Other ACAC info: ACAC membership | Project rationale, history, and status report


Below are the minutes for ACAC meetings in 1998-2001. Earlier ACAC meeting minutes are archived here.


May 30, 2001
November 30, 2000
August 8, 2000
February 17, 2000
November 17, 1999
August 5, 1999
April 29, 1999
March 25, 1999
March 11, 1999
February 25, 1999
December 2, 1998
October 22, 1998
September 24, 1998
September 10, 1998
August 6, 1998
June 8, 1998
May 4, 1998
April 20, 1998
March 9, 1998
February 9, 1998
January 12, 1998


ACAC Meeting Minutes
May 30, 2001

Present: Ross Peacock (Chair), Donna Baxter, Ami Berger, John Bucher, Lori Gumpf, Pearl Lin, Sue Meredith, David Meyers, Millie Modic, Todd Rasmussen, Bruce Richards, John Rote, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Ross introduced Sue Meredith and David Meyers, who are new to the committee. He also announced Monica Wachter's summer leave and departure at the end of the calendar year; Millie Modic will be Acting Manager of ACS over the summer. Bruce Richards will also be leaving the committee due to his impending sabbatical and retirement.

Monica passed out a document outlining the ACS calendar regarding upcoming administrative hardware and software projects. The major project will be the installation, testing, and production cutover of the new database server for Banner, which is named Athena; Athena will go live (with the current version of Banner installed) on September 24, 2001. Work has already begun on this project and will continue through January with the installation of Oracle 8.i and Banner 5. There was some discussion of how the user interface will look vs. the current server; Monica commented that it should be practically transparent to users. In addition, FOCUS will continue to be available, although no new FOCUS development will be done, and Banner 5 should be available to users from September through December. The current plan is for Banner 5 to go live on December 17, 2001.

This led to a discussion of related issues. There will be some Citrix issues with the new server and Banner 5; these revolve around the reporting and printing problems we already have. Cathe Radabaugh and others are working on these issues now. Work is also being done to get ready for the unplugging of the VAX; there was some discussion about how data, particular AR data, will be retrieved and/or archived. There was also mention of scheduling software; the team to look at this software has been resurrected and is being co-chaired by Todd Rasmussen and Tina Zwegat. They will probably be looking at the Schedule 25 and/or Resource 25 (John was very impressed with the latter at a recent conference) packages as part of their evaluation. Scheduling software is still something of an orphan project, since there's been no determination of who will pay for the project, what hardware will be used, what the network impact will be, or who will implement a new package. Discussion of this issue will continue.

The discussion then turned to an issue that was brought to Ross by Roland Baumann, the College Archivist. Roland is very concerned about Oberlin's archiving (or lack thereof) of electronic documents. As more and more critical institutional information is saved electronically, how we archive that information in an accessible format becomes more and more of an issue. Many schools are struggling with this, and Roland is looking for ACAC's help in getting this issue on the radar of senior staff. The question is whether or not this kind of issue comes under ACAC's umbrella of responsibility or influence. After some discussion, the committee agreed that we should make this part of our larger discussion of administrative computing and long-term strategy. Ross will make Roland aware of any future discussions and/or decisions.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting will be in August, specific day/time TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger
ACAC Secretary Emeritus

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
November 30, 2000

Present: Ross Peacock (chair), Donna Baxter, Ami Berger, Lori Gumpf, Pearl Lin, Brian Lindeman, Todd Rasmussen, Bruce Richards, John Rote, Katie Styer, Maryann Stillwell, David Stull, Monica Wachter

Guests: Cathe Radabaugh, David Waldron

We began with a round of applause for Brian and the Financial Aid team, who are now officially live on Banner. The staff is pleased with the product so far, and Brian is especially enthusiastic about the web interface, which will allow prospective and current students to check on the status of their financial aid application and eventually their aid package on PRESTO. There are still some issues to be worked out with this, including the details of the PIN procedure, but overall the module is in place and working.

Next up was Dave Waldron, who joined us to give a report on the AppWorx job scheduling product. Dave noted that the product, which will provide an alternate way for users to submit jobs that would otherwise be run in Banner jobsub, looks good and will give us some capabilities that we have been missing. These include:

  • Scheduling ad hoc jobs
  • Specifying a start time for jobs for any point in the future
  • Scheduling jobs to run on an ongoing basis (i.e. every Tuesday at 4 pm)
  • Stringing jobs together to run in sequence
  • Conditionally executing jobs
  • Setting up a notification mechanism to let a user know if a job has failed

AppWorx will allow the CIT folks easier diagnosis of problems versus jobsub, and will also make for easier management of the load on the database server. However, there are still some issues to be resolved, including setting up AppWorx accounts for all users, setting up (and maintaining) all the Banner jobs in AppWorx, and setting up security. Ross asked when the product would be available for use; Monica replied that we'll see a limited rollout in the next few months, beginning with jobs and users with high-priority jobs (i.e. the feed to Finance from A/R).

Next on the list: reporting. Monica passed out a document outlining the research she and Cathe Radabaugh have done regarding the Brio product, and some of the issues and decisions involved in a Brio implementation. This document is included at the end of these minutes. Basically, we're looking at a few different setups: the Brio repository on Bravo, which is what the Brio Nine are currently using with the 5.5 version of the Explorer software; and the newer, web-based "OnDemand" setup, which we would have to purchase and install. The OnDemand setup involves three different levels of reporting capability, which would be made available to new Brio users depending on their needs.

Discussion followed. Questions and comments mostly revolved around the cost of the OnDemand solution, the interim cost of getting a few new users (particularly in the Con) up on the Explorer software (which will now require an upgrade to Brio 6.x and a Windows machine), and the general cost in time and effort in the CIT to get the new hardware and software ordered, tested, and implemented. There was also discussion of the time it would take to get the OnDemand product up and running; Monica estimated that we could have functionality going by July 2001.

The outcome of this discussion was a proposal to move the current Brio Nine to Brio 6.x and Windows machines sometime in January 2001 as an interim solution, and to begin contract negotiations with Brio for the OnDemand product concurrently. The Networking staff in the CIT would also begin work on getting the necessary server ordered and tested with the goal of a July 2001 rollout to users. This proposal was approved by the group; Monica will begin making the necessary arrangements to get the process moving.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger


Brio Enterprise Research Report
ACAC, 11/30/00

GOAL:

Distribute usage of Brio query and analysis capabilities to a larger group of administrative users.

Allow reports to be run or accessed by others thus alleviating the bottleneck created by having only one access point to Brio-written reports in individual offices.

ISSUES:

Existing Designer and Explorer desktop licenses are cross-platform on version 5.5, which is no longer available. No Mac desktop client is available immediately and Mac desktop clients will be desupported altogether in the future.

The web Insight client is not strictly equivalent to the client/server Explorer license (although it may be in future development).

ACS staff must post data models to the central repository (client/server) or to the OnDemand server (web).

Hardware and additional software requirements place an additional burden on NOS staff

DECISION:

The Brio Enterprise solution does not appear to be as elegant and comprehensive as we had hoped. However, current user satisfaction with the Explorer tool, and the direction of development at Brio are encouraging. An additional benefit might be that reports written in SQR (now Brio.Report) by ACS staff could be output in a .bqd format which would make them readable by any of the Brio web tools.

Interim solution: Add x number of Explorer licenses (~$1000/seat), and replace the existing Macs with Windows machines (~$2000/desktop). Approx. total cost: $20,000

Long-term solution: Purchase OnDemand server, hardware to run it on, and appropriate mix of Explorer, Insight, and Quickview licenses. Approx. total cost: $80-90,000

Other solution: Start from scratch, create a functional requirements document as the basis of an RFP and see whether any other reporting tool matches our needs better.

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
August 8, 2000

Present: Ross Peacock (chair), Ami Berger, Ron Bowman, John Bucher, Pearl Lin, Brian Lindeman, Michael Lynn, Aaron Milenski, Todd Rasmussn, Bruce Richards, John Rote, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Absent: Donna Baxter, Dan Cunningham, Lori Gumpf

A few introductory notes: Bruce Richards has joined the group on a permanenant basis, and Ron Bowman was sitting in for Lori Gumpf. As Sandy Fox has left the College, her replacement will hopefully join us, and as Ellen Sayles' duties in the Con are changing, we hope her replacement will also join us eventually.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the long- and short-term goals and projects facing adminstrative computing now that OPUS is nearing the end of the implementation phase. John sent out a document covering these issues previous to the meeting, and this document (available at the end of these minutes) was the basis for our discussion.

The first issue up for discussion was our reporting strategy and the access that users have to report-writing tools. Monica explained the long-range goals that ACS has for reporting, which include an enterprise solution and eventually a datamart. She noted that these functions will become more important in the future as SCT modifies the Banner product and possibly changes the way the base tables are accessed.

This generated a good deal of discussion. Several members felt that our current reporting structure is still unfinished business, so to speak, and suggested that access to the Brio product be widened to include more users before moving to something like an enterprise solution. Michael asked if more Brio licenses could be acquired; Monica noted that this is complicated by the fact that the Mac version of Brio is no longer available. The committee agreed, however, that some sort of "bridge" reporting solution was needed to get us through the year or so that it would take to get an enterprise reporting solution up and running. Moncia will pursue the idea of purchasing another set of licenses at her meeting with the Brio representative next week. There was also talk of what an enterprise solution would take to implement, in terms of both money and staff time, as well as the benefits it would bring us as an institution.

John asked for the group's formal support of an enterprise strategy, and the group agreed. ACAC endorses the need for an enterprise reporting/datamart solution, with the further understanding that a "bridge" strategy will be developed to get offices through the next year or so.

Other issues included the possibility of implementing an Oberlin College portal (most likely a vendor-supplied product such as SCT's Campus Pipeline) and the growing demand for e-business functions (especially electronic payment capabilities). There was much discussion about the need for these services and what their implementation would entail, but everyone agreed that the underlying requirement for this kind of functionality would be a solid directory structure. John noted that this would take a good deal of work to develop and would require the input of a number of offices around campus, including Human Resources, to be successful.

There was also some discussion of ancillary systems around campus, particularly FAMIS and the "shadow" desktop systems maintained by various offices. Banner has not done away with the need for these desktop systems, which take up a chunk of ACS time.

The meeting concluded with the general agreement that reporting (particularly a "bridge" strategy to get us through the next year) is the top administrative priority at this point in time, with a workable directory structure coming in second. Other issues will be addressed as they arise.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger


Strategic Planning for the future of Administrative Systems at Oberlin College

July, 2000

Now that the formal part of the College's OPUS project is approaching closure, we need to look out to the next few years and plan for the maintenance and enhancement of administrative systems at Oberlin.. This document lays out the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Some of these areas have tentative timelines, while others are only noted as a future probability.

Obviously, all of this is a moving target. The areas noted here are quite obvious to us now; there will be others

Reporting

An enterprise-wide reporting tool needs to be selected and implemented that has key features of a central repository accessible by a web client (running and saving capabilities) or by a more robust desktop client (writing and modifying capabilities).

