Network and email delays

21 May 2007

A primary outcome of the Electronic Directory Services stream is the automatic provisioning of network and email accounts. This will speed up the creation of accounts for staff, students and third parties and facilitate access to other services at UCT, like access control and parking, for example.

Before creating an account, ICTS requires certain information about the individual, which is received from one of three databases:

  • SAP HR (for staff),
  • PeopleSoft (for students), or
  • the new Third Party system.

Unfortunately, data capture errors, incorrectly supplied information or blank fields in these source databases have hampered the process, causing, in some cases, long delays in the providing of accounts.

Account provisioning relies on accurate and complete data. If information is missing or incorrectly captured, the account cannot be created.

For example, large numbers of staff had no information in the SAP HR database's "known as" field (ie preferred first name). Because email addresses require this field, an email account cannot be created without this information. In these cases, manual intervention was required. ICTS staff then have to backtrack, trace the source of the problem and contact the individual concerned to supply the necessary information to HR staff for capturing into SAP HR. Similar problems exist in the Third Party system.

A different - but equally frustrating problem - is duplication of data. An individual might be registered in two of the abovementioned databases at the same time. Until a primary role is defined and the individual is located only in one authoritative system, no provisioning can take place.

In some instances, an individual completed a BAS03 form (to register on the Third Party System), without knowing that they were in fact not entitled to any ICT services, according to the registrar's UCT Role Model. Again, manual intervention was required for these cases, resulting in delayed provisioning of the account, or the account not being created (once it was established that the person was not entitled to a network or email account).

Changes of role can also create a problem. For example, retired staff members who return to UCT in a part-time capacity may still appear in the SAP HR database as "retired". This poses a problem, as the person should register in the Third Party system, but, due to their pre-existing record in SAP HR, the system will prevent an account being created.

While these delays are frustrating for the individuals concerned, ICTS has been working hard to resolve the issues at hand, and only a small percentage of accounts have been negatively affected by delays in provisioning.

The introduction of any new system normally results in some teething problems, and this implementation - being as large as it is, with links to so many other systems on campus - is no exception.

We thank you for your understanding regarding the delays, and assure you that ICTS is using these experiences as opportunities to improve the process, so that future automatic account provisioning is as efficient as possible.

More information is available in these articles: UCT Role Models: | Admin Systems | UCT Role Model

Third Party System: | Electronic Directory Services | The Third Party System

Electronic Directory Services: | Electronic Directory Services | Overview of electronic directory services - ICTS

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