Appendix 5 - University of Leeds

towerdevelopmentData Management

Dec 16, 2012 (4 years and 6 months ago)


Appendix 5

Information Systems Audit result
s Version 1.0

Overview of current MI technologies

The purpose of this document is to give a broad overview of the major technology platforms and some
example data sources which underpin the provision of Manag
ement Information at the university. It is
beyond the scope of this document to list every possible data source and their underlying technologies or the
advantages/disadvantages which arise from the use of the different technologies.

The following is a vi
sual representation of the results of the audit.

Web Documents
BI Tools
The University Portal
agement Informa
ion provision review at
eds (
Systems Overview
NVivo 8

Microsoft Office

MS Office, as used at the university, is a desktop productivity suite which includes a word processor (MS
Word), spreadsheet (MS Excel), database (MS Access
) and an email client (MS Outlook). The suite of tools is
available for PCs running Windows and also Apple Macintosh systems. The toolset is installed as standard
on all departmental and central corporate services windows PCs, with older versions on Apple
systems. The university currently employs over 8000 staff, many of whom use MS Office. Departments
which choose to use the Linux operating system can use SUN systems OpenOffice suite which can export
MS office compatible files.

Due to its availa
bility, MS Office has become a ubiquitous tool for the creation and maintenance of the
majority of university documents and datasets.

Office documents hold both qualitative and quantitative information. Currently there is no single central
searchable rep
ository where MS Office documents are stored and indexed. The checking of a document’s
data integrity falls upon the document originator.

The examples below represent a small sample. It is quite common for data from corporate systems (e.g.
SAP), to be do
wnloaded onto spreadsheets, which are then adjusted into formats suitable for departmental

Example data sources/applications:


An MS Access database used by the school of healthcare studies and Dentistry which holds
administrative da
ta relating to program placement, student attendance, academic supervision and
information for statistical reporting to external bodies such as the Department of Health. Merlin will be
migrated to an SQL server database in the near future.

The following a
re APPO “shadow systems” which utilise Microsoft Office technologies to manipulate and
present data from the core corporate systems.

Projected Resource Allocations Model is an Excel spreadsheet tool provided by APPO to support
faculties in completi
ng their submission for the integrated planning exercise. For the five year planning
period, PRISM enables faculties to forecast their core funding allocations and to generate a range of key
metrics. PRISM brings together data on students, staff, space and

income. Please contact Judith Gaunt,
APPO (x34787,
) for further details.

The following APPO applications are implemented in MS Access with a
web front end via MS Internet
n server (IIS).

A Leeds historical database of UCAS applications and acceptances, implemented against an
underlying MS Access database.


A Leeds web
ystem to help monitor the progress and status of
UCAS applications.




nformation for

tool which allows users to configure
student data in unique formats across the University’s structure, by selecting elements from year, dataset
and report type. It is an evolving and dynamic reporting service designed fo
r ease of use and maximum


Leeds developed


is a staff costs estimat
ing system which produces estimates of the total cost of employment for
actual identifiable University of Leeds staff.

Sirius will display details such as name, age, salary, FTE, and projected future costs of employment over a
period of several years, tak
ing into account the salary, FTE, charge percentage, inflation rate, national
insurance, and superannuation.

It will produce reports showing committed costs and re
appointment costs for members of staff linked to

1) Cost centres

2) Work break
down schedules

3) Internal orders

4) Profit centre nodes

It will also produce these reports for the University as a whole.

The data which Sirius 2 uses comes directly from SAP and is updated once a week.

Sirius 2 complements the SiriusWeb staff costs ca
lculator. Both perform similar functions however Sirius 2
uses real staff details to produce its estimated costs whereas SiriusWeb just costs for salary points within a

Further details can be found at

SIRIUS 2 has an MS access front end which links to an MS SQLServer backend for data storage.

Web, Graphics, Portable Document Format (PDF) and paper documents

The university has a
n extensive web presence with content in the form of web pages, graphical content, PDF
and MS Office documents. Basic search facilities on web pages, MS Word and PDF documents are available
via the Google Search appliance.

An ISS pilot project is currentl
y underway to implement the JADU content management system which will
eventually provide a central repository for all university web content. Note: use of the JADU content
management system will be voluntary.

Please contact Matthew Hoskins, ISS (x37635,
) for further details of the
university’s web content management project.

