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Software upgrade set to allow nearly 24-hour BuckeyeLink access after 6-week delay

May 7, 2014

deibel.30@osu.edu

A software upgrade launch set to increase the daily time students have access to the BuckeyeLink student center has been delayed, but is still scheduled to cost $20.5 million.

The Office of the Chief Information Officer delayed the launch of its PeopleSoft software upgrade from Memorial Day weekend in late May to July 4 to 9 because of “too many risks,” according to the OCIO website.

The application affects programs used by human resources and the student information system for managing things such as payroll preferences and contact information, according to the website.

It’s also used by students when accessing the student center, where classes are scheduled.

OCIO senior director of enterprise applications Dave Kieffer said the delay was always a possibility because of the nature and schedule of the project.

“We’ve pushed very hard to try to get to the May date and over the last couple months it became clearer and clearer the risks of doing that were not worth it,” Kieffer said.

While there was not a singular risk of launching the update over Memorial Day weekend, a handful of kinks kept arising while testing the new hardware and software system, Kieffer said. He said the delay should allow for more time to test the system, find defects and repair them.

“We were seeing too many issues this close to the go-live date. So there wasn’t any one particular problem with it that we couldn’t solve, but we were still seeing new problems pop up, so we wanted to give ourselves the extra six weeks to make sure we can resolve any of those issues through our testing,” Kieffer said.

July 4 to 9 was always planned as the “fall back” date for the project because of less work is typically done that weekend, as during Memorial Day weekend, Kieffer said.

“These were really the two best dates we could find in the whole calendar year and the whole academic year to have the system down,” Kieffer said. “You think about all the things that happen in HR including payroll, all things that happen in the student system from admissions through graduation.”

Kieffer said the biggest highlight of the upgrade is that students should have access to their student center almost 24 hours per day.

Currently, students can access BuckeyeLink daily up until 1:30 a.m. The site then closes for site maintenance, and access isn’t regranted until 6:30 a.m.

Kieffer said after the upgrade, the site will only be down limited times for maintenance instead of daily.

Andrew Grayson, a third-year in public health, said having more access to his student center will be a nice perk, but he never minded the off-hours in the past.

“It’s useful to some extent, I don’t necessarily mind the maintenance updates at 3 a.m.,” Grayson said. “But you never know when you might need to get something done, more access is always a good thing.”

Andrew Shurtleff, a second-year student, said he hopes the upgrade will improve the process of registering for classes because he’ll have more daily access to the student center.

“Every time I register, it’s always a huge pain so hopefully this will make that easier,” Shurtleff said.

The project is still slated to cost $20.5 million despite being pushed back six weeks, Kieffer said.

“It’s been in the plan all along, so we’ll still be within budget for the upgrade. There are additional costs but they were planned for as a contingency,” Kieffer said. “So between that and some help from the consulting partner that we have, IO consulting, we’re able to keep the project within budget even on the new date.”

Kieffer said the upgrade is ultimately a step forward for the university.

 “The project itself represents a big move forward for the university, so although there are costs and risks along the way, what they’ll have at the end of the day is the most up-to-date software and the most up-to-date hardware,” Kieffer said. “We’re really modernizing the whole set of platforms and getting rid of some very old software.”

 


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