MEMORANDUM


Table of Contents

MEMORANDUM
  • BASIS I
  • BASIS II
  • Common

  • MEMORANDUM

    To:

    Bob Zimmerman

    From:

    W. David Wimberly

    Copy:

    Colleen Briney, Bill Overby and William Rains
    BASISONE and BASISII discussion lists

    Subject:

    BASIS October status

    I am addressing this project report directly to Dr. Zimmerman since I am no longer a member of the BASIS Steering Committee, and it would therefore seem inappropriate to report directly to that body. I will continue to share my perspective on the project status with the central administrative office liaisons and other project participants, as represented by their subscription to the BASISONE and BASISII discussion lists. Frankly, I do not see how this reduction in representation on the Steering Committee will aid in solving the communication problems recently experienced. Rather, I feel it would be more appropriate that Colleen, Bill, William and myself be full members of the committee since we represent the central offices and are fully involved in the projects.

    A great deal of time during October was spent trying to find ways to improve communication between the central project teams, management, and departmental representatives regarding the BASIS projects. These projects will not succeed if needs and requirements are not known or if potential problems are not identified. The central project teams are very open and anxious to receive comments from others, the reason for the discussion lists and the frequent postings of documentation and meeting summaries there. We need a free exchange of information, and it needs to occur in both directions. The analysis and design phases of a project are the most critical, and that is where we are now. Omissions and errors will be much more difficult to correct later. Your (anyone reading this) input and feedback on the issues is necessary! If you have something to contribute, have questions, or just don't understand, the central project teams want to hear from you. If you are not comfortable responding to a discussion list, respond directly to a project member using either e-mail or telephone. Everyone will not be able to get everything he or she wants in the new system, but it will certainly not be provided if we do not know it is needed.

    BASIS I

    Progress

    1. A central project team has been formed to meet regularly and discuss issues and plans related to this project. This group consists of Cathy Renner and Eric Robinson from the Budget Office; Bill Moody from Campus Audit; Rhonda Houser, Bill Overby, and Becky Shoemaker from Human Resources; Sharon Smith and Tina Whatley from Research Accounting; and Katrina Bromley, Joy Steely and David Wimberly from Computing Services. Other individuals will be consulted and invited to meetings as needed. This central team will define requirements, evaluate alternatives, and generally work out solutions to system design and implementation problems. They are expected to keep their management informed of the issues and directions of the project on an informal basis. Formal documents and specifications will be developed representing the work completed by this group. The intent is that there are no surprises for management due to the communication that previously transpired.

    2. The central project team elected to pursue the vacation and sick leave module for initial development and implementation. Although no approval of this decision has been granted by the Steering Committee, two meetings have been held to further investigate and define the scope of this module and its initial implementation. Leave accounting in total is very complex, as we quickly learned. It determines the eligibility for over-time pay, includes tracking "comp time", and is adjusted to provide just enough compensation to cover an employee's benefit expenses. The exchange of information has been good so far and ideas for addressing these problems are beginning to form.

    3. The design and definition of the files associated with titles and positions have received a great deal of work. We appreciate the input from outside areas, such as Institutional Research, in defining some of these needs. The development of maintenance facilities for these tables may actually be some of the first coding to take place for BASIS I. (This is so that Katrina and Joy can gain some experience with the new NSM architecture, code generator and program models.)

    4. We have been interviewing applicants for a position which will be assigned to BASIS I, and have found at least one where there is a mutual interest.

    Major issues

    I removed the item from this list that mentioned potential problems in identifying data custodians and data sources for all data elements. The specific instances where this alarm was raised have been addressed, but we will continue to be on guard against defining more data elements than we can or will maintain.

    1. We need to hire and train a new person to assist in this project.

    2. I need more time to work on this project (and BASIS II) than I have available.

    3. The requirements, and methods to be used, for defining, storing and applying the Company/Cost Center distributions for use in charging out salary expenses are still unknown.

    4. The means of performing available funds checking for salary/budget activity and for projecting future salary expenses requires further analysis.

