Duke ITAC - August 5, 2004 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - August 5, 2004 Minutes


August 5, 2004

Start time: 4:11 pm

I. Review of minutes and announcements:

Introductions of new people: Dan McCarriar introduces Kevin Miller, the new Network Architecture Manager. Mike Alexander introduces Bill Wesson, a new member of the system infrastructure group.

II. HR process re-engineering

Todd Orr reminds people of the upgrade to SAP back in the spring. HR Payroll processes were one area of the upgrade. The upgrade team worked with university and Health System representatives who identified a number of issues that were not working well with current payroll processes. For example, online applications are cumbersome, paper-driven processes are complex and manual, and more. Also, when hiring new employess 50% of forms reaching HRIC were in error. The hiring process required 5 approval steps and that slowed things down.

To help with these problems, the group wants to integrate systems and eliminate existing HR Web tools, provide departments with online transactions, and use a single Web interface to support the entire hiring process.

Next steps are expected to take 12 to 15 months. These are: Payroll transactions—hire, change terminate; position management transaction, new position, reclassification; requisition to fill a position.

Mike Pickett asks who will use this new system. Todd says payroll clerks (there are 300 designated around campus), and HR people for larger departments like the school of medicine, which has over 1,000 employees.

Todd gives a brief demonstration of out-of-the-box transactions capabilities.

Molly asks if this Web-based front end can be used for other SAP functionality. Todd says yes and he anticipates most transactions or journal entries into SAP will use the Web interface.

Robert Wolpert questions the use of Internet Explorer which has known security problems, should we be worried about the security of financial applications using this Web interface?

Chris Cramer says we may want to have more controls such as access monitoring. That will be investigated.

III. Planning for the Telcom Building

Mike Alexander says as a result of the majority of OIT staff in the Telcom building moving to ATC, there will be a lot of space freed up in the building. One idea is to make the building an OIT data center. At the same time there may be enough space to host systems for other groups in the same space. Mike wants to form a user/advisor group to have input into the process. He envisions the group will be formed within the next month or two. He invites people to join the group, especially if they want to use the space. The data center will be a complex and ongoing process.

Nevin asks if there are costs associated with using the space.

Tracy says it probably doesn’t make sense for OIT to cover everything, but at the same time it would only make sense for other groups if the costs of hosting by OIT were less than maintaining machines by themselves.

Robert adds that there should be some process to determine who gets priority.

Tracy says Cisco provided some consulting services with this. The type of consulting is a free service that they provide to come up with models, white papers, and studies to take to other groups with proposals for doing something similar. They see us as potentially a leader in an issue other universities will eventually have to address.

IV. Breeze video pilot update

Robe Dan McCarriar reminds ITAC that we have been looking at video collaboration software for several months. Macromedia Breeze was one software that generated considerable interest on campus. The evaluation of Breeze is now complete. Dan’s group performed a survey and a report is forthcoming. Initial interpretation of the results indicates we don’t want to go out and buy the system today, but still considerable interest was generated in the software. The next product to be evaluated is Meritech. It is being set up now.

rt asks what OS the system will be set up on. Dan says Linux.

Dan says the way it works is that if you’re a presenter you can have a video camera on your computer, the audio can be sent over the computer or over the telephone, he has seen it done both ways.

Tracy asks about the test group and whom it is composed of. Was it largely Fuqua?

Dan does not have exact information, but it was a mix of faculty, staff, and even students from across the university and Health System.

Robert asks how many products are contenders in this evaluation.

Dan says it is basically a two-horse race. Breeze and Meritech are the top two even though many companies offer products in this field.

Robert asks what the goal is. Is it a site license or something else?

Dan says typically there is an auditorium where people can rent time.

Melissa says the math department at Duke has something similar to Breeze that they developed themselves. It has a bandwidth restriction so it is not scaleable to apply across A&S, but it is easy to use and has low overhead.

Dan says these products will be evolving drastically over the next few years. Right now there is really no consistency between them and that is something we need to consider when we look for an enterprise solution.

V. Recognition of Robert Wolpert and David Ferriero

by Billy Herndon, Mike Pickett

CTracy announces that ITAC wants to recognize David and Robert. Robert has served two 3-year terms as chair of ITAC. He will continue to be an ITAC member, but John Board will assume chairmanship. Tracy says Robert has been a tremendous help since she began at Duke.

David is leaving Duke and we wish him well at the New York Public Library. This is his last ITAC meeting and we are sorry to lose him. He has been a great friend to all of us at ITAC and at Duke.

VI. Other business