MEMORANDUM


Table of Contents

MEMORANDUM
  • Progress
  • Major issues
  • Plans

  • MEMORANDUM

    To:

    BASIS Steering committee
    Gerry Bomotti, Gene Buckley, Dick Cottrill, Tom Dorre, David Holmes, David Martinson, Susan Unger, and Bob Zimmerman

    From:

    W. David Wimberly

    Copy:

    Colleen Briney and William Rains
    BASIS II project file and discussion list

    Subject:

    BASIS II status

    Progress

    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:

    4/01

    A review meeting related to Voucher processing. It addressed questions that needed answering in order to complete the summary reports for the voucher meetings held in March.

    4/03

    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 inventory.

    4/24

    This meeting was a presentation of the vendor data requirements 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 descriptions. 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:

    Major issues

    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.

    1. There is a need to replace or interface with various inventory systems. Dining Services can be added to the list along with Physical Plant.

    2. We need to work out a means to treat some inter-department orders as real purchase orders, each with an individual amount encumbered and liquidated. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. A method of identifying and reporting federal expenditures by the period of the obligation (versus the period of the expense) still remains. We believe we have a solution to this problem as well, but need to review it with Financial Affairs.

    5. We are still contemplating the problem of CES changing the cost centers after their requisitions have passed one level of review and approval.

    6. 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.

    7. The viability of departmental receiving is still in question. Again, the acceptance by the departments themselves is the key.

    8. 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 account.

    Plans

    The more people we meet with, the more people we seem to need to meet with. 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:

    1. Meet with and walk-through the operations of the following areas:
      Continuing Education (May 6)
      Athletics (May 7)
      Scientific Supplies
      Research and Sponsored Programs
      Printing Services
      Arkansas Union

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. Obtain feedback on the vendor data requirements and "finalize" these. (I am looking for something just a little more solid than quicksand.)

    5. 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.

    6. 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 report.