To support an enterprise tool for use by end-users, a datamart should be developed to offload queries from the production database. Otherwise day-to-day transaction performance (i.e.: payroll entry, registration, accounts payable check printing) will suffer significantly. This will be a major project involving hardware, data analysis, data transfer, documentation, and training.

These two elements (the reporting tool and the datamart) of an effective reporting strategy are the essential underpinnings of a decision support system, which should help answer the important pivotal questions asked by senior administrators and trustees.

We expect to begin the investigation and acquisition of these tools in calendar year 2001. Implementation is proposed over a period of several months, probably lasting well into 2002.

E-business

No matter what you call it (e-business, e-commerce, etc.), the increasing use of electronic technologies to conduct business activities at our institution is most definitely in Oberlin's future. We have already witnessed a few examples of this at the College. Many more applications will be proposed in the next few years. In order to prepare for these activities, several administrative and technical infrastructures must be constructed. We need to get started immediately.

Directory services All electronic business relies on a solid and trusted resource called directory services. Directory services, in turn, rely on an electronic signature mechanism called Public/Private Key Infrastructure (PKI). In addition to very simple applications such as email address lookups, directory services and a PKI provide the authentication, eligibility, and authorization of a particular user to get to a particular suite of resources on the campus network. While this appears simple on the surface, a solid set of directory services require a carefully constructed array of technical and procedural constructs. The development of these resources is potentially complex and time consuming.

The planning for directory services at Oberlin is just now getting started. We expect to start a formal process in mid-2001.

Electronic payments We will need to develop the capability to process electronic financial transactions such as admissions application fees or student account payments. The alumni/development office is currently taking donations online through a third-party vendor. The infrastructure required for this involves software, which is impacted by related software dependencies. In other words, if Oracle ipayment were selected as the best software to use for taking electronic payments, it may require a new version of the Oracle database which may require a new version of SQL*net (the connectivity software) which may be limited by a version of Citrix Metaframe or the lowest level of desktop operating system. Then there is the actual encrypted web coding to create the home page and additional programming to transfer the data to locations within the administrative system (Banner).

Other electronic services Each administrative office has traditionally communicated with its student or prospective student constituency fairly independently of other offices. We will need to take a comprehensive approach to making all the information students care about available to them in the medium that is becoming most natural to them, which is the web. For instance, we could carefully put together a fantastic online admissions application complete with features like online fee payment and email acknowledgement of the receipt of materials, or even email affirmative admissions decisions as some schools already do. Once applicants using such features become our new student population, they will expect similar services concerning their student account, financial aid, housing, and other relevant information. While we should make a high priority of the online functionality that Banner makes available, there will be additional demands that will require web development (programming and maintenance).

Imaging An Imaging project should be considered for its ability to eventually provide some workflow efficiencies as documents that need to be shared across offices are stored electronically in a central database. Although we know this is in our future, no timeline has been established.

Campus-wide scheduling Central facilities scheduling for events and meetings was conceptually part of the OPUS project. A functional requirements work team would need to be reinstated to initiate this project, but most likely web access would be a desired feature.

This should be looked at again in 2001.

Web for Employees Faculty and staff would be able to view much of their human resources data through Web for Employees. No time has been established for this.

Portal As prospective students and students become accustomed to seeing personalized information wherever they surf on the internet, they will expect to see a similar customized and personalized approach from their electronic interaction with Oberlin College. The commonly used term for this kind of interface is 'portal'. There are a couple of features of a portal that the Oberlin constituency might find attractive:

Single sign-on - the idea here is that a student, faculty member, or staff member would log into a homepage with a single username and password that allows the system to recognize and authenticate who they are, and synchronize behind-the-scenes any additional account/password so that diverse information from a variety of sources can be presented in a single point of entry. This kind of synchronization takes a considerable amount of technical setup and maintenance, including implementing robust directory services.

Presentation and Convenience - for example, a student might have a link to his or her email account, registration information, grades, financial aid, class syllabi, OBIS, and the weather report all from one page. It may be that there is very little advantage in removing a few navigation obstacles, since savvy web users will develop extensive bookmarks anyway.

Portal development is certainly in our plans, but no timeline has been established. For effective implementation, it must follow the development of robust directory services and a PKI (see above).

Ancillary Systems

Support of systems that are specific to the operations of a particular administrative office is substantial. These include FAMIS, several small desktop databases, and interfaces with Banner to/from CBORD and AT&T Onecard. Other small desktop systems that are independent often require ACS support when there is staff turnover, when they become obsolete and need replaced or when modifications are necessary. Some examples are MARS, ARMS, keys, vehicle registration, Fuelmaster, CTS and Elihu Welber. Other standalone IT systems on campus such as the Library, Art Museum, Alumni/Development and Career Services require coordination or interfaces.

Ancillary system development and support is on-going. Our availability to assist in these systems is quite dependent upon what is currently happening with the other "mission critical" enterprise systems. Therefore, there is no delineated timeline for these developments.

Technical Currency and Upgrade Management

Major new versions of the Banner software are released on a 12-18 month schedule. This will continue to be an intensive task for each user office and the analyst/programmers that support them. This is also a time-consuming part of the DBA's responsibility, particularly when we maintain five instances of the Oracle database (SEED,ACS1, TPRD, PPRD, and LIVE). Upgrades to the Oracle database or to any other layer of the enterprise software suite (bravo or opusweb operating systems, Citrix Metaframe, Web Application Server, etc.) require intensive research, installation, testing, and production troubleshooting.

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
February 17, 2000

Present: Ross Peacock (chair), Donna Baxter, Ami Berger, John Bucher, Dan Cunningham, Sandy Fox, Lori Gumpf, Pearl Lin, Brian Lindeman, Marcia Miller, Todd Rasmussen, John Rote, Maryann Stillwell, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Guests: Ruth Spencer, Gita Sankaran

Absent: Bob Geitz, Michael Lynn, Aaron Milenski, Ellen Sayles

John B. introduced Gita Sankaran, who is "in residence" with the CIT this semester during a leave from her position as Coordinator of Computing for a women's college in Southern India. In addition, Todd Rasmussen and Donna Baxter are joining ACAC as replacements for Michele Gross and Marcia Miller (respectively).

Ruth Spencer joined us for a discussion of campus disclosure regarding data confidentiality. Ruth's concern is that the general campus community is not aware of how many people outside of the Human Resources Office have access to confidential information. The issue here is that anyone who has access to BANNER can see SSNs and birthdates via the search screen, and some staff members outside of HR have access to address information via screens that they use for their own tasks in BANNER. Ruth noted that some people on campus believe this information is only available to HR and that there is an expectation of confidentiality when it comes to personal information. She would like to distribute a campus-wide communication that outlines what data is and isn't limited to the HR Office.

Ross asked rhetorically whether access to this data-primarily SSN, birthdate, and address information-violates that expectation of confidentiality, and this led to a fairly lengthy discussion. It was mentioned that this situation is not a recent development, as some offices have always (within the last 10-15 years) had access to personal information in order to process certain functions (like faculty load inthe Registrar's Office), and that sending out such a communication would provoke an unnecessary blowup in the faculty and staff ranks.

There was also some discussion of procedures used at other institutions, such as requiring every employee to sign a form saying that they will not disclose any information seen using the institution's system, and breaching that disclosure agreement would be grounds for penalty or dismissal. Ruth noted that such a form would solve the problem of punishing individuals who are caught misusing confidential data, but would not address the problem of campus-wide ignorance as to who can and can't see certain information.

Ross noted that this is really an institutional question and not a BANNER, or even a computing, question, and should go up the ladder to Senior Staff, or at least to Andy Evans. Ruth agreed to discuss this issue with Andy, pulling John Bucher in if necessary for the computing side of things, and report back to ACAC when a decision is reached.

We then moved on to a few module reports. Lori reported that SR is going fairly well: they are cleaning up data and fixing the "oopses" that they run into whenever a process is run for the first time. She also noted that there are now two "fake" persons in the live database that will allow her staff to assign classes to "Staff" when an instructor has yet to be determined. SR (both the BANNER module and PRESTO) will be upgraded at the end of February.

Maryann reported that Admissions is also going well, although they are also fixing first-time oopses, and are still hampered by slow data entry . The CIT is looking at ways to speed things up, and BANNER 4.0 may also help. Maryann also noted that BrioQuery has been a big hit-both Michael Manderen and Aaron Milenski love it.

Todd reported that Security is bringing in a reporting package called ARMS that they've been evaluating for a while, and is also discussing hand-held computers for ticketing that could then download data directly into BANNER. There was some discussion of how such programs would interface with Finance.

Dan reported that Facilities is in the process of rekeying the entire campus and is looking at software to track keys.

John reported that he will be convening ITPC sometime this spring to discuss mass emailing lists, which have become a hot topic of late.

Monica reported that the new A/P, Jerry Coleman, will begin next Monday. Jerry fills the term position left vacant by Dave Waldron's move to Networking in the CIT. There will be some redistribution of work in the ACS group. Monica also noted that the testing of the Citrix setup is going very well; the idea is to have Citrix implemented in user offices by May, at which time we can begin thinking about the upgrade to BANNER 4.0. The projected date for upgrading to 4.0 is October; Financial Aid would train and go live on this version, and other offices would have the summer to test the upgrade before the cutover in the fall. John drew a very nice picture of the Citrix setup, and there was some discussion of the setup's security, access, and cost.

Pearl wondered if she should put off online requisition training, since there are major changes to the Purchasing module in 4.0. She will discuss this with Andy.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
November 17, 1999

Present: Ross Peacock (Acting Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Sandy Fox, Bob Geitz, Lori Gumpf, Michele Gross, Pearl Lin, Brian Lindeman, Mike Manderen, Marcia Miller, Cathe Radabaugh, John Rote, Maryann Stillwell, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Absent: Dan Cunningham, Michael Lynn, Aaron Milenski, Ellen Sayles

The first item was a discussion of the "unplugging" of the VAX: the e-mail function of the VAX will go away beginning December 1. Other functionality will continue, due to the delay of the Financial Aid BANNER implementation and the fact that several offices around campus are also still using data on the VAX for various legacy reports. Katie pointed out, however, that the only thing that's been tested for Y2K compatibility on the VAX is the FinAid system; other functions may very well go kaput on 1/1/00. It was pointed out that while the data would still be available, certain reports may not. Eventually this will evolve into a much wider discussion about archiving what's on the VAX.

The next item was the latest incarnation of the online requisitioning discussion. Ross wanted to know the current status of this issue, which is actually two issues. Pearl explained:

  • Currently, online budget inquiry is available to budget managers. These individuals should contact Pearl to set up the appropriate BANNER training and security.
  • The other issue is providing online requisitioning for AA's. The obstacle here is the possibility of budget information being viewed inappropriately. Pearl will provide Ross with a document explaining the exact ramifications of giving the AA's online requisition access, and Ross will write a memo to Andy asking for his blessing based on this information.

