By the end of the year, three of UBC's four major administrative information systems will be operating on a new computer platform -- an important step in the ongoing Administrative Systems Project (ASP).
"The first people to work with these new systems will quickly come to recognize the advantages," says John Chase, UBC's director of Budget and Planning and co-chair of the project steering committee. "They will be able to manage and maintain the information they rely on, and to generate reports tailored to their needs."
Aimed at making administrative information easier to access and manage, the project has involved an extensive review and evaluation of hundreds of operating procedures as well as the migration to the new operating platform.
The first systems to "go live" was the Integrated Human Resource Information System (IHRIS). The Financial Management Information System (FMIS) and Viking, the Alumni/Development system will become operational later this year.
It is anticipated that the conversion of the existing Student Information Systems (SIS) to its new operating platform will be completed early in the new year.
UBC began the process of revamping its administrative information systems in October, 1995. It was decided that replacing the existing mainframe technology with a distributed environment would be less expensive to operate, and that, coupled with the introduction of new management-oriented system applications, these two initiatives would better position the university's departments to manage their activities.
The major goals were: movement from a centralized mainframe to a distributed computer environment; installation of new application software oriented to management requirements rather than straight transaction processing; and to achieve this at no net increase in costs to the university.
In June 1996, a consortium of vendors led by Sierra Systems Consultants Inc. was hired to help with the reconfiguration of the university's computing resources.
As the first three systems become operational this fall, the offices of Financial Services, Human Resources, Budget and Planning, and Purchasing will gain "update" access to the new applications, as will several pilot sites, including the deans' offices in the faculties of Medicine and Arts, the central administration office in the Psychology Dept., Student Services, Plant Operations and Housing and Conferences. The remaining deans' offices will be provided access by March 31, 1998, with individual departments being phased in over the succeeding 12 months.
Update access means that these areas will be able to enter information directly into the systems rather than delivering information in a variety of formats for further processing as has been the case with the previous systems.
Other university sites will gain access to the system during the following year dependent on organizational readiness and connectivity. Training programs will be provided for staff before the systems become operational in their areas.
More information on the Administrative Systems Project can be found on the World Wide Web at www.interchange.ubc.ca/andreajb/asp.htm.