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Readers Respond

Copyright 1996 CAUSE. From _CAUSE/EFFECT_ Volume 19, Number 4, Winter 1996, pp. 57-59. Permission to copy or disseminate all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for commercial advantage, the CAUSE copyright and its date appear, and notice is given that copying is by permission of CAUSE, the association for managing and using information resources in higher education. To disseminate otherwise, or to republish, requires written permission. For further information, contact Julia Rudy at CAUSE, 4840 Pearl East Circle, Suite 302E, Boulder, CO 80301 USA; 303-939-0308; e-mail:


Florida Community College at Jacksonville instituted a systems development standard of "handling" the Year 2000 in all new systems in 1989. It was during 1990 or 1991 that we began reviewing our long-term direction with regard to systems development tools. Our process concluded, in late 1992, with the acquisition of new tools. We selected Software AG's tool set of ADABAS, NATURAL, CONSTRUCT, PREDICT and some others. It was our belief that we had to have tools to allow us to change systems more quickly. The growing demands for data from the Florida Legislature as well as institutional needs, dictated requirements for adding new data elements and systems functionality in a more timely fashion. It was obvious that systems developed with COBOL and vsam files would not meet future needs in this regard. Another factor driving our systems changes was the need to "deal with the Year 2000 date" in existing systems. About the same time we were acquiring new tools for systems development there were seven other community colleges that selected the same tools. In 1993 we formed a consortium to rewrite the major applications, i.e. finance, payroll/personnel, student, and facilities. The systems development process began in January 1994. The payroll/personnel system is in production at two colleges. The finance system is being installed at one college and the student system will be installed beginning in February 1997. With the consortium we are addressing two major institutional requirements: the Year 2000 date problem and being able to replace our legacy systems using a new tool set. The new systems are providing significant new functionality -- it's not just a system rewrite. With the consortium we are able to address systems replacement significantly faster than we could have if we were rewriting these applications by ourselves. We will have all these systems in production by spring 1998. The finance system will be in production

beginning July 1, 1997, the payroll/personnel system by January 1998 and the student system by April 1998. The members of the consortium are: Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Broward Community College, Miami-Dade Community College, Palm Beach Community College, Indian River Community College, Okaloosa-Walton Community College, Tallahassee Community College, and Edison Community College. Jack Tinsley Associate Vice President of Information Systems and Services ============================================================= At Rollins College, we went the easy route and decided to completely replace our legacy system before that date with BANNER. We would have needed a several-year effort to rewrite the existing system just to deal with this. Hopefully, we'll feel we got off easier with the method we've chosen. Les Lloyd Assistant Vice President of Information Technology Rollins College ============================================================= The University of Utah spent many months evaluating the solution to the Year 2000 problem. With a significant number of legacy systems to convert, representing about 6 million lines of Cobol code, the estimate for patching ran to multiple millions of dollars. The result would have been to spend 3-4 years and multiple millions of dollars and end up with the same systems with all of their existing inadequacies. A bold president agreed to purchase "packaged" systems instead. The only acceptable large-university alternative with financial, student, and HR/payroll systems that we could identify was PeopleSoft. The University of Utah now has a 4-year program under way to convert to PeopleSoft, which is estimated to replace about 80 percent of existing administrative systems at The University of Utah. Marty Solomon Special Assistant to the President for Information Technology ============================================================= Pomona College has programmed almost all of its administrative systems in System 1032, a relational database, and 4GL sold by Computer Corporation of America. With the

exception of three outside packages, all of our programming has been done in-house. In System 1032 all dates are stored with the year included. Data entered without the century is stored with the default (current) century. In its next version, due for delivery in Spring 1997, System 1032 will include a default century variable. This will allow a user or a program to set a two-digit cutoff year. A 2-digit year larger than the cutoff defaults to 19xx while a 2-digit year smaller than the cutoff defaults to 20xx. An explicit 4-digit year can be entered when the default is not appropriate. If the variable is set at 20, for example, a date entered as 1/1/10 will be entered into the database as 1/1/2010 while 1/1/25 will be entered as 1/1/1925. We believe this will allow us sufficient flexibility to handle most situations without entering the century directly. We expect to review our data entry screens to make sure that they include date fields long enough to permit users to include the century in the few cases where a wide range of past, present, and future dates must be entered into the same field. Our major concern will be to monitor the third-party vendors whose software we use for financial aid, payroll, and investments to make sure that they handle the problem appropriately for interface with our 1032 systems. Jack Quinlan Director of Administrative Computing ============================================================= In general, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is planning to modify existing information systems to handle the Year 2000. In fact, this has been a 'background,' on-going activity for a number of years here. We devised a method to allow us to convert programs as we have done maintenance to them. We estimate that we are about 80 percent complete at this time. Remaining programs will be converted as part of a major rehosting effort from an IBM mainframe to a UNIX platform in the next two years. Marge Waala Manager of Application Development ============================================================= Syracuse University is planning to replace the majority of its information systems by the Year 2000. An analysis of our legacy systems showed that a few could be modified at a reasonable cost, many could be modified at a high cost, and a few would have to be rewritten. The decision to replace as much as possible followed our computing strategy already in place to move our information systems to newer technologies. Our replacement approach is to purchase software packages where possible, modify a few systems, and to rewrite those