The last item was a discussion of the BrioQuery deployment. Ross explained that when we first chose Brio as a reporting tool, we purchased two developer licenses and seven user licenses; he and Cathe Radabaugh are the owners of the two developer licenses (with responsibility for Student and Finance reporting, respectively), and the time has come to mete out the remaining seven. He also noted that eventually these licenses will become obsolete when an enterprise server solution for reporting becomes available.

Ross passed out a document explaining the process by which Brio will be deployed to the seven individuals (Fox, Miller, Lin, Rote, Gumpf, Manderen, and Milenski). This document is attached to these minutes, below. There was some discussion, including questions about backup for each of the designated users and the timeline for implementing the enterprise server (about a year from now, according to Monica). The upshot was that the two groups will meet separately to decide the order in which the users will work with each developer, and then the groups will contact Ross and Cathe so the development of the data models can begin. Monica extended a big thank-you to Ross, who has been helping to extend the resources of ACS by working with the Brio product.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting: TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger


BrioQuery Deployment

Phase I

Two BrioQuery Developer's Versions:

  • Financial Areas: Cathe Radabaugh
  • Student Areas: Ross Peacock

Seven BrioQuery User Licenses (Desktop)

Proposed Distribution of Desktop Versions

Financial Reports Team

  • Human Resources: Sandy Fox
  • Payroll: Marcia Miller
  • Finance: Pearl Lin
  • Budgets: John Rote

Student Reports Team

  • Student: Lori Gumpf
  • A&S Admissions: Aaron Milenski
  • Con Admissions: Michael Manderen

Steps required for successful implementation

  • The two area teams determine the order of one-by-one training and implementation
  • Users provide specifications (can be in form of FOCUS jobs) for most commonly used reports and/or datasets
  • Developers create datamodels that match specs and provide maximum flexibility for user reporting
  • Users create reports, spreadsheets etc using these datamodels requesting changes and tweaks along the way (prioritization of requests resolved by each team)
  • After datamodels are written to user specifications, developer moves to next user

NOTE: Some datamodels will satisfy the needs of multiple users and can be easily shared. Also very easy to create spreadsheets using Brio (MUCH easier and better than FOCUS) and share data that way

Phase II

Enterprise Server Solutions:

  • A&S Dean's Office: Bruce Richards, Bob Geitz
  • Con Dean's Office: Connie Matlin, Ellen Sayles
  • Others as identified

How BrioQuery Works

Developer can create three kinds of documents

  • Datamodels
  • Standard Queries
  • Standard Queries with Report

A datamodel is a set of tables or views with pre-defined joins. User cannot change the structure of joins or tables in the model but has maximum flexibility in selection criteria, and object selection. User can also export results to a variety of formats and use the BioQuery report function (Detail) to format a report. Also possible for user to compute new variables using the data retrieved in a datamodel. These new variables are not stored in the database but can be useful in user-generated reports and spreadsheets.

A standard query is a datamodel but the selection criteria are pre-defined.

A standard query with report is a pre-packaged full report. The selection criteria are pre-defined and the Detail is written. This is similar to the old Vax batch procedures

How Users Access Datamodels etc

Working with users, the developer creates the datamodel and saves it to the BrioQuery Repository Catalog. This sits on the Oracle database. Security can be set up so that the Developer creates folders that represent groups of users. A user can belong to multiple groups. Working with the functional areas, the developer assigns individual users to the groups who in turn have access to these folders. By doing this, security by individual table is not an issue. Like a view, users can be granted access to datamodels even though they may not have access to one or more of the tables. When using BrioQuery, the user simply accesses the Repository catalog and selects the folders he/she as access to.

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
August 5, 1999

Present: Ross Peacock (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Bob Geitz, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Pearl Lin, Brian Lindeman, Michael Lynn, Aaron Milenski, Cindy Murnan, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Absent: Dan Cunningham, Sandy Fox, Marcia Miller, John Rote, Ellen Sayles

We began by introducing Bob Geitz and Cindy Murnan (attending as a guest) to the group.

The first item on the agenda was a discussion of potential key systems. Several packages have been assessed and one, Sargent, has been chosen by the Service Building folks as meeting their needs. The CIT still needs to evaluate the Sargent system; if it looks okay, we'll go with it. If not, a Filemaker database will probably be built to handle keys for the time being (Dan Cunningham would most likely be the administrator of any new key system). There was some discussion of Oberlin's key policies in general; some members of the group would like to see more communication with the campus as a whole about issues relating to key management, especially reporting capability.

The next item concerned the granting of BRAVO accounts to BANNER users. This has come up because Bruce Richards has requested a BRAVO account in order to do some reporting needed by the Dean's office. The general consensus seemed to be that giving Bruce the access is fine; the larger concern was how to evaluate other users' needs with regard to reporting. Should BRAVO access be given to everyone who wants it? If so, how do we control security, training, and system load? Or should we be focusing on stepping up our desktop reporting strategy? If so, where will those stepping-up resources come from?

This led into a lengthy and far-reaching discussion of the general frustrations on campus with regard to reporting and what some potential solutions might be. Eventually this discussion led back to the online query issue, which rose like a phoenix from the ashes of prior ACAC meetings and memos to senior staff. The sticking point here has always been one of security, since online budget inquiry allows users to see some grouped salary information. After grappling with this point for a while, the group decided that budget managers should in fact be given online budget access within their own departments, with the stipulation that access must be kept to the budget manager only.

It was also decided that John Bucher will encourage John Rote to convene a meeting of the budget managers group which meets periodically in order to discuss those individuals' reporting needs and what strategy would best meet those needs. John B. will also suggest tht Pearl, Ross, and Monica be invited to this meeting.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting: TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
April 29, 1999

Present: Ross Peacock (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Dan Cunningham, Michele Gross, Pearl Lin, Aaron Milenski, Marcia Miller, Monica Wachter, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

Absent: Lori Gumpf, Brian Lindeman, Mike Lynn, John Rote, Ellen Sayles

The first item of discussion was the newly-created Ohio BANNER users group. Material about the first meeting was passed around; interested users may follow up on their own.

We then turned to the issue of foreign postal codes. We have never formally discussed where these should be stored, and there are two options: putting it before the country (which the USPS prefers) or keeping it in the ZIP field. The Chair noted that keeping the postal code in the ZIP field will simplify data entry, and we can still report on this field as long as the reports are formatted correctly. ACS will do some research as to keeping reports, labels, and other output clean. As long as no major obstacles are uncovered in that research, the decision stands that foreign postal codes will live in the ZIP field.

Next on the agenda was the online budget access issue. There was some discussion of the three options which Ross outlined in a document sent out prior to the meeting. These are:

  1. Severely limit on-line budget access by granting it only to those who already have access to salaries.

  2. Remove the shield of confidentiality protecting administrative and, in isolated cases, faculty salaries.

  3. Modify the FOAP scheme for salaries in such a way that they do not appear on the same form/budget sheets as other items. This would be done by having separate Fund/Org codes for codes thus allowing security to allow users who shouldn't have access to salaries to still have access to other budget items.

The outcome of the discussion was that Ross will ask Andy Evans to include this item on the agenda of the next Finance division meeting and will also ask to attend the meeting. A report on the outcome of this meeting will be given at the next ACAC meeting. It was generally agreed by all that a decision on this needs to be made (in writing) at the upper levels so that a firm policy can be developed, adhered to, and gestured towards if problems or confusion about salary confidentiality should arise.

Monica mentioned that the Finance division's computing needs have been prioritized. The top priorities, in order of importance, are: the Student Accounts BANNER implementation; Finance year-end training and testing in BANNER; reporting needs; the FAMIS work ticket; the online budget access question; the Brio and Web for Employees implementations.

Ross asked whether there was any news on the Apple support issue regarding BANNER 4.0. This led into a brief discussion about our options: the Citrix solution, the web-enabled forms, the need for NT vs. Novell servers, etc. These discussions continue to take place within the CIT; ACAC will be kept up-to-date as the deadline for a decision approaches.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
March 25, 1999

Present: Ross Peacock (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Dan Cunningham, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Pearl Lin, Michael Lynn, Marcia Miller, John Rote, Ellen Sayles, Monica Wachter

Absent: Brian Lindeman, Aaron Milenski, Katie Styer, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

First on the agenda was officially approving the "classifications of ethnicity" document sent out by Ross a few weeks ago. The document outlines ethnicity classifications and how users will assign them in BANNER. This document is included at the end of these minutes. We also addressed the issue of citizenship codes: the new codes are as follows:

US = United States citizen
DF = Dual Foreign citizen
DU = Dual US citizen
FN = Foreign National
PR = Permanent Resident

A lingering question involves the use of Y or N in designating whether someone is a US citizen or not; these codes are currently in use in the HR module. The HR and Payroll folks will discuss this at their next team meeting and report back. For the record, the Chair wishes it to be known that he recommends converting the Y's and N's into the classifications as outlined by the now-agreed-to classification document.

Monica and Ami outlined a few other data standards reminders: never to use the "#" sign while entering addresses, as this is a code used by the BANNER letter generation function to run letters; and a reminder to do thorough searches before entering new people into BANNER to avoid duplicate records. A few duplicate records have been popping up and we'd like to avoid these as much as possible.

Dan then gave a FAMIS status report. He noted that as it now stands, it appears that the only FAMIS module that will be used is the Maintenance Management module, which is currently running work orders. Inventory Control will not be implemented; the Space Management implementation is still under discussion. Dan noted as an aside that the work order system is doing great and the CIT has been helpful in assisting the process. Michael asked if anything is being planned to take the place of Inventory; Dan thinks not. The CIT is planning on discontinuing maintenance altogether on these modules. Ross asked about a key system; Monica noted that the FAMIS keys module is still in development and she has asked Res Life and the Operations folks to develop a list of specs so research into a key system can begin.

We then turned to a review of BANNER access and giving users budget inquiry access to BANNER Finance in particular. Pearl has been getting a number of requests recently from people who want access to their budgets. Monica went through a brief outline of how users request BANNER access, and Pearl gave an overview of what users with budget inquiry privileges would be able to see. This is a bit sensitive, since budget inquiry includes view access to a department's salary line, and for small departments this could be a major confidentiality problem. Lengthy discussion ensued; it was decided that Pearl and Ross will develop a memo to send to the OPUS Executive Committee (John B., Andy, and the two Deans) outlining the options here and asking for assurance that we are doing the right thing in granting access to this information.

A few final notes:

  • The Scheduling team has reconvened and is looking at systems
  • CBORD is on schedule and moving forward

Next meeting: April 29 at 3 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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Classifications of Ethnicity Recommendation to the President and ITPC

Although not an issue specific to BANNER, the world of shared database tables makes this an issue we must decide as an institution.

Traditionally, Admissions and Student Records have restricted its classification of student ethnicities to the five major categories (the descriptions have been abbreviated):

1=Black
2=Native American
3=Asian American
4=Latino
5=White/Other

Admissions, being the office creating the majority of student records, has had the responsibility of interpreting responses where multiple codes are marked and where the student marks "Other" as a discrete category. In the case of multiple marks, the legacy system and current release of BANNER allow only one category to be selected. If at all possible, it has been the policy of the Oberlin Admissions Office (not simply the current staff but the Office historically) to select one ethnicity. If a student marks "Other", and explains what that means as she is requested to do, the Admissions Office likewise has traditionally selected an appropriate ethnicity code.

