Duke ITAC - March 26, 1998 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - March 26, 1998 Minutes

ITAC Minutes

March 26, 1998

Present: Rafael Rodriguez, Robert Wolpert, Betty Le Compagnon, Melissa Mills, Kyle Johnson (for Caroline Nisbet), Pakis Bessias, Jim Dronsfield, Jonathan Luebbers, David Jamieson-Drake, Ken Hirsh, Nevin Fouts, Matthew Kotler, Rex McCallum, John Oates, Jason Kreuter, Jim Coble, John Sigmon, Angel Marlowe, John McCann, Scott Seaman, Carol Pegram, Dan Clement, Ed Sharpe, Michael Pickett

Review of Minutes and Announcements

The minutes from the March 12 ITAC meeting were approved.

Betty passed around a copy of the March 23 article in PC Week Magazine which covered Duke's DUNK (Duke University Networked Knowledge base) project. Phil Verghis, Manager of Customer Services at OIT was on front the page. Read it at http://www.zdnet.com/pcweek/news/0323/23help.html.

She also announced that one of the writers for CAUSE/EFFECT Journal will be coming to our next ITAC meeting. See http://www.cause.org/cause-effect/cause-effect.html.

David Jamieson-Drake distributed a copy of an e-mail from Susan Alberts regarding Duke's new indirect cost reimbursement rate of 54% that was negotiated with the Department of Health and Human Services. The new rate will be good through 6/30/2003. The capital equipment threshold will also be raised to $5,000 from the current $500 beginning July 1, 1999.

Remote Access Update

Rafael reported that there seems to be an internal tie-up at Time Warner and as a result Duke has not moved beyond the pilot phase with cable modems. He is still waiting on a business proposal from them.

GTE, on the other hand, has been much more aggressive and currently Rafael and Angel are working with them on ADSL. GTE originally wanted a minimum of 500 users. We worked with GTE to remove this minimum and have received a proposal with a fixed cost for two years and a cost per user. We have received a proposal for ADSL and to either extend or replace the current modem pool. The analog line proposal would support 56k modems and ISDN lines that can be accessed via a Triangle (local) number. Costs for vary depending on speed: $45/month for 256kbps downstream/64kbps upstream to $100/month for 1.5 mbps downstream and 768kbps upstream. There is also a $225 installation fee, and ADSL will be limited to GTE customers. Moreover, Rafael mentioned the risk of going into a two year contract with GTE and then Time Warner makes its RoadRunner service available for $39.95/month!


Robert Wolpert: Will we be replacing the modem pool, or will we be augmenting it?

Rafael: We need to look at that. If we decide to scrap the current modem pool then we have a much larger base to spread the fixed cost over.

John Sigmon: What is the TOTAL cost of the modem pool? What are other Universities doing?

Betty: Other Universities are struggling with this issue just like we are. Some charge for modem pool usage.

Betty: How do people feel about having better service but pay for it?

John Oates: People wouldn't like it.

John Sigmon: Many people have already moved to other providers because of speed, service or distance.

There was more discussion on the following

Are monthly fees competitive? Yes.

Will there be re negotiation of the (60k/year for two years) contract with GTE? Yes on the monthly fee per user if competition makes the rates unattractive. GTE is willing and has renegotiated in the past.

Timetable for availability? For the GTE ADSL proposal would be the second quarter. It is expected that the earliest Time Warner will bring out RoadRunner to the Durham area is year end 1998.

Will GTE be able to satisfy demand for many thousands of connections? Yes.

Procurement Roll out Update and Discussion of Procurement Presentation on March 12 at ITAC

Mike Pickett started the discussion by underlining the importance of constructive criticism in making the SAP procurement roll out more efficient and less painful for departments. He then proceeded to ask for ITAC members' feedback on the Procurement presentation of the last meeting.


John Sigmon: The business managers of the Schools and Departments need to see the demo. Their input is very important.

Nevin: The business managers also need to be made aware of the roll out time frame and training issues, especially since there seem to be so many major IT initiatives going on at the same time.

David Jamieson-Drake: The SAP interface needs to be mapped so that it is easy for the users that will be using it: efficient, compact interface with no clutter. Additionally, the presentations need to be tailored for the particular audience: e.g. Business managers, ITAC etc.

Mike: SAP has a series of interfaces and many ways to do one thing. They (SAP ) are trying to make it better. The next release ( 4.0 in early April) will have Java-enabled browsers, java beans, CORBA technology, and will have an easier, friendlier, lite interface for Duke users.

John Sigmon: There have been many new enterprise software packages pushed out to schools and departments in the last couple of years. (Paris, DAFT, BPA etc.) All this decentralization has increased the departments' workload tremendously. Something needs to be done or we might have a mutiny!

Rex: The University will save money centrally, but the departments will pay, therefore, the University as a whole will pay more as a result of this decentralization. What's in it for the departments?

Robert Wolpert: The benefit is no more shadow systems. "Stealth cost shifting" as John Board would say!

Mike: We have hired a person in charge of training that will put together a plan for training and demonstrating SAP to the departments. We will show them how hiring and many other functions will be enabled at the department level and also how SAP will replace the shadow systems.

Next, the discussion shifted to SAP vs. shadow or current system ways and functionality.

Kyle: When are these changes going to take place?

Ed Sharpe: We have thousands of standing orders (SO's) in the current system. Many of these SO's cannot be moved to the SAP system. Information was sent out to departments seeking to identify SO's that maybe should be canceled. There is a total of 8100 that have been used less than 6 times. Of these, Procurement Services is looking at 1800 from which they will try to identify the critical ones that need to be entered and integrated into SAP. (Some of these have no vendor number and other data values that will have to be entered into the SAP system manually.)

David Jamieson-Drake: Why aren't SO's going into SAP? Is it a material gap or a communication issue?

Ed Sharpe: SAP has a different way of doing and labeling things.

Mike: We will try to accommodate people as much as possible. Once SAP is on their desktop, people will realize how much easier it would be to do this through SAP. There is some anger from the departments because of the Procurement Services letter that went out notifying them of these changes. We need better communication to alleviate this.

Ed Sharpe: Procurement Services will work with customers for emergencies or special cases. On May 1st when there are no more SO's, the procurement card or a requisition should be used instead.

Melissa: CAPO's (Check attached purchase order) end on April 3rd. What's the alternative?

Ed Sharpe: There is no SAP alternative. CAPO's were an old-system work around. Now you can use the procurement card instead.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:35