The University Record, September 25, 2000

Patterson named associate VP of administrative information systems

By Linda Hancock Green
Michigan Administrative Information Services

The Board of Regents approved the appointment of Laura McCain Patterson as associate vice president of administrative information systems at their meeting last week.

The appointment was effective Sept. 22. Patterson will report jointly to Nancy Cantor, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Robert Kasdin, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Patterson has been director and project manager of the M-Pathways Project since 1996, and she will now direct a new organization named Michigan Administrative Information Services (MAIS). Patterson was University Registrar 1993–96. Before that, she was registrar for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and registrar and a faculty member at Franklin College, Franklin, Ind.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have someone with Laura’s experience to take on this responsibility. For the past four years, she has guided the renovation of many of the University’s aging information systems.” Cantor said. “We can be confident that all of the University’s administrative computing and related data systems are in good hands.”

Michigan Administrative Information Services began operations July 1. MAIS (pronounced “maize”) is a service organization that will support the use of institution-wide administrative information services by the schools, colleges, research institutes, administrative offices, Health System and regional campuses.

“MAIS is the end result of the 1995 Strategic Data Plan goal to establish the long-term direction for the effective use of the University’s information resources. With the creation of MAIS as an organization,” Kasdin said, “we are recognizing that information systems are more than hardware and software. They are an essential tool in the effective provision of services to faculty, staff and students.”

MAIS consists primarily of staff from the M-Pathways Project and those Information Technology

Division staff responsible for development and operations of administrative systems. The new organization also includes staff from Business and Finance, Academic Affairs, and the schools and colleges.

As a service unit, MAIS has two primary goals—to support those who use administrative computing systems and to support the services delivered by central office administrative units and schools and colleges to the faculty and staff at the University.

“The organization we are creating is a shared services organization, built on the collaboration and partnerships established during the M-Pathways systems implementations,” Patterson says. “We’re making the transition to a new organizational model to support administrative computing and, at the same, time, defining the scope and level of service that the schools and colleges want from us.” MAIS will provide the technology infrastructure to support both the new and legacy systems.

The organization is composed of five units. Two divisions will continue to work closely with the central offices and all unit administrative departments and offices. They assist users to align their local systems and business processes so they interact effectively with M-Pathways systems. The Financial/Physical Resources Division supports all financial and physical resource systems, including general ledger, procurement, accounts receivable, inventory, asset management and space management systems. The Student Administration Division supports the student administration system that was implemented in 1998 and June 2000. Both divisions provide consulting and business re-engineering services, and continue to develop enhancements to administrative processes and procedures.

Application Services supports the mainframe systems currently used by Payroll, Human Resources, Benefits and the Office of Development. This team also manages the environments for administrative reporting—the data warehouse, Operational Data Store and legacy Data Access System. They develop and maintain common tools, standards and methodologies used by application developers, and work closely with the Financial/Physical Resources and Student Administration Divisions to develop Web, interactive voice response and electronic data Interchange applications.

Technical Infrastructure Operations is responsible for providing day-to-day support for the environment and systems that are operated by MAIS. This environment consists of dozens of large software products, approximately 100 servers and two mainframe computers. Technical Infrastructure Operations monitors these systems on a “7x24x365” basis and supports a wide range of other activities, such as database administration, system administration and technical planning.

Through User Services, the organization provides comprehensive user support, including a help desk, training programs, communications and on-site consulting services during major implementations. Their mission is to work with individuals and departments to resolve functional and technical difficulties, and to support the realignment of unit business processes to optimize use of institutional systems. User Services provides change management methodologies and tools to MAIS, and provides user feedback regarding recommended enhancements and users’ difficulties with business processes and system problems.

“This new organization brings together a terrific group of individuals who know how to get the most out of the administrative systems—both old and new,” Patterson says. “Together, we’ll work closely with the schools and colleges to determine what the appropriate service level should be to best meet the needs of the user community. It’s going to be an exciting year as MAIS grows into an organization that meets those needs.”

ITD, M-Pathways combine to form MAIS

The above article focuses on the evolution of the M-Pathways project, which has been reconfigured and combined with staff from the Information Technology Division (ITD) to create a new entity called MAIS (Michigan Administrative Information Systems). General purpose computing, networking and voice services have been combined into another new organization called ITCS (Information Technology Central Services). Instructional computing support was moved into the Media Union last year.

As a result of these changes, the old ITD and M-Pathways organizations have been dissolved. This newly configured organizational landscape has not eliminated any existing information technology services, notes Josť-Marie Griffiths, university chief information officer.

Future articles in the Record will provide a more comprehensive picture of the forces and trends affecting information technology (IT) at the University, how people are using U-M IT services in new ways, and the organizations that are supporting them.