5/13/2012 8:00 PM
A colleague recently sent me this description of a project at a university to integrate two scheduling packages, Resource25 (R25) by CollegeNet and Event Business Management Software (EBMS) by Ungerboeck Systems International:
The project in question is a project at [XXXX] University where two separate packages, similar in nature, are being used by two separate departments because each department likes the specific functionality that their package of choice provides. Functionally, the packages are used to develop and maintain classroom scheduling for each term. That is to say, one of the packages (EBMS) deals with event management and the other package (R25) deals with classroom assignment. So, a schedule of events is built in EBMS and a series of classrooms are matched to these events in R25. Currently, after the schedule is built in EBMS, the data is manually transferred to R25 to build the final classroom assignment. Conversely, once the classroom scheduling is complete the schedule must be entered back into EBMS. Each functional area cannot see using the other's package to do their work because the one they have functions so well in its particular specialty. Our Registrar office is using the R25 application to schedule classes. After a certain point in semester (e.g. late registration) Event Management department, utilizing EBMS product, takes over ALL scheduling, including any additions. The solution to this is that once the R25 schedule is built to batch load the data into EBMS, also the reverse is true and the batch must be sent from EBMS to R25.
Obviously, I removed the name of the university to protect the guilty.
This process sounds crazy, but having worked in a university setting, I know that departments often operate individually, and it is a rare achievement to get them to cooperate.
But let’s not pick on universities. I suspect there are other types of institutions and facilities with scheduling processes that are just as cumbersome and tedious. In fact, I know there are because I hear about it every day.
Each day I talk with facility managers, and I hear their tales of redundant scheduling for HVAC and security controls. They take a printed schedule (from R25, EBMS or some other scheduling software) and painstakingly go through it, item by item, to manually put the schedule into their building automation system…Or they spend hours making changes to schedules in their building automation system – one manager counted 17 “clicks” to make one change…Or they forget to reset schedules for a particular building like the manager who told me about forgetting to turn off a classroom building that was not in use during the summer until mid-July.
It might be job security, but I know there are more important things these managers could do with their time – and with the energy/money they could save by integrating their building automation system with their room scheduling software.
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