BASIS Steering committee
W. David Wimberly
Colleen Briney, Jim Isch, David Keith,
and Bill Overby
Computing Services BASIS February Status
We are not where we had planned to be by the end of February. There have been unanticipated problems and requirements to be addressed. Officially that puts us behind schedule. However, we are making good progress and are confident we can complete our three new systems plus a Leave re-write for a July implementation, providing our current understanding of the requirements is accurate. If it isn't, we need some flexibility in determining what corners to cut in order to get by. Up to this point the new BASIS applications have been asked to be all things to all people. With larger and more complex modules down the road and some very hard and fast deadlines approaching, we need to limit the features we provide and stick to the decisions we make. We just don't have time to achieve perfection and certainly don't have the time and resources to do things twice. This means we have to accept the fact that some people will be unhappy, do a better job anticipating needs and problems, and ensure that the solutions conceived will actually work. This is the challenge for the new BASIS team, the Steering Committee, and the University.
Progress was made in regenerating the vendor maintenance programs to incorporate the latest standard program model enhancements (made available in January), and efficiency changes were made to only look up the last vendor name number or vendor address number when necessary. Also, some limited support continued for 1994 1099 reporting.
The dominant issue during February was how to handle, process, and track activity related to the repayment of a travel advance that exceeds the travel claim. After a great deal of discussion and consideration of various alternatives, it was concluded that we should create a portion of a receivable system. The following is an outline of the major processes involved:
A design problem was encountered involving fixed dollar distributions for Cost Centers for reimbursable travel expenses. The original design had a separate PO line created for each type of reimbursable expense (there are 7) with each carrying the distribution specified on the TA screen. This would have been okay when percent distributions were used but would have resulted in the first cost center potentially receiving 7 times as much of the expense as intended. In order to address this problem the Purchase Order files were altered so that the 7 reimbursable amounts for Travel are stored within the PO header, and we now create only one PO line for a Travel Authorization. This required some rather significant changes within the TA function.
After nearly two months of discussion and meetings, Invoice and Payment files have now been created. These were needed to support travel claim processing and invoice processing for travel related purchase orders. In conjunction with the other changes we were making, we decided to remove travel advance information from the PO file and store this information as a special type invoice so it would be consistent with future invoice and payment processing. This change has been incorporated into the TA function and the travel advance generation process.
Other development activities for the month included:
We have two outstanding problems with Software AG. One is the "time out" error previously reported and now a "locked cluster" error that is intermittent. If fixes are not provided for these we may be forced to recode some of our application to get around these problems.
Remaining development tasks include developing facilities to manipulate in process POs, developing an online override for travel advance information, writing receivable and advance check reports, writing travel claim and travel invoice functions, testing all interfaces with MSA, development of other lists and reports, and lots of fixing and cleanup.
Completion of the Hourly Appointed Time Entry process has been put on hold while we get the basics of a revamped Leave system in place. This is required since this is one place these two systems merge. Hours worked and absences will all be reported from this TEHA function resulting in the creation of payment data and leave data. Other activity during the month follows.
Our remaining activities include completion of the hourly appointed time entry function, enhancement of the overtime routine to make special provisions for appointed employees, development of a SAFARI interface for determining student status, development of batch processes to generate payment transactions for MSA for approved time and to roll unapproved time to the next pay period, development of a function for recording hours worked at other state agencies or altering the default hours for appointed employees, development of online lists for hourly time, completion of the Leave system overhaul, generation of a matching MSA Payroll system, and lots of testing. Time permitting, we also plan to develop an employee hourly time consolidation function to aggregate and display all time reported for a period, but this function is not critical.
Progress in this application has suffered due to Kathryn Cantrell's absence for maternity leave. We look forward to her returning in at least a part time capacity during March. February activities included:
Many development activities remain to be done. A de-code window, A21 certification, and an extended description still need to be added to PD. A file change is needed in order to retain an indicator of which Fringe Benefit rate applied to the pay record so that this does not have to be re-evaluated with every retroactive change. (Graduate assistants are students but paid as professionals on the regular payroll.) Additional online functions are needed to allow changing FTE percentages and title codes, for predefining special compensation periods, for spliting an earnings record into two parts to permit the definition of separate compensation periods, and to list predefined compensation periods for which there is no pay record. Primary batch processes remaining to be developed are for generating the necessary accounting entries for GL, reporting, and generating data extracts.
A problem has emerged in the interaction of comp time, holidays, and an exception we added to the system in order to not penalize employees (the 240 hour rule). Very briefly, non-exempt employees are credited with comp time for holidays in a month and are charged comp time for holidays taken during the month (allows for variable holidays). Normally this is a wash. Separately, employees with comp time could be penalized by the system if they had over 240 hours of vacation that would be lost at year end but the system charged their leave to their comp time balance. To avoid this, the 240 hour rule was created and in this situation the system charges vacation instead of comp time. Now when you mix these two things you can come out with non-exempt employees' holiday usage (several days in December) being charged to their vacation balance resulting in not losing as much vacation time and carrying over comp time hours to the new year. This was a design oversight.
For version 2 of the Leave system we have decided to create a holiday category where holiday earnings and charges are made and a holiday balance may be carried. Charges here would not be subject to the 240 hour rule. Other short term solutions have also been developed and are being tested and evaluated.
Cooperative Extension Service is currently planning to come up on Leave in March after the COEX people are added to the system and their February balances have been loaded, sometime near the end of the month. However, a problem was discovered involving their 70-80 program aids who are hourly appointed non-classified but accrue vacation as if they were classified. Adjustments will have to be made to their leave balances monthly until the new Leave system is in place. Leave version 2 will include a special Leave Eligibility Code which can be set manually to override how leave is accrued. This will also be used for coaches that do not earn vacation.
Redevelopment of Leave has started and the following activities have been completed:
There are still changes to the LEAVE TARGET functions MB and OTA that are in DEMO and need to be moved to production, but must be moved in sync with GJIM and UPS TARGET functions.
Some new validation problems were discovered and corrected in the Journal Entry Maintenance function (JEM). This change and changes to all TARGET functions are in DEMO awaiting approval to be moved to production.
There has been no activity involving this application.
There has been no activity in this area.
Computing Services has continued to provide support to desk administrators on an as requested basis.
Please feel free to raise any questions or concerns prompted by this