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From high water to high ground: Transforming the Campus Administrative System Carole Thompson CUMREC 2003 May 13, 2003

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Presentation on theme: "From high water to high ground: Transforming the Campus Administrative System Carole Thompson CUMREC 2003 May 13, 2003"— Presentation transcript:

1 From high water to high ground: Transforming the Campus Administrative System Carole Thompson CUMREC 2003 May 13, 2003 http://public.clunet.edu/~carole Copyright carole Thompson, 2003. This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author.

2 About CLU 43 years old 2700 FTE  1700 traditional undergrads  900 graduate students  300 adult degree evening program students 120 Faculty 300 Staff and administrators

3 Glossary CLU ISS AIS A/IS BC California Lutheran University Information Systems & Services Administrative Information System Admin, Internet systems & applications Before Carole

4 About ISS Integrated Information Services Dept.  Library  Media  Educational Technology  Administrative Computing  Internet Systems & Application  Help Desk and PC Support  Networking and Telecommunications  Technology Training

5 About the Administrative System Implemented in 1995 Human Resources/Payroll Financials Housing Student Records Financial Aid Admissions Web interface for students, faculty and staff

6 What was wrong at CLU Spring 2000 Major system conversion Users were tired and unhappy Not all software was loaded Files were damaged or needed tuning Security privileges weren’t assigned correctly Lots of small, annoying things needed fixing Post-conversion backlog of customized routines and reports that still needed to be written AIS staff quit

7 What else was wrong: the sequel Culture of complaining Lack of prioritization Lack of communication Poor project planning No tracking mechanism (that worked!) No organization or coordination Poor opinion of AIS by leadership, managers and users Unrealistic expectations of what the system ‘should do’ Lack of collaboration between systems staff and functional area managers and staff

8 State of the system? UGH. EVERYTHING was wrong and NOBODY was happy.

9 Organization Chart - BC AIS Manager Programmer AIS Manager Internet/Bib Systems Manager Internet Systems Internet Applications Developer Unix Systems Admin Campus Accounts Manager Library Bib Systems Manager

10 -A system is built to run. -If operated as designed, the system will run. -Simpler is better. Basic Beliefs - Running Systems

11 Basic Beliefs - Operating Principles If the system is not operating correctly:  Something needs fixing. So, fix it, tune it, do it or stop doing it.  Someone needs fixing. Uh, Oh. Software is easier to fix than people.

12 Basic Beliefs – Special skills for running systems See trains coming. Get off the tracks. Turn on a dime. Stay current on software. Monitor and tune the system

13 Two major problems areas to fix System needs and issues People needs and issues

14 System needs and issues

15 System needs and issues: System out of tune System software not updated regularly Damaged files Poor OS maintenance procedures Lack of documentation for customized routines, reports, procedures

16 Assessing the state of the system Figure out how bad it is Define the goals Prioritize them Get buy-in from users and staff Develop a process of change

17 What we did first Managers group was formed to prioritize and set policies for AIS projects & needs. Talked to AIS Support and Account Rep. Memorized Tech Support call number. Fixed most recurring problems. Asked for help from users (internal, informal recruitment.) Collaborated with business units to gain their perspective and expertise.

18 What we did next Started recruitment for systems admin, programmers, coordinator. Reorganized AIS staff structure to match campus needs. Got outside programmers to work on different needs. Analyzed the system status. Implemented regular maintenance and upgrade schedules. Brought the system to currency  (OS, DB, and Application levels) Talked principal programmer into coming back.

19 A/IS staff structure post- recruitment Director, IS Senior Programmer Programmer Systems Admin Coordinator, Client Services

20 Other important stuff we remembered to do Updated the task list regularly Documented normal procedures Delegated some user support to the Help Desk (password changes, printing problems) End Users Help Desk AIS staff

21 Current Organization Chart Director, Info Systems Manager, AIS Operations Manager, Internet Systems Programmer/Analyst & Developer Coordinator, Client Services

22 Timelines for System Fixes System Assessment 2-3 mos System fixes 6-8 mos Backlog reduction 12-18 mos. Transition to new project work 18-24 mos.

