Questions and Concerns About the eUP Project

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Transparency || Accountability || Sustainability || Governance || Technical


SAIS || HRIS || FMIS || SPCMIS

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This community page is created and occasionally revised on "best effort basis" to help advance the University's interest and the goal of operational excellence via the eUP Project. UP constituents with UPD Webmail accounts can directly modify this page. Special access can be requested (via Helpdesk) by UP constituents who don't have UPD Webmail accounts. UP constituents may also post their concerns via social media (see instruction below).



What is eUP?




Transparency and Governance

  • Was it consultation or information drive?
  • Who were those consulted?
  • Benchmarking. Reportedly benchmarking exercises have been done? Is there any benchmarking report made available to all stakeholders? What metrics and relevant respects were used in such exercises?
  • How did UP come up with the Terms of Reference? What was the process like? Any documentation?
  • Any independent estimate of effective project cost? Most IT projects run over the budget and beyond duration estimates. Any independent assessments or studies? What's the cost of related spendings for software (e.g., Windows servers, desktops, antivirus, etc) necessary to run a proprietary systems like Oracle ?

  • Why was there no transparent and publicly accessible comparison made between the pros and cons of using open source solutions compared with commercial off-the-shelf options?
  • Why was there no assessment or review undertaken of the current systems in operation in UP Diliman, UPLB, UPOU and other CUs?
  • Was there any evaluation of the current capacity or capability of the UP's technical and software development resources?

Cf Alfredo E. Pascual, "Remaking a Great University: U.P. in the 21st Century" (August 2010), esp p. 6




Accountability

  • Spending priorities of UP. Equivalent to x number of buildings or x number of full scholarship for students? Best use of public funds (equivalent to x number of underpasses or number of ___)?
  • Best use of tax payers' money?
  • It is arguable that better use of the money involved might have been towards institutional capacity building for local software development. Such an option would certainly cost only a fraction of the current projected expenses. This is aside from the immeasurable benefits incurred from encouraging and supporting software research and development initiatives from among UP's faculty, students and staff.
  • Project design and planning
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation
  • Failure, Late, Over-budget. A good deal of IT projects fail.[1] Others are "just late"[2] or going over budget.[3] What measures are in place to mitigate or avoid these distinct possibilities?
Supposed Project Release schedule of the different eUP systems
  • Vendor Lock-in. Using proprietary software makes the University dependent on Oracle and other companies. The University data are kept in formats and databases that are proprietary.



Sustainability

  • Why create a new team? Why not pool talent from the different Information System Teams from different CUs that have expertise on the problem domain?
  • How much discussions or consultations were made with the current IT teams?
    • To what extent were the discussions made if there was any?
      • Were they heard when discussing technical concerns?
    • Are there active consultations with the current IT teams?
      • This should be an active bilateral process.



Budget

  • Continuity of project. From which unit will the MOOE come from after the project has concluded/closed?

eUP Team's Response



Software License

  • Will UP be entitled to future upgrades of the Oracle software? While reportedly license to such software is "in perpetuity," it is only limited to the version bought by the University. Such arrangement is vulnerable to obsolescence, not unlike a situation where you might have bought Windows 95 but can no longer upgrade it without buying new versions to keep up with needs and available hardware. This translates to additional tens of millions cost for the University down the line.






Technical Details

Headings: Network, Data Migration, Authentication, Customization, Maintenance

Network

  • Latency. eUP servers will be hosted by PLDT's Vitro Data Center. UP networks are on PREGINET. They are wide apart in terms of the routes they'd take to reach each other. The same holds with connections between PLDT and other providers. See traceroutes below. This is an issue when it comes to UP's access to its own data. It can mean slow connections for users. User authentication is also potentially problematic due to delays.
traceroute from PREGINET to PLDT's Vitro Data Ctr. Notice the spikes on hops 6 and 7.
traceroute from Bayantel to PLDT's Vitro Data Ctr. In this case, traffic 1st goes to Hong Kong then back to Phils
traceroute from Smart Bro to Vitro Data Ctr. Note the number of hops.



Of course, the eUP Team can opt to use PREGINET IP (Internet Protocol) addresses and treat Vitro Data Center as an extension of PREGINET network. This remains problematic for UP users outside of the physical UP infrastructure even if they use Smart Bro, a PLDT product, to access UP online services. The routing for these users still goes out of the country rather than directly (which is the case if there is true peering between internet service providers (ISP)).

traceroute from PLDT's SmartBro to UP. Notice routing goes out to LA, USA before it goes back to the Phils.



eUP Team's Response

Use of Non-UP Cloud Computing Infrastructure



Data Migration

eUP Team's Response:

Authentication

  • Authentication Authorities. Authenticating centrally or by CU?

eUP Team's Response:

Customization

  • Do you have a process mapping for the COTS functionalities to actual current practices to be supported?
  • Do we have expertise to customize the software for future needs outside the project scope?

Maintenance

Student Academic Information System (SAIS)

Human Resource Information System (HRIS)

Financial Management Information System (FMIS)

Supplies, Procurement and Campus Management Information System (SPCMIS)

Miscellaneous Concerns

"Best Practice"

  • Oracle as best practice in top universities. The claim that Oracle software is "best practice" in most top universities worldwide remains largely unverified by 3rd parties or such practice doesn't appear to have been subjected to scholarly peer-reviewed evaluation. Exactly which Oracle systems are used in these universities? What are the relevant respects in such reported deployment elsewhere to UP? How did they contend with issues of migration, with challenges in dealing with legacy systems earlier developed by such institutions? What makes a university "world class"? Is it the Oracle software?







Social Media

Other discussions may be posted via Facebook and Twitter.

  • Twitter: please post with hashtag #eUPWatch
  • Facebook: visit and like!





Further Readings



SAIS-Related



See Also



Notes