information systems we cannot purchase. To date, we have replaced many of our smaller systems with purchased packages or in-house written applications. We have selected package replacements for alumni/development, human resources, payroll, facilities management, library, and student systems. Project teams for these areas are in various stages of the implementation process, with target dates during 1997 and 1998. Other teams are in the process of evaluating telecommunications, accounts payable and purchasing software. Modifications to those systems we expect to run after the Year 2000 are under way and can be completed before they begin to encounter problems. Sue Borel Director, Information Systems ============================================================= At Humber College (Ontario, Canada) we started the process of examining the Year 2000 problem as a part of our overall administrative systems plans in 1994. We saw it as an opportunity to begin addressing technical issues and integrating systems. Essentially we are replacing two of our major trio of systems (Student and HR/Payroll). We are rewriting our student system using our new application development platform from Software AG (NATURAL/ADABAS/CONSTRUCT/PREDICT), which was planned ahead of time for technical reasons, with the added benefit of handling the Year 2000 problem (the old system would not handle it without programming). For HR/Payroll, we are participating in the founding of a consortium of Ontario colleges to centralize new hardware, new software (ROSS) and some services. (This will replace our old IA version). For our Financial system, which is currently SCT/IA, we will either apply the updates that should be available in 1997 or perhaps replace it too. All other systems will be integrated with our student system, rewritten or dropped. The Student system will roll out in the first quarter of 1997. HR/Payroll is scheduled to take a year from commencement. The FRS updates are estimated to take ten weeks to apply (we have several Canadian mods to reapply), while a replacement is still to be determined and could involve the college consortium. Peter A. Kahn Director, Systems Development ============================================================= Our Year 2000 efforts at the University of Florida formally began in March 1996 with the assignment of a project leader. Since that time, an estimate of impact and a systems inventory has been conducted, system priorities established, a project plan developed, and an eight member team organized. Each system is currently undergoing a detailed

analysis to determine the preferred conversion approach. Approximately 4.4 million lines of code in 4,000+ programs are affected. In older, isolated systems, a sliding window approach is usually chosen. Otherwise, we are changing the data files. Where there is enough space on the record, we are duplicating each old date with an 8-byte (YYYYMMDD) compliant date. This allows both converted and original programs to access the same file. If there is insufficient space, we are adding a single-byte century indicator for each date. As a last resort, we are expanding and reformatting the file. Our overall target completion date is December 31, 1998. As of October 1996, four research pilots, one conversion pilot, and two regular system conversions have been successfully completed. Six separate project phases have evolved from these experiences: awareness, assessment, research & planning, conversion & testing, implementation, and monitoring. Tom Thomas Director of Information Systems ============================================================= University of Arizona, we evaluated many alternatives. Given the complexities of developing new applications, the fact that the implementation date can not be adjusted, and having applications that already need Year 2000 dates, we are planning to modify the existing systems, although outright replacement remains an option. Some specific sub-processes of our application systems may be re-engineered as an alternative. The analysis of major systems began in 1995, and a project team was formed earlier this year to coordinate the changes to all systems. This team has been evaluating all aspects of becoming Year 2000 compliant. A project plan has been developed, an initial budget request has been submitted, vendor products for analysis, code change, and testing are being evaluated, a testing environment is being planned, and a position and recommendation paper is being finalized. Actual code changes have started where applications are currently facing Year 2000 issues. Additional personnel resources will be required to implement a full-scale, Year2000 compliant modification process. Bob Lancaster Computer Operations ============================================================= At Wright State University we're taking a combined approach: changing both data and program logic to make our systems Year-2000 compliant. Those systems are primarily IMS and COBOL. Since the strategic goal of Information Services is

