The PrePurchasing System is Going Live
University of California, Davis
August 2, 2012
The Administrative Application Development Initiative’s (AADI) PrePurchasing Steering Committee is happy to announce that the new PrePurchasing System is ready to be launched. A Town Hall meeting is scheduled to demonstrate the system on August 16, 2012, from 9 to 11am in Room 3001 Plant and Environmental Sciences (PES) building. The on-line PrePurchasing System is not a mandated tool. It will be available to any and every unit on campus that chooses to use it. The AADI is anxious to demonstrate this user friendly application and how it will meet your pre-purchasing needs. Since this system is web-based it will eliminate delivery of paper documents across campus. It features electronic approval routing as the orders move through different levels – all announced by an email alert to the designated approver.
The AADI IT application team dedicated all of its time the last few months to develop a user friendly and efficient system. The team worked very closely with the steering committee to address accounting compliance and user needs, establish a help feature that allowed for immediate responses to users, provide quick updates to the system as requested by users during beta testing, visit departments to train staff, and hold training sessions in the Hoagland Hall computer labs. The beta testers included representatives from across campus to insure a wide variety of business practices would be addressed. As ideas and suggestions were received from users, the IT team responded quickly with updates to the system. The goal was to develop a system that would meet everyone’s needs. Due to the AADI IT team’s dedication, you will find a very useful and powerful tool to meet your pre-purchasing needs, especially as campus continues to evolve with administrative reorganization.
Once a department administrator completes the initial set-up of PrePurchasing (e.g. establishing the hierarchy for routing and approvals), use of the system will be intuitive. However, training will also be available via Staff Development & Professional Services (SDPS), as well as the on-line help feature in the pre-purchasing system itself. SDPS classes will be announced at a later date. It is anticipated that initial training courses will be targeted to the administrators to address set-up of the system.
The PrePurchasing Steering Committee hopes to see you at the Town Hall on August 16th!
INFORMATION ABOUT THE SYSTEM
PrePurchasing is a web application designed to streamline the campus’s required processes for acquiring goods and services. It allows users to submit any type of order request, including KFS, MyTravel, DPO/DRO/PR, and other campus services. It also aids in departmental approval processes associated with order requests, and integrates seamlessly with DaFIS/KFS.
PrePurchasing was developed in the open by UC Davis programmers from two colleges and one school, with further integration by the Kuali KFS team. Any programmer on campus had the opportunity to view the code as it was being written and contribute what was important to her/his clients. The tool used (GitHub) made it easy to manage and accept changes. Project management was handled by another tool (Trello), also accessible to anyone, allowing efficient collaboration between programmers on and off campus.
Even more important was the open collaboration between programmers and the clients of the PrePurchasing system. From the creative and motivated group of programmers to the dedicated beta testers to the business-savvy steering committee, this was a genuine team effort. A built-in feedback system (UserVoice) allowed instant collaboration between beta testers and programmers; right in the application itself, a user could report a bug or vote on a feature suggestion. The programmers could then gauge the popularity of suggestions and make appropriate changes to the system. Questions about use of the system are efficiently routed to the community manager for resolution, and if a question has been asked before, it becomes part of an automatic Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list.
Also of note, PrePurchasing is a cloud application, which means instead of being housed on servers in the campus data center, it runs on Internet services (Microsoft Azure). Like the electricity in your home, PrePurchasing can be adjusted to meet the demands placed on it (for processing and storage servers). And like your utility bills, the campus only pays for the amount of “cloud “used. This is much less expensive than buying an equivalently robust server system and housing facility. And the use of cloud-based tools provides better access to everyone; all of the tools mentioned in developing PrePurchasing are also cloud-based.
As a result of this agile, cloud-based development process, PrePurchasing has steadily evolved into an intuitive time- and effort-saving system, and can continue to adapt to the changing business needs of the campus. The entire effort took less than a year from start to finish.
Since the beta test began in May 2012:
- 153 feedback tickets were closed from 78 distinct users (ensuring the application meets & exceeds user expectations)
- 422 changes were checked in, covering about 220,000 new lines of code
- There were 1,000 unique visitors to PrePurchasing and 52,000+ pageviews
The people involved, from all over campus, are the real heroes in this story:
If you want to learn more about PrePurchasing, please see our website at:
The Administrative Applications Development Initiative (AADI) evolved from discussions initiated by Executive Assistant Dean Tom Kaiser with his assistant dean colleagues as early as 2008. The group acknowledged that many units on campus had common needs for computer applications to address business and other administrative tasks at the department level. It was also clear that with the continued decline in state funding and the changes in administrative organizational structure to shared service centers and administrative clusters, administrative computer applications would be more important than ever to help address the increasing workload with a decreasing staff work force.
AADI had a desire to create something in partnership with broad campus constituency, and to produce tools that would be available to all campus units. Partners would include such groups as ADMAN, Academic Senate, Academic Federation, deans/vice chancellor/vice provost units, campus Administrative IT Roadmap Conveners, ASUCD, Graduate Student Association, etc.
AADI’s goals include:
- Eliminate duplicative and redundant application development effort
- Adopt best practices
- Leverage technology to streamline workload
- Increase efficiency via standardization and associated strategies such as a campus central repository for application development code; use of common libraries like UCDArch and jQuery for developing applications; use of a common roles management system when developing applications; etc.
- Work in conjunction with campus's process re-engineering initiative
By spring 2011, AADI had achieved the following:
- Formed the AADI Oversight Committee led by Executive Assistant Dean Kaiser and comprised of six ADMAN representatives, and three IT directors (Administrative & Resource Management, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Division of Social Sciences)
- Surveyed colleges/divisions/schools and central administrative units and developed an inventory of existing and desired applications
- Drafted guiding principles
- Met with the Administrative IT Roadmap Conveners group to discuss possible action items
- Engaged ADMAN as a key constituency to prioritize the inventory of applications in order to inform the AADI oversight committee’s plan of work
- Met with Deans’ Technology Council representatives regarding approaches to programming effort for the administrative applications
- Created a campus central repository for sharing code for applications
- Launched the first AADI project with appointment of a steering committee for the pre-purchasing application
As AADI is now deploying the pre-purchasing application campus wide to those units that would like to utilize it, AADI is formally launching its second project – Automated Course Evaluations (ACE).
The ACE steering committee will be co-chaired by an Academic Senate member and an ADMAN member. Committee members will include other representatives from the Academic Senate, ADMAN, Academic Federation, ASUCD, Graduate Student Association, Vice Provost-Academic Affairs Office, and Information and Educational Technology. (See the committee’s appointment letter.)