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CIO  September 2007

CIO September 2007

Subject:

Re: Try Software First, Fix it later

From:

Robert Paterson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 26 Sep 2007 14:58:11 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (121 lines)

Amen!!! Rob

Dr. Robert Paterson
Chief Information Officer
Salem State College
Salem MA 01970
[log in to unmask]
978-542-6446

>>> Brian D Voss <[log in to unmask]> 9/26/2007 10:24 AM >>>
One interesting thread in our CIO discussions this morning leaves me the
impression that implementing these systems is focused on, or the full
responsibility of, the IT organization and CIO.  And being co-dependent,
I'm often quite willing to accept responsibility for any action that
involves IT at my institution.  However, I find an interesting aspect of
this to be:  what are the responsibilities of the functional/business
unit in implementing these systems and in addressing the consequences?

 

I note from the WSJ article that, apparently, the only people who have
lost their jobs (placed on administrative leave) over this were
employees in the HR office.  Quoting:  The breakdown occurred with what
Mr. Sannier calls the "human systems."  Seems to me that the 'human
systems' is another way of saying the functional areas that deal
directly with the matters which the IT (ERP) has enabled - payroll/HR,
enrollment services, financial management, research administration, etc.

 

Doesn't this then point to the need for functional organizations to be
closely involved in whatever strategy is taken to implement a new
information system? They will be held accountable, or at the very least
be where the consequences will be felt (first).  Whether that
involvement takes the form of developing the strategy for implementation
at the outset, or testing of the system either before or during
implementation, or having "human systems" ready to deal with problems
that arise - the functional units should be closely involved.  In other
words - given the impact of these decisions are less about technology
and more about business processes, shouldn't the functional units should
be calling the plays?

 

I'm more than a little troubled that this all seems to be "IT issues"
rather than "Institutional issues."  If this truly is 'the wave of the
future' then it seems to me that a lot of folks will be on the beach
when that wave comes ashore - and not just IT folks.  

 

-Brian

 

Brian D. Voss

Chief Information Officer

Louisiana State University and the A&M College

 

 

From: Dwight Fischer [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 6:20 AM
To: [log in to unmask] 
Subject: [CIO] Try Software First, Fix it later

 

The WSJ had a provocative article in Tuesday's paper. For anyone who's
ever implemented an ERP, it's worth a read. Arizona State University
implemented Oracle's ERP and the strategy was a shift in paradigm: Get
it in first, assume there will be problems and fix them as you go with
the help of users. In their situation, payroll was an issue for 3000
employees. Many were under- or unpaid. "The IT department...decided it
would be more effective to stick to rigid deadlines, releasing the
software on schedule even if all the kinks hadn't been worked out-- and
try to fix problems on the fly." The notion that trying to make it
perfect before rolling it out causes costly project overruns.

 

That's quite a paradigm shift. The software industry loves the approach.
It's akin to releasing a beta version and addressing issues after the
fact. Needless to say, however, ASU employees are less than enamored
with the concept. I wonder what else they ran into. The thought of
rolling out an ERP that didn't perfect financial aid, or provide
regulatory reporting, or deliver comprehensible student bills is rather
novel. And yet one of the key points is that many of us for years have
sought perfection first, probably delaying our project schedules, and
costing us in additional resources--and still we ran into problems. ASU
simply accepted that as normal and changed the paradigm. 

 

Still, it seems unlikely that our institutions would ever agree to this
up front. There are expectations that we ensure all current functions
are met, and we do it on time and on budget. This new approach, while
pragmatic and maybe more realistic, is the sort that gets CIOs run outa
town.

 

Dwight Fischer, CIO

Plymouth State University

********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE
Constituent Group discussion list can be found at
http://www.educause.edu/groups/. 


**********
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

**********
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

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