to work toward easier access to our operational data by our end clients, part of our plan includes converting a portion of our IMS hierarchical data bases into IBM's DB2. We want to utilize the DATE data type in DB2's relational structure for our Y2K initiative. We also plan a phased conversion of many of our programs to COBOL for MVS and VM to make use of the date facilities in Language Environment, as well using some date conversion subroutines that have been written in-house. Our goal is to complete the inventory phase of the project and begin the impact assessment by year end. We hope to be Year-2000 compliant by the end of 1998. A team of four out of our application staff of 12 is directing the project. We intend to form small work groups of our existing staff to complete the changes on each portion of the plan as we go along. Kitty Friedman Senior Programmer/Analyst ============================================================= The California State University has launched three I/T initiatives related to impending Year 2000 date issues: > The Collaborative Management Systems Initiative aims to achieve cost savings and efficiencies through multi-campus cooperation and collaboration in the operation and management of administrative software portfolios. Year-2000 readiness is part of a larger re-engineering effort, as this initiative identifies target administrative processes and computing platforms for the CSU--some of which may involve new purchases and development, and others which will call for upgrades to existing systems. > The Streamlining Technology Delivery Initiative addresses as one initiative component the currency of administrative computing hardware and operating system software, including the ability to function properly with 21st century dates. Computing center consolidation activities that are currently being considered under this initiative may provide an opportunity to enhance Year 2000 support of some administrative systems. Several CSU campuses have already purchased mainframe hardware and operating system software upgrades toward the ends of: - Year 2000 platform readiness; - Increasing computing capacity; Capability to participate in future computing operation consolidations. > The Year 2000 Readiness Initiative provides an overall framework for identifying and addressing 21st century date issues with information system hardware, software, and processes. The Chancellor's Office/campus Task Force working under the auspices of this initiative is charged with such issues as:

* Coordinating activities with the other CSU I/T initiatives related to resolution of Year 2000 issues; * Identifying processes that will require coordination with State and Federal agencies when deploying redesigned "Year-2000 ready" data; * Working with appropriate technical groups to identify CSU information systems that have Year 2000 date dependencies, and to recommend methods and parameters for their resolution. More information on these and other CSU I/T initiatives can be found at: John C. Miller Senior Consultant CSU, Office of the Chancellor Strategic Initiatives Consulting Group ============================================================= The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia is using a combination of approaches to meet the Year 2000 challenge. All of our current financial applications -including payroll -- will be modified internally for Year 2000 compliance. We are currently engaged in an RFP process for new financials but installation will not be complete in time to avoid Year 2000 implications. In addition, we are analyzing our complementary and secondary systems to find out where we need to make modifications to deal with the century change. Along with desktop systems, these are our biggest headaches. There is just that underlying concern that somewhere in there we have forgotten a minor process that will be impacted when, or before, the new century arrives. One area where we feel confident about this transition is in our student information system, which is BANNER Student from SCT Education Systems, and the hardware and technology that support it. SCT is providing the modifications necessary for Year 2000 compliance in BANNER. In fact, this is just a routine update as part of their Technology Currency Program. Our primary hardware vendor, Hewlett -Packard, will be providing an updated operating system; and Oracle is keeping us current to run without a hitch as we approach the Year 2000. Oracle is the database for all centrally supported applications. Though a challenge as all-encompassing as the Year 2000 is cause for concern, a solid strategy like the one we developed for Georgia (and vendors who take care of their customers) smooth the way for an uneventful transition. Also, because 31 of our 34 institutions are in the process of installing the BANNER software, we have the added comfort of many people collaborating to ensure our success. Randall Thursby Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia

============================================================= For the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR -- Nashville, TN), the Year 2000- challenge is a non-issue. The TBR and its twenty institutions are compliant, thanks to our Information Technology staff and SCT Education Systems. As the seventh largest statewide system of higher education in the United States, we have 180,000 students -- not to mention 11,000+ staff, vendors, and other customers -- counting on Information Systems staff to maintain current information. Users expect the Year 2000 to be just another year. Fortunately, we are able to deliver on that expectation. Having installed electronic updates provided by SCT, we are already in compliance with our Student Information System (IA-Plus SIS), and in December, after installing Tennessee Modifications, we will release HRS 4.0 which is Year 2000 compliant. SCT is currently installing Year 2000 changes for FRS, and plan to release to all schools in the summer of 1997. Customer satisfaction is not the only benefit of assured Year 2000 compliance. We are also realizing significant cost savings. The State of Tennessee estimates costs of up to $20 million to move its agencies ahead with Year 2000 compliance on their various systems. For the TBR alone, we believe we would spend $3 million on this project if we did not have our contract with SCT ensuring Year-2000 compliance as part of our standard maintenance agreement. SCT has done a good job to make sure its clients don't miss a step during this significant transition. Fortunately, we are not scrambling at all at the TBR. For us, the Year 2000 is just a new century and one we are looking forward too. Elijah Hall Assistant Vice Chancellor for Information Technology Tennessee Board of Regents ============================================================= At Rutgers University, the Administrative Computing Services Division began its analysis of the Year 2000 challenge on October 1, 1995. A small task force was formed to investigate the problem and determine the impact on the university's administrative systems. The recommendation of the task force included: 1) hiring two programmer/analysts for a two-year period, 2) buying software tools to aid in the conversion process, 3) a conversion strategy, and 4) an overall implementation plan. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, has approximately 48,000 students, and more than 8,000 regular faculty and staff that are served by 45 central administrative applications. These applications are supported by seven teams headed by a project manager with a staff of

