OIT Does That? Business Intelligence

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Today’s academy exists in a highly competitive world and under increasing oversight.  Resources must be managed with the same care as in business.  Strategies and solutions often come only from careful assessment of metrics, data, and trends.

OIT’s Business Intelligence (BI) team is responsible for analytics and reporting using the IBM Cognos BI tool. This tool is used by KFS for financial reporting, and by Facilities Management, Office of Institutional Research, the Budget Office, University Advancement, and other offices around the campus for data analysis and reporting. It also will be the reporting and analysis platform for both UCPath and the Banner Student Information System.

The BI team installs, manages and maintains the Cognos environment, manages security, develops reports and dashboards for KFS, UCPath, SIS and other projects, trains campus developers and end users, and supports Cognos users campus-wide. The BI team works closely with the Data Warehouse and Middleware teams to provide the services that turn raw data into comprehensive reporting and analysis.

The BI team is ready to help departments who need custom reports or assistance with their data analysis strategy.  Contact Larry Coon (lcoon@uci.edu, x45921) with questions.

Kuali Financial System

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In July of 2014, after years of planning, development, and testing, UCI moved to the Kuali Financial System (KFS).  KFS allows us to better manage UCI’s substantial finances.

Elements that have been implemented include:

  • General Ledger
  • Chart of Accounts
  • Financial Processing
  • Purchasing / Accounts Payable
  • Contracts and Grants
  • Capital Asset Management
  • Travel and Event Management
  • Electronic document workflow
  • Decision Support data warehouse and reporting
  • Kuali Security Access Management System
  • Sciquest online procurement catalog and ordering system

The launch of KFS allowed us to retire several business systems (FS, PAL, EQS, PBS, PayQuest, etc.) that were 20-30 years old. While they have served us long and well, they were no longer capable of meeting campus needs nor could they be maintained.  With the exception of PPS, we are now independent of the IBM mainframe at UCOP.

KFS comprises 1.4 million lines of programming, of which 220,000 lines were written to adapt it to UCI’s needs.  The system required developing interfaces to 40 other campus systems.

This was a major team effort, involving subject matter experts from the Accounting Office, Budget Office, Procurement Office, and UCIMC, modification developers, configuration managers, interface developers, business analysts, database administrators, testers, data converters, unit adoption leads, access control leads, security specialists, data modelers, report writers, system administrators, trainers, training material developers, vendors, banks and agencies.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are notoriously difficult to implement, and KFS represents a great success and a hallmark collaboration for UCI.

 

New Service Platform

servicenowOIT’s mission is to provide information technology leadership, services, and innovative solutions to promote the research, education and community service goals of the University.  To fulfill that mission, we also have to solve your IT problems and fix IT services which are not working properly.

OIT recently deployed a new service platform – a software system to help us more reliably log, assign, follow, and resolve IT problems, and better communicate progress with you.  This software is built upon ServiceNow, an industry standard IT Service Management platform.  We are calling our implementation OIT Service Desk to reflect the teams within OIT who answer questions, resolve incidents, fulfill requests, and develop new tools and services.

Nothing needs to change in how you ask for help.  You may still call or send email to OIT.  However, you will see – or may already be seeing – email messages with a new layout, and you can use those messages to follow your issue or communicate with us.  OIT Service Desk email messages will notify you when a request has been created, when new information is available (or needed from you) and when your issue is resolved.

In addition to getting email from the system, allowing you to follow the progress of your request, OIT Service Desk provides a web interface where you can review your tickets, or even make new requests and report problems.

This is a multi-faceted system.  We have begun by implementing support for requests for help, or reporting services which aren’t working properly.  Over time, more features of the system will be configured and deployed so that IT Service Management at UCI will become more integrated and fluid, making it easier for you to get the IT services and support you need.

Kuali Financial System Debuts

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Accounting and Fiscal Services, in partnership with OIT and other units, rolled out the campus’s new Kuali Financial System on July 7, replacing 30-year-old legacy systems.  Modules include Chart of Accounts, General Ledger, Financial Processing, Contracts & Grants Award (post), Purchasing, Accounts Payable, Capital Assets, Travel, and Budget in addition to a new Vendor Onboarding system and Cognos reporting solution.

To log into KFS, first log in to ZotPortal, https://portal.uci.edu/ and select the following tabs:

  • Faculty & Staff
  • KFS

Many resources are available to KFS users including an informative web site, an email newsletter (with archives of previous issues, available to subscribers), and training programs on the UC Learning Center.  Help is available from the KFS help desk (x4-7001, kfs@uci.edu).

New Zotmail System

ZotmailAdministrative Policies and Records, working with OIT, has developed and released a new edition of Zotmail, the campus system for sending email announcements to faculty and staff.

Features

Among the many features of the new Zotmail system are an easy-to-use interface (senders can more easily create and customize messages; everyone else can more easily control which Zotmail messages they receive) and a searchable archive for looking up past Zotmail releases.

Zotmail Lists

All employees are added to the Zotmail system as soon as their payroll records are created and the employee has selected an email service (“delivery point”).  Employees are automatically enrolled in a core set of official communications channels related to their affiliation (e.g., faculty, staff, main campus, School of Medicine), lists for Schools and other campus units, and certain other informative lists including:

  • Staff Assembly
  • UCI Brief
  • UCI in the News
  • UC Irvine Magazine

Employees can then use the Zotmail system to modify the lists they receive messages from.  There are certain lists (emergency communications and mandatory information relating to employment at the university) from which you cannot unsubscribe.

Mailman Lists

Many of the lists that were part of the old Zotmail system are now supported by the Mailman service, which is better suited to special-interest forums such as:

For more information on Zotmail and campus mailing lists, contact oit@uci.edu or call x42222.