWare was bought out by another company, but the CIOs have been largely left out of the discussions. UW–Madison and UW–Milwaukee are funding the development of the new product, but once it is ready other UWS institutions could come onboard with separate databases and licenses.
The new system is likely to go live in the April timeframe with a version that mirrors legacy functionality, which is about 70% of the ultimate goal. The plan is to run for four to six months at UW–Madison and UW–Milwaukee before bringing any other interested institutions onboard. The server and database will be run at UW Extension IT. Meanwhile, PeopleWare will continue to run, but it won't work in Vista. Other products are also available in the marketplace. For systemwide reporting, the UW Extension only requires a standard data image, not use of a particular product.
Brian Busby reported on the progress that has been made in following the SIS Roadmap. Campus Solution version 9.0 is the common direction. MILER will provide full interface support by July 1, 2008 and institutions are encouraged to complete their upgrades by July 2009. No action has been taken on developing a formal, systemwide approach to collaborating on future upgrade decisions.
MILER's support for PeopleTools is up-to-date. A report on the Oracle Insight session on business intelligence is forthcoming.
John Wilson is chairing a group that is looking at whether Business Options will offer a version of their data cleansing tool that will work with version 9 and/or if there are other alternatives.
MILER is not in a position to undertake business discussions on the functionality of interfaces. Requests for additional interfaces come to the fore on short notice. MILER also needs to budget resources for work that is coming over the horizon. It would be best to engage those who are close to the interfaces. A charter and process diagram for interface groups was distributed. Suggestions for members should be sent to Brian Busby as soon as possible.
Ed Meachen explained that the HRS effort is showing that there are a number of tools that could be used to support additional vertical systems. The following are Brian Busby's views on approaches that could be taken.
In regards to business intelligence, the current HR data warehouse mappings will be broken with the implementation of the new ERP system. The question arises as to whether or not the UWS should keep its current data models in an effort to minimize rework of existing reports or should it consider buying reports. The key performance indicators for higher education are still not clear.
How should the UWS student and financial systems integrate with Oracle's Human Capital Management (HCM)? Are there new integration techniques that should be explored? How would a potential purchase of the Fusion middleware impact how the UWS does integration? Ann Marie Durso raised the issue of campus-based shadow systems, e.g., for storing peoples' working titles, which may or may not go away with the implementation of the new HRS system.
In regards to customizations, what techniques/languages and tools should the UWS be using if it is necessary to modify/customize HCM? How can the UWS take better advantage of emerging technologies in PeopleTools?
The effort that is put into an HRS communication plan could be re-used for other projects. Discussing communication plans brings up the issue of collaboration tools. Can the UWS agree on a standard set of collaboration tools that are used in support of a project? UW–Milwaukee has been looking at synchronous communication tools that provide capabilities beyond Breeze Live.
UW–Madison is implementing identity management to support the UWS as a replacement for IAA at the same time as HCM. All of the competing vendors have out-of-the-box connectors for PeopleSoft. What will be the role of identity management in the support of ERP systems and what type of governance structures are appropriate for the various data stores? From a systemwide perspective, there are interesting questions about who owns data when it is moved from one system to another. The current IAA governance group is meeting next Wednesday and will begin looking at data ownership and usage issues.
What tools and methodologies should be adopted in support of change management and business process redesign? Perhaps this effort could be tied into the Administrative Process Redesign (APR) initiative on UW–Madison campus and similar efforts at other institutions.
Regarding project management, there may be a standard way of providing oversight, governance and budgeting for projects. Perhaps services could be purchased initially from UW–Madison.
What are the necessary layers of security around ERP systems for hardware, software, fire walls, data at rest, data in transit, etc? What technologies and processes are needed to support these layers and what are their specific roles?
Groups may be need to be formed around some of these issues. A fair amount of work has already being done with regard to business intelligence. The UW–Madison and UW–Milwaukee architects are also beginning to engage with each other and look at standardized and systemic ways of working and implementing best practices.
The CIO Council would like to see identity management and these other issues as a regular part of the agenda.
The next meeting of the UWS CIO Council will be on January 17 in Madison. Meeting dates, the directory of UW CIOs, and CIO Council meeting summaries are available at: www.uwsa.edu/olit/cio/.