five or six analysts and programmers. The overall conversion of our administrative systems is targeted for completion in July/August 1998. Conversion Strategy The ACS strategy is to expand all relevant date fields stored in databases, data warehouses, and data files as CCYYMMDD which includes two additional characters to store century. We adopted this approach because it resolves the problem and eliminates the need for special program code to manipulate dates. Screen programs will make use of a windowing technique, in which the century will be derived based on the year. For example, if the year entered is greater than 20, the century is assumed to be 19yy, otherwise it is assumed to be 20yy. Our strategy regarding printed reports is not to expand the date fields to show the century unless it is required by the user. Migration to COBOL for MVS (formerly COBOL/370) Since most of our administrative applications were written in VS COBOL, which is no longer supported by IBM, we are including a COBOL for MVS migration in our conversion plans. Testing and Production Environment We created several new libraries to store source code, new procedures, and executable modules as a means to separate the ongoing production maintenance from the Year 2000 conversion project. Basically, we have created a duplicate environment to aid in the separation of the conversion efforts while continuing with the ongoing support requirements of our production applications. Conversion Software Tools The task force and other ACS staff participated in a hands on evaluation of Compuware Corporation s File-Aid and Xpediter products as useful tools f or the conversion. These include File-Aid for MVS, File-Aid for IMS, Xpediter for TSO, Xpediter for IMS, and Xchange. Staffing Conversion of the administrative systems will be accomplished mostly by internal staff with the aid of the task force, which consists of a project coordinator, an analyst, and two temporary programmer/analysts. Communications ACS will conduct the first of a series of Year 2000 Awareness seminars, for the general university community beginning in November 1996. Richard J. Strycharz Associate Director Administrative Computing Services ============================================================= Purdue University developed a Year 2000 solution in 1994. It consists of COBOL programs to scan, and subroutines to insert, where appropriate, to solve the problem. The solution also consists of a user guide with instructions and examples. Our solution does not expand files or fields. We continue to

utilize two digits. We found this to greatly reduce the number of programs needed to modify and test. We have approximately 10,000 COBOL programs. As of 10/21/96, we are approximately 54 percent completed. That includes scanning, modifying, testing, and putting back into production. Of the approximately 5,000 programs we have put thru the scan, we average about a 40 percent hit rate. This means we do not have to modify about 60 percent of the programs. On average, taking into consideration all 5,000, we are averaging less than 1.5 hours per program. Over two years, we have averaged using 2-3 FTE per year to make these modifications. We sold the distribution rights to this solution to Venture 2000, Inc. Jacksonville, Fl. (904-731-1622). They have also translated the solution into multiple languages that run on MVS and VSE. Jerry Smith Director, Administrative Computing Operations ============================================================= The Office of Information Technology at the University of Minnesota began looking at the issues surrounding the Year 2000 problem in May of 1994. The initial effort was focused on the central administration systems, and in June of 1995 all University departmental systems were added to the project. To date, an inventory and impact analysis of the central administrative systems has been completed. The human resources, benefits, payroll, and student systems are being replaced with new client/server purchased packages, while the Financial Systems are being modified to accept Year 2000 dates. A pilot project for the Financial Systems is currently in progress. A letter from the Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations and the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs is being sent to all University Departments and Coordinated Campuses. This letter addresses the Year 2000 problem and stresses the need for all departmental systems to be inventoried and tested for Year 2000 compliance in order to continue conducting University business without failure. A web page and repository for collecting the departmental inventory is being developed. As the inventory is collected reports will be run identifying the level of risk of each department. Each department will then be responsible for ensuring they are Year 2000 compliant. Target date for the University of Minnesota being Year 2000 compliant is December 1998. Duane Peterson Project Manager, Professional Services

============================================================= The University of Toronto is in various phases of replacing its financial information system, human resources information system, research information system, and development information system. These projects are expected to be complete in 1998. The University is also in the early phases of replacing all but one module of its student record system. This project is expected to be completed in 1999. The one module that will remain will be reworked to be "Year 2000-ready". Eva V. Swenson, Student Information Systems Marlies Burkhard Department of Administrative Computing