Board of Governors, March 25, 1999 - APPENDIX IV
Status of Implementations
Human Resources System (HRIS)
The HR system has continued to function well and improvements in the operation of the system and and production processes has continued. Most efforts of the past several months have been focussed on preparing for and managing the Payroll Year End processes for the first time in the PeopleSoft environment. Work has also begun on planning the upgrade from the current version (6.01 Commercial) to a newer version (7.5 Public Sector). This will allow the HRIS and HE (Higher Education / Student Information System) to eventually reach the same version.
The Financial System went live in the fall of 1998, with 5 modules: General Ledger, Purchasing, Accounts Payable, Billing and Accounts Receivable. Because of the challenges and constraints of the implementation timeframes, the system had several problems at the time of implementation. These included:
Much of the Fall has been spent identifying the source of the problems and finding solutions. Some of the problems stem from bugs in the PeopleSoft code, from design decisions and assumptions made and from decisions to delay implementing certain features. In going live, several hundred software fixes were set aside due to workload and timing constraints. UWO will continue to operate without the bulk of these fixes until the Fall of 1999, when an upgrade to version 7.0 (Public Sector) is anticipated. In the meantime, the support teams have identified the critical problems that affect the system operation and have developed work-around processes to protect or improve the integrity of the system information. There is a workload cost and some inflexibility in the systems which results from this situation.
Problems in the way reports were being generated and sent electronically have been encountered; particularly with respect to Research reports. Significant effort was invested in troubleshooting and repairing these reports. The Research reports will be printed and physically distributed, on an interim basis, while the overall design of the electronic reporting infrastructure is reviewed and revised. All other month-end reports (Operating, Ancillary, Project, Other Business Units) will continue to be distributed electronically. Focus groups of the users of the reports have been organized to help prioritize further improvements in the month-end reporting and in Financial information access, in general.
Work on preparing the system for the fiscal year end has begun. This is driving a focus on improving data quality and data access for system users as the highest current priority in the Financial Systems support teams.
Plans for auditing the financial system are currently being developed.
Student Administration System (HE)
The first phase of the HE system went live in December: this included Admissions for all students, Financials, Records and Financial Aid for graduate students. Admissions for Law and Education from the Ontario University Application Centre (OUAC) were successfully electronically transferred. This was the first production use of the OUAC transfer module which was written by PeopleSoft.
Full roll out of the complete system will take place during June and July, 1999. Conversion of student records from the old system to the new has begun and final conversion of student records from will be done over the summer of 1999.
Advancement System (AS)
The Advancement System has begun conversion of data from the old system to the new. The Advancement system is expected to go live February, 1999.
The University has also acquired PeopleSoft's Advancement System. This system encompasses many of the features in the version currently developed by UWO and will provide enhanced functionality when fully implemented. Implementation of PeopleSoft's Advancement System will not take place until after the year 2000.
The PeopleSoft Human Resources, Finance Systems and part of the Higher Education systems are now implemented; the remaining modules and systems will be moving into production over the next several months. Plans are underway to review the production environment to determine any additional production needs, e.g. computing resources, storage, network access.
Work continues on developing an operational structure to support a production environment. Operationally, all systems are in a "transition phase" - moving the systems from "implementation" to "production". This transition phase will continue during the next year.
The priority-setting and decision-making processes for the PeopleSoft Resource Centre are being put into place. A Coordinating Committee has been formed, representing the management and systems leadership of all the functional business units involved in supporting the PeopleSoft systems, as well as Information Technology Services. The committee has focussed on the establishment of an integrated set of systems priorities and management principles, to date.
Legacy Mainframe Environment
Though significant progress has been made in implementing the PeopleSoft applications and moving production processes of the legacy mainframe, the mainframe will continue to be needed at least through the summer of 1999. This past fall and this January the mainframe has experienced several hardware and software failures, resulting in the system being down for a few days. Maintenance is becoming increasingly difficult, as the third-party maintainer has increased support costs due to the failures and has had an increasingly difficult time finding replacement parts. The University is looking for comparable systems in North America which might be available for acquisition as a source of additional parts.
The mainframe has also suffered another problem as a result of the "Year 2000 bug." The software that managed the tapes failed and manual work arounds had to be found. The potential for further failures and problems stemming from the Year 2000 problem will likely continue through 1999.
It is unforeseeable what challenges the University will face as a result of the Year 2000 Problem. To date, efforts have been made to create an awareness across campus of Y2K issues and to move to Y2K compliant systems. Regardless of these efforts, the University's reliance on external resources such as electricity and water, coupled with the unknown with respect to embedded systems, make contingency planning a necessity.
The University formed a Y2K Contingency Committee chaired by Orlando Zamprogna, with representatives from senior management, Information and Technology Services, Physical Plant, communications, academic and research interests, Housing and Food Services and student services. The committee first met in mid-December to discuss the impact of external dependencies such as electricity and water on the University's operations. Even if all our computers are Y2K compliant, if there is no power or water, how will the University handle the situation? What plans need to be in place to handle the emergency? The committee developed the following terms of reference:
The overall objective is to minimize the risk facing the university. To prepare for a possible emergency, the committee has undertaken several steps in the development of an overall contingency plan. Initial steps include:
Following the seminar, a vulnerability assessment based on level of technological dependence will be completed for each business function. A second assessment (based on the impact to the University if the function could not be performed for an extended period of time) will also be completed. Both assessments will be given a number between 0 - 3. These numbers will be multiplied to give an overall ranking of priority.
The next step is to identify scenarios, like a long term power failure or an equipment malfunction, which could realistically occur and that would disrupt business functions. A contingency plan for each scenario must be developed. The contingency plan will either maintain a level of service during the disruption or ensure the resumption of the service within an acceptable period of time. Plans will be developed for high risk functions first.
Contingency plans will be coordinated across budget units wherever applicable, and tested. The time frame targets completion of individual contingency plans by the spring, collation of plans in the summer (resulting in a overall plan) with testing conducted in October.
An integral part of contingency planning is communication. A formal plan targeting all UWO stakeholders is being developed to address the various phases of the project. Components include an awareness campaign to instill a sense of priority and individual responsibility; a testing phase to simulate and test compliance where feasible; and a post-2000 phase should contingency plans require implementation. The University must be in a position to: a) communicate with its constituent populations; b) disseminate UWO emergency information; c) advise on next steps for UWO; d) support regional emergency measures at the community level.
As a result of the committee two decisions have been made:
1. Approved by Senate, January 22, 1999.