23 Ah, The People Side

24 People needs and issues: The problem with people is – they’re people! At CLU, our people are:  AIS staff  Other ISS staff  Functional Area Managers  Functional Area Staff  University Leadership

25 Special skills for leading people Trust them. Be trustworthy. Be honest and credible. “Smile like a princess, run like a jaguar and be everybody’s best friend.”

26 Understanding users User #1 - support positive change and become allies User #2 - willing to be happy if they believe they can get a solution when they need one User #3 - can be happy, if you’ll listen to them whine, then fix their problem and leave them alone User #4 - are never happy

27 Where we started

28 Where we wanted to go

29 Be a people person 1. Build on positives:  Talk about what does work 2. Focus on essentials:  Prioritize, but also get little, fast fixes out of the way  Build a ‘finished’ list and tell people about it 3. Reassure users:  Tell people it’ll be fine

30 More on being a people person 4. Tell the truth:  Look them straight in the eye, and just say it 5. Develop a realistic timeframe for getting tasks finished:  Add spill time to manage expectations 6. Keep users informed:  Until they beg you to stop

31 Remind users what’s important Even the President won’t bug you when its payroll. We’re mortal. We’re learning everyday, too. They aren’t the only user on the block. They are the expert for their areas and procedures. We’re just the tech geeks. Everybody needs to double check everything. Everyone needs to follow through.

32 The importance of expertise IT Staff expertise + Functional user expertise PARTNERSHIP =

33 The aftermath of collaboration Independent users and managers IT staff under less stress & demands Better grasp of business processes Realistic expectations Shared accomplishment Shared satisfaction

34 Effective Good Will Gestures Fix the problems that impact users the most. Build simple project plans and publish them. Build a task list and publish it. Email a regular update “State of the System.” Request input through surveys, emails, suggestion boxes. Remove obstacles to user’s accomplishments. Create positive dialogue between AIS staff and users/managers.

35 Concentrate on the big WOW’s Find out what has to happen for users to feel there’s a difference  Listen to them?  Talk to them?  Do what they want?  Give them alternatives?  Let them choose priorities? Do things that make a BIG difference.

36 Timelines for People ‘fixes’ AIS managers group 6 mos. – 1 year User satisfaction improvement – 6-9 mos. Procedural stabilization - 12 mos. Process flow improvements - 18 mos. Personality issues – never fixed.

37 Two years later 2002/03 Current on all software and patches Implemented Web interface, custom programs Beta site for new module Working on  New Web services  E-Commerce  Portal and Courseware interfaces  Obsoleting shadow databases Consistently positive feedback from users and managers

38 Maria Kohnke, Registrar “I came to CLU while the university was in the middle of a major conversion. At that time there was a lot of dissatisfaction on campus, with people feeling like it took a lot of time for anything to get done. The difference between then an now is astounding. I have a very collaborative relationship with AIS and that relationship is something that is critical to my being successful at my job.”

39 Bob Allison, VP for Adminstration and Finance “The system has never been as good as it is now. I just wouldn’t want to go back to the bad ole days”

40 Michael Graham Coordinator, Client Services “Now, the problem isn’t that the system doesn’t work, its that the users don’t know how to use the system.”

41 Kevin Schaffels, Controller “The effectiveness of the new [AIS] staff team has been remarkable in changing the outcomes, the perceptions by ‘us’, the efficiency, the belief in the system overall.”

42 Key changes Coordinator position to focus on end user needs System tuning and currency AIS Managers group to prioritize, see impacts between areas Partnership and collaboration by people committed to success

43 Challenges we still have User training  Is it how to use menus?  Does the office need procedural documentation? Lack of action by users  When is something finished? High level data reporting needs Dirty data Operator errors The wear and tear from constant change Integration with other applications SECURITY & BUDGET

44 Ideal future growth Director, Info Systems Manager, AIS Operations Programmer/Analyst Coordinator, Client Services Process Analyst Manager, Internet Systems Systems Admin Portal/Account Manager Developer Coordinator, Account Services

45 That’s all, folks! carole@clunet.edu 805 493 3944 http://public.clunet.edu/~carole carole@clunet.edu


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