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Efficiency Projects

Financial Aid Efficiency Projects

Tasked with improving departmental efficiency through the use of creative IT solutions I managed multiple successful projects related to the department’s common processes. These included:

  • New “Return of Aid” processes and tools that saved 10-15 hours of staff work time every month while proving a reduction in data errors.
  • Simplified Banner configuration for Financial Aid Periods that reduced manual errors and saved hours of data management time over the course of a year.
  • Overhaul of the Banner “Repeat Coursework” configuration that brought the department closer to baseline and significantly reduced the time needed to audit records.

Business Rules Engine with Massive Logic Procedures

This implementation allowed individual customers to define very complex business rules revolving around overtime calculations. For example, a set of rules might include many, many logic points such as: over 40 hours in a week should be overtime, over 12 hours in a day should be double-time, during holidays treat regular time as overtime and overtime as double-time, apply different rules based on the shift worked, exclude certain employees or tasks from overtime, if the worker has worked seven straight days in the week all time should be overtime or better, and so on. Evaluating and processing these rules occurred at many points in the application that may not have involved specific user actions including triggered actions from inserts into a database table. I researched, prototyped, and led the development team on a custom solution that included using an asynchronous queue for offline processing. This not only allowed data to come at maximum speed, but it allowed processors to operate simultaneously against the same queued list taking a system that originally ran in minutes down to less than a half second average processing time.

Code Management and Ticketing Systems

I’ve built and managed numerous systems for managing and deploying code in a consistent and simplified manner.  I’ve built, documented, and maintained a custom-built continuous integration service that interfaced with: a source code repository (reads and writes), networked file system (through PowerShell and Batch scripts), and an IIS installation. I’ve also build deployment and code management tools using both on-premises and hosted Team Foundation Server software. I managed and converted from various bug tracking and IT ticketing systems including Jira, Axosoft, Bugzilla, Remedy, and TFS.

Planning & Writing

Security and Privacy Planning

As the designated Information Security Officer for the department I led a full-scale security and privacy review of all digital and paper data practices and controls. This included creating an Information Security Management Plan, formed and chairing a Privacy and Security Committee, completed dozens of campus provided security review documents and policy papers, provided staff training on data security for the department and the entire Enrollment Management unit and created a data security calendar.

Enterprise Level Medical Records Management RFP Response

I was asked to evaluate and adapt an existing RFP proposal for an enterprise level medical records management. The original proposal was based on Java and a LAMP stack and it needed to be adjusted to Wintel due to client requirements. I helped convert the proposal to the Windows stack including integration points with SharePoint, BizTalk, Forefront Identity Manager, SSIS, OpenFax, and Avaya. My proposal included diagrams of the data connections, infrastructure requirements, and high-level user models.

Documenting a Custom Web Solution

One particular documentation task involved the transfer of IP for a large web application and database project. The new team that would take ownership of the project needed documentation both for end users and the development / support team. In this case, I was the project manager for the application’s development. I wrote over a dozen documents detailing such aspects as:

  • Database Schema
  • Shared Classes
  • User Interface Standards
  • Naming and coding conventions
  • Workflow processes such as setting up development stations and deployment scripts
  • Security and privacy considerations

Functional Specifications and Process Documentation

The majority of my technical writing has involved functional specifications, responding to RFPs, or documenting processes. Some highlights:

  • A point-by-point disaster recovery plan for an enterprise application.
  • A deployment process document describing code and database deployment steps.
  • Original RFP responses including estimates, timeline, screenshots, and custom Visio process diagrams.
  • Functional specifications for contracted development including use cases, workflow diagrams, and report mockups.
  • Statements of work describing proposed new applications including business rules in Visio diagrams, UI mockups, and data schema definitions.

Windows Servers Migration

I documented, managed, and personally spearheaded an effort to replace more than a dozen active Windows 2003 servers with 2012 versions while running against Microsoft’s end-of-life deadline. The affected servers included web servers, application servers, and database servers. During the migration process we were able to remove many redundancies, legacy systems, and customizations, increase performance by taking advantage of new features, and replace our physical server farm with mostly virtual machines. The total effort took less than 3 months including planning and testing.

Enterprise and Other Applications

DATArrive

DATArrive is enterprise-level, information system application. It includes web and mobile front ends, a SQL server backend, and numerous standard and custom integration points. Modules at the time included time and labor management, inventory control, inspection systems, delivery services, and more. I was the system architect as well as the development manager and database administrator. Please see this website for more information: http://www.sierradata.com/DATArrive/ Phase 1 of the development included time and labor management and was up and running in a pilot program in less than 6 months. Later additions were added quickly over the next 12 months and included inventory control and asset management.

SLATE

SLATE was a web-based lesson management system that was built in 2004. The unique thing about this application is that it was custom built for a not-for-profit organization supporting the blind and visually impaired. As such, the application needed to apply tremendous care to include necessary accessibility tags and titles to allow for text-to-speech screen readers as well as a flexible CSS style sheet that would allow users to magnify the text size without disrupting the overall design.

Financial Aid Web Application Overhauls

I’ve managed development on many complex and challenging web applications that are relied upon by tens of thousands of students each year. Not willing to let these sites languish I spearheaded efforts to proactively modernize, improve, and streamline these sites.

  • Create an updated, online Change in Aid tool that saved dozens of hours in the handing and review process.
  • Overhauled MyLoans providing support for new California state regulations.
  • Provided major updates to WorkStudy and CalFresh applications leading to significant increases in student participation and time savings for those programs.
  • Updated sites to improve usability, accessibility, and standardizes the look and feel: MyAwards, Financial Aid Online Forms, and the Financial Aid Summer Estimator and Application.