A number of initiatives are in progress to enable the digitalisation and indexation of paper documents. The
earch degrees and scholarships office is collaborating with ISS on a new system which will hold scanned
electronic copies of student record documents. The HR records management project is still being progressed
whilst the SAP records management project and

the digitisation of grant applications is still at the planning
stage. The underlying technology is based on the EMC Documentum content management product which
integrates well with the university’s corporate SAP system.

From August 2006 new invoices on t
he SAP system were stored on the EMC


The EMC Documentum product is also capable of Web content management, however, it is a far more
complex and labour intensive product to configure and manage then the competing JADU product. Whilst
DU is a more “agile” system suited to the fast moving web environment, its facilities for indexing and
managing paper documents and integrating with corporate systems such as SAP are far less comprehensive
then EMC Documentum. Hence, although there appears

an overlap in functionality between the two
systems, they are suited to different environments and target different markets.

Please contact Steve Chidlow, ISS (x35838,
) for further detai
ls of the EMC
Documentum product.

Microsoft SharePoint Server

MS SharePoint is a server program which runs on the Microsoft Windows server operating system. It is fully
integrated with Microsoft office (but requires a separate license).

It provides a sin
gle integrated repository where university staff can collaborate with fellow team members,
review documents, assign tasks and search for experts and corporate information. MS SharePoint is capable
of performing the following:


Allow teams to work together to collaborate on and publish documents, maintain task
lists, implement workflows, and share information through the use of wikis and blogs.


Create a personal portal to share information with other staff and personalise the user
experience and content of an enterprise Web site based on the user’s profile.


Search for people, expertise, and content.

Content Management
Create and manage docu
ments, records, and Web content.

Business Process and Forms
. Create workflows and electronic forms to automate business processes.

Business Intelligence
Allow users to share Office documents and access reports via SQL reporting

Example data source:

Currently MS SharePoint is being utilised by the following university groups as a re
placement for the
Virtual Knowledge Park (VKP) product.

Assessment and Learning in Practice Settings Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (
CETL) community (including non
University users in this community)

Internal ISS staff

Members of Bio
sciences involved in the ISS SharePoint Pilot

Discussions are still underway as to whether the facilities offered by the MS SharePoint suite of tools should
be made generally available to all university departments.

Please contact Craig Adams, ISS (x369
) for further details of the use of Microsoft
SharePoint as the VKP replacement.

Please contact Nigel Bruce, ISS (x35384, for further details of SharePoint licensin
g and
infrastructure requirements.

Microsoft SQL Server 2005

MS SQL Server

is a
relational database management system

(RDBMS) wh
ich runs on the Windows
platform. It is capable of storing textual and multimedia information and allows the creation of web
applications which are deployed via the integrated Internet Information Services (IIS) web application server
Unlike MS Access it i
s a scalable system which can host hundreds of users depending on the hardware
configuration. The MS SQL Server tools used at the University consist of the following:


Relational database management system

Integration services

ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tool for loading and manipulating data from
external systems into database tables suitable for use by Analysis services.

Analysis services

provides an Online Analytical processing (OLAP) capability for business
intelligence type reports, spreadsheets, key performance indicators (KPIs) and other analytical

Reporting services

is a server
based platform for creat
ing, managing, and delivering both
traditional, paper
oriented reports and interactive, Web
based reports for web page and server
applications built using server side Microsoft tools

Example data sources/applications which use SQL Server

Submission Plann
er (SP)
A system developed to aid preparation of the 2008 RAE submission, holding a
wide variety of information sourced from corporate systems (SAP & BANNER).

SAP Netweaver BI (2004S)

Previously known as Business Information Warehouse, SAP Netweaver BI i
s a Business Intelligence,
analytical, reporting and data warehousing product from SAP AG. It consists of the following layers:

Extraction, Transformatio
n and Load

(ETL) layer

responsible for extracting data from a specific
source, applying transformation rules, and loading it into the data warehouse system.

Data warehouse area

responsible for storing the information in various types of structures (e.g. f
file type structures (Data Store Objects), multidimensional structures (InfoCubes) and singular
objects (InfoObject) akin to database fields but with additional attributes (e.g. employee is an object
with attributes such as age, gender etc).


responsible for accessing the information in the data warehouse area (and directly in
source systems using virtual feeds) and presenting it in a meaningful format to the analyst or
business user.