Now that other functional areas are creating student records, the discrete "Other" category (code=6) has appeared in the database. We assume this has occurred in response to what a particular student has indicated, or that it reflects the fact that no decision could be made by the entering office (it might also be used, incorrectly, to indicate the student is not a US citizen. Citizenship codes are the proper vehicle to discriminate US from non-US students). While the first two reasons are logical and still allow for proper federal reporting via IPEDS, it presents Oberlin with two significant problems:

  1. Since the majority of "Others" are likely to be students who would have been entered as one of the non-white categories, our enrollment of non-whites would appear comparatively diminished when that is not the case
  2. The selection of "Other" provides no permanent indication or hint of predominant ethnicity. That is therefore lost forever in the database.

Beginning in the IPEDS cycle of 2000-2001, colleges and universities will be required to code and report multiple marks in ethnicity which BANNER will be contractually obligated to provide for. At that time, one of these issues will disappear as students will be asked to mark all that apply and their responses will be so recorded in the database. Nonetheless, the institution must decide how it wishes to treat students who currently provide multiple marks and those who select the "Other" category now and after 2001.

The Administrative Computing Advisory Committee (ACAC) recommends the following policy be adopted:

The current practice of selecting and entering the most appropriate ethnicity between 1 and 5 for students shall continue until multiple marks can be entered in the database. Also, all reasonable attempts shall be made to determine an appropriate ethnicity for students selecting the "Other" category. If after all reasonable attempts, an ethnicity cannot be determined, the code of 6 shall be used. All offices creating and/or maintaining student records shall adhere to this practice.

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
March 11, 1999

Present: Ross Peacock (Acting Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Pearl Lin, Brian Lindeman, Marcia Miller, John Rote, Ellen Sayles, Maryann Stillwell, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

Guest: Cathe Radabaugh

Absent: Dan Cunningham, Michael Lynn, Aaron Milenski

The meeting was devoted to a discussion of the reporting strategy envisioned for use with BANNER. Monica gave a presentation outlining ACS's vision of this strategy, the major features of which are included at the end of these minutes. Her presentation included the following:

  • An overview of the three kinds of reports which BANNER users will have access to: "delivered" or "canned" reports, which were delivered with BANNER and have proved less than helpful in most cases; "standard" reports, which are ones we would develop and use over and over again with FOCUS; and "ad hoc" reports, which would be created on an ad hoc basis for special needs reporting, probably using the Brio product.

  • An explanation of what users need to do to create their reports:
    1. Determine what questions the report will address
    2. Determine the fields, tables, or view the report will pull from
    3. Query the database, using the tool of choice
    4. Format the output (into labels, an extract file, a print file, etc.)
    5. Run the report

  • Monica also mentioned two additional steps underneath number 2, above: 2a would be to collaborate with an A/P to spec out a "data view" that could be used over and over again, and 2b would involve the A/P then creating the view for the user.

This led into a general discussion of reporting, and specifically the use of the views. There was some question as to the definition of a "view"; Monica noted that a view is basically a preselected way of viewing specific pieces of data in BANNER, in a format that can be easily accessed in a very short period of time compared to querying the database itself. Cathe also stressed the efficiency of using views since they have been pretested, and thus lower the chances of someone submitting the "query from hell" that would gobble up the system and make it difficult for others around campus to access the database.

There was some discussion of the efficacy of using views vs. the efficacy of simply allowing users to "crash through the database," as Ross put it; John R. was also concerned about the limitations that views might put on users who need access to the data. A lengthy discussion followed regarding database access, security, and efficiency. The upshot of the discussion seemed to be that for our purposes, it is probably more efficient to use the views and rely on the module administrators (Sandy, Pearl, and eventually, Lori and Brian) to set up security in a way that will allow users the access they need.

John R. also asked about the timelines for Web for Employees and BrioQuery. Monica noted that given our current resources and task list, Web for Employees could potentially go live in January of 2000. The timeline for Brio will be determined after Andy Evans' group meets to go over the list of ACS tasks and prioritize them. In the meantime, a Web for Employees team could be formed to begin identifying and resolving the issues involved in that implementation.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting: March 25, 1999, at 3 pm in the Service Building conference room.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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Reporting Strategy

presented by Monica Wachter, ACAC 3/11/99

Ultimate goal: Every office has the information necessary to do effective daily business and support high level decisions.

Report Needs Analysis

  • Step 1: user question(s)
  • Step 2: user decides fields, either by looking at Banner form tablename_fieldname or by researching the object:access manuals

Report creation

  • Step 3: user queries the database (view) using a reporting tool like Focus or BrioQuery
  • Step 4: user formats the output (ie: labels, extract file for download, print file)
  • Step 5: user runs report, distributes it or manipulates it with desktop tool like Word or Excel

Advantages of using Oracle views (either delivered SCT Object:Access views or Oberlin created views)

  • Steps 2 & 3 can be streamlined by adding two interim steps:
    1. step 2a. collaberation with an Analyst/programmer to design a view containing these fields, identify most effective join conditions, identify mandatory conditions, advise on the use of grouping or calculated fields.
    2. step 2b. Analyst/programmer writes a view and adds it to the Oracle level security class
  • The view can then be used as a pre-select ("assembly kit") which can then be re-used for any/every report that uses that grouping of data elements (attributes)
  • Repetitive calculations or complex logic can be handled by functions
  • easier to understand
  • data elements are grouped by reporting need
  • different views can be created for different sort, totals, or groupings (summaries or
  • exceptions)
  • easier to port defined data models from one reporting tool to another
  • easier to maintain (upgrade of Banner can change the location of a field, or a function that used to depend on two fields is now stored across three or vice-versa)
  • more consistent and accurate data definitions which can be more readily shared
  • allows for more specific Banner and Oracle security (access can be granted to several data elements from one table without granting access to the entire table)
  • runs in native Oracle SQL rather than inefficient code generated by the reporting tool

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
February 25, 1999

Present: Ross Peacock (acting chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Pearl Lin, Brian Lindeman, Michael Lynn, Aaron Milenski, John Rote, Ellen Sayles, Monica Wachter, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox
Absent: Dan Cunningham, Marcia Miller, Katie Styer

We began with introductions around the table for the benefit of John Rote, the new Budget Director and ACAC inductee. Ross also passed out a document relating to ethnicity codes, which will be on our next meeting's agenda.

First on the agenda was a review of the ACS group's priority list. Monica passed out a document (also available at the end of these minutes) consisting of tasks currently on the ACS table and then a list of upcoming tasks (many of which relate to Andy Evans' group's needs) that need to be prioritized. This list generated some discussion, including a great deal of concern that the Andy Evans list contains some important systems (such as the transportation system) that are not Y2K compliant, and also that the list does not include some important systems (like inventory control) that seem to have dropped off the radar altogether. Michael noted that we need to make sure that the user community stays involved in the B&G system decisions. Monica will mention this to Mike Will, and John B. will write a memo that outlines what we think the current situation is regarding campus-wide systems and forward it to Ron Watts, Andy Evans, Mike Will, Clayton Koppes, and others.

Aaron asked a related question about the timeline of one task on the Andy Evans list: the implementation of BrioQuery. Monica noted that the time needed to get Brio ready is a dedicated six weeks, which would have to come out of an already-squeezed staff member's time. It was decided that the Finance team will discuss the list of priorities at their next meeting. John Rote will bring the results of that discussion back to ACAC at our next meeting.

We then turned to the status of the four-year replacement cycle. The general upshot is that the funding is simply not available to truly adhere to the cycle as it was envisioned and documented a few years ago; there was some discussion about the philosophy of such a plan and how the funds for it would be identified and allocated. Ross noted that this will be an issue for the newly recreated ITPC to discuss and take to senior staff.

Michele gave a brief OneCard update. Currently there are two items being worked on: the conversion of the student 900 numbers to the new BANNER T numbers on next year's student identification cards; and the interface between BANNER, CBORD, and the AT&T system. She will keep the group updated as these projects progress.

ACAC then transmogrified into the Data Standards team (this will be acceptable practice from now on) to briefly discuss address standards. Pearl mentioned that a defect in the BANNER Finance module has forced them to transpose address lines for the BI address code. Lori mentioned that a recent meeting of major BANNER address players on campus revealed that we need a new address code for student billing purposes. This code will most likely be called the "AR" code.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting: Thursday, March 11 at 3:00 in the Physical Plant conference room. More smart-aleck comments about the e-mail migration are welcome.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACS Prioritization for review and discussion by ACAC

The following is a partial list of tasks on which the ACS group is currently working. These tasks, which in most cases will continue through the next few months, are mission-critical and cannot be displaced.

BANNER Student Records implementation schedule, including:

  • development of specialized scripts for registration processing
  • testing of outsourced scripts for registration processing
  • testing of general person/general student conversion program in preparation for March 15 production cutover, including a clean run in a cloned environment on March 8
  • testing, troubleshooting, problem-solving, and pre-processing for seven week countdown to live web registration, taking place April 19 through May 5
  • creation of specifications and interfaces
  • assessment of reporting needs, etc.

CBORD implementation schedule

Admissions implementation schedule

Financial Aid implementation schedule

Day-to-day support and troubleshooting for legacy processes, HR, Payroll, Purchasing, Finance, FAMIS

System maintenance, database administration, account and security setups, bug fixes, and upgrades

There are additional, very important tasks on our list, all of which cannot be accomplished simultaneously with existing ACS resources. Many of these (but not all) involve offices which fall within Andy Evans' reporting line. I've grouped these tasks together for review and discussion by Andy's staff. The preliminary results of that discussion are listed separately on the next page, with prioritization numbers assigned to each task. The ACS group will very much appreciate ACAC's input as to the relative importance assigned to each of these items.

