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Last edit: 05-03-17 Graham Wideman


Business and Systems Analysis
Article created: 98-07-14


Over many years I have been involved in an number of Information Systems efforts, at SDSU and also for other organizations.  In 1993 I started to work extensively on administrative information system projects to support SDSU College of Sciences operations, a story that's documented here...

SDSU Data Infrastructure

I had come face-to-face with the general lack of overall I.S. support at the campus-scope level, a result of there being no campus-scope Information Systems office or function.  Absent this support, College or Department-level information systems have no infrastructure to plug into -- no ability to interoperate with the existing systems belonging to central service departments, no existing person ids, organization ids, room ds, account ids and so on -- which makes them impractical to implement.    Because of this I became involved in campus-scope information systems issues.

By October 1995 I found myself in the newly-created position of SDSU Data Infrastructure Coordinator, and assigned to a director (Ellene Gibbs) responsible for one set of information systems.  The mission was to try to figure out what to do about "the situation" -- what to do about the disarray attributable to a myriad of independently-managed operational systems, the ensuing operational shortcomings, and inability to harness incongruent operational data for decision support.  The general idea was to lay the groundwork for whole-campus-scope coordination and 90's-style leveraging of the information infrastructure, either by developing a plan to be carried about be existing participants, or by creating new campus-scope-focused roles. BizCard50.gif (7521 bytes)

Future collector's item. It's only possible to order these darn things by the carton, it seems.  I have "a few" left over... if anybody would like one...

Some of the concrete steps that would be needed would include a survey and assessment of the then current state-of-affairs,  and if possible creation of demonstrations of how to use existing operational systems to conveniently provide operational data (transaction info) and aggregate data (summaries suitable for decision making) widely needed by departments campuswide and by senior management.

At the outset, it was not a foregone conclusion that we would actually move in a direct path to the ultimate goal -- for example it was not clear to whom the case would be made to undertake the campus-scope effort to take these ideas from demo to production.  However, it seemed that there was a fair chance we could sort that out along the way.  In any case, for me this looked like a good opportunity to put information-systems and business analysis techniques to a significant challenge, try the idea of using concept-modeling tools to collect analysis information (along with databases for more regular info), and to get an enterprise-level view of the sociology involved.

And so it was.  In May 1998, having accomplished part of what I set out to do,   I felt that circumstances were closing the window of opportunity, at least for the time being, so I departed.

The Story In More Depth...

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