Provides capabilities for the user to run simulatio
ns and perform tasks such as budget

Due to its close alignment with the SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) product, Netweaver BI has a
large number of built
in extractors for retrieving information from the SAP ERP system which in turn h
enabled it to become the tool of choice for reporting from the university ERP system.

Currently Netweaver BI is only used by companies which run the SAP ERP system. However this may
change with SAP’s recent acquisition of Business objects (an establis
hed global BI solutions company) whose
customer portfolio includes those with ERP systems outside of the SAP environment.

At the university, Netweaver BI runs on an Oracle database in a UNIX environment. Due to licensing and
security issues, access is not

permitted to the underlying tables, instead SAP provide the ability to export
Comma Separated Value (CSV) files and also OLAP XML services for linking to external systems.

Please contact Stephen Matthews, ISS (x38046,
) for further details.

SAP Netweaver ERP

Formerly known as SAP R/3. SAP Netweaver is part of SAP's plan to transition to a more open, service
oriented architecture (SOA) and to deliver the technical foundation of its
applications on a single, integrated
platform and common release cycle.

Service Oriented Architecture

) is a computer systems paradigm for creating and using

packaged as
. These services communicate with each other by passing data from one
service to another and can be distribu
ted over a network and combined and reused to create business

As well as providing a technological solution, SAP Netweaver enables business processes to be standardised
according to SAP “best practises”, thus enforcing standard procedures of

data entry and providing a single
consistent source of information. SAP Netweaver, as used at the university, is arranged into distinct
functional modules, covering the typical functions in place in an organisation. The university utilises the

Financials and Controlling (FICO)

Human Resources (HR)

Materials Management (MM)

Sales & Distribution (SD)

Project System (PS)

Grants Management (GM)

Each module handles specific b
usiness tasks on its own, but is linked to the others where applicable. For
instance, an invoice from the Billing transaction of Sales & Distribution will pass through to accounting,
where it will appear in
accounts receivable

and cost of goods sold.

At the university, Netweaver ERP runs on an Oracle database in a UNIX environment. Due to licensing and
security issues, access is not permitted to the underlying tables
, instead SAP provide the ability to export
Comma Separated Value (CSV) files and also provide application programming interfaces (API) for linking
to external systems.

Please contact Mark Joyce, ISS (x38019,
) for further details.

SunGard Higher Education BANNER

Sungard HE Banner Student along with Banner Financial Aid and Sungard’s self
service web products form
the University's corporate student information management systems (SIMS). There
are also numerous
related satellite systems, such as Sungard Workflow (business process automation software), Scientia
Syllabus Plus (scheduling software), and SPARCS (Degree classification software).

These student information systems cover almost every a
spect of student administration, from student
recruitment and admissions, through to enrolment and registration, onto monitoring student progress
through the recording of examination results, before calculating degree classification and scheduling
on ceremonies. The student information management system also supports the generation of
essential statistical information such as the HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) return for the UK

The above systems currently run on an Oracle dat
abase (and associated technologies) in a UNIX
environment. External departmental systems can link to the BANNER system via the use of standard Oracle
ODBC (Open Data Base Connectivity) drivers.

Note: Scientia Syllabus Plus is being migrated across to the M
S SQL Server technology platform.

Please contact Peter Bindon, ISS (x35422, for further details.

University Portal

The university portal is a web based system supplied by Sungard Higher Education. The portal
connects to
and su
rfaces information from multiple backend systems. Its purpose is to collect together and make
accessible, in a customised view, all the information sources relevant to a particular user. Hence the portal
view seen by a user is both customised for their rol
e (e.g. students and staff see different links, different
schools see different links) and also customisable by the individual to include material that is useful to them
(e.g. their choice of bookmarks and newsfeeds).

The portal is more then just a set of

targeted web content/announcements and customised links to university
websites. It enables seamless access to systems with “single sign on” such as the library system (with
associated e
journals) and the student Banner system as well as 'deep links' into
the VLE to take users (both
students and staff with a teaching or teaching support role) into the right place within the VLE for a
particular module they are studying or teaching. Other services include the Outlook Web Application for
staff, Webmail for st
udents, and access to Past Exam Papers, WebForFaculty and Student Services. The
portal also provides collaborative group working tools and can act as an information conduit to other
systems for security roles and associated group attributes.

