University Policies

Administrative Application Data Support and Ownership Policy

Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

This policy establishes the responsibilities of individual users, business units and Information Technologies in regard to administrative applications used at the College.

It is the policy that individual users, business units and Information Technologies shall have the responsibilities for administrative applications as outlined below.

Historically, Information Technologies has been charged with administrative application (Colleague, Greyfell, Blackbaud, etc.) maintenance and development. These responsibilities have included: system and data backup, archival, and restoration; system upgrades; custom programming and queries; and specialized print runs (Colleague grade reports, schedules, etc.). Because of licensing costs and the difficulty of coordinating campus resources, there has not been a consistent administrative application maintenance and upgrade process. This difficulty culminated during December of 2001, when the College upgraded its Colleague administrative database system after a lapse of three major releases. Because of this delay, the upgrade process, though successful, created substantial difficulties for many of the College’s business units and resulted in considerable financial and opportunity costs.

With each major product release, most administrative applications offer significant business enhancements and cross-unit compatibilities, but at the cost of greater program complexity. At the same time, processes within individual business units also have become more complicated due to increasing reporting expectations, state/federal data requirements, and staffing limitations. Data is now an important tool for many of the College’s recruitment, retention, assessment, and marketing initiatives; clearly, data has become one of the College’s most important commodities.

Definitions and Category Responsibilities

Data Owners: are the individuals and/or business units charged with entering data into administrative systems, such as Datatel’s Colleague. Data Owners are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the data entered into a system; additionally, they guarantee that the screens, terms, and data definitions used to enter data are as current as available. Data Owners also are responsible for training permanent and occasional data entry personnel in the best practices associated with their data and ensuring that their data is accessible to appropriate users outside of their immediate business units. Data Owners also can be Data Users. An example of a Data Owner group might be personnel in Admissions who code in admission data for individual enrollment candidates.

Application Owners: are the individuals and/or business units who take primary responsibility for ensuring the currency of specific administrative applications. Application Owners work in partnership with Information Technologies in reviewing promotional and release information associated with their administrative applications, establishing maintenance, licensing, and upgrade policies, and budgeting appropriate funds for support, licensing, and upgrades. An example of an Application Owner group might be Alumni Affairs, who are the primary users of Blackbaud, a database specifically developed for alumni operations.

Data Users: are the individuals and/or business units who query data for the purposes of analysis and reporting. Data Users do not enter data; as such, they normally represent a larger set than Data Owners and depend upon the integrity and accessibility of the data entered into the system by others. An example of a Data User group might be personnel in Institutional Research, who pull data to write a variety of state and federal reports.

Data Providers: are the individuals and/or business units who are responsible for overall system maintenance, development, and connectivity. Data Providers “own” administrative systems on which Data Owners and Data Users work; though they are not experts in specific business unit functions, they will lend technical assistance to enable Data Owners/Users to perform their area responsibilities. An example of a Data Provider is Information Technologies, which supports Colleague’s system requirements.

Information Technologies’ Responsibilities
Information Technologies will continue to be responsible for maintaining and developing the core technologies associated with Colleague. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, system connectivity, system upgrades, account generation and maintenance, system security, user interface, initial end user training, and general end user support.

Because the staff of Information Technologies is not familiar with the intricacies of the operational practices associated with each business unit, individual data owners will have to take a more active role in maintaining and developing unit-specific Colleague resources. Data owners’ responsibilities will be restricted to reviewing Datatel release and promotional materials to assess new features and functionality appropriate for their business areas; testing features and functionality associated with their business areas; and configuring data fields and process flows specific to their business areas. In all three of these areas, Information Technologies will continue to retain responsibility for technical configuration, overall system maintenance, and overall system integration. Under no circumstance will non-technical users be expected to perform high level technical tasks.

Important: Information Technologies reserves the right to request application/equipment upgrades to ensure that all software and/or hardware maintain adequate integration with campus-wide technology infrastructures.

Information Technologies and Business Unit Partnerships
Information Technologies would like to partner with individual business units in order to better coordinate the maintenance and development of unit specific Colleague resources. In order to facilitate this coordination, Information Technologies’ Administrative Services Group will participate in the monthly Data Quality user group meeting to review Colleague status, introduce new features and options, and schedule necessary maintenance activities. Additionally, Information Technologies strongly recommend that each business unit designate a primary (and, ideally, a secondary) Colleague liaison, who would be a primary point of contact, attend these same User Group meetings, and assume responsibility for coordinating local maintenance/development responsibilities. These individuals do not need to have significant technical expertise; in fact, a willingness to learn about Colleague within the context of their business areas is all that is required.

Information Technologies will work within the Colleague User Group to establish a common calendar for system-wide and unit specific maintenance and development to avoid downtime or temporary employee reallocation during college-wide or business unit critical periods of time. Information Technologies will update this calendar on a regular basis and publish it on its website.