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.
The following principles represent an important step in Penn's
administrative development. Not only will these principles guide
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
- University assets. Information technology infrastructure, applications, and data must be managed as University assets.
- Functional requirements. University priorities and functionality determine investments in administrative information
- 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.
- 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.
- Investment criteria. Investment decisions (even those not to
take action) must be based on University needs, cost-effectiveness, and
consistency with standards and models.
- 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.
- Accuracy. University administrative data must be accurate
and collected in a timely way.
- Security and confidentiality. University administrative
data must be safe from harm and, when confidential, accessible only to
those with a "need to know."
- Ease of access. University administrative data must be easy
to access for all groups of authorized users regardless of their level
of technical expertise.
- Multiple uses. Penn must plan for multiple uses of
University administrative data, including operations, management
decision making, planning, and ad hoc reporting.
- Purposeful collection. A given set of data should be
collected once, from the source, and only if there is a need for the
- Common base of data. A common base of data must be created
to facilitate sharing, control redundancy, and satisfy retention
- Documentation. Detailed information about University
administrative data must be created, maintained, and made available.
- 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."
- Adaptability. Applications must be easily adaptable to
changing administrative and technical requirements.
- Data sharing. Applications must use a common base of well-
defined University data and reference a common repository.
- Ensuring data quality. Applications must help ensure valid,
consistent, and secure data.
- Common communications infrastructure. Academic functions
and administrative systems must share common data, voice, and video
- Connections within the University. The communications
infrastructure must be standardized to allow reliable, easy interaction
among individuals, work groups, departments, schools, and centers.
- Connections outside the University. The communications
infrastructure must comply with national and international standards
that allow reliable, easy interaction with those communities.
- 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.
- Emerging technologies. Penn must devote appropriate,
coordinated effort to evaluating and piloting emerging technologies.
- Data stewards. Data stewards are responsible for ensuring
the appropriate documentation, collection, storage, and use of the
administrative data within their purview.
- Process owners. Process owners are responsible for
developing and maintaining the standards, structures, and applications
that ensure the quality and cost-effectiveness of specific
- 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.
- Schools and administrative centers. Schools and centers are
responsible for creating data and using information technology to meet
the objectives of their organizations.