To support its concerned areas of focus, Information Systems Office (ISO) has established three major sets of guiding principles:
Regarding Delivery of Application Systems
- Computer Systems as a component of Business Processes
ISO recognizes that computer-based information systems are not an end in themselves. They are basically components within the overall business processes of the organization.
In the delivery of computer-based information systems, ISO will have to participate and contribute to the design and implementation of business procedures and value streams, and to assist business/administration units in the adoption of technology to formulate sound, efficient, and effective business solutions.
ISO will not (and should not) be the office to determine which administrative applications are to be delivered and which system should be done in what order. While ISO will have a vested interest in the matter, as far as prioritization is concerned it shall remain as the task of the University's management. The role of ISO is to help organize the user community so they will determine the essence (and necessary timing) of required systems and scope of functions.
In this regard, major project undertakings (in terms of magnitude and/or scope of impact) will be brought to the attention of the IS Steering Committee, which will determine the priority of such projects based on input from requesting department(s), the ISO, and overall assessment of value to the entire university.
Integration is a key element in the delivery of administrative applications. The benefits of an integrated set of systems and databases are clear and well established, among which are (i) the elimination of redundancy and duplication (of both data and effort) and (ii) the enabling of single-source data capture, processing, and dissemination. This will ensure consistency in processes, content, and meaning (without having to combine and reconcile). Overall system maintenance and support effort could also be significantly reduced.
The ISO is conscious of the good principles of modularity and flexibility in system design. Poorly integrated systems without due consideration to modularity could be extremely difficult to maintain because modification to one area could affect other areas (due to integration) and the resulting effort could amplify, leading to difficulty and inflexibility when confronted with changes.
The parallel goal in delivering good integrated systems is, therefore, to ensure that systems and their components are also highly modular in design, with well conceived and standardized interfaces.
The above goals will be observed for all of the University's administrative application systems, regardless of how such systems are delivered (eg. purchased or in-house developed). In particular, we will ensure:
- functional integration with modular design
- data sharing
- data capture at source
Regarding Information Dissemination
The ability for the University community to tap into the massive volume of valuable information stored as a result of the many processes is as important as having the facilities to assist in the administrative processes.
Here, the goals to be achieved will involve:
- Promoting the good practices in the management of information
It is important that everyone recognizes that information is a valuable university resource. It is also important that artificial "departmentalization" (which results in compartmentalization) of information should be eliminated. That certain offices/users may be the sources and "custodians" of certain information does not mean "exclusive ownership" of the data. This will be important in accomplishing true integration and sharing.
Parallel to the above is the need to promote the elimination of data duplication, especially the retention of "local copies of central data", which could lead to consistency issues.
- Accessible to any one authorized from anywhere
User awareness of the good practices of information management will have to be complemented by accessibility to central data.
The goal to be achieved here is to provide an environment (data and services) by which users could easily retrieve the data they are authorized to have.
Regarding System Stability and Security
Administrative applications are crucial to the running of the University. In this regard, all production applications are to be secure, stable and maintainable from both functional and technical perspectives. This will mean sound design, proper controls, and efficient operation.
The hardware and operating system environment will also have to be solid with respective to the following:
- Stability (e.g. reliable and current)
- Performance (e.g. reasonable and sustained turnaround times - interactive or otherwise)
- Security (e.g. isolation of administrative systems from academic/teaching systems, proper backup and recovery processes)