Revamped systems put information at fingertips

by Stephen Forgacs
Staff writer

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

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

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