Currently th
e portal gets its role and membership targeting information from systems such as Banner and
Active Directory but future links to LURCIS, SAP and local faculty systems are also envisaged.

For students, the portal has become an all encompassing gateway to t
heir information needs with
approximately half the student population logging in each day. A project is currently in progress to extend
the existing portal with more staff
oriented functionality. The first phase of the project will be user
requirements col
lection, including building a one faculty (FBS) demonstration pilot. The university
previously ran a JISC funded project known as EVIE to investigate and develop a research portal, using the
same infrastructure, and the intention is to transfer much of tha
t functionality, together with HR content and
targeted communications, to the portal for staff usage.

The Portal is built upon Luminis Platform which is based upon Java web application servers running on the
Sun Solaris operating system.

Please contact B
en Plumpton, Library (x33413,
) for further details.


PBviews is a Microsoft Windows PC desktop based Corporate Performance Management and Balanced
Scorecard software solution f
rom Performancesoft (

Performance management

is the process of assessing progress towards achieving predetermined goals. The
goals can be financial, customer or operational

related and can apply to people, equipment, software
applications or any area with measurable parameters. PBViews accommodates any Corporate Performance
Management framework, including: the Balanced Scorecard, Malcolm Baldrige, Six Sigma or other custom

Concise definitions of the above Performance Management frameworks can be found at


contact Mike Kennerley, Management strategy group ( for further

Lg01 Link

LINK is a Microsoft Windows PC desktop based data analysis tool with an integrated custom data
warehouse. Currently it is being evaluated by th
e Academic Planning and Performance Office (APPO) who
send a dataset (via CD) to the Lg01 company (a university spin off company) who profile and create a
custom SQL Server database which is then interpreted by the LINK desktop data analysis tool. Future
evelopments will enable the university to profile the data itself. Further details can be found on the
) website or via Andrew McKie, APPO (x37549,


School Information System (SIS) is a web based PostgreSQL system developed by the School of Computing
which holds information on taught students, research students, research grants, staff, admissions enqu
applications and general administrative data relevant to the school. Most of the core data is sourced from the
corporate BANNER system. SIS is one of the few systems at the university which is built using open source
software: PostgreSQL DBMS, Perl
and Javascript.

Please contact
Mark Conmy, Faculty of Engineering, IT Manager (x36801,
) for
further details.

NVivo 8

MS windows desktop PC Software for Qualitative Data Analysis from QSR International

Qualitative research seeks out the ‘why’, not the ‘how’ through the analysis of unstructured information
such as interview transcripts/recordings, emails, notes, feedback forms, photos
and videos. NVi
vo 8
automates many of the tasks involved in classifying, sorting and arranging information thus providing a
researcher with more time to analyze and discover patterns, identify themes, glean insight, and efficiently
arrive at answers to questions.

8 will be available on the ISS Cluster Desktop at the start of the 2008/09 Academic Year in August.
Please contact Paul Nicholson, ISS (x35405, for further details.

White Rose Research Online

White Rose Research Online is a data
base repository of academic research outputs produced by researchers
in the White Rose (Leeds, York and Sheffield) universities. The main aim of the repository is to provide
access to research outputs, such as journal papers, published conference papers, b
ook chapters and working
paper series.

White Rose Research Online is funded by the three White Rose University libraries and is based upon the
ePrints3 software developed by the University of Southampton. The ePrints3 software is an open source
on based on the MySQL DBMS, Apache web server and Perl scripting which is available for
Microsoft Windows, Linux and UNIX.

In summer 2007, the White Rose libraries bid successfully to JISC for project funding to expand White Rose
Research Online. The IncR
eASe project (Increasing Repository Content through Automation and Services)
aims to capture more new content, handle the substantial amount of legacy publications across the
consortium and investigate new repository based services.

Further details can b
e found at:

White Rose Research Online:

IncReASe Project:

Please contact

(Rachel Proudfoot, Repository Officer / IncReASe Manager for
further details.


atabase for

nstitutions. HEIDI is a web
ed management
information service that provides easy access to sources of quantitative data about higher education such as
student numbers, student staff ratios and estates management. HEIDI was originally developed via a Leeds
led, HEFCE funded project bu
t is now a self funding service run by the Higher Education Statistics Agency
(HESA) with, currently, a hundred and thirty subscribing HE institutions. Further details can be found at:

e contact Lorna Halson APPO, (x 34017,
) for further details.