ECOS/PHD Analysis Template Project

One of the key objectives of the Records and Information Management Services (RIMS) Program is to provide a cohesive approach to the effective management of records and information resources throughout the University of Illinois, across all departments and campuses. Effective management of these resources includes supporting the mission of the University by playing a role in improving operational efficiencies through reducing unnecessary redundancies and supporting the streamlined use of existing systems.

In June of 2012 members of the RIMS Office became aware of the existence of the PHD/ECOS databases while creating a General Records Retention Schedule for Human Resource (HR) Records. As part of this process the RIMS group reached out to University Administration HR and subsequently to various HR departments on all three campuses. From early conversations, the RIMS group began asking questions about where the information resides both in paper and electronic formats and, for electronic resources, what systems are used to store and access them. This was the first instance where the PHD/ECOS databases came to light. PHD/ECOS continue to exist in a ‘grey region’ of sorts, being officially retired while still in fact being actively used by a variety of University Staff. At first glance, it was not apparent that PHD/ECOS was accessed with any regularity thereby presenting a possible scenario where essential data could be output from the systems into a more rudimentary format. Upon further discussion, it became apparent that the use of the databases was frequent enough and the effort to maintain them slight enough to warrant not decommissioning them at this point in time.

Due to the desire of HR offices on all three campuses to continue to access the ECOS/PHD databases, a new approach was proposed by RIMS.  

1. Improve the Web Interface to the AITS PHD/ECOS database.

A preference for the “original” interface and the apparent quicker response time offered to users of that interface would be beneficial to both the users of the system and the persons for whom inquiries are being made.

2. Initiate a purge of superfluous data from PHD/ECOS.

By reviewing current requests for information and the associated queries used to respond to those requests specific data elements that are never queried can be identified and purged from the system. Further purging could be initiated by removing information about persons who have retired or who are deceased.

3. Create Employee Personnel Profile.

Examining how the PHD/ECOS database systems are used provides an opportunity to create an “Employee Personnel Profile” that can be used to guide the University in future efforts to migrate data from one system to the next based on what information is essential to retain over long periods of time. This profile can in turn be used to explicitly set retention requirements on various data elements in PHD/ECOS as well as their equivalents in the Banner system. An Employee Personnel Profile will allow the University to ensure that critical data is maintained in the current Administrative System (Banner) and is safeguarded during upgrades and or in the event the University migrates to another system.

4. Map Employee Personnel Profile to Banner Data and Xtender Docs.

Once an Employee Personnel Profile framework has been identified it will be important to map the elements in the profile to the data in Banner as well as the documents stored in Xtender. This exercise will provide a high degree of confidence in determining what data from Banner and what documents from Xtender will be essential going forward and which ones are non-essential and open to disposal when upgrading University Enterprise systems or migrating data.