BASIS Steering committee
Susan Unger, and
W. David Wimberly
Colleen Briney and William Rains
BASIS II project file and discussion list
BASIS II status
The number of meetings and walk-throughs significantly dropped off
during April, but this was only a lull in the storm.
It did allow
us to begin work on design issues and
to get caught up with our meeting summaries.
All summaries and past status reports have now been posted
to the BASISII discussion list.
Meetings held during April included:
A review meeting related to Voucher
It addressed questions that needed answering in order to
complete the summary reports for the
voucher meetings held in March.
A detailed walk-through of the
Dining Services operation.
Like several other areas, Dining Services
has developed efficient procedures for dealing with
their unique problems.
These include heavy use of dBASE to maintain the information
they need to run their operation.
This means they are then forced to reconcile
this data with the University's official records.
Dining Services also runs a warehouse which means they have
an inventory to
keep up with and must charge back units as they draw from that
This meeting was a presentation of the vendor data
as understood by Computing Services.
Although there was discussion of specific requirements,
the primary purpose was to educate the central project team in
the use of the documentation provided.
This included an Entity Relationship Diagram and a Predict
data dictionary report.
Preparation of the vendor documentation mentioned above
was itself a significant accomplishment.
The Entity Relationship
Diagram (ERD) was prepared using Natural Architect
and identified 14 separate entities.
These were collapsed into 4 logical ADABAS files which were documented
in our Predict data dictionary, complete with file and element
This documentation then
went through at least a dozen review and modification
cycles within Computing Services before the 4/24 meeting.
Additional changes were identified during the meeting and we expect
more as a result of subsequent user reviews.
This document/review/modify cycle is a natural and expected
part of the system development process
which will have to be repeated in other areas.
The understanding of
the system that this process imparts to the central project team
is as important, if not more so, than the
the resulting documentation.
Other activities which took place during April included:
- Financial Affairs (specifically Colleen Briney and David Hyatt)
volunteered to accept the leadership role in marketing our
system to the campus.
I am not quite sure what this means or what will be involved,
but am grateful for the assistance in promoting our new systems and
ensuring that they are accepted in a positive manner.
- Research Accounting, in conjunction with Research and Sponsored
Programs, is forming a Principle Investigator user group for the
primary purpose of communicating BASIS II issues and concerns.
Phyllis Shaw is heading up this effort.
- A "Project Summary" was prepared as a way of briefly
informing others about the BASIS II project and what it plans
- TARGET was presented to the Human Resource advisory group,
the Purchasing advisory group, the Financial Affairs advisory group,
and the Dean's Council.
This was accomplished by distributing the TARGET proposal in advance
of meetings where this new concept was presented and discussed.
The BASIS II Project Summary was also provided to the Purchasing
and Financial Affairs groups.
- Computing Services asked, via the Software AG
discussion list, if another university had a Natural based
editor/text formater they would share.
We had responses from LSU Medical Center, Cornell and UT Austin.
LSU sent via e-mail a program for basic editing functions,
but Cornell has a
module used in their purchasing system that sounds as if it would
be a better match with our needs.
They are having to check to see if they can share this code with us.
UT Austin has an editor that is used with their Natural based
e-mail system which we may look at if the Cornell option falls through.
- A great deal of discussion and exchange of information has
taken place on the BASIS II discussion list.
We hope to see this continue.
- We have begun to pull together questions and outstanding
issues from past meetings.
We expect to group these into topical areas and then present them
for resolution in detailed meetings.
We will be starting this process in the requisition-purchasing
- We have begun to formulate a
system overview type document.
At this point it is not much more than an organization of topics with
some issues enumerated.
- Kathryn Cantrell has written several Natural programs that will
become the basis of our new system.
These include a new menu processor,
a new application startup program,
a significantly enhanced function module model program,
a user profile maintenance function,
and an updated error handling routine.
These items are all carry overs from past status reports.
Please see those reports for additional information.
The good news is that there are no new additions to this list.
- There is a need to replace or interface with various inventory
Dining Services can be added to the list along with Physical Plant.
- We need to work out a means to treat some inter-department orders as
real purchase orders, each with an individual amount encumbered and
This is in contrast to how most internal charges are handled
which we were going to track through an
internal authorization process.
We need to re-think this area.
- The problem with dating our expense transactions is still
outstanding, although we have contemplated a solution.
This needs to be presented and discussed with the accountants.
- A method of identifying and reporting federal expenditures
by the period of the obligation (versus the period of the expense)
We believe we have a solution to this problem as well,
but need to review it with Financial Affairs.
- We are still contemplating the problem of
CES changing the cost centers after their requisitions have passed
one level of review and approval.
- The need for word processing
like capabilities for requisition and
purchase order descriptions will hopefully be provided in part by
a fellow institution sharing some code.
The real test will be the acceptance of this "editor" by the users.
- The viability of departmental receiving is still in question.
Again, the acceptance by the departments themselves is the key.
- The requirements of the system remain chock full
of exceptions and special handling requirements.
We hope to just keep pounding out documentation defining these.
The challenge will then be to develop a system that takes these into
The more people we meet with, the more people we seem to need to
It appears that May will be a busy meeting month.
That also means it will be a busy month writing meeting summaries.
Optimistic plans for the month include:
- Meet with and walk-through the operations of the
- Continuing Education (May 6)
- Athletics (May 7)
- Scientific Supplies
- Research and Sponsored Programs
- Printing Services
- Arkansas Union
- Meet with Purchasing on May 6 to discuss outstanding questions
and issues related to requisitions, "bids", and purchase orders.
This will firm up our understanding of this area and allow
us to document these data requirements.
- Meet with departmental representatives, preferably accountants,
regarding some of
the basic concepts we plan to incorporate into our system and
solicit their opinions and feedback.
- Obtain feedback on the vendor data requirements and
"finalize" these. (I am looking for something just a little
more solid than quicksand.)
- Continue to work on our system overview
(high level requirements document), developing
it to the point that it can be shared in a preliminary form.
- Document the changes we have made to the NSM application framework,
develop a basic TARGET function module model program,
develop models for table maintenance and list functions,
and develop code generators which use our models.
Please feel free to raise any questions or concerns prompted by this