Duke ITAC - January 16, 1997 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - January 16, 1997 Minutes

ITAC Minutes 16-January-97

Information Technology Advisory Council (ITAC)

Attending: Robert Wolpert, Paula Loendorf, Annette Foster, Jim Dronsfield, Dave Kirby, Pakis Bessias, Alex Reutter, John McCann, John Sigmon, Charlie Register, David Jamieson-Drake, Brian Eder, Jeff Chase, Caroline Nisbet, Dick Danner, John Brehm, Jay Kamm, Jon Liberman, Eric Weisman, Bill Auld, George Oberlander, David Ferriero, Michael Pickett, Melissa Mills, John Board


Mike Pickett (MP) presented a summary page on IT positions at Duke (to be sent directly to ITAC members via email). DU is finding it increasingly difficult to fill IT jobs and retain hires. DU is becoming less competitive for IT jobs relative to the Triangle. Hence IT Position Review committee is beginning a survey of class 08 employees at Duke, with the goal of being able to supply information to revise job classifications, material and non-material incentives.

MP reported on the candidate search at the institutional level. Two positions (Director of Information Systems Architecture, Database Administration) have 9 candidates, who will be interviewing over the next 4-6 weeks.

SICC Core Retreat: MP reported that SICC wants to move out of its mode of reacting to changes, aiming to think more broadly about integration. Hence retreat turned to issues of mapping areas of data overlap, transactions between systems, process interface, sequencing of transactions, and rate of change issues.

Discussion of Charge to Web Committee

MP: Committee discussion revolved around need for multiple types of people: guidance, art critics, those who who provide feedback on pages, those who would refresh content/form of web pages periodically.

Charlie Register (CR): Reported on a meeting with the Arts and Publishing community at DU, all had interest in presence for arts and humanities on DU web page. A letter from several prominent members of the Arts and Publishing community to Michael Grubb and Charles Register noted that the Duke web page does not provide sufficient information for users seeking information on publications, misclassified the presence of Duke Press as an administrative service and the Institute of the Arts under "Departments, Programs, Centers, and Institutions."

Rob Wolpert (RW): Is the proposal for Web oversight committee to augment mostly technical current membership for other input?

Jeff Chase (JC): Is the concern a question of appearance? (RW: No, both navigation and content). Then there are significant questions about the interrelationship of server and the web.

Other committee members raised issues that might fall under purview of oversight committee: what should reside on DU web? (e.g., outsiders, students setting up consulting businesses on DU web)? what is the responsibility/liability of DU for content? Should the Med Center be involved? Should there be library representation? How do we deal with high traffic (legitimate content) internal sites?

RW: The committee needs to prioritize concerns by urgency (e.g., proximitiy of dept pages to DU home page might be of higher concern). What is the appropriate scope of the committee? level of commitment of members?

CR: Two areas of potential oversight: Day-to-day home page requests (and a need for a point of referral with the oversight committee); keeping the image/architecture of the page reasonably fresh.

MP: Noted parallels to the site license committee, i.e., could meet periodically (quarterly? monthly?).

General discussion revolved around technical and policy roles of oversight committee. General discussion reflected agreement that committee should orient towards policy role, with technical members on the oversight committee to provide liasion. Java was noted as a potential overlap between technical and look-and-feel/policy questions.

RW: Who should be on this committee? Names solicited, and some provided and noted by RW. Asked for process for finding techically competent faculty. Some names suggested, also prospect of advertising for names via the Glovebox News, or searching for well-designed Web pages by DU faculty. Minutes to be provided to CR, who will draft a suggestion for specifics to be included in the charter of the committee, to be discussed at a subsequent ITAC meeting.

SISS Update

David Jamieson-Drake (DJD): Admissions, financial aid, student records, student loans, etc., should not function fully independently (e.g., change of address has to be updated at each). DU purchased a Student Information System, which now needs to be installed. Now a need for further input from Deans, faculty, and students. A Frozen Beta wil be delivered in April, and DU can begin working on implementation, anticipating a year or more to install. Between now and April, SISS needs to educate DU broadly about the system, and anticipate pitfalls.

AMS will consult in the early stages. (PeopleSoft not yet in consulting, so postpone the long run decision on consulting.) Peoplesoft will make presentation next Tuesday, and DU can begin to plan for Spring.

The SIS plan will "work" if both the product accomplishes its specific goals, and the process of implementation works smoothly.

General discussion: Committee needs to draw from a larger pool than currently is involved. Year 2000 problems are part of drive behind SISS. Broad view of functionality comes from faculty and student involvement.

Melissa Mills (MM) pointed that the Course Synopsis Online could be taken as a smaller prototype of the kind of student-faculty participation.

DJD: SISS represents the first major implementation of client-server architecture on the campus side of DU; problems will happen.

Procurement and SAP

Annette Foster (AF) presented committee membership, how the team interacts, noting areas of overlap. Many members of team went to level 1 training before Xmas, some to the level 2 (in financials). IBM hardware has been loaded with SAP, and will be brought up to production by March (with production software available in late Fall). Teams are now looking in greater detail at SAP, looking specifically for gaps between SAP and needs. Team is working with steering group on development, budget, assessing re-engineering.

MP: Team which underwent financials training was also able to think about interaction with procurement and SAP, preparing a preliminary proposal. Tallman Trask is concurrently assembling a committee for financials interaction with SAP, and redesign may happen. Hence putting a small part of procurement/SAP on line early, with possibility that the larger system might discard significant parts. (AF emphasized that continuity in the form of procurement will not be discarded). A major part of the consideration were Chartered Accounts, and Fund Accounting.

John Board asked when the best guess for real purchasing to be done under new system. AF responded that the back office should be up by the end of the summer, but probably until Fall for departments. JB asked about significant schedule slippage. MP responded that schedule appears to be on line. MP also noted that there is optimism among accounting people for broader simplification of accounting with SAP.

DukeNet and Wiring Issues

RW postponed discussion until next meeting, in order to air discussion with BLC.

Other Business

MP: Site License Working group met with good turnout, discussion of general principals of site license. Still has need for faculty oversight - names will be requested.

Paula Loendorf: Televideo is installing an upgrade which affects international dials (moving to 15 digit system required by other countries, Germany first). John Board suggested noting changes on duke.general.

Minutes taken by John Brehm