Other 2013 Accomplishments


Online PeopleSoft Financial Access Form Streamlines Business Processes at Pepperdine

In the effort to go paperless and to streamline business processes at Pepperdine, the Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) team created an online form for the PeopleSoft Financial Access Application. This form is used by Finance to grant access to the finance areas within PeopleSoft. Previously, the form was a .pdf that you had to print out, gather signatures of 5-7 people for approval, and then send via intercampus mail to be processed. This entire procedure usually took about 5-8 business days.

By making this form available to be completed online, the EIS team offered greater convenience for people. In addition, this process will keep better record of all the changes to security access in PeopleSoft. The EIS team, comprised of Ronit Weiss, Hector Ramirez, Tim Bodden, and Len Krukowski, is working closely with Finance to ensure these forms meet Pepperdine's business needs. The goal of the EIS team is to convert all security forms for Human Resources, Student Administration, and Finance areas in PeopleSoft.

EIS Staff Members Reduce Registrar's Report Processing Time from 7 Hours to 10 Minutes

The Registrar's office runs a report in PeopleSoft to identify potential duplicate IDs. Over time, this process has taken longer and longer to run and has put a load on the system often taking 7-9 hours to run.
The report was identified as having a potential for improvement. After the thorough examination and modification of the query process by IT staff members Ronit Weiss, Ted De Guzman, and Rinn Dow, the report now takes only 10 minutes to run. Also, in order to improve the security of restricted information, the team modified the report to remove full social security numbers from the output report. This ensures that nobody is downloading, transferring, or storing restricted information. This is a business process improvement for the Registrar's office. IT staff will continue to partner with other departments to ensure their processes are as efficient and secure as possible. 

EIS Increases Efforts to Safeguard Restricted Data at Pepperdine

Enterprise Information Systems (EIS) staff members, Ryan Kim, Lisa Welch, Rinn Dow, Kai Markowitz, and Carly Struna worked with the admissions offices from all five schools, Seaver Financial Aid, and the University Registrar to help better secure restricted information at the University.

Secure File Upload Tool for PeopleSoft

The team helped implement a secure file upload tool, which allows staff to upload applications, FAFSA records, test score records, and financial aid-related files into PeopleSoft. Prior to the development of this tool, files were stored on departmental shared drives for processing in PeopleSoft. This method of storing data was not secure. This new process eliminates the need for files to be stored and accessed from shared drives.

Removal of SSNs from Duplicate ID Reports

The EIS team also modified the Duplicate ID Report to exclude social security numbers from the report and identify SSN matches via other means, thereby preserving the report's utility. This report, which is run monthly by the University Registrar's office, identifies potential duplicate records in the PeopleSoft Student Administration system and is shared with all schools for them to analyze and reconcile as needed.

Phase I Completed of the Disaster Recovery Data Center Project

IT staff has finished phase I of the Disaster Recover Data Center project. To date, IT has established a fully operational and secure disaster recovery center in Phoenix, Arizona. This data center will act as the central hub for all data that is crucial to the daily operations of the University. 

Currently, Pepperdine's data centers are located at the West Los Angeles and Malibu campuses, which presents the risk of both campuses being affected by a regional disaster simultaneously. With the new data center, IT can bring up the Arizona site within an hour if needed. In phase II,  IT will implement Pepperdine's active directory and conduct data replication.

University Spam Filter Stops the Transmission of Social Security and Credit Card Numbers

On August 1, 2013, the University's spam filter stopped delivering messages that appear to contain social security and credit card numbers. Senders of such messages are notified that the email was not delivered and advised of resources and best practices to get information securely to the proper destination.

Email is not a secure method for transmitting social security and credit card numbers. Email is not encrypted and spreads information across multiple mailboxes and recipients of replies and forwards. It is against University policy to use email to transmit restricted information, including social security and credit card numbers. For more information on Pepperdine's email system, please visit: https://community.pepperdine.edu/it/tools/email/spam.

Sakai 2.9 Provides Enhanced Features and a New Look and Feel to Courses

On August 13, 2013, Courses (powered by Sakai) was upgraded to Sakai 2.9. This new version provides many improvements to system performance and enhanced features throughout Sakai as well as better browser support, a new look and feel, and a new tool which allows professors to create and book appointments with students all within Courses.

Better Browser Support: This upgrade now works more smoothly with Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari. 

New Look and Feel: Courses got a nice, fresh coat of paint with this upgrade. General navigation stayed familiar, but the service has a sharp, new look. The enhanced interface is also more user-friendly and helps to reduce clicks. 

New Tool: Professors no longer need to collect paper sign-up sheets for appointments! The new Sign-up tool allows a professor to create appointments so that students can sign up and reserve a spot. It is great for office hours, student advising sessions, team meetings, or other events. 

A New First-time Tutorial: This new upgrade also includes a very helpful tutorial. The tutorial automatically displays the first time you access the service.