National's Computing Status
Todd Norman Tingblad (tingbltn@UWEC.EDU)
Mon, 25 Sep 1995 11:30:45 CDT
With all the talk about National's missing Internet presents, I thought it
would be good to give you some updated information I received Thursday about
the BSA National computer front.
National is having computer mainframe problems. These problems are like any
other business. Earlier this year I told the Scouts-L community about the
Accounting Program changes that were giving National real big problems. The
major problems with this change in Accounting have finally been fixed. There
still remains a few problems with it, but it finally almost done (8 months
late). As part of this change in the Accounting System comes the problem of
getting it all to work on two different UNIX platforms (TI Business Systems
and HP-9000 Series). Councils are not moving off the old TI stuff to the
newer HP stuff as fast as National wants. The problem on the council's side
is the cost of the HP systems. HP-9000's needed by some councils can get
into the $70,000+ really fast. $70,000+ can give a lot of kids a lot of
program elsewhere in the council (camps, events, training and so on).
Council Exec's have a really hard time spending $70,000+ and not get anything
new from the system (features, access, and many other things).
National also has a new "Consultant" to go to council's and help them move
from the TI box to the HP box (compute talk box = computer). This
"Consultant" is a former Council Exec and seems to not have any formal
computer training or background. Seems he could not move up any further on
the Exec path and so got this job on computer consulting at National instead.
All development on improving the National supplies Council programs that run
on the TI and HP boxes continues to be going no where. One of the requests
Indianhead Council made was to have some form of Unit Level data input...like
for School Night registration. The idea was to have a simple registration
program that units could run to input the new members. Save this information
to a diskette. Send the diskette and the registration forms to the council
office. An electronic update (upload or something like that) would be done
to the Council's TI or HP box. The new data would be all set for daily
transmission to National's mainframe.
The committee at National that is looking into the Internet stuff is watching
the Girl Scouts' Internet setup with great interest. It seems that they are
making some headway. However, don't plan to see anything for a year or two.
For all those Councils, Districts, and Units putting up Web Pages, BSA is
looking at them. Getting ideas. Looking for problems.
That's the lastest I have coming through offical BSA communications channels
(my council's Communications/Information Systems Director).
Todd Tingblad -- TINGBLTN@UWEC.EDU
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City