BASIS Steering committee
W. David Wimberly
Bill Moody, Colleen Briney, David Keith, and Bill Overby
Computing Services BASIS June Status
June activities included continuing maintenance and enhancement of the Leave Accounting and TARGET applications, continuing analysis and the start of prototyping for Hourly Time Sheets and Travel, and further analysis of Labor Distribution requirements. Regarding GJIM, this application was very stable during June and has now been opened for update use campus wide (effective July 1). Activities of a general nature included providing a system orientation and background materials to David Keith (the new Business Affairs BASIS liaison), reviewing the Introduction to BASIS Course Materials, and reviewing the Computing Services documentation for the COM-PASS Session Manager (which, when introduced, will permit switching between multiple Natural sessions).
Coding and testing of the following enhancements and fixes to LEAVE occurred during June:
All items but the last two have been accepted and implemented in production. We are hopeful that we are nearing the point at which this application will stabilize. In addition to these coding activities, technical documentation for our System Manual has been either written or brought in from existing sources such that most components have been addressed in some fashion, although much more work is needed. Also, COOP has not been able to progress beyond the entry of their January test data. They were delayed extensively by the program changes and instability of the test system, and are now short staffed due to personnel turnover.
Planned activities for LEAVE include extending the online job submission to execute additional report programs and the continued editing and refinement of the LEAVE System Manual.
GJIM activity during June included the following.
Plans for July include providing whatever production support is required including one-on-one on-site user assistance if requested, removal of the interim routing for ETTP, FTTP, and IITP, and continued work on the System Manual.
A problem was discovered where changes to an occupation or legislative title were not being carried to a special upper case version of the title used for listing data. This was corrected, the programs moved to production, and a special update job written and executed to ensure that the upper case version of all titles was correct.
A meeting was held to discuss the need for a vendor TIN, the possibility of requiring a TIN for all vendors, the possibility of using the vendor TIN as the vendor number, the need to segregate vendor information on screens for security purposes, and the need for centralized maintenance of critical vendor information in order to reduce duplicate vendors and provide quality vendor data. Further discussions, additional user input, and management support are required to resolve these issues. In addition, orientation and education of the current Business Affairs staff assigned to BASIS is also necessary so that the issues and alternatives are understood and properly evaluated. Steps to provide this training are underway and will be followed up with a review of past work and new prototypes for the vendor subsystem. We will then be ready to address the outstanding issues, make some decisions, and move on with development.
Sandra Twiggs and Donna Carter have worked out the basic concepts for the proposed Travel subsystem. These concepts will be presented on July 13 to the primary offices involved: Business Affairs, Financial Affairs, and Treasurer's Office. An overview, flow diagram, data dictionary definitions, and screen samples will be provided.
In order to evaluate the approach for Travel Authorization TARGET processing, Sandra has completed some development work on this function of the system. It is not yet operational, even as a prototype, but we have concluded that this program is doable without breaking it into two parts, one for the TA creation and the other for the electronic approval (as was done in GJIM). The challenge here is dealing with the large volume of data associated with a Travel Authorization and the complexities of the required processing.
During June we also resurrected the data definitions for our Purchase Order file, which were created two years ago but never reviewed. Computing Services is currently re-evaluating and re-hashing these definitions since an approved Travel Authorization will result in the creation of from 1 to 3 purchase orders (we are considering the TA itself a PO due to its many similarities including its treatment as an encumbrance). Sandra is also working to fit Travel documentation into our System Manual format.
A meeting was held where Business Affairs expressed the desire to pursue a campus wide requisitioning system, even if it is very limited in scope and capability. A system to support only "small orders" was suggested, as was the idea of pursuing this in place of work on the Travel subsystem. Appropriate analysis will be required to identify issues and considerations associated with implementing a small order requisitioning system.
The planned New Employee Setup process continued to evolve during June. The biggest problem is keeping BASIS and MSA synchronized and controlling updates from both environments so they do not cancel each other out. The latest plan is to use the BASIS setup only for hourly non-appointed employees, to permit a new employee block to be established on BASIS when an appointed employee is set up directly in MSA, and to enter all W-4 updates via BASIS but only send them to MSA when there has been a new employee set up or a block entered in BASIS. Human Resources has provided a suggested screen layout and mapping to the necessary MSA transactions for the new employee setup. Similar information is needed for W-4 processing via BASIS.
Prototype work is in process, and some basic operational screens are running for hourly title maintenance, wage rate creation, and work study time entry. Data elements and files for these components were defined in early spring and have remained unchanged. Simple versions of these and other processes will be created initially for evaluation since there is some apprehension that certain aspects of the system are so complex as to be difficult to use.
During July we plan to refine these prototypes, develop an additional one for regular (non-work study) hourly time entry, construct data definitions to support the new employee setup/W-4 process, and develop prototypes for the employee setup functions. The really tough jobs like automatically calculating overtime, determining who pays for overtime, and figuring out how to properly tax appointed employees over the FICA max but being paid hourly will come last.
The analysis of labor distribution requirements is well underway, and is proving to be just as complex as any other area we have addressed. Developing an understanding of the current procedures and processes is particularly daunting. There are retroactive changes, cost transfers, payroll corrections, petty cash payments, cash receipts, cancels, typed vouchers, and numerous types of refunds. All of these affect labor distribution in some manner, many require extensive hand calculations, and some require entry into as many as three separate systems. In addition, there are many special types of pay that have to be dealt with including incentive pay, overloads, extra compensation, summer school, summer research, and service awards; Institutional Research has a need to associate an FTE percentage and period of compensation with the employee, title, and cost center distribution data; and Research Accounting needs the period of compensation in order to validate and approve retroactive adjustments.
Plans at this point are to continue to learn and understand the current processes in order to formulate an overall approach for addressing these needs within the constraint of the current MSA Payroll system.
Activities in this area have primarily involved desk administration.
There is current work in process to develop a function to permit a desk administrator to 'update' a user's budgetary unit assignment when it is out of sync with Payroll, and to permit updates to user's names within the desk administrator's allowed budgetary units. These changes will help, but we will still be shackled to the MSA Level 5 as the designation of 'home department' even though it is assigned based upon the funding source of the position. Hopefully, we can either redefine the use and purpose of the Level 5 field or develop a true home department code so that employees can be associated with the desired units.
Please feel free to raise any questions or concerns prompted by this report.