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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 6, 2005 | Vol. 35 No. 1
HopkinsOne Determines Status of Existing Software Systems

By Jeanne Johnson

Among the many decisions necessary to implement HopkinsOne — the multiyear project to modernize most of Johns Hopkins' business systems — project leaders had to take a hard look at existing software and decide which systems to link to, retain or eliminate.

Now, after four years of study, the HopkinsOne information technology team has determined that the new software, known as SAP, will replace 37 existing systems and will interface with more than 150 others, including those of outside vendors, that are used for task-specific purposes.

Cele DiGiacomo, HopkinsOne project director for information technology, said that the team had decided early on that the project would leave student and patient information systems intact. But it still had to analyze the myriad ad hoc systems that had developed at Johns Hopkins over many years.

Among the 37 systems that SAP will replace are CUFS (the JHU accounting system), Pathways (the JHHS supply chain system) and GEAC (JHHS accounting), as well as human resources and payroll systems. HopkinsOne will retain and interface with ISIS, the student system; patient revenue systems, such as IDX and Keane; and clinical systems, such as Horizon (JH Home Care Clinical and Revenue) and ORMIS (the operating room system).

The software they decided not to replace was very specific and had unique features, DiGiacomo said. "For example," she said, "Radiology uses some software that is very specific to Radiology. Or, in the case of Student Systems, they had just instituted a new system that was very specific [to their needs]. But in most cases, transitioning to SAP just made sense."

To explain the decision-making process, DiGiacomo drew an analogy with remodeling, where the goal of installing new wiring could clash with the prohibitive cost of a teardown. In that case, she said, it might make sense to use historical fixtures for the time being, or to patch into existing wiring, especially if that wiring had been recently updated. That analogy is oversimplified, she said, but it helps to illustrate the challenge of modernizing a massive system while working to keep costs down by not rehabbing or completely ditching some still-functional features.

Even when units will retain existing systems, as in the case of the inventory distribution and finance system used by the Johns Hopkins University Press, they will still use SAP for institutionswide business functions such as human resources and payroll.

Another major issue has been how to retain, store or import historical data from existing systems, which will be investigated on a case-by-case basis. "We'll consider how long the system needs to be available for business, what data we will still need and how to access it," DiGiacomo said. That analysis is ongoing.

A timetable is now being developed for each system. DiGiacomo said that after July 1, 2006, "most" will be shut down for current transactions. Among the exceptions she cited are CUFS and GEAC, where transactions will continue through July and some of August in order to complete fiscal year 2005.

More information appears in the September issue of Momentum, the HopkinsOne newsletter. For a detailed list of what systems will remain and which will not, go to the HopkinsOne Web site at


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