In July 2001, AZA hired the INTEQ GROUP, an information technology project management consulting firm, to develop a Project Plan for the design of an integrated animal information system. The Project Plan will include a Project Charter, Scope Definition, Conceptual Data Model, and a schedule of activities leading to the development of the new information system.
To gather information to develop the Project Plan, ADISC and INTEQ are hosting a series of workshops focusing on specific aspects of animal care and management. Workshops are taking place at several AZA institutions and are attended by AZA members representing a wide range of expertise.
Workshop topics include: Health Care Management, Bio-Materials, Species Inventory Management, Enclosure Inventory Management, Collection Management, Shipping, Regulatory Compliance, Environmental Monitoring, Core Data, Husbandry Activities, Contraception, Training and Enrichment, Behavior, Nutrition. Staffing, Quarantine, Research, Population Management, Natural History, Taxonomy Maintenance, Molecular data, and Core Data.
The Project Plans completion, including the documentation
resulting from these workshops, is anticipated in January 2002.
Several institutions are investigating data management systems or are in fact developing systems. As these projects move along on parallel paths to ADISC, we encourage the sharing of ideas and approaches where appropriate. The expectation is that the association will address its members data management needs; through the collegiate sharing of concepts and models, IT solutions may in fact be gained with greater efficiency.
ADISC is an AZA Board committee that originated from a Strategic Software task force (SST) of AZAs Wildlife Conservation Management Committee (WCMC). SST members were selected to represent a wide array of expertise on data management and data use related to zoos and aquariums. Those individuals moved onto ADISC when it was formed and additional members were added to include representation from a broader group of stakeholders and disciplines. Committee Members.
Lets not stop there. Heres a brief description of some of these related groups
ISIS is represented on ADISC as a committee member. In this role ISIS serves as an active participant in the process, an interested party and a knowledgeable consultant.
The first phase of the project is the development of a conceptual data model, project plan and cost estimates. An independent consultant, The Inteq Group, was hired to facilitate this process which will be completed early in 2002. A business plan will be forthcoming in spring 2002.
There will be several phases following this initial planning phase which will include: analysis of system requirements, design and construction of the system, testing and deployment. It is anticipated that the entire project will take several years to complete but that high priority will be given to certain components of development.8. Where are we currently with the Project? In January 2002, the Inteq Group, a technology consulting firm contracted by AZA, delivered the following documents resulting from the first phase of the project: the project Mission and Charter, a conceptual data model and supporting work processes, a technology assessment and a project plan. The Charter outlines at a very high level the overall scope of a future animal information system. The system was given the name ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) for easy reference.
In March 2002, the AZA Board of Directors approved ADISCs request to fund the next six-month phase of the Project. The funds will come from AZAs operating budget. This phase will ultimately result in the development of an RFP (Request for Proposals). The Inteq Group will continue to support these efforts and, in addition, Sue DuBois, Walt Disney World, has been assigned as project manager to coordinate project activities for a period of six months.
Over the summer, two workshops will be convened to further define the conceptual data model and work processes specifically for the inventory and medical modules of ZIMS. These specifications will then be incorporated into an RFP to provide vendors with detail about the business needs and the scope of these modules.
In February 2002, ADISC members Sue DuBois and Bob Lacy, ADISC Finance and Governance Group members John Lewis and Jerry Borin, and AZA staff Kris Vehrs and Brandie Smith attended the Global Animal Data Group (GADG) meeting in Costa Rica. Recognizing the need for greater international participation in the development of what will be a global system, GADG participants recommended the formation of an international committee to focus on moving forward with the ZIMS project at an international level. This group, called IADISC (International Animal Data Information Systems Committee), will consist of representatives from each of the interested regional zoo and aquarium associations. IADISC will provide a forum for communicating project activities among regional associations and will insure that any new database that is developed will be truly international in scope. This group is currently being established.
ISIS staff members are a part of the ADISC membership and participate in ZIMS Project workshops. In addition, there is representation of ISIS committee members who are working to improve the existing animal information system. So in effect, ISIS is making a significant contribution to the design and development of ZIMS.
Concurrently, where institutions have sought to develop their own record-keeping solutions, efforts have been made to bring involved parties to the table to share ideas and models.
ZIMS will be built from the ground up and will be a newly structured physical database and user interface. Much of the logic and many of the business rules that have been developed and accepted in ISIS software reflect our business goals and objectives, and will be maintained.
leadership has been instrumental in guiding the ZIMS planning process in
coordination with member institutions, international colleagues and
associations. Support has been substantial, as association members and
leaders have helped craft the vision and planning process for ZIMS. The
association has provided funding for project meetings and the services of
technology consultants, the Inteq Group.