MMW 2/24/99

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Prioritization of Finance Divisional support tasks to include:

  1. Establish Banner access for users identified by Finance Division (who? and what? need to be determined)

  2. What reports are required by each office, what data elements should be on them, which should be prioritized first (needed 'yesterday'):
    Reporting Needs - Controllers Office (including financial statements
    Reporting Needs - Budget Office
    Reporting Needs - Human Resources
    Reporting Needs - Famis
    Reporting Needs - Investment Office

  3. Reporting consulting, including requested data views and report analysis; Focus user assistance

  4. Creation of data views

  5. Famis upgrade to version 6 (needed to make Famis Y2K compliant)

  6. Student Accounts implementation issues, including printer selection, invoicing output decisions, fee assessment and cashiering testing, outstanding policy decisions

  7. Finance year-end testing (after scheduled training)

  8. BrioQuery report-writer - install, test, setup data models, training, deployment (estimate six weeks dedicated time)

  9. Famis custom work order ticket specifications

  10. Web for Employees implementation, including online budget inquiry and online requisitions (six-month timeline)

  11. Keys system selection and implementation

  12. Famis space management and Famiscad interface implementation

  13. Archiving strategies - possible replacement or supplement of microfilm with Cds, review of archived legacy files for transfer to new media (drop-dead target 5/2000)

  14. Famis inventory control implementation

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
December 2, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Michele Gross, Pearl Lin, Marcia Miller, Ross Peacock, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

Absent: Dan Cunningham, Lori Gumpf, Michael Lynn, Aaron Milenski

Guest: Cindy Blair-Miller

As Cindy Blair-Miller from SCT was on campus for a site visit, we spent most of the meeting discussing items of concern about BANNER with her. Katie began by mentioning a few of Lori's concerns, including the question of when functionality for advisors would actually become part of the web product for faculty and advisors. Cindy replied that there is no firm date for this set, but she will continue to bother development about it. She also noted that we should keep an eye on the SCT product calendar on the web for any updates. John asked if this was functionality that was promised to us but not delivered by SCT, and noted that the lack of web interface for advisors represents a loss of functionality for us and will generate some real dissatisfaction with the product. Cindy will pass this on. Katie also noted that Lori feels that the user manuals are not very well-written-they cover what the system will do but not how to do it-and is also eager to see a comprehensive list of cross-module validation tables.

John then brought up the issue of the forms problems we are experiencing with BANNER on the Macintosh, and SCT's seeming lack of interest in improving this. Cindy sympathized, but noted that the problem is really with Oracle; since Oracle will no longer be supporting the Mac, developing solutions for Mac users is not a high priority at SCT. This led into a general discussion about where we'll be going with BANNER in the future: implementing Citrix servers, replacing the Macs with PC's, etc.

Marcia asked whether or not there were any plans to streamline or redesign the student payroll process, which is very cumbersome in BANNER; Cindy has not heard anything about a redesign in this area. Marcia also brought up PHAHOUR, a form which is unbearably slow in the 3.0 upgrade, so much so that the users of the form (the folks who do time entry for payroll) are still using the 2.1 version of the form. The last Cindy heard, development was looking at the form but hasn't found a solution. She will continue to bug them about it. Cindy will also research several other items brought up by Marcia: the duplicate check number issue; the fact that you can only restart a payroll once; and locating some documentation that outlines how the Finance rule codes are set up. On this last item, Pearl noted that the detail in the Finance user manuals is very sketchy, although there may be more information in the technical manuals.

Brian asked if there were any more questions from the group for Cindy; there weren't, so she went on her way with thanks from the group. Brian then asked for feedback on the memo he has written in support of the four-year replacement cycle. John had a few edits, but other than that, it's fine. Brian will correct the document and send it out next week.

Ami then mentioned the OPUSweb design submissions and asked for input. There was a general feeling that we may do just as well using OPUS as the name of the web product; Ami will see what she can do with this.

Meeting adjourned. Our December 17 meeting is canceled; next meeting TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
October 22, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Dan Cunningham, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Aaron Milenski, Ross Peacock, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Absent: Pearl Lin, Michael Lynn, Marcia Miller, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

Lori reported that the SR team is moving right along. The A/R sub-teams are also working hard, since fee assessment will be tested during the mock registration in February. Sandra is back for a training trip next week, and Ellen Sayles will be back part-time for BANNER consultation next week as well. Also at work are the faculty load sub-team and the catalog committee, the latter of which met last week to discuss catalog production out of BANNER.

The mention of the catalog meeting led into a discussion of the need to address faculty more directly about the changes that will take place when registration goes live on BANNER. The committee agreed that a memo addressing some Frequently Asked Questions (and perhaps some currently-circulating rumors) should be written and sent to faculty. Ami will contact a few individuals to see what issues should be addressed in this memo, and John will ask Karen and Clayton if the memo might go out under their signatures. The target date for sending the memo is the week of November 16.

FAMIS: Dan noted that adapting Oberlin operational procedures (including using FAMIS) to FRM operational procedures has been challenging. FRM is redesigning many of the department's procedures, and Dan is concerned that FAMIS is not a top priority in this redesign In addition, the implementation of the Inventory module of FAMIS has been pushed back because FRM is also planning an overhaul of inventory procedures, and we won't be able to plan the implementation until we know what those procedures will be. There was a general discussion of the issues surrounding FRM and FAMIS; Monica and John agreed that a conversation with the FRM folks may be in order so they understand some of the financial implications of reworking the FAMIS timeline.

The confidentiality flag issue was tabled since no members from HR or Payroll were present.

The SEO access issue was also tabled for the same reason. We did have a brief discussion of some of the pertinent points; the upshot is that Linda Amburgy will be relieved of some of the student-employee setup, which will go back to the SEO.

Monica then brought up the Action Web issue, which involves an ACAC policy change. Originally, we did not want users to be able to access Action Web because of the potential for users to submit requests to SCT; we want ALL requests to SCT to go through the ACS group. Since there is also valuable user information on Action Web, however, Monica proposed that users should be allowed view access to Action Web but still be unable to submit requests. In a bizarre exchange that was part Robert's Rules of Order and part Monty Python, this proposal was passed. The ACAC policy now allows user access to Action Web, but only to look; all requests must still go through ACS.

Michele noted that the CBORD training and install has been pushed back to December 1-3, and also mentioned that Sandy Hougland seems enthusiastic about getting started.

Next meeting: November 12 at 3 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
September 24, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Michele Gross, Bob Knight, Marcia Miller, Ross Peacock, Maryann Stillwell, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

Marcia and Ami hijacked the beginning of the meeting with the student access to BANNER issue. The question at hand is whether or not we can (or should) give student employees access to forms in BANNER that could potentially allow them to see biographical data of faculty, staff, etc. It was generally decided that now was not the time to discuss this; Marcia and Ami will put together an outline of the issue and distribute it via email to see if this can be resolved with an electronic discussion. Marcia feels that time is of the essence here since the complications surrounding this access issue has resulted in a huge workload for one of her staff.

We then turned to the legal name issue. A new capability in BANNER 3.1 means that the limitations that drove two of our previous decisions (regarding how names are entered and how suffixes are entered) may no longer exist. There is now a place to enter the W2 name as a coded comment, which means that a) we can have people's names entered any way they want it to appear on their paychecks without getting into trouble with W2's, and b) that suffixes can now be entered in the suffix field rather than in the last name field (the SR folks are especially eager for this). Discussion ensued, resulting in two decisions.

  • Decision 1: we will use the coded comment for the W2 name when there is difference between the person's "legal" name and how they want their name to appear on their check.
  • Decision 2: all suffixes will be entered in the suffix field rather than the last name field. This includes both "name" suffixes (such as Jr., III, etc.) and "earned" suffixes (such as Ph.D., MD, etc.).

We then turned to module reports:

  • Lori reported that Student Records is moving along. A/R training last week was extremely helpful, and the general consensus was that the A/R trainer, Ted Wolverton, rules. The SR sub-team is working on solutions to their issues. The SR trainer is coming next week.
  • Brian reported that Financial Aid has their first functional training next week with Steve Bellin, the new trainer.
  • Monica gave a brief FAMIS report. The interface between FAMIS and BANNER is almost completed; there are still a number of bug fixes to test. We are planning to contract with Prism to do some changes to the work order ticket.
  • Marcia reported on some recent happenings in payroll, including the newly-acquired ability to do TIAA transmissions electronically. This represents a significant savings in staff time and is a general benefit to everyone who has funds in TIAA since transactions happen quicker. John suggests that we broadcast this (and other good news) loudly across campus. Marcia also noted that Millie is working on some automated reports, and the payroll staff is working on the student payroll process in an attempt to make it more efficient. Sandy and Marcia also noted that Judy Maloney has been designated the new HR team meeting facilitator.
  • Sandy passed out an HR report, which follows these minutes.

Building on John's comment about broadcasting the good news about TIAA submission, we launched into a discussion of "BANNER bashing"; John observed that he is seeing this phenomenon in places where he least expects it. The general feeling was that many people around campus have sort of "forgotten" BANNER, or at least forgotten that in making the decision to go through with this conversion, we committed ourselves to an extremely difficult, stressful, and time-consuming project that has turned out to be (surprise) very difficult, stressful, and time-consuming. The committee will continue to discuss ways in which we might combat the BANNER-bashing trend.

Next meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 7. Brian will contact the committee regarding the place and time.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

BANNER HR STATUS

UAW
1. Contract ratified on Friday, September 18, 1998
2. Due to salary concessions, the following must occur:

  • New salary table constructed
  • Position classes reworked to accommodate new salary table
  • Each position corrected to reflect changes in the position classes
  • Each employee's job record manually adjusted: changes in NBAPOSN do not default down to NBAJOBS after the position has been assigned to the employee; majority of long-term UAW employees are off-step on salary chart, therefore rates must be entered manually
  • Adjustments retroactive to August 8th, heavy workload for Linda Amburgy to recalculate hours worked, esp. where specials skills, shift diff, etc. are included.
3. Have been given until last pay period in October to accomplish this

Faculty Load
Invited Cathy Lang and Gretchen Tolsen over to walk through forms they would need to maintain the Faculty Administration Module:

  • Much relieved to see that the majority of information they keep on their shadow systems has already been input by HR
  • Reviewed forms that they would be responsible for (e.g., PEAFACT)
  • Few items remaining in shadow systems for which there is no corresponding field in Banner. They seemed OK with that.
  • Navigation training should be conducted with Ami ASAP.
  • Security - they will be set up to have access to faculty records only; will not have access to any benefit / deduction information

Legal Name
Upgrade to version 3.1 documentation discusses use of coded comment form for employees' legal names for W-2 processing; see handout

  • May cause heavy data entry for initial setup, depending on number of cases
  • Will create additional step for 'new employee setup'; procedural documentation will have to be changed
  • Will eliminate problem of preferred name not printing on labels (e.g., Margaret Kay Thomson vs. Kay Thomson)
  • What about printing on checks?
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ACAC Meeting Minutes
September 10, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, Dan Cunningham, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Pearl Lin, Michael Lynn, Marcia Miller, Ross Peacock, Maryann Stillwell, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

We began with reports. Marcia reported that the Payroll team is smoothing things out after some fairly rough times. The July rollover was extremely difficult and the BANNER upgrades have been an "adventure". Sandy's HR report, sent via email to the committee, is included at the end of these minutes.

Pearl reported that the Finance team is currently testing the 3.1 upgrade in the TPRD database; it look like there are several changes to how BANNER handles grants, which is making Joe a happy camper. They have also fed the alumni feed into BANNER successfully, and have also begun feeding payroll data into Finance. Pearl also noted that several College financial managers-the Registrar, the Controller, etc.-have been put into the system as vendors. She urged other teams not freak out when they see things like "Director of" in the first name field, as this is necessary for Finance processing.

Dan reported that so far 3000 service requests have been entered into FAMIS, along with approximately 6000 labor records. All of these will need to be fed into Finance; Cathe Radabaugh is working on that feed. The FAMIS team is beginning to think about the Inventory module.

