BASIS Steering committee
W. David Wimberly
Bill Moody, Colleen Briney, Bill Overby and William Rains
Computing Services BASIS November Status
I have intentionally delayed getting this report out since I do not plan to prepare another one until the first of February. Just think, by then the Leave Accounting system will be live in production. Actually, this system and others are being moved to the production environment now. Current leave and personnel data will be converted and this isolated environment will be used to perform some final acceptance testing. The data will then be scratched in preparation for real production usage. This will also allow the necessary security and TARGET routing definitions to be put in place before the official cut-over, scheduled for January 24.
The most significant development of the past six weeks is the addition of a new analyst to the BASIS team, Michael Lingoes. Michael is a transplant from Michigan and brings with him 25 years of experience in the field of data processing. We are very pleased to have Michael on our team. After the first of the year, Michael and Kathryn Cantrell will begin the design and analysis of a new Labor Distribution/General Ledger Interface module for Payroll.
Other BASIS activity has been split between polishing and fine tuning LEAVE and GJIM and the initiation of design, analysis, and prototyping for Hourly Time Sheet processing and Travel Authorizations. Refinement and enhancement to our NSM architecture and TARGET facilities has also continued. This report includes a summary of these developments and current project considerations.
Work on this application has really wound down; I guess it's near perfection.
The CES trip was very beneficial, although a decision has still not been made regarding whether CES will use our BASIS Leave system or continue to use their existing system. Either way, changes will be required. If they are not included, we must make some minor modifications to exclude that group of employees. However, we are uncertain of the long term ramifications of this approach since we are planning for totally integrated systems (hourly time sheet processing will share data with the Leave System, etc.). If CES does use the BASIS Leave sytem, the following issues and potential modifications will have to be addressed: separate catastrophic leave pool for CES, School Leave, consideration of CES's data collection process in the establishment of cut-off dates for the entry of leave, interface with the CES Monthly Reporting System, accrual rates for Hourly Appointed employees, and potential problems related to a centralized high volume data entry operation.
There are two major issues for the Leave Accounting system. The most critical is the lack of a decision regarding CES's involvement, since some form of system change will be required whether they participate or not. The other, which has been reported for months, is the lack of information regarding how our system needs to address mandates of the federal Family Leave Bill.
The only development task remaining for Leave Accounting is putting the system in production, and this task is currently in process. The online components should be migrated by mid-December. The batch processes, which require additional documentation, will not be completely in production until January.
We received a great deal of user feedback on GJIM during November. There were 35 specific points identified that resulted in changes, enhancements, discussions, and explanations. Some of the system modifications made based upon this feedback included:
Several general changes were also decided and have been implemented: the primary entity within the system will now be refered to as a GJIM document instead of a GJIM entry (this affected data element names as well screen messages and field labels), many of the commands were renamed to align them more closely with their true function, and the menus were restructured so that they would better address the needs of most users.
Progress also included:
There are currently no major issues related to the development of the GJIM system.
The development tasks remaining for GJIM include support of user testing, preparation of production JCL and documentation for batch functions, and migration of the system to the production environment.
Two bugs have been corrected in this system. First, edits were added to the legislative title maintenance program (LEGT) to ensure the uniqueness of a legislative title over an effective time period for the same occupation, location, sub-location, appointment period, and type (regular or provisional). Second, a problem involving listing data for a given effective date for which few records were available was corrected. This required an update to the program model and regeneration of all "effective dated" list functions.
The PSB subsystem is currently being moved to production to support the Leave Accounting system, which uses the new Occupation table.
There has been no activity involving this subsystem since my last report. The areas remaining to be addressed include expanding the number of previous vendor names that are maintained, requiring TINs for selected organization types, implementing the "command sequencing" function, and reviewing the screen designs with consideration for data entry requirements.
This area, like Leave Accounting, is turning out to be more complex than was first anticipated. New requirements and problems seem to be uncovered with each meeting, often invalidating some aspect of the conceptual design developed up to that point. We then analyze the problem in light of the new information and make another proposal. We currently think we have a good understanding and basic data model for Hourly Titles, Wage Rates, and Work Study Time Entry. In fact, we have working prototype screens for each of these.
The current stumbling block is the desired automated check for overtime and the resulting action when overtime is detected. Current procedures call for overtime to be specified via a special form and paid every 4 or 5 weeks. This form will be replaced by a function within the new Leave system, since vacation or sick leave affects the payment of overtime. This current procedure indicates that the hourly time entry system should prevent the entry of more than 40 hours in a week for an employee, and that those overtime hours be entered via the Leave Extra-Time process. However, this approach would mean that we need to synchronize and check hourly time sheet data and leave accounting data with overtime information. This is not a simple task when you consider hourly time sheet data is entered for periods of from 12 to 18 days, leave is reported on a calendar month basis, overtime is reported in periods of 4 or 5 weeks and overtime is calculated from Sunday through Saturday. Dealing with these four separate time periods and three separate time entry processes is posing a significant challenge. Due to these complexities, all reasonable alternatives are being explored.
A meeting was held with the Travel Office to review and discuss their basic requirements and explore how a new system can interface with MSA today and BASIS in the future. Analysis of various screen formats was also performed, but GJIM activity limited further progress in this area. A more concentrated effort toward this project is planned for January.
Several enhancements and some fixes were applied in this general support area. These included:
The only plans in this area are for the preparation and conducting of a Desk Management training course, something we have wanted to do since the conversion to desk based security. As BASIS applications and TARGET go into production, it will become critical that departments begin managing their own desks so the application and TARGET administrators are not required to update their security and routing definitions due to personnel turnover.
There are still some miscellaneous "To Dos" for TARGET dealing with long term transaction management (archiving, purging, and printing), investigating an e-mail facility, and updating the documentation. Some of these may be assigned to Michael Lingoes for his introduction to Natural. We are also expecting further user input and change requests for the TARGET administration system, so we will be prepared to analyze those when received.
Please feel free to raise any questions or concerns prompted by this report.