Saturday, August 27, 2005

NAU...

By the way, just FYI, I had a great time up at Northern Arizona University last week. Apart from the beautiful country and the break from the heat, I was very impressed with Fred Estrella (the NAU CIO), his crack IT team, and the administration folks that helped craft their PeopleSoft Human Resources and Student Administration implementation. From what I gathered, their implementation did take somewhere between 3 and 5 years, and while they managed to skip the worst of the "monster" phase, their system did have to "grow live" rather than "go live". But all the participants in the project that I met -- and I met easily 20 from both the technical and "business" side -- were unanimous that the new system meets their needs better and gives them a better platform for meeting the future.

It was also interesting to learn that their decision to go PeopleSoft did have its roots in a crisis -- a registration failure one fall that sent all the students to the gym with pencils and 3x5 cards.

Given that we want to avoid a crisis, I wish there was a way to wave a magic wand and be where they are now.

1 comments:

Jon August 29, 2005 at 6:47 AM  

I was working within Central IT at NAU at the time. It was an old system inheritad from ASU that was over-taxed and under-powered. There was also a problem with using certain reporting tools (FOCUS) during registration that didn't help the process. NAU resolved the imediate problem by adding an additional CPU, and keeping users off during critical times, but the publicity hurt for a long time afterwards.

Looking at the request to address 100,000 Students and the timelines given as a responce, my feelings are that we will have the new system in place prior to a full ramp-up by all of the Colleges/Schools involved.