BASIS Steering committee
W. David Wimberly
Colleen Briney, Jim Isch, David Keith,
and Bill Overby
Computing Services BASIS October Status
Our four active projects have all passed from the big picture analysis, design, and prototype stage to one of detail programming and unit testing. This does not mean that all the questions have been answered and we know exactly how everything will work (we're still resolving many issues as we go), but it does mean major pieces should start falling together to form applications. At this time we need to be planning for upcoming activities such as testing, documentation preparation, conversion, system acceptance, training, and implementation. These will be very demanding and especially difficult considering how short staffed many areas seem to be.
Coverage of the LEAVE and GJIM applications has been shifted down in this report and the active projects constituting our new development have been moved to the front of the report.
The rewrite of the vendor maintenance subsystem continued in October. Two new functions were developed and existing functions were modified based upon user feedback. The primary development effort focused on the vendor name search, where two different approaches were implemented. The first, which involved a vendor search menu of sorts, was deemed too cumbersome and was replaced by a more streamlined set of screens for selecting a vendor, vendor name, and vendor address. We have received good feedback regarding the second approach.
The remaining program development includes three TARGET functions (proposed vendors, proposed vendor addresses, and tax information changes), five separate TARGET transaction list functions, external vendor ID and TIN Suffix maintenance, and some miscellaneous code clean-up. Depending upon the feedback received, the vendor maintenance subsystem should be complete by the end of November. There are discussions about using this subsystem to manage the name and address information for 1994's 1099 vendors. This may mean that some components will be placed into production before the end of the month.
A new approach has been adopted in the design of the travel authorization function. This was prompted by input that more than two travel related purchase orders are frequently needed and that additional payment distribution options are needed for related purchase orders. The previous design had all authorization and related PO data being part of the TARGET transaction, which was becoming unwieldy before considering the above changes. In the new design, the related purchase orders and their distribution options are managed externally from, but associated with, the TARGET transaction used to create the authorization. To accomplish this the related PO data will have to be held or set aside until the TA is approved, at which time it will be used to create the actual POs.
Development of the Travel Authorization TARGET function (excluding related PO data) has proceeded well and is basically operational. In conjunction, the core group has been reviewing the BASIS PO file definition and the overall procurement and payment process (as envisioned in 1992). Remaining development tasks include adding related PO data to the TA processing, integrating the setup of proposed vendors, writing all travel advance processing functions, writing travel claim and travel invoice functions, and developing interfaces with MSA including transactions to represent the encumbrances at end-of-month.
The initial prototype functions for the system are in the process of being overhauled to use the new EMPLOYEE file and Employee ID field and incorporate further edits, utilities, and standards. Functions that have been addressed include Wage Rate (WR), Time Entry By Day (TEBD), List Wage Rates for an Employee (LWRE), W4 and I9/Drug Free (I9DF). The W4 and I9DF programs were completely rewritten to allow this information to be entered before or after the creation of the employee record, which will be done by the Set-Up New Employee (SUNE) or Block (BLOC) functions. This requires that the W4 and/or I9DF information be held in another file and, when present, pulled in by the SUNE or BLOC functions (currently being rewritten). Other development during October included tweaking of the Employee conversion program, initial work on the new SYNC program to keep information synchronized between BASIS and MSA, conversion of the name search facility from Leave to work with the Employee file, development of subprograms to maintain name index information and determine leave eligibility, and coding of a utility to accept as input either an Employee ID, an SSN, or a SAFARI PIDN and translate if necessary to the Employee ID. In addition, a great deal of discussion and analysis was performed related to issues of determining student status, alien employees, FICA exemptions, hourly title codes, and the flow of data between MSA and BASIS.
Remaining development activities include:
A presentation of the new Labor Distribution system was made to selected departmental representatives on October 7th. This included an overview of the system and mock-ups of many of the planned screens. There was general approval and acceptance of the system with several suggested changes which we plan to incorporate. Other activities have included analysis of the MSA Payroll detail file which will be used as the source of the Labor Distribution and General Ledger Interface data. This has resulted in the identification of several issues which have been the subject of recent discussions. These have included:
Other issues addressed during October included the TARGET routing criteria for retroactive payroll adjustments (the same Company Cost Center routing criteria will be used as is in GJIM), added features for obtaining an A21 certification on retroactive adjustments, and identification of special AGRI labor distribution data and report needs.
The most formidable development task in this module is the program to load the MSA Payroll data to the new Labor Distribution file and generate the appropriate General Ledger transactions. Work on this program is in process. There is a great deal of logic that will have to be incorporated into this program as well as access to both the MSA Payroll master file and the BASIS Employee file. The first objective is to get data into our Labor Distribution file so that the online programs that present and manipulate this data can be developed. The GL interface may be added subsequently (the particular format of the GL transactions has yet to be determined). The online system will consist of several list facilities, one primary display and retroactive adjustment function, and some miscellaneous maintenance functions.
There is very little to report in this area. There was a bug in LORC (List Overtime with Rate Changes) which had prevented it from executing since July (it has been fixed); a new list function was developed to display leave summary information for all employees within a budgetary unit, LLSB; and we have continued to provide occasional user and Leave Administrator support. There are no immediate plans for the LEAVE system. We have decided to perform the LEAVE system changes necessitated by the implementation of the Hourly Time Sheet system after development of the HRLY-TS but before its implementation. We anticipate a pause in activity while acceptance testing, documentation, and training are taking place.
GJIM activity during October included the following.
There has been no activity involving this application.
There has been development activity in two areas, neither of which has been implemented in production.
The only significant activity involved three related changes that affected all BASIS applications. PF5 (Restart) now provides a warning if you would lose changes; the warning about losing changes will be repeated unless you immediately disregard it; and a change to the banner keys may be reveresed after receiving the warning about losing changes.
Please feel free to raise any questions or concerns prompted by this report.