IPMA News : July 2002

Edited By Mary Ellen Bradley and Bob Monn

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ESD's Services, Knowledge, and Information Exchange System (SKIES) Implemented

State Telecommunications Association

News from the Past

Summary of June 13, 2002 IPMA Board Meeting


ESD's Services, Knowledge, and Information Exchange System (SKIES) Implemented

-- by Peggy Zimmerman, Employment Security Department

On April 8, 2002 SKIES (Services, Knowledge, and Information ExchangeSystem) was implemented statewide culminating two years of planning and one andhalf years of development.  The system supports 1,350 users from a crosssection of public and private employment and training providers in theWorkSource System.

BACKGROUND

The SKIES project provides a single statewide information repository that supports theemployment and training business operations in the WorkSource delivery whichincludes 12 Workforce Development Councils (WDCs) system, Employment SecurityDepartment, WorkFirst job search, as well as other partners.  The systemprovides job matching services, and supports Workforce Investment Act (WIA)reporting requirements.  SKIES is in response to federally funded and mandatedlabor development programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.

With direction and funding from U.S. Department of Labor, a number ofstates worked cooperatively to develop business requirements to operate a one-stopapplication that supports employment and training case tracking, laborexchange, and WIA reporting requirements.  Washington participated in thiscooperative effort and conducted a series of requirement reviews with theemployment and training community.

Two organizations developed applications that met the business requirements whichsupported the one-stop.  Washington conducted an assessment of bothapplications and selected to transfer the Utah application, known as UWORKS, toWashington.

The system replaced the JobNet and JTPA legacy systems that currently support employmentand training activities and related reporting requirements.

Project Overview and Outcomes

System Overview

Washington ESD transferred an application developed byOracle for Utah, known as UWORKS.  The UWORKS application was developed on anOracle relational database using Oracle development tools.  The WashingtonSKIES application required significant additional development and modificationto meet Wash­ington’s business operational needs and to correct deficienciesand defects found in the UWORKS application.  The following table provides somemetrics that describe the size of the SKIES system.

Parameter

Metric

Number of Forms (Screens)

78

Number of Reports

48

Number of Relational Tables

228

Number of Logons

2,145

Number of Users Logged In

1,364

Number of Job Seekers

743,803

Database Size (Gigabytes)

76

Number of Interfaces

18

Number of Batch Procedures

60

The application was thoroughly tested through a series of four systems tests and auser acceptance test.  The application was then exercised in a full businesssetting in a pilot test that involved four locations representing differentoffice topologies.  At implementation, all incidents found in the various phasesof testing had been corrected.

The SKIES implementation included the conversion of data from the JobNet and Dataflexapplications. The project conducted extensive testing and validation of theconverted data.  This converted data was very clean except for employer datathat contained duplicate records resulting from variations in coding employersby field staff.

The technical architecture consists of a database serverand several application servers.  ESD chose to use IBM M80 servers for thedatabase and four Intel servers for the application servers.  These servers arecapable of supporting up to 1,200 concurrent users. Prior to implementation, anadditional server and additional mem­ory for each server was acquired to ensurethat the architecture was sufficiently robust to provide good performance tothe community of users.  The technology platform upon implementation was easilysupporting its workload (700+ users).  The "high" season that supports migrantseasonal farm workers and summer youth employment is later in the year.  Webelieve the architecture is sufficient to meet current capacity requirementsand should have sufficient capacity for the next 2 years.

SKIES users connect to the application through Internetbrowsers.  ESD placed high-volume TCP/IP network connections in each of theWorkSource centers and other locations containing ESD staff.  Other affiliateoffices arranged for their own Internet Service Providers.  ESD providedminimum and rec­ommended standards for both network connections and workstation configurations. ESD conducted several per­form­ance tests and made anumber of adjustments to ensure good performance.  Those users that meetrecommended configuration specifications are experiencing very good performancein using the application.

ESD assigned business staff to assist in preparing the various business units that use SKIES.  They facilitated development of business process plans for each WDCby sending a SKIES business person to each area to launch the planning.

A "train the trainer" model was used to train over 1200 users in the state.  Thetraining has been effective as indicated by reports from the field and by therelatively low number of help desk calls.  Business staff worked hand-in-handwith the technical staff to ensure that the application supports businessoperations.  At each stage of the development, testing, and pilot phases, business staff validatedthe system functionality supporting business operational requirements.

Project Lessons Learned

The SKIES project, like most large projects, experiencedits share of problems and opportunities.  A number of lessons can be drawn fromthe SKIES project efforts:.

Next Steps

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State Telecommunications Association

-- By Glenn C. Hay-Roe, Information Services Division, Office of the Attorney General, and Chair of the State Telecommunications Association

For those of you in the Telecommunications field, you are not alone; there is an organization that exists to serve the needs of Telecommunications representatives in state and local government. The State Telecommunications Association (STA) is the primary professional organization in Washington for those people who represent telecommunications systems in the State of Washington.

In brief, the purpose of the STA is "…to share information, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of agencies telecommunication activities, and to further the professionalism of governmental telecommunication personnel"

First created in 1989 under the title of the State Network User’s Group, the name of the organization was changed in 1991 to the State Telecommunications Association, to better reflect an emphasis on the Telecommunications needs of public sector entities.