Member institutions have dedicated staff time and provided project
the Board of AZA has charged the ADISC with the creation of a Request for
Proposal (RFP) for the design and development of the core and veterinary
purpose of the two ZIMS workshops held this summer was to gather
high-level requirements from subject matter experts - specifically for core
and veterinary data Ė for inclusion in the Request for Proposal (RFP). The
RFP will allow us to solicit competitive bids for the development of ZIMS.
The deliverables from both workshops include a conceptual data model and
summary-level use cases. A
conceptual data model defines the high-level data requirements. A summary-level use case is a structured description of a
specific system use. Examples of actions or processes defined in a
summary-level use case are a veterinarian entering a medical procedure, or a
registrar accessioning an animal.
current focus of ADISC is to produce an RFP with our consultant the Inteq
Group. The RFP will be distributed early next year with the goal of
selecting a vendor and beginning the next phase of design and development by
mid-year 2003. During this time and continuing through the design phase it
will be crucial to continue work on data cleanup and the development of data
are still in the very early analysis phase of the ZIMS project, and once a
vendor has been selected, we will be scheduling more workshops to further
refine our requirements including system design. The
AZA ADISC finance and governance group and AZA leadership is also working
with ISIS and other associations and stakeholder groups to establish a clear
strategy for financing the system and managing the next phase of work. In
addition, leaders are in the process of establishing a governance structure
that will provide the necessary staffing, leadership and technical support
throughout the project.
is working with AZA and other regional associations to help develop the new
ZIMS project. The ISIS Board now includes representation from all the major
regional zoo associations (AZA, EAZA, ARAZPA and AMACZOO). This change will
strengthen international relationships. ISIS is in the process of
restructuring its bylaws, Board of Trustees and fee structure.
The Board and staff are creating a new Business Plan that will
support the new global system.
In addition the ISIS Board has allocated funding to contract with
fundraising consultants in North America and in Europe.
will include identifying specific roles and responsibilities for committee
members and working groups to establish an infrastructure for moving the
project forward, defining the process for RFP distribution and vendor
selection, and getting IADISC up and running.
has delivered a final draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for the project. It
includes results of the technical survey, workshop artifacts, and the
project charter. The next
step on this front is to have an independent assessment of the RFP and to
allow AZA and IADISC to review the proposal.
addition, short and long term funding strategies are being discussed for
the project, with valuable input provided by AZA and ISIS, as well as
specific donors. More information will follow in updates as information
institutions are continuing to use existing record-keeping tools. Others
are investigating data management systems or developing their own systems
to meet their needs. As projects have developed alongside ZIMS, weíve
encouraged the sharing of ideas and approaches. Our expectation is that by
sharing of concepts and models, IT solutions can be gained with greater
let us know if your institution has crafted IT solutions that can be
shared with ZIMS working teams.
ZIMS product will be truly revolutionary for the zoo and aquarium
profession. The project goes beyond the
initial vision of a central repository of zoological data to a system that
supports the information needs of the many diverse animal care and
management activities of our zoological institutions.
main architectural components of ZIMS include:
a classic book on software project management "The Mythical Man
Month" the author makes an important distinction between a software
"program" and a software "product". A software program
is typically one that a small programming team produces out of a workshop
environment. A software product is a software program that is
transformed to run as part of an integrated application in a real-world
day-to-day work environment.
tremendous amount of work is required to transform a program into a
product. In fact, it is generally accepted that it requires nine times
more effort to produce a software project as opposed to a program.
is a sophisticated and complex development initiative. The current plan is
to develop a commercial quality product that supports diverse activities
for a wide variety of zoological institutions and other stakeholders. The
ZIMS budget will need to be robust enough to result in a software product
of appropriate scope and functionality.
AZA President, Mark Reed, appointed the following AZA representatives to the IADISC (International Animal Data Information System Committee): Robert Erhardt, Kris Vehrs, R. Andrew Odum, and Robert Cook. Bruce Bohmke will serve as IADISC chair and Sue DuBois will serve as the Project Manager Advisor. IADISC members have been identified for most regional associations, but there are still a few regions that have not yet responded. Once the committee members are all identified, the next step will be an initial organizational meeting for IADISC. The exact date and location of this meeting has yet to be determined.
Contact Jeff Boehm at email@example.com