by Ann Dobson
On Nov. 3, 1997, Communication and Network Services welcomed the COMET computer system to support its business processes. The system features client/server technology, a relational database back-end, and a Windows-based GUI front-end.
Data from several old computer systems supporting the former Tele-communications Department was updated and made consistent in order to load information about voice communication services into the new database. This should result in more accurate billing for departments.
One of the major changes that occurred in loading the data into the new system was attaching each service to an "entity" instead of a phone number. Where possible, the entity is the person using the service, matched via the phone book. Otherwise, the entity is the department being billed for the service. Departments can also establish special-purpose entities for services such as phones in a laboratory. The entity can be changed by using a new Communication and Network Services request form.
This form has been mailed to all those who receive phone bills and to the MSO/AA mailing list. It is also available for printing from the Voice Services web page. All requests for voice communication services should be transmitted via this new form. Acknowledgment will be sent via email, return fax, or campus mail.
The COMET system will also be producing the phone bill in a new format. The bill contains a departmental summary, lists services by entity and contains more detail on services rendered. The entire bill will be sent to the departmental contact, instead of the bill for each account-fund being mailed separately. In a future project phase, the bill will be available online on the web for viewing and downloading.
Under the new system, departmental charges for the first couple of months may be artificially low because some vendor information may not be processed by the billing deadline. These charges will be included in subsequent bill cycles.
Also, the new bill will reflect the elimination of the maintenance charge for standard telephone equipment. An insert in the bill will detail which charges will be affected.
In 1998, Communication and Network Services will offer classes on the new request form and bill.
For information on classes, contact Ann Dobson, 642-8090.
For questions about the project, contact Jann Fong, 642-9815 or Terri Kouba, 642-3724.