In the thirteen years since its inception, the STA has grown to become a conduit of information, a forum for greater networking and communication among Telecommunications representatives, as well as a platform for the discussion of new technologies, common concerns, and solutions to challenges in this ever changing world.

The objectives of the State Telecommunications Association include:

In the three and one-half years that I’ve been a member of the STA, some of the benefits I’ve realized have been a greater awareness of the peer community who share ideas and perform tasks comparable to my own, some invaluable networking opportunities and a wealth of information from vendors about valuable current and emerging technologies.

The STA holds monthly meetings on the last Tuesday of each month at the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals in West Olympia. These meetings serve as a forum for information exchange, with the presentation of information by national and local vendors on topics such as PBX technologies, cabling standards and methods, Voice over IP, Convergence of Voice and Data, and many more. In addition, we conduct routine organizational business and offer time for informal discussion among the membership.

If you or someone in your organization would benefit from the sharing of information with other members of the Telecom community, please feel free to inquireabout the STA, or attend our next meeting.

For more information, please visit our website athttp://www.wsdot.wa.gov/sta/ , or contact Chairperson Glenn Hay-Roe at 360-664-8155.

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News from the Past

5 Years Ago -- July 1997 IPMA Newsletter

10 Years Ago -- July 1992 IPMA Newsletter

15 Years Ago -- July 1987 IPMA Newsletter

20 Years Ago -- July 1982 Association of Data Processing Managers Newsletter

25 Years Ago -- July 1977 Association of Data Processing Managers Newsletter

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Summary of June 13, 2002 IPMA Board Meeting

Members Present: Mary Ellen Bradley, Thomas Bynum, Phil Grigg, Sheryl Hall, Dennis Jones, Dennis Laine, Bob Monn, Christy Ridout, Darrel Riffe, Doug Tanabe and Shelagh Taylor.Jim Andersen, the Forum Events Manager, and Phil Coates, CFO, also were present.

Doug Tanabe, IPMA Chair, opened the June meeting of the IPMA Board of Directors at 7:30 a.m.

Reports

Secretary/Treasurer: The minutes from the May 2002, Board meeting were approved.

The Board approved the May 2002 financial status and activities reports.

Business Planning: There was no Business Planning report.

Forum: Dennis Laine and Jim Andersen reported on the 2002 Forum. Total attendance was 983, which is an all time high. There were 44 paid vendor booths and two booths the IPMA donated to OMUG and Imagemaker.

The Executive Lunch had 92 people in attendance for speaker Maxine Hayes’ presentation on bio-terrorism.

Internet access was provided by ReachOne, a Forum vendor, at no cost to the IPMA. ReachOne would like to be the sole provider of Internet access for the Forum next year.

A post Forum meeting was held June 5 with nine members of the planning committee. It was determined that the composition of the Forum planning committee should be modified to include representation from the participating vendors. Additionally, it was agreed that more emphasis should be placed on having keynote speakers that will draw a large audience.

Dennis stated that planning for the 2003 Forum will begin in earnest in mid-September.

Executive Seminar: Phil Grigg reported that the invitations to the 2002 Executive Summit were about ready for distribution. He requested and received board approval to guarantee 80 rooms with Campbell’s resort for the event. He and Darrel Riffe requested Board approval to be flexible with regard to the issuance of invitations. Specifically, flexibility was desired in cases where it makes sense to have more than one representative from an agency, for example, DIS. Also, the senior IT person in an agency may not be able to attend and might want to send an alternate. The Board approved invitation flexibility.

Phil stated that he would set up a lunch meeting of the Board members that had volunteered to be session planners within the week. He wants the invitation to contain as much concrete information about the program as possible. He noted that the invitation is the only chance to make an impression with the invitees.

Professional Development: Sheryl Hall reported that there are three events left on the 2002 agenda. There are 75 people registered to attend the next event on the Virtual Workplace.

Six dates have been reserved with St. Martin’s for the 2003 program schedule. Both Sheryl and Dennis Jones agree that one event every other month is about the maximum number that the committee can manage and maintain the current level of quality. Several Board members volunteered to help if the committee needed it.

Communications: Bob Monn reported that the contract between the IPMA and the Project Managers Special Interest Group (PMSIG) regarding web support was ready for approval and signature. The Board approved the contract.  Bob will get the signature of the PMSIG representative and then he, as IPMA Webmaster, and Doug Tanabe, as IPMA Chair, will sign the document.

Further discussion of the Web support issue paper that Bob presented to the board at the May meeting was deferred till the July board meeting.

New Business:

Credit Card payments: At the May meeting the Board requested that Phil Coates explore the possibility of accepting credit card payments of Forum vendor and corporate sponsorship fees. Phil presented the results of that investigation. Based on a preliminary conversation with Cardservice International the estimated cost would be $25 per month fixed cost plus 2.35% of each transaction value and $0.25 per transaction. The Board directed Phil to take the steps necessary to begin taking credit card payments as a one year pilot.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 a.m.

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