The following document was published in the December 13, 1994 issue of the Almanac, page 8. The text has not been changed in any way from the original version.

Of Record

The following principles represent an important step in Penn's administrative development. Not only will these principles guide Project Cornerstone and other structured efforts, but they will be helpful to anyone using information technology at Penn.

- Stanley Chodorow, Provost, and Jack E. Freeman, Acting Executive Vice President

Principles for Information Technology in Administration

  1. General
  2. University assets. Information technology infrastructure, applications, and data must be managed as University assets.
  3. Functional requirements. University priorities and functionality determine investments in administrative information technology.
  4. Cost-effectiveness. Information technology must contribute to the cost-effectiveness of the functions it supports and must be cost- effective from the perspective of the University as a whole.
  5. Policies, standards, and models. Policies, standards, models, and methodologies-based on the principles outlined here-govern the acquisition and use of data and information technology. Regular update and communication are required.
  6. Investment criteria. Investment decisions (even those not to take action) must be based on University needs, cost-effectiveness, and consistency with standards and models.
  7. Training and support. Penn must put sufficient effort into ongoing support of its information technology assets. Skills and experiences from across the University must be leveraged and communication channels opened.
    University Data
  8. Accuracy. University administrative data must be accurate and collected in a timely way.
  9. Security and confidentiality. University administrative data must be safe from harm and, when confidential, accessible only to those with a "need to know."
  10. Ease of access. University administrative data must be easy to access for all groups of authorized users regardless of their level of technical expertise.
  11. Multiple uses. Penn must plan for multiple uses of University administrative data, including operations, management decision making, planning, and ad hoc reporting.
  12. Purposeful collection. A given set of data should be collected once, from the source, and only if there is a need for the data.
  13. Common base of data. A common base of data must be created to facilitate sharing, control redundancy, and satisfy retention requirements.
  14. Documentation. Detailed information about University administrative data must be created, maintained, and made available.
    Administrative Applications
  15. Ease of use. Applications must be easy to use for both novice and expert users. Interfaces should be similar enough to present a reasonably consistent "look and feel."
  16. Adaptability. Applications must be easily adaptable to changing administrative and technical requirements.
  17. Data sharing. Applications must use a common base of well- defined University data and reference a common repository.
  18. Ensuring data quality. Applications must help ensure valid, consistent, and secure data.
  19. Common communications infrastructure. Academic functions and administrative systems must share common data, voice, and video communications infrastructures.
  20. Connections within the University. The communications infrastructure must be standardized to allow reliable, easy interaction among individuals, work groups, departments, schools, and centers.
  21. Connections outside the University. The communications infrastructure must comply with national and international standards that allow reliable, easy interaction with those communities.
  22. Hardware and software choices. Administrative hardware and software will be limited to a bounded set of alternatives. This applies to desktop computing, application servers, communications components, application development tools, and data management tools.
  23. Emerging technologies. Penn must devote appropriate, coordinated effort to evaluating and piloting emerging technologies.
  24. Data stewards. Data stewards are responsible for ensuring the appropriate documentation, collection, storage, and use of the administrative data within their purview.
  25. Process owners. Process owners are responsible for developing and maintaining the standards, structures, and applications that ensure the quality and cost-effectiveness of specific administrative processes.
  26. Information Systems and Computing (ISC). Information Systems and Computing provides leadership, infrastructure, standards, services, and coordination that permit Penn to take full advantage of its information technology assets.
  27. Schools and administrative centers. Schools and centers are responsible for creating data and using information technology to meet the objectives of their organizations.