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 May status

    Progress

    Summarizing the meetings that have been held under the heading "Progress" may be a misnomer. It seems the more meetings we attend the more we learn, the bigger the system gets, and the more requirements there are to be considered. Is this progress?

    Our meetings continue to primarily be operational walk-throughs and needs identification of various university entities. We keep thinking that we must have met with everyone by now, but new areas keep cropping up, each with its own unique problems. Other meetings held during the month included in depth review of requirements with core project team members and a discussion with a user group. The May meetings included:

    5/06 & 28

    These were discussions primarily held with purchasing to nail down requirements regarding requisitions and purchase orders. We covered only about one fourth of the questions initially identified and generated many new ones. It was also determined that we need to maintain data on Invitation for Bids, Request for Proposals, Request for Quotes, Term Contracts, State Contracts and Scheduled Buys; all of which must interact with our simple but naive concept of a requisition turning straight into a purchase order. There will be several more meetings held on this topic.

    5/06

    This walk-through was held with Continuing Education. Their biggest problem is with the delays associated with state purchasing procedures, which make it difficult for them to be responsive in a competitive market. They have automated their internal processing using micro-computers and maintain detail records of their expenditures and receivables. This is done to the extreme of intra-organization billing. Their Media Services group bills their Conference group, who turns around and bills an entity outside CTED; all for the same service.

    5/07

    This walk-through was conducted with Athletics. They have their own Business Office that reviews, approves and maintains records of all purchases. This results in a very organized operation. Athletics was eager to participate in any initial testing or in any other special capacity to assist with the new system.

    5/12

    This walk-through was conducted with the Arkansas Union. There are several diverse operations within this area with the bulk of their purchases made against blanket orders. There may be a need to track expenditures at a more detailed level than is done currently (additional cost centers may be needed, possibly using the project number concept). Other concerns that were expressed about the new system included hardware and network access and the current Computing Services charge back for use of mainframe resources.

    5/13

    This was a meeting of the Financial Affairs Advisory Committee. It was dedicated to the discussion of various scenarios involving purchasing, receiving, returns and credit memos. As expected, there are still some kinks to be worked out. The direct user input was excellent.

    5/27

    This was a walk-through conducted with Scientific Supplies. They are a resale organization much like the bookstore but have almost no computer support, i.e. their inventory is maintained on cards. They were eager to share their ideas for automation which included: an inventory system, electronic processing of departmental orders placed with Scientific Supplies, logging of inquiries against their inventory to determine what should be stocked, and even graphical floor plans showing where hazardous materials are located in their stock rooms. Scientific Supplies has special requirements and interface responsibility with Environmental Health and Safety due to the hazardous nature of much of the material they handle. They are also renowned for having the largest term contract on campus, which causes its own problems.

    In addition to the above meetings, the final TARGET presentation was made to the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellors on May 12. The general concept was accepted with the following concerns being voiced:

    The following preliminary system documentation was prepared during May. These items will be distributed when they have been cleaned up and the project team is ready to perform the necessary reviews.

    On the technical side, the following progress was made in May.

    Major issues

    The first item is new to this list. None of the other outstanding issues were resolved during the month. Please see previous status reports for additional information.

    1. There seems to be a conflict, at least in the eyes of some, in requiring auxiliaries to use the BASIS applications on the mainframe and charging them for this usage. Regardless of the perspective, these charges do represent an obstacle to promoting and gaining acceptance of the new system. Perhaps a flat fee (administrative service charge) would be more palatable than the current procedure of establishing rates and determining charges based upon usage. (It was reported that some offices do not use e-mail because of these charges.)

    2. There is a need to replace or interface with various inventory systems. Scientific Supplies is the latest office identified with this need. Their requirements will have to be considered along with Dining Services, Physical Plant and Cooperative Extension Service. We are wondering if one generic but integrated inventory system can serve the needs of everyone and what the priority for this module is in relation to other system components.

    3. Some new ideas have been developed for treating some inter-departmental orders as "regular" purchase orders and others as blankets. These need to be presented to and thoroughly analyzed by the core project team.

    4. 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.

    5. 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 which should get discussed as part of the current purchasing meetings which are under way.

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

    7. 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. So far we have been unable to follow-up with Cornell University regarding their editor. If we do not get some positive feedback soon, we will initiate these discussions with UT Austin.

    8. The viability of departmental receiving is still in question. This concern was reinforced by the discussions at the May 13 Financial Affairs Advisory Committee meeting.

    9. The requirements of the system remain chock full of exceptions and special handling requirements. We hope we can document all of them and develop a system that takes them into consideration.

    Plans

    The following are our optimistic plans for June:

    1. Meet with and walk-through the operations of the following areas:
      Printing Services (June 1)
      Health Services (June 3)
      Research and Sponsored Programs

    2. Meet with the core project team to finalize the Vendor data requirements on June 2.

    3. Establish a standing weekly meeting with the core project team to continue discussing purchasing questions and data requirements. After these have been thoroughly covered, address other outstanding issues such as internal orders. We feel the meetings to date have generated enough questions to justify establishing a perpetual meeting time. It will also make scheduling easier on everyone.

    4. Define and document the data requirements for requisitions, "bid" type entities, "contract" type entities, and purchase orders.

    5. Meet with departmental representatives, preferably the "bookkeepers", regarding some of the basic concepts we plan to incorporate into our system and solicit their opinions and feedback.

    6. 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.

    7. Document the changes we have made to the NSM application framework, develop a program model for a list function that uses an index which uniquely identifies entries, develop a basic TARGET function module model program, update the TARGET functional specifications, and develop code generators which use our models.

    Please feel free to raise any questions or concerns prompted by this report.