Seattle Community College has learned something about moving reports
from its HP 3000 applications: you don't need paper when you've got an
The school has been a user of HP 3000s since 1983, but in the
last year its reports from school administration software have arrived
in e-mail boxes instead of through interoffice couriers, translated and
delivered through Hillary Software's byREQUEST.
John Bailey, the manager of district computer services at the college, used Hillary's (732.974.8484, www.hillary.com) SHEETMATE
software for document translation and exchange before installing
byREQUEST. Bailey said at that time the district had just completed
implementing Microsoft Exchange as a district-wide e-mail system,
serving the 1,700 employees with mail access.
Three colleges, a vocational institute, and three education
centers do their administrative processing on a Series 987 HP 3000 in
Seattle. Student management, payroll, accounting, human resources and
financial aid are handled by the MPE/iX software. Some reports from
those applications took up to four weeks to arrive in offices before
byREQUEST went to work. The software breaks a report down into
pertinent sections on the basis of data in the report's heading, then
routes it to the correct recipients.
"We can take things like budget reports, then set up a
distribution list so all the managers and staff associated with the
project will receive the reports the day they are produced," Bailey
said. "We were able to get information to them the first day it was
available as live data, as opposed to when it was almost too late to
affect the next month's expenditures."
Exchange runs on NT servers for the college, but byREQUEST is
client software running on a PC that accesses the HP 3000 to retrieve
output spool files from the system generated by the administrative
applications. byREQUEST's workstation is simply an e-mail client in
Exchange at the college. The software converts the spool files into
Microsoft Office formats-primarily Word documents-then drops them into
mailboxes across the district.
The Class Openings reports generated a quarter-million pages of
paper of each year, Bailey said. Administrators "tore out the two pages
of the 50 each day they cared about and threw the rest away. I was
looking to be a little more environmentally conscious, and to reduce my
users' cost for output."
The college departments were charged printing costs for most
reports at 1.5 cents per page to cover paper and supplies. Bailey said
his total investment in the byREQUEST system was less than $10,000.
Once the Class Openings report went out online using the Public
Folders capability in Exchange, "the Instructional Associate Deans made
delivery of that single report mission-critical," Bailey said, "and
we've never looked back since." He added that byREQUEST provides
significant spool file management services above the capabilities
provided by MPE/iX.
At the Seattle Community Colleges, Bailey and his staff have
set up byREQUEST to see the spooler files through a session logged onto
the 3000. "It gives you unique ways to look at the spooler on your
3000," Bailey said. "byREQUEST makes it easy to format your list of
spool files, so you can define spoolers by criteria to determine what
spool files display in a particular spooler. It gives us the ability to
organize all the output files."
At the Seattle Community Colleges, the operators use command
files to control when and if any reports go to a printer. All reports
that are sent to a printer are printed with an SPSAVE option to let
reports get reprinted on demand-without having to re-run the production
"A good share of our nightly production we're just dropping off
into folders on our e-mail system," Bailey said. "That information is
available anytime day or night, from anywhere" using Web browser access
into Exchange. When folders get full, the college writes the contents
onto CD ROMs. "I'm doing data warehousing, in essence, providing them
with usable formats with the report data when they need it for
The software translates reports in formats as varied as Excel
spreadsheets, HTML, Word Perfect and PDF. "It's no problem," Bailey
said. "You give each individual the format they prefer to have, for the
pages that are associated with them."
A future project will let the college e-mail rosters each day
of the registration periods to instructors and professors. "Only about
50 percent of the faculty want an electronic roster they can use as a
gradebook," Bailey said, "but the ones that want it, want it really
bad." At Seattle Community College, byREQUEST lets the IT management
mail reports to only those who, well, request it.