    5. Specifics need to be defined regarding summer school budgeting and summer teaching appointments.

    6. Accommodation within the system needs to be planned for extra compensation and overloads.

    7. Security by value requirements, if they exist, must be defined. (Security by value refers to security definitions that would restrict a user from access to certain data for a given screen versus restricting access to a screen altogether. For example, a user could be restricted to only allow access to employees in their same department.)

    Plans

    The following represent our immediate plans:

    1. Learn the requirements, define the scope, and develop specifications for the leave accounting module.

    2. Update file and data element definitions as needed for functional changes and standardization.

    3. Develop programs to maintain the tables related to titles, occupations, and possibly billets.

    4. Define, in terms of the data base structure, how OIR's FTE values will be calculated. Determine if there are needs for other FTE values which require calculation using a different algorithm.

    5. Define procedures and identify programs needed to ensure that employees are properly terminated.

    6. Meet with Research Accounting to investigate requirements associated with charging out fringe benefits.

    7. Investigate further the impact of budgeting soft dollars, Agri projects, federal funds, etc. (the most impact may be to the budget book).

    BASIS II

    Progress

    1. The Steering Committee endorsed the concept of phased implementation and the selection of the budget & cost transfer, internal invoice, and journal entry module as the first phase.

    2. There were eight meetings of the central project team held during the month of October. The purpose of these meetings included:

    3. The Computing Services team meet with David Hyatt to review, and obtain acceptance of, the technical design proposed for maintaining commitment and encumbrance balances. To assist in this process, Paul Bixby documented the affect of several transactions on the data elements involved.

    The following documentation was released for review and comment during the month:

    Major issues

    There is no change in this list from the previous two month's reports, although I have reordered them to represent a priority sequence.

    1. Acceptable solutions for inter-departmental order processing continues to elude us. The main point of contention seems to be the provision for departments to approve charges. The central project team is currently discussing this issue and will be preparing a recommendation for management.

    2. A method of identifying and reporting federal expenditures by the period of the obligation needs to be identified.

    3. We plan to develop a general purpose facility to provide word processing-like capabilities for requisition and purchase order descriptions, but need some time to do the work.

    4. 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.

    5. There is a need to replace or interface with various inventory systems. The areas that have a possible interest in such a facility include: Scientific Supplies, Dining Services, Physical Plant and Cooperative Extension Service.

    Plans

    The following represent our immediate plans:

    1. Reach a firm decision regarding the processing of internal orders.

    2. Meet with Mullins Library representatives to discuss interface issues related to their Innovative system (one meeting for this purpose occured on November 5).

    3. Develop an overview for requisition processing.

    4. Document and distribute the data requirements for purchase orders.

    5. Initiate development of programs to process vendor related data components.

    6. Define the input and validation requirements for journal entries.

    7. Define the data requirements for the transfer module.

    8. Define an Available Funds File, tolerances to be employed during funds checking, and the company/cost center attributes that will govern how funds are checked. We hope to do this in a manner that will be somewhat flexible regarding the methods employed for funds checking.

    9. Design the system components for maintaining encumbrance balances and performing funds checking.

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

    Common

    Progress

    Kathryn Cantrell has continued to progress with the development of core components that will be used by our BASIS applications. October accomplishments include:

    Bottomline Technologies provided another demonstration of their check management software, designed to work with the Xerox desktop laser/MICR printer. Paul Bixby also released a document summarizing features and benefits of this hardware/software solution.

    Plans

    The following items can be generally considered as "to dos" for Kathryn and myself.

    1. Complete the review of the NSM Maintenance System functional specifications.
    2. Implement the modifications to the NSM Maintenance System in production.
    3. Develop a TARGET administration system to be used to maintain the routing tables and other definitions required for the operation of TARGET.
    4. Develop a basic TARGET function module model program and update the TARGET functional specifications.
    5. Develop a function module model program to perform maintenance on data that occurs multiple times within an ADABAS data record (either within MUs or PEs).

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