The University Record, March 22, 1999
Issues raised for ITD apply to MCIT
Having read Neil Haldeman's letter in your March 8th issue, I feel I must respond in support of Mr. Haldeman. The same issues related to ITD in his letter also exist in the hospital with MCIT. Like Mr. Haldeman, I too escaped with early retirement after 40 years at the age of 58. I am still amazed at the failure of the Administration to place someone in charge who understands business computing. I was the Data Base Administration Manager at MCIT. That organization brought in leadership that pushed only servers and PCs and showed a lack of knowledge and dislike of mainframe computers and anyone that worked with them. The result has been the purchase of very expensive server based systems, unproved in large institutions, which often have had to be scraped. The Medical Centeršs purchase of various doctoršs offices throughout the state has only served to expand the disruption and cost to customer service which I have witnessed first hand. The EWS scheduling system, which allowed online access to unauthorized individuals and which they have been trying to implement for 4 years is a prime example of a server system that should be on a mainframe. In today's environment there should be room for both but it takes competent management to recognize the difference.
In regard to the Y2K issue, some of us at MCIT tried to get management to begin this project as far back as 1992 when it could have been performed gradually with existing staff at relatively low cost. Because it was considered to be only modifications to existing systems and not visible as a new progressive project that would put a feather in someonešs cap, this project was rejected. When I left in 1996 the Y2K project was still in the talking stage as, I might add, was any plan for disaster recovery. Now the rush is on at extra cost due to the need to hire outside consultants. I implore the University powers-that-be to wake up and smell the coffee!
Nancy B. Kremkus
Let's 'champion the academic needs' of the U
In response to my March 8 letter, the point was made that, under previous ITD management, a "team" led by the registrar made the PeopleSoft decision. That is true; but that "team" was similar to what we now seem to have simply redefined as a "federation"--egalitarian decision making, with diminishing accountability (I'm assuming that PeopleSoft is somebody's fault). But there were other problems that led to PeopleSoft:
When ITD was formed, the business systems professionals (the people most qualified to make technical assessments of business software) were largely disenfranchised. Pre-ITD, the business systems professionals worked for one director under the VP for Business and Finance. In ITD, they ended up under a CEO who worked for a vice-provost who worked for the VP for Academic Affairs. It severely diminished their input into certain crucial decisions. Ms. Griffiths has indeed streamlined things somewhat; but even now the business system professionals work for two different directors, under the chief information officer (Ms. Griffiths), under the provost who oversees academic affairs. There must be more sensible ways to champion the "academic needs of the institution."