BASIS Steering committee
Susan Unger, and
W. David Wimberly
Colleen Briney and William Rains
BASIS II project file and discussion list
BASIS II May status
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
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
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 walk-through was held with
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
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.
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.
eager to participate in any initial testing or in any other special
capacity to assist with the new system.
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.
This was a meeting of the Financial Affairs Advisory
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.
This was a walk-through conducted with
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,
processing of departmental orders placed with Scientific Supplies,
logging of inquiries against their inventory to determine what should
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
- The perception will be that work is being shifted from the central
offices to the departments and a major campaign will be required to
sell this concept to the departments.
- Computing Services' charge backs to auxiliaries for mainframe use
of this system will be a deterrent to its use.
- Some active or automatic means of auditing the use of proxies
may be needed.
- Careful consideration should be made to what is archived and
how it can be accessed after archiving.
- Ad-hoc reporting and downloading of data is needed.
preliminary system documentation was prepared
These items will be distributed when they have been
cleaned up and the project team is ready to perform the necessary
- High level system data flow diagrams
- A glossary of terms
- Documented features associated with vendor processing
- Documented features of a new and alternate concept for internal order
- Documented features planned for the text management component
On the technical side, the following progress was made in May.
- A new approach to the customization of program generated
programs was developed.
The normal method is to allow custom code
to be written in chunks and brought into the main program, much like
a user exit.
This approach reverses this concept by
making the main program itself the custom piece of software which
invokes the standard processing via copycode (the user exit is the
standard code that cannot be modified).
This makes the generated programs very small and allows any customization
to stand out for consideration in future maintenance.
- Initial program generation has been performed using the above
- Model programs have been developed for table maintenance functions
(files composed of limited elements like a code and description)
and list functions that use an index which identifies a group of
- The new features of Natural Secured Menus version 2
have been documented.
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.
- 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
- There is a need to replace or interface with various inventory
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.
- 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.
- 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 which should get
discussed as part of the current purchasing meetings
which are under way.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
The following are our
optimistic plans for June:
- Meet with and walk-through the operations of the
- Printing Services (June 1)
- Health Services (June 3)
- Research and Sponsored Programs
- Meet with the core project team to finalize the Vendor data
requirements on June 2.
- 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.
- Define and document
the data requirements for requisitions, "bid" type
entities, "contract" type entities, and purchase orders.
- Meet with departmental representatives, preferably
regarding some of
the basic concepts we plan to incorporate into our system and
solicit their opinions and feedback.
- 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 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