Archive for May, 2012

Dev Cycle 25

0 Commentsby   |  05.08.12  |  Uncategorized

We finished up Development Cycle 25 last week, which spans April 16th through May 4th.  Here is a brief summary of where our work was focused this last cycle by individual projects:

  • 1 issue released from ALC Interface
  • 3 issues released from Banner AR
  • 2 issues released from Banner Finance
  • 3 issues released from Banner Financial Aid
  • 1 issue released from Banner General
  • 1 issue released from Banner HR
  • 1 issue released from Banner Student
  • 3 issues released from Blogs
  • 1 issue released from iPhone Application in Banner
  • 1 issue released from Liferay Portal
  • 1 issue released from PLSQL Hacks
  • 2 issues released from Tableau
  • 2 issues released from Talisma
  • 2 issues released from xDrive

Attached is Dev Cycle 25 – Resolved Issues┬áso that you can see additional details about each issue.

Ellucian AMS – Day 1 (and into Day 2)

0 Commentsby   |  05.02.12  |  Ellucian, database

We have now completed one full day (two days actually since its taken me an entire day to complete this blog entry) using Ellucian’s Application Management Services (AMS). As mentioned in an earlier post, we should have started conversations with Ellucian earlier because there are many decisions that have to made and we still have a few loose threads that need to be tied up. These threads are not small items but I have confidence that as long as ACU and Ellucian are talking we can work through them.

Part of the risk blogging so soon after starting a new service is a recognition that first days are often difficult for any transition. So, think of these notes more as a diary than anything else. If I continue to find the time, I’ll continue to write about our experiences of moving to Ellucian’s AMS in hopes that it will help future customers (and maybe a few current ones) deal with issues that undoubtedly exist.

One thing that is clear even after day one is the differences in company cultures between ACU and Ellucian. I’m not surprised at that. Nobody should be. When you are going through a change as big as moving your database administration services to another company, those differences become apparent. Sometimes in an attempt to be critical and sometimes in an attempt to be realistic I have made the statement that ACU asks and demands more of its software systems than anyone I know. This type of statement cannot and is not meant to be verified as true or false. Its more a statement of how it feels to me after 30+ years in the IT business. I could go into multiple examples of why I say these things but lets stay close to the reason for this post and what I see in the AMS offering.

When an institution uses AMS as the support mechanism for all or a part of their system, you will have to use their ticketing system, SNOW (it stands for Service NOW). One limiting aspect of the SNOW system is the ability to only see problem or request tickets I have entered into SNOW (I think I can also see one’s that Ellucian creates and assigns to my ID) and not anyone else from my staff or from ACU. I consider that a real short-coming of the application that Ellucian needs to address. Ellucian does offer reports on some regular basis (typically weekly) but that solution lacks the real-time understanding of what is happening on systems and databases is not adequate for our purposes. As the Director of the department, that is a critical piece for me in making decisions on what to work on and what not to work on. NOTE: this issue was addressed in a conversation with Ellucian today. ACU will use one common login for all our staff until such time that there is a way for any one person to see other person’s tickets. In some ways, the single login is fine because it gives all of us at ACU a view into what is going on. On the other hand, I like when each person can login and create tickets under their name. It gives us a better sense from person to person or system to system what is happening.

One thing I hope Ellucian will consider going forward is moving the data captured in SNOW into their ODS/EDW so institutions can determine what information they would like to glean from the data in the system.

In the midst of our first issue after Ellucian took over our database administration piece, one of our programmers became aware that some of the Banner processes were not working as expected so she contacted Action Line. The most intriguing thing to come out of that programmer’s discussion with a representative at the Action Line was an unawareness that ACU was using AMS services for support of our databases. That points to some sort of breakdown in the communication within Ellucian as to the status of our systems. In their defense, Ellucian has made it clear that they are working to inform all the Action Line staff as to the status of our contract for AMS. This feels like another items that needed more time to work out. We just needed to start the conversation earlier.

Related to contacting Action Line, there needs to be a better mechanism for information about an issue to flow between Ellucian’s Action Line and the folks in the AMS. The lack of information between these two Ellucian entities is something that needs to change.

So, lots of whining here so let me offer a few solutions.

– Until SNOW can share tickets across my team, we will have everyone log in with one ID so that we can all input requests and tickets and see everything that is going on. We need broad purview into the ticketing system so that other people can review a ticket and bring themselves up to speed.

– When my folks contact Action Line, we will have to make sure the Action Line representative are aware we are AMS customers. Over time, I hope this awareness spreads and that the Action Line team can help us communicate across the channels to the AMS team.

– And since there seems to be no way to move a ticket or information between Action Line and SNOW, I will tell my folks to CTRL-C, CTRL-V alot. I want to make sure that all information is being communicated when we have an issue and that no one person or group is left out. I don’t a better solution here until some sort of integration is created between the two groups.

I’m still convinced that the AMS offering from Ellucian is a good deal for ACU and will ultimately work well. We’ll continue, on both sides of the isle, continue to communicate, work, change our processes and ultimately come to a place where this all works well. Time will tell. Stay tuned for Day 3 and beyond. There is lots more to talk about.