Lori reported that the SR team has about three months to prepare for mock registration in the spring, so crunch time is here for them. She also noted that there is A/R training next week with an A/R specialist from SCT to work on some fee assessment issues. Sandy Hougland will attend some of this training to get a feel for how CBORD might interface with fee assessment in BANNER.

Lori also posed a question about a previously-discussed data standard, which stipulates that all name suffixes (i.e. Jr., III, etc.) be put in the last name field rather than the suffix field. Lori wondered whether we could revisit this issue, since the SR team is beginning to realize how messy those suffixes will make reporting. Marcia noted that the 3.1 version of BANNER has a "W2 Name" area where we might be able to store the suffixes for tax purposes, allowing the last name field to remain a suffix-free zone. The general consensus was that this would be a good thing; Marcia will research and report back.

Michele reported that the order for the CBORD hardware has been put in, and the order for the software will be in by the end of the week. They will hopefully begin training on CBORD during fall break. The team is hashing through several issues, including how to manage room inspection and key inventory.

This led into a discussion of enrollment procedures and how ID cards might be handled in the future. Michele noted that it will be important for her staff to get updates (either from BANNER or from a report) so they know which students, faculty, and staff should get an OCID. Monica asked her to spec out the data elements the staff would need to see so the SR team and ACS can figure out the best way to extract that information.

The discussion then turned to data access in general, with Marcia noting that many procedures have changed in her office since they are wary of giving access to BANNER to students. She also noted that as more and more offices go live, the access issue becomes even larger, since more people will potentially be able to see more information than perhaps they should. Possible policy was discussed, such as requiring student workers to sign confidentiality agreements. Marcia agreed to write a recommendation about student access for the Data Access team.

Brian reported that Financial Aid has unfortunately lost their SCT trainer, Ginger Gamberg, who has been promoted. They have requested another consultant, Steve Bellin, be assigned. Ginger will come for the first functional training visit at the end of September; the new consultant will most likely have his first visit sometime in November.

Lastly, Monica reported that we have procured the services of a SCT techie for the SR implementation, as we did for both HR and Finance, to help with scripts, reports, and general technical support. Good news!

Next meeting: September 24 at 3 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

HR UPDATE:

Every new procedure we try in Banner seems to reveal glitches in forms or processes that hamper our efforts and cause the programmers to spend hours on the phone with SCT technical folks.

Rolling salary tables into the new fiscal year - the process didn't work. After about two days of research, the SCT technical staff reported that the parameters on the report were wrong (and not at all intuitive). One was "Fiscal Year From" and one was "Fiscal Year To". You might think that the obvious entries would be "1998" and "1999" respectively, but no-o-o-o-o ..... Banner wants "1999" and "1999" (Don't ask why)!

Banner does not handle encumbrances well. It adds the annual budgeted salary for each pooled position (temporary and student) assigned to each individual, thereby yielding an exponential result for encumbrances for these types of employees. Finance indicated that there are too many journal entries associated with encumbering anyway, so we decided to NOT encumber salaries. Evonne, the SCT Finance consultant, said we could revisit this decision in the future....it's not an 'all or nothing' decision.

Inasmuch as we had numerous temporary individuals doing data entry with the initial setup of Banner HR, there is a question of data integrity on the budget screens. Therefore, Bob and I have decided not to roll the budget from the budget development module into Finance, but instead will use his spreadsheet budget and upload it directly into Banner Finance so that the numbers equal what was presented to the Trustees in June. We will then have the remainder of the year to clean up the database so that it will be ready to roll when we go through this process again next year.

The UAW contract, even though approved preliminarily, has not been ratified. Until it has been, we cannot roll the salary table for this group. Running the process that converts the working budget to approved budget will upgrade all of the salary groups on all positions and jobs. This cannot be done until the salary table has been rolled with the new percentage increase. All of the payrolls are hanging out there waiting to be fed to finance. All of this is contingent upon the signing of the contract. As of today, Ruth was unable to give me any indication of when this might occur.

I have been working on the Faculty Load procedures with Millie, Ross, and folks from the Deans' Offices. We are nearly finished with the data mapping, and will probably make some decisions about access and data entry responsibilities at our meeting tomorrow. It looks like the types of records kept and the limitations of Banner screens will necessitate keeping some minimal type of shadow system.

Millie has distributed documentation for the upgrade to Banner 3.1 (all 284 pages of it) and has given us until September 19th to review it, test it and approve it....otherwise they are forging ahead in their implementation.

Labels: we are still having problems with pin-fed labels. The cause is primarily data entry. We never had time to create a systematic way to handle the procedure, nor did we have documentation for the data entry clerk(s) to follow. Bev is in the process of correcting that, and should have something in place by next week. We haven't had time to look at the laser label program (labels generated by benefit type), but that has moved up on the priority list due to Judy Maloney's requirements for Open Enrollment.

We have lost yet another temporary data entry clerk. Linda Yuhos has accepted a full-time appointment in Development. We are once again training another temp in that "revolving-door " position. Our request for a permanent position was once again denied. Human Resources has been the boot camp for generating high quality, Banner-trained employees, and then feeding them to the remainder of the campus. The cost of having a temp in this position is becoming painfully obvious with errors in payroll processing that create an enormous amount of extra work making corrections.

That's all the news from Lake "Woebegone"......

Sandy

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
August 6, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Dan Cunningham, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Bob Knight, Pearl Lin, Michael Lynn, Ellen Sayles, Maryann Stillwell (sitting in for A. Milenski), Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Absent: Marcia Miller, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

We began with our customary Module Updates:

Pearl reported that the Finance module is moving along, but slowly and with some frustration. Not enough vendors are in the system, which means that non-set-up vendors must be loaded into the system before the bill can be paid. Also, they've come across a bit of a problem regarding the letter T: since person IDs in BANNER begin with a T, no alpha vendor codes can be set up that happen to begin with that letter until Dave Foos goes behind the scenes and does some techie stuff to make it possible. It's annoying. Also annoying is the fact that many folks around campus still haven't gotten the hang of the FOAP and are submitting incorrect paperwork. The Controller's office is also dealing with some uncertainty about feed files and the work of year-end closing. Pearl will also be working with David Laczko and Todd Rassmussen in Student Accounts to work on the A/R side of the Student implementation.

Lori reported that Student Records is having its own obstacles to deal with; the recent A/R training brought out some significant issues in our billing procedures. For example, BANNER happily spits in our faces when we try to coax it into believing that College students can be billed for a max of 16 hours and Con students for a max of 17 (this may take some quiet reengineering at the policy level). We will have a Senior SCT consultant coming in September to assist us in resolving this issue and other fee assessment issues.

Brian reported that Financial Aid has taken the plunge; their first training trip with SCT consultant Ginger Gamberg took place this past Monday and Tuesday. They did an overview of the system and discussed the format of the FinAid Operations Analysis, which should be completed by Ginger's next visit at the end of September. Overall, the trip went well: Ginger is very experienced and knowledgeable, the team is looking forward to the conversion, and Brian ventured to say that they might even be done early. The group cheerfully told Brian that he would be reminded of that statement over and over again during the next eighteen months.

Dan reported that FAMIS is moving along: 1300 service requests have been entered into FAMIS since July 1. The trades workers, however, are not especially happy with the new system, particularly since the printed work ticket is not very user-friendly: small font, bad organization, etc. Michael Lynn mentioned that we do have the right to the source code for the work ticket, a fact the team was not aware of. Monica and Michael will discuss this further. Also, FRM is interested in using a multi-part form with space for customer feedback and distribution. These changes are also under discussion. Dan also reported that the team is planning to step up the implementation of the key module in FAMIS and has taken delivery of the labor distribution interface between FAMIS and BANNER.

Michele reported that the CBORD team is about to place orders for the hardware and software to run the system and is currently looking at possible training dates. She predicts that the training will begin this October and that room assignments for the '99-'00 school year will take place in CBORD. A brief discussion ensued regarding whether billing would be generated out of CBORD. Generally, the answer is no; the dining and housing data would feed from CBORD into BANNER and students would be billed from BANNER.

Since the HR and Payroll folks were in their own meeting, we had an abbreviated report on this module from Pearl and Bob about some current problems with encumbrances and the budget roll. Ron feels that if payroll data is going to be fed into Finance, it needs to be cleaned thoroughly. If this can't be accomplished, then Bob has a "clean" budget we can feed in. Pearl also mentioned at this point that the Alumni/Development feed has hit a few snags; Monica will meet with Corrine to try and work these out.

A report on the OPUS Executive Steering Team meeting which took place a few weeks ago was next. As a result of this meeting, the members of the executive team were invited to a Student steering team meeting to discuss some issues that were of particular interest. At that meeting, there was some disappointment on Clayton's part that no final decisions could be made (and some wasted time on the GPA truncation issue), but overall it was helpful to have the executive team attend. Discussion ensued regarding the continued involvement of senior staff and the need to keep the Deans informed regarding policy and procedure issues. Lori and Ross are planning to meet to organize a presentation they will make to EPC and EPPC regarding some hot topics, such as crosslisted courses, and Michael pointed out the importance of this presentation being very specific and decision-oriented.

John gave a brief report on the upcoming email migration. ALPHA has been decommissioned for mail purposes and everyone has been moved to the new server called Mercury (mail.oberlin.edu). The ugly part will be moving everyone off QuickMail onto a POP/IMAP client without any mail getting lost. John noted that the conversion process is far more complex and detailed than he ever could have imagined, since every single machine must be touched to make this work.

We briefly discussed the BANNER users conference in October. So far the attendance list includes:

  • Monica Wachter
  • Maryann Stillwell
  • Aaron Milenski
  • Katie Styer
  • Lori Gumpf
  • Dave Waldron
  • Brian Lindeman
  • Pearl Lin
  • Gary Koepp
  • Rick Snodgrass
  • Donna Baxter

Attendees need to make hotel reservations as soon as possible as space is filling up.

A final note on meeting time: we agreed that we would begin regular meetings again in the fall, every other Thursday at 2 p.m., beginning on September 10 [note: this time may change due to a schedule conflict. Members will be informed when time is confirmed]. Location TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
June 8, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Dan Cunningham, Michele Gross, Pearl Lin, Michael Lynn, Marcia Miller, Ellen Sayles, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Absent: Lori Gumpf, Bob Knight, Aaron Milenski, Ross Peacock, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

Up first: status reports. Dan gave a review of FAMIS, which has hit a few bumps recently. The training that was supposed to happen this week was canceled due to conflicts with the schedules of the folks that were to be trained. No date has been set yet for that training. Dan stressed that FAMIS will still go live on July 1, but that it will be a very limited live since it won't extend to area managers or end users until a later date.

An HR report was next. Sandy was unable to attend but sent a report via email, which is included at the end of these minutes. Monica mentioned that the upgrade to 3.0 has caused some fairly extensive performance problems with BANNER. We have SCT working on speeding things up. Marcia also mentioned that because of the many changes taking place this time of year--new benefits, new info from the Finance implementation, and new union contracts--the team is almost going through a second live. One of the problems is that the HR and Payroll staff has yet to receive any concrete information from the Deans regarding salary increases. This delay gives the staff an extremely small window of time to get the new data into the system.

