The pilot project went relatively well. The technologies proved their usability and a science and research reporting system is in operation. The smaller faculties that have no information system in place use the generated central Web-based access to the university information system and the larger faculties are making attempts to communicate the required data from and to their systems via the XML interface. The system has been appended with other functional areas and slowly even some parts of the student agenda have been added.

Nevertheless, there are problems as with any information system that should serve such diverse needs and the needs of thousands of users within a university. The primary problem is the lack of people taking part on building the system resulting in slow movement in adding new functions and functional areas to the system, which results in groups of unsatisfied users.

There are two major reasons for the lack of IT personnel: insufficient funding and the difficulty to employ experienced developers at the university. IT professionals are very expensive, and it is almost impossible to employ ones in the university environment, since it poses political problem of them having higher salary than maybe the dean himself.

Furthermore, the university is not able to afford a regular IT project from its budget. So far, the project has been an inexpensive one since it employed only part-time consultant from the technology provider company, one internal IT department employee (also not full time), and one system integrator that helped to define the central system metadata. Regarding this fact, the project has obtained almost miraculous results within about one year from the start. The two internal university staff have defined over a hundred of database tables and their descriptions in the metasystem, and defined the suitable Web services for user and system access to various areas of the data for different groups of users (including many other services than just the ones related to the pilot science and research). The part-time consultant ensured that the metasystem functioned properly and implemented some required improvements, which proved that the technology provider business model seems to work well.

Even though, the question how to go further in the university information system development stays unanswered. Apart from the funding problems, there are also other problems with the further development. The technologies employed are very advanced and seem to really speed up the development, but there are just few professionals that understand them, thus they are also very expensive. On the other hand, it is possible to employ bigger number of cheap inexperienced programmers to do the job in more simple technologies and by raw people force, which would probably result in much less elegant and harder to maintain solution. These questions will not be answered in this case and they are now open even for the case actors themselves.

Annals of Cases on Information Technology
SQL Tips & Techniques (Miscellaneous)
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 367 © 2008-2017.
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