Pitt IT outlines possible software updates at Staff Spotlight


Pitt IT is leading a lengthy project to reassess all the business software that collects University data and makes major departments run, including the main programs used by students, Pitt’s business offices and Human Resources, from PRISM to PeopleSoft. It is preparing to make a business case for top leadership to decide which changes in software will help Pitt run more efficiently at better costs.

Pitt IT staff outlined the project, done in conjunction with Pitt’s main financial, academic and research offices, to a special Staff Council Spotlight session in late October, a recording of which is available here.

This Enterprise Resource Planning Assessment Project, said Dianne DeNezza, Pitt IT’s executive director of business solutions, is interviewing current users of widely used software products on all campuses to assess what works and what’s needed for the future. The project team is taking demonstrations from vendors of potential new products, contacting institutions that already use other products, and then is planning to present all these findings to Pitt’s leadership for a decision “to improve efficiencies and productivity.”

Michelle Fullem, senior director of IT programs, says Pitt top administrators will receive the final recommendations for a road map for implementation, what resources are needed and the costs. “This would potentially be a very large investment for the University,” she noted.

Simultaneously, Steven Richardson, associate director for analytics with Pitt IT, is leading an analytics modernization project for Pitt. His team aims to build a new platform so that more people at Pitt can access and analyze the ever-widening array of data being gathered at and by the University. This work will aim to reduce the number of data-analyzing tools people use here and train those unfamiliar with the main tools, so the entire operation is cheaper and more efficient. This part of the project will also help to standardize how data is looked at across the University, Richardson said, so that people examining the same data can come to the same conclusions.

The analytics modernization effort too has been interviewing those who use Pitt data at every level. Richardson said the project also plans to assemble working groups to discuss their particular needs. Eventually the project teams intends to create starter workbooks and hold hackathons to create improvements in data analysis here.

“We’re going to be rolling all this out as soon as it is ready,” he said, while Fullem added that the entire effort could take five to 10 years to implement.

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at martyl@pitt.edu or 412-758-4859.


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