There was also a brief mention of the work that needs to be accomplished for faculty load, which is sort of an orphan since it crosses modules. Ellen has agreed to convene the first meeting [note: this meeting is now scheduled for June 15].

On to Finance. The next few weeks will bring lots of changes to policy and procedure. The finance information sessions begin tomorrow in an attempt to educate the college community about the changes. Evonne's last trip before going live is schedule for June 16-18. July 1 is D-Day and the countdown has begun!

The Student Records report was given by Katie, who reports that she and Maryann have been successful in resolving some issues, although there's still plenty to do. Lori and Ami are working together to plan out the tasks that need to be accomplished for the next year. A SR training space will be set up in the back of the Admissions mailroom. Many thanks to Debra for okaying that proposition.

Financial Aid report: the two candidates for the temporary Asst. Director position have turned us down, so interviews will continue.

BANNER web report: the Web for Employees is on hold for now; Web for Students is necessarily going forward, since a successful web registration into the BANNER database is the definition of "live" for the SR module. Right now ACS (specifically Dave Waldron) is working on setup and display issues within the web interface. We will put together a student/faculty advisory team to help us test the web registration functionality.

Michele then gave a brief CBORD report. Right now Res Life is working through the finalization of the decision. Their timeline is based on a purchase being made this summer, playing in the system during the fall and winter, and going live next summer. The steering committee for the project will be Sandy Hoagland, Michele, Dennis Rupert, and an ACS representative. Monica noted that the key to coordinating BANNER data with CBORD data will be making sure that the interfaces are well-designed and well-tested.

There was a brief discussion of a data access concerning whether or not student interns in the Student Employment Office would be given access to person data in BANNER. After some running in circles, it was decided that Aida Reyes should be invited to the next HR status meeting to clear up any miscommunication.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

HR Report

  • Upgrade to Banner 3.0 was successful. We had a few minor glitches, but no show stoppers.
  • Pin-fed label program appears to be working (at least no complaints so far). We're waiting for the ACS folks to complete the laser label program, which will be used specifically for benefits/compensation administration mailings by the HR Department.
  • I gave a presentation for Deans' Offices and other Student Module folks on Faculty Load administration in Banner HR. Subsequent to that, we had training on the Student side by the SCT consultant. As a result of that training, it was decided that a subcommittee must be formed to develop policies and procedures for maintaining the Faculty Load and Faculty Administration sub-modules (what I call groups of forms....;-) of Banner.
  • Lack of a report writer continues to be a problem. We are in the midst of two contract negotiations, and pulling information (particularly related to benefits) is a real struggle. The date fields in the first extract file developed by ACS are in the format "YY-MM-DD", so Excel won't do calculations for such things as age, or length of service. I'm having to gather information out of the old system, then do cut-n-pastes. Not a lot of fun. We're waiting for the second extract file (which will be specific to benefits) to be completed, but Cathe Radabaugh's time has been consumed with FAMIS activities.
  • In my spare time (!!!) I'm trying to work on budget roll issues, as well as make necessary changes to positions relating to the recent changes in the chart of accounts.

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
May 4, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, Dan Cunningham, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Bob Knight, Pearl Lin, Michael Lynn, Marcia Miller, Ross Peacock, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

Absent: John Bucher, Ellen Sayles

The meeting began with an update from Sandy about HR. They have completed the setup for the label generation process out of BANNER and are testing it as we speak. A meeting to discuss Fusser information will be held on 5/5. The campus will be informed about the new procedure for requesting labels via a memo. Things are looking good.

Lori reported that the Student team is working on pinning down individual timelines for resolving issues, and Maryann and Lori are beginning to defining validation codes and tables. Admissions is going fairly well; they've been finding some positive solutions for their issues, and Con Admissions issues are resolving themselves better than expected.

A brief segue into the reporting tools issue: the requisition is currently being worked on by Monica, who is still in discussion with Brio about pricing, training, etc. FOCUS training is scheduled for August and Object:Access training is scheduled for June.

Back to module updates. Pearl announced that the revised Chart of Accounts is now loaded into the T-prod database. You go Pearl! A training trip with Evonne is coming up next week. Pearl was also glad to find out that BANNER 3.0 has the capability to do prorates, since she'd been hassling SCT for a while to get that feature in there.

On to FAMIS. Dan reported that currently, they are waiting for data to be inputted into the production database so they can continue testing. They're also working on security issues. Interface specs have gone out PRISM. The July 1 live date WILL HAPPEN.

Lori then brought up the issue of Oracle Mac support, which will cease to exist after the next version of Oracle comes out. The problem is that BANNER 4.0 will run on the new Oracle version, which means that we'd lose Oracle support once we moved to 4.0. Monica noted that SCT's recommended fix for this is that BANNER Mac shops use a Citrix (sp?) server, but this is clunky and generally yucky. A better solution is using web functionality as a substitute; basically, BANNER would become a web application. We're not sure, however, whether or not that's possible yet, so this will need more research.

This led into a discussion about the Mac's lifespan at Oberlin and whether (or when) we should consider a gradual migration to the Windows platform. Part of the problem is that the Computing Center doesn't have the resources to support Windows to the degree they support Macs, but this may have to change in the future. It was agreed that ACAC should continue to pursue this line of discussion with John present to add his $.02. Bob made a very funny comment comparing one's move to a Windows machine to taking a certain prescription drug currently making headlines, but the secretary was ordered by the Chair not to include said comment in the notes.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting Tuesday, May 26 at 2 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
April 20, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Dan Cunningham, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Bob Knight, Pearl Lin, Marcia Miller, Cathe Radabaugh, Ellen Sayles, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Absent: Michael Lynn, Aaron Milenski, Ross Peacock, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

After welcoming Dan Cunningham to the group, we began with a report from Michele on Res Life's search for a software package to manage college housing. The group had a presentation last week from CBORD, which has been recommended to them by colleagues at other colleges in Res Life. The presentation went well, although it seems that the package does a lot more than we need it to do, since where a student lives will also be housed in BANNER and room inventory information would be housed in FAMIS. Michele has a list of schools that use both BANNER and CBORD and will contact those schools to find out how the two packages interface. Her timeline for the project has Res Life purchasing the software this summer, doing training and implementation work this fall, and going live along with SR registration in BANNER in spring of '99. OPUS will pay for the initial purchase of the software and Res Life will be responsible for hardware purchases and overall system maintenance. In response to a question from Lori, Monica noted that Cathe R. will most likely be the ACS liaison for this project. It was also noted that there needs to be some discussion between Res Life and the Student Account people working on BANNER, since how to bill for room damages, etc., will have to be determined. Monica noted that a proposal has been requested from CBORD and ACAC will be kept informed about the progress of the project.

Next we turned to module updates. Pearl gave the report on Finance, noting that the COA is almost done and they are planning on loading the chart into the T-PROD database this week. You go Pearl! She also warned that there may be a good deal of changes for the folks in HR, since much of the organizational structure is very different now. There will also be some structural differences for Bob, since the budget structure has also changed. Bob, however, was unfazed. Pearl also mentioned that a number of informational sessions have been scheduled on June 9 and 10 to educate the campus about the new Finance policies and procedures.

Next was Lori with an A/R and Student report. As for A/R, the training with Evonne was helpful and the team is working on producing the A/R detail codes. Hopefully a rough draft of these will be ready for the SR steering team meeting this Thursday. There was a brief discussion about the creation of these codes and the fact that they need to be run past Ron Watts before being finalized. As for Student, Lori reported that after the recent CAPP training with Sandra, it is obvious that CAPP will not come up in '99. This may generate lots of issues for the steering team, Monica noted. Speaking of which, the steering team has completed the issues list and assigned each one a person and a target resolution date.

Dan then gave a report on the FAMIS implementation. They are almost ready to start populating the database, which is very exciting. Monica and Cathe are working on the interfaces between BANNER and FAMIS, especially the work-order parts of FAMIS, which are scheduled to go live along with Finance on July 1 (inventory won't go live until January 1 1999). It was also agreed that the core FAMIS team will need an understanding of the Finance chart; earl will attend a FAMIS steering team meeting to go over this information.

Next we plunged into the issue of reporting tools. The reporting tools team (Bob, Lori, Ross, Cathe, and Michael Lynn) met last week and discussed the options. The basic upshot is that we will most likely be using two reporting tools: Focus, which was purchased with BANNER and which would be used for standard reporting; and BrioQuery, a desktop tool that the team recommends we purchase and use for ad hoc reporting and data analysis. Focus is a larger tool that can handle much more complicated queries than BrioQuery, but BrioQuery is much prettier and more flexible for the user. However, in order to implement either tool, we have a lot of work still yet to do. John noted that the most critical part of using either reporting tool is understanding the data structure; knowing your data is not easy but it needs to be accomplished before doing any kind of reporting can happen. Object:Access views, an SCT-delivered 'flattening' of the data structure to make relational database tables 'look' more like a flat-file structure will be used with either tool to simplify understanding of the database. In addition, Monica pointed out that with either BrioQuery or Focus, we'll need to analyze, design and test the report models to make effective use of staff time and to minimize the impact on transaction processing. In other words, we could have a reporting tool tomorrow, but we still wouldn't be ready to use it.

Discussion ensued. Brian asked whether end users would be writing these reports and if that would be feasible. Monica answered yes, although a lot of the work (like model design) would be done up front by both the techies and the users (users need to decide what kind of data they'll need and how they'll need it in advance). The upshot of the discussion was that the reporting tools team is recommending that we put in a purchase order for BrioQuery and that we begin the process of identifying key users to be trained. This was approved by the committee. Monica will put in the purchase order; she is also working on scheduling Focus training in August.

A review of the BANNER 3.0 upgrade was next. Monica reported that Millie and Darrick are in the middle of applying the upgrade to the various instances. Next week will begin the review period for the modules, during which time offices will have the chance to poke around 3.0 to determine what will change for their processes and how they'll adjust to those changes. That period will close on May 30, when 3.0 will be applied to the live database and it's full speed ahead on the upgrade. Monica explained that the schedule is so tight because we have a limited number of windows where it's possible to do the upgrade: our only other chance this year would have been September, which would have flushed the Controller's office down the toilet since that's when the auditors will be here. And since BANNER 4.0 will be released this December and SCT only supports the current version and one back, we would have been unsupported on 2.1 come December.

The last item was John's memo regarding the proposed change in Computer Store policies. The Store would very much like to stop supporting personal computer sales (except during the BTS period), since they are very time-consuming and cut into the Store's ability to support institutional purchases and setups. Discussion ensued. The committee gave the proposed changes its blessing; John will continue to get feedback from various factions on campus before officially announcing the change in policy.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting is scheduled for May 4 at 2 p.m. Please note the change in time; anyone with a conflict should notify the Chair.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
March 9, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Bob Knight, Pearl Lin, Aaron Milenski, Ross Peacock, Ellen Sayles, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter

Absent: Michael Lynn, Marcia Miller, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

The meeting began with an update on the Finance module. Pearl reported that the A/P-Purchasing team is meeting weekly and seems to be making progress. Brian asked about Student Accounts training (which involves both the Finance and Student modules), and Monica noted that Evonne Walters, the Finance trainer, would be conducting this training during two short site visits in April and May.

