Duke ITAC - December 13, 2001 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - December 13, 2001 Minutes


December 13, 2001

Attending: Ed Anapol, Mike Baptiste, Pakis Bessias, Dick Danner, Angel Dronsfield, Brian Eder, Ed Gomes (also for David Ferriero), Tom Dominick (for Nevin Fouts), Patrick Halpin, Billy Herndon, Ken Knoerr, David Jamieson-Drake, Roger Lloyd, Melissa Mills, Kyle Johnson (for Caroline Nisbet), George Oberlander, Lynn O'Brien, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriguez, Mike Russell, Jeffrey Taekman, Clare Tufts, Fred Westbrook, Robert Wolpert, Stephen Woody

Guests: Vince Budnick, Ginny Cake, Rob Carter, Chris Cramer, Debbie DeYulia, David Jarmul, Rob Little, Ben Maxymuk, Tallman Trask, Kathy Underwood

Call to Order: Meeting called to order at 4:05 PM

Review of Minutes and Announcements:

  • Cflix: A company created by Duke students and alumni. The company hopes to provide video content to students over the intranet. A pilot was held 12 month ago. There will be another pilot in the spring involving 300 - 500students and 4 channels. It is "near video on demand." Looking for feedbackfrom students. It is an alternative to piracy of videos over the internet.
  • Chris Cramer and David Jarmul spoke on Net Piracy: US Customs subpoenaed a student at Duke on West campus for internet piracy.

Discussion of IT at Duke with Tallman Trask

Dr. Trask is happy to come to ITAC whenever he is invited - quarterly was discussed. Dr. Trask feels we have made progress on a wide range of fronts over the past 3-4 years. He feels we are doing well on the administrative and networking side and now over the next years we need to spend time on academic technology: How technology can enhance the academic experience without losing a lot of money without return.

Questions to Dr. Trask

Highlight what went best over the last few years and still what is most problematic:

What went well:

  • Few other universities other than Duke managed to successfully move to enterprise financial services and student systems. Our performance was above average. Duke implemented SAP and continues to do so, and implemented PeopleSoft.
  • There is a level of discussion about common interests now. This is good because now there are more common interests even in areas that are decentralized.
  • Duke has a good leverage on vendors. We are able to get things at very good prices.
  • Better communication between the Health System and the University. We are looking at our common agendas and seeing where OIT and MCIS' strengths lie and put the resources in the right places so we do not duplicate efforts.
  • There was a great search for a CIO, unlike 8 years ago. People wanted to come to Duke. It was very competitive.
  • Able to get the telephone charges straightened out.
  • We are moving toward the "major league" as far as technology goes. We are not quite there, but people are starting to look to Duke and how they do their technology.

What has not gone as well:

  • Web front end for payroll for HR did not roll out as planned. They were 99% sure it would work fine, but were not willing to take the chance at Christmas time when the biweekly paychecks were being processed. The conversion will be pushed out a few months.

Where do we want to be in terms of IT Spending? Are we where we want to be?

There has never been a project at Duke that failed due to lack of money. Money sometimes gets you into problems when you don't consider whether ideas are good ideas, just can you pay for it? Need to be opportunistic spenders. We are better off to see where we want to go and then determine how to get there. We need to optimize what we have.


Dr. Trask has a very productive meeting with SAP, Duke is a prime customer of SAP, looking to get things out of SAP that we cannot now. Want to make it easier for instance, for faculty to look up their grant money.

Other Issues:

Trying to figure out when and how people should be involved in projects and roll-outs. Need faculty to be involved over time. What are the right test strategies? When should different audiences be involved? Dr. Trask welcomes any ideas or advice. He needs faculty input into things and decisions that are made.

What are some new initiatives or investments opportunities for Duke?

Duke needs to do something, to make a move, but Dr. Trask is not sure what that will be yet. We need to make a significant investment in bandwidth, need to set limit to ration bandwidth intelligently.

Money needs to be spent on instructional technology, such as Blackboard. We should be done spending money on administrative systems and campus network is in pretty good shape except bandwidth.

There are pockets of IT that are not in as good of shape as others. Is there an opportunity to coordinate for better funding and to make systems work together?

Need to figure out what the problem to be solved is before going out and spending a lot of money. One thing we need to do is stop buying software and then rewriting it. Need to see where we can use the software that we already have for other things. We need to prevent pockets of expensive things that become obsolete.

Do you have any recommendations for ITAC?

Invite Dr. Trask back quarterly. Have him back with Tracy in the future. Keep raising good questions. Don't take anything for granted. There are a lot of expectations at Duke, try to kill off the bad ones and encourage the good ones.

Where would you like to see us in 5 years?

A little bit ahead of where we are, don't see us leaping to the front of the pack though. Would be happy if we believe and others believe that Duke was a national, credible player in the IT world and would be thought of by other schools, boards, etc. when looking at schools with strong IT programs or representation.

Web directions at Duke

    • High level policy body Advisory group (like a web ITAC)
    • Central Office of Web Services
  • David Jarmul was back to respond to a report put together by Rob Little and colleagues. David is giving an official response to Tallman Trask and John Burness. He is also talking to Tracy quite a bit. There is a lot of information, a lot of problems; the Duke home page is not portraying Duke to its best benefit.

    How to deal with that?

    Where will they sit?

    • That is up for discussion.
    • It will include designers, Thatprogrammers, marketers, multimedia, policy program managers, etc. There needs to be faculty involvement on the advisory committee. There needs to be a proper balance between central coordination and the departmental level. Still discussing web content management system.

There is a lot of great work going on, just not sharing resources right now and need to find the best practices and decide when things should be done centrally, etc.

Rob Little distributed the State of the Web paper. It is a collaborative effort out of OIT and John Burness' office. Copies of the report can be requested from Rob Little.

Found on the OIT Website - same problems as the university. Need dynamic site management, consistent presence, standards and benchmarks, maintenance and content management.

There is a need for best practices, people do websites for departments don't have a lot of guidance, they are not aware of issues and best practices.

Need centrally located tools such as graphics and templates. Basic web content, try to leverage expertise in departments, get input from people and increase communication.

Need to understand how the web is changing. Needs to be kept up to date like an informational resource. Simplification of site, quick access, clean fashion.

Discussion continued; never start something like this without academic input. Duke is not a command and control organization and the web need to be a collaborative undertaking. Structures need to be in place to learn best practices of what people are doing.

There was a very strong feeling from the group that there needs to be a large faculty/academic involvement in the definition of the content management system requirements and also strong participation in the selection process of a content management tool.

David Jarmul said he needed to move quickly on this and would like anyone interested to join in and let him know. If there has been a lack of academic input, he welcomes anyone who would like to participate from that realm.

The policy group would probably be under the provost - The ITAC like group needs faculty involvement.

How important is design consistancy? Should there be a difference between schools and departments? What level of consistency needs to take place. Need to have best practices and compliance as we move forward.

What types of standardization and best practices are being talked about and how far down? Some disagreed, said standards not the problem, but resources. They need time, resources, and effort to get smaller organizations up to speed.

What is the scope of this effort? Need infrastructure Template or standards - no intent to change anything that is working, groups that need help need to be empowered.

Need an advisory committee - may have jumped too quickly without good discussion from all parts of the university.

David Jarmul said that he would like to continue to come back to ITAC with updates, etc.