Since both Marcia and Sandy were absent, the HR update was short and sweet. The most recent development is the new ability to produce labels out of BANNER using the Coded Comments fields. This is good news since until now, HR has been doing double entry in both BANNER and HRS because labels could only be produced out of the old system.

This led into a short discussion of position control and budgeting. Bob talked a bit about budgeting procedures; he's not particularly thrilled with BANNER as a budgeting tool since it's very cumbersome for folks who need to do multiple departmental budgets.

The discussion then took a turn when the committee discovered (to the surprise of some) that the College's facilities management is being outsourced to a management firm by the name of FRM. Lively discussion ensued, loosely centered around the question of how that outsourcing would affect the FAMIS implementation. There was also some discussion of how the change will affect (and is affecting) the work being accomplished on the Finance module. The upshot of the discussion was that Monica will contact Andy Evans to try and find out what exactly is happening and how OPUS will be affected. It was also generally agreed that ACAC needs to do a better job of keeping the lines of communication open with Senior Staff.

After we all took a mental Valium, Lori reported on the Student module. The last training trip with Sandra went well and the Steering team is meeting weekly. Both the issues list and the ops analysis are in the process of being reworked. Ellen asked if CAPP is still scheduled to go up; this is still undecided, since we need to see it and have a better understanding of what it does before we decide.

Monica then reported that the Admissions module will delay its production cutover for a year, with a new live date of October '99 (keeping in mind, however, that they'll begin entering admit/paid students into BANNER in June of '99). Monica reviewed the reasons for the change, which are mostly related to the number of operational changes that need to be assessed and implemented before Admissions will feel comfortable using BANNER for its daily work.

A short discussion followed. Brian asked whether the change would have an impact on the Financial Aid implementation, particularly the availability of the analyst/programmers to work on FinAid. Monica answered that it may actually benefit the Fin Aid conversion since the amount of work for Student would be stretched out over a longer period of time and thus be less time-consuming for the A/Ps.

On to Web for Employees. Monica reported that she is still trying to schedule a conference call between Susan Jennings from SCT, Ruth, and Sandy so that they can determine what sort of workload would be involved for the HR staff. Monica will keep the committee informed.

Michele then gave an update on the 1Card and the new features that are being implemented this summer. These include a multiple meal plan for students, a new copycard feature, and a limited beta test on room access using the card. Michele has put together a more detailed document outlining these changes, which is available on the document server.

The meeting concluded with a brief revisiting of the communication-with-Senior-Staff issue, particularly as it is related to the limited-term Financial Aid position (which has reportedly been tabled by Senior Staff) and the FRM outsourcing. It was decided that Brian will write a memo to the OPUS Executive Steering Committee to request more information about the status of the Financial Aid position and also to request that an OPUS progress report (given by John, Monica, and Brian) be placed on an upcoming Senior Staff meeting agenda.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting TBA.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
February 9, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, John Bucher, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Aaron Milenski, Marcia Miller, Ross Peacock, Katie Styer, Monica Wachter, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

Discussion opened with an update on Finance. The update was given by the absent Pearl channeling through Brian, since the Controller's Office is dealing with taxes. Not much to report on Finance; the next training trip is next week.

Next came the report on Human Resources and Payroll. They are in the midst of a good deal of post-conversion work, which includes data cleaning, report and label production, and security issues. Marcia reported that despite a few problems with payroll, the process is going fine overall--this is reflective of the huge amount of work being put in by Linda Amburgy and Sharon Jaycox. The biggest hurdle for Payroll now is getting the students set up correctly for their payroll; the temps are currently working on this.

Discussion followed about the security issue. HR and Payroll have run into some snafus with the security classes, which are SO secure that they're not letting anyone see what they need to see despite the fact that people are set up correctly. Millie is working on the problem and a call is currently in to SCT Action Line to help resolve it.

There was also some discussion of the label-printing issue--a very sticky issue, hardy har. Sandy noted that there's no easy way of printing labels out of BANNER, so the way they've come up with is pulling from the "coded comments" form. This means a massive amount of data collection and data entry, which is stretching the HR staff because they're currently doing double entry into BANNER and HRS since all labels are still coming out of HRS. Hopefully, the coded comments will be populated by mid-March, meaning that labels could then be printed out of BANNER and HRS abandoned for good.

Sandy is also working with Cathe Radabaugh to pin down a reporting procedure. A detailed outline of their work so far is available in Sandy's memo to ACAC, posted on the doc server. Briefly, the decision is between the FOCUS reporting tool and another product called BRIO.

On to Student. Lori reported that she and Maryann are meeting often to discuss data mapping and procedures. They are also putting a list of issues together for the Data Standards team. The only holdup now is the globetrotting Mike Mandaren, whose input they need for decision-making.

In the absence of Michael Lynn, Monica reported on FAMIS. A tentative modified plan is currently being discussed. The modified schedule would involve bringing up some "core" functions (such as Purchase Orders) in FAMIS by July 1, and the rest of FAMIS by January 1, '99. The only problem with this plan is that inventory is currently done in Purchasing, which would mean that once Purchasing goes live with Finance in July, inventory would be dead in the water. One proposed solution is to temporarily put inventory in BANNER, but Pearl is nervous about that because every transaction would bump up against the COA. Discussion continues and ACAC will be updated when some firmer decisions are made.

John then turned the discussion to some budgetary issues. He needs some guidance from ACAC on how to exercise some control over the OPUS budget. OPUS is getting requests from all across campus for expenses that may be "borderline" in terms of their relationship to the migration. He asked for some advice on instituting a procedure for approval of expenses and then tracking and reconciling those expenses. Discussion of the varying types of expenses--overtime, extra temporary help, term A&PS positions, equipment--followed. John noted that his aim is not to deny anyone extra help or computers, but to have a better plan in place for projecting and tracking those expenses. He also wants the committee and the campus community to be aware that the OPUS budget is not a bottomless pot and we have to be careful about where the dollars are going. The committee agrees.

The next item up was the implementation of the Web for Employees module. The web server has been installed, and the original timeline has the functional training for this piece beginning in February with an April '98 rollout date. The timeline now, presented by Monica, would involve functional training ASAP, a limited rollout in April (perhaps just to the HR office, the Computing Center, and ACAC), and then a full rollout in August.

HR is concerned about this timeline because of their current workload; Sandy commented that the staff may not be prepared to take on another implementation at this time. John, however, is eager to see the web implementation underway, not only because it's a neato product that will appeal to faculty (and may actually reduce the HR workload, as Monica pointed out) but because the much larger web implementation will be the web registration for students. The web for students is a huge undertaking and it would be preferable to have the web for employees up and tested as a rehearsal for the web registration project.

Discussion followed. There are some unanswered questions about exactly how much HR time and energy the web project would require (John and Monica's assumption is that HR's participation would be limited to a few hours of training and some decision-making). Sandy will put a posting on the listserv to see if we can get a better idea of what the HR time commitment will be. Another issue is whether or not we need Sue Jennings to do the training; she's not available until July, which would obviously set the timeline way back.

The upshot was that John and Ruth Spencer need to have a discussion about the timeline and the expectations for the Web for Employees product. John will keep the committee in the loop as to the results of this discussion.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting is scheduled for March 9 at 3:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Meeting Minutes
January 12, 1998

Present: Brian Lindeman (Chair), Ami Berger, Michele Gross, Lori Gumpf, Bob Knight, Pearl Lin, Mike Lynn, Aaron Milenski, Marcia Miller, Ross Peacock, Ellen Sayles, Monica Wachter, Sandy Youngeberg-Fox

The meeting began with a hearty round of applause and many congratulations for Sandy and Marcia, who announced that HR and Payroll are now officially live on BANNER. Yippee! They have run a biweekly payroll and student payroll, and despite some glitches, both ran successfully. The staff is well-trained and is using the software with ease in day-to-day operations; Marcia reported that some processes are actually streamlined and easier to manage. Hallelujah.

Next Pearl gave the status report on Finance. News here is a bit more somber. Jim Klaiber has taken a job with SCT and will be leaving the College as of January 31. This poses a fairly serious problem for Pearl, who has been relying on Jim as her backup for BANNER work, since her core committee has been slowly fading away. This led to a discussion about the Finance project team in general and specifically about keeping senior staff involved in and informed about the project. Ross in particular expressed concern about allowing senior staff to "drift" away from OPUS. The committee is also concerned about Pearl trying to take on the conversion basically on her own; Brian noted that ACAC should try to help lighten Pearl's load in whatever ways are available to us.

Mike Lynn reported next on some critical issues regarding the FAMIS conversion. The team is in the midst of rethinking the conversion schedule for a number of reasons. Despite his commitment to doing so, Mike's new position is leaving little time to devote to pulling the conversion through on the current schedule. There are also some complications regarding the interface between Purchasing and FAMIS that may pose a problem, especially since Purchasing is currently going through a reorganization. The interface between BANNER and FAMIS is also an issue, since it's hard to build such an interface when the Finance module isn't live yet. Monica and Mike are planning on sitting down and hashing out some of the options available, which include hiring someone to take on some of the FAMIS work, and/or creating a longer timeline for FAMIS that would allow for a more phased-in implementation (i.e., live by January '99 rather than July '98).

On to Student. Lori reported that the Admissions training is complete and that Maryann is working hard on her own with BANNER. The next Student training trip is next week; Sandra will be covering Catalog and Schedule. Lori predicted that it will be a rough week, since a lot of people from different offices will be participating in what is a fairly complex piece of BANNER. The Student Steering Team is planning to meet after Sandra's visit to resolve issues that arise during training. Also, Ken Gilson, Associate Registrar is here. Lori reports that she will still be the point person in her office until early February, when she will turn some processes over to Ken and begin living in the training room in Mudd.

There was also a brief discussion of the new position in Financial Aid, which apparently still needs to be presented to and approved by senior staff.

Meeting adjourned. Next meeting scheduled for February 9 at 3:30.

Respectfully submitted,

Ami Berger

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ACAC Membership

The Administrative Computing Advisory Committee is comprised of:

  • Donna Baxter, Accounting Manager
  • John Bucher, Director of Information Technology
  • Dan Cunningham, Physical Plant Area Manager
  • Lori Gumpf, Registrar
  • Pearl Lin, Controller
  • Michael Lynn, Associate Dean of the Conservatory
  • Sue Meredith, Manager of Compensation and Budget Analysis
  • David Meyers, Financial Information Systems Manager
  • Ross Peacock, Director of Institutional Research (Chair)
  • Todd Rasmussen, Associate Dean of Student Life
  • John Rote, Budget Director
  • Maryann Stillwell, Office Manager, College Admissions
  • David Stull, Associate Dean of the Conservatory
  • Katie Styer, Analyst/Programmer
  • Monica Wachter, ACS Project Manager

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