Cal Poly Partners with Workday for Tours and Senior Projects

Cal Poly students at WorkdayOn January 20th, 2017, 25 students from the Information Systems Association (ISA) along with Professor Barry Floyd, IS Concentration Coordinator, visited Workday headquarters in Pleasanton, CA.

The all-day event kicked off with a light breakfast and a presentation by Mindy Hicks, University Talent Acquisition Partner, who discussed the history of Workday and how it earned its presence in industry. Sol Bechtold, VP of Integration Services, then spoke about Workday’s culture and life in the world of technology. Pedro Chiang, Director of Integration Services, filled in details about the various types of Workday consultants, the process of a Workday implementation project, and the importance of teamwork.

Presentations for Workday staff to Cal Poly studentsThe day continued with a lunch where Cal Poly alumni who are currently employed by Workday joined the students creating a wonderful forum for students to learn what the keys to success are at Workday and life as a Workday Consultant. Attending the lunch were Emi Morales, Jenny Phu, Lauren Parris, Marek Zhang, Matt Dobbs, Stephanie Poleman, all Cal Poly alums. The afternoon was filled with tours of the Workday campus, a presentation by Kate Dey who discussed the importance of soft skills in the tech industry, and then moved into a presentation by Tom Quach, Senior Manager, Integration Services Programs, on Enterprise Integration Technologies.

Tom and his team at Workday are sponsoring a senior project opportunity for 12 Cal Poly IS students to learn via hands-on how to connect third party applications to the Workday platform via enterprise integration. Students participating in the senior project include some who have accepted full-time jobs with Workday upon graduation in June, some who have accepted summer internships, and some who are simply interested in these technologies. The senior project runs from January to May with guidance and support from Tom and his team.

Thanks to Tom for initiating both the tour and the senior project and to Mindy Hicks in organizing such a successful tour!

Cal Poly students tour WorkdaySome comments from student participants include:

“Workday did a magnificent job at hosting Cal Poly IS students. They told us about the ins and outs of their company, examples of how they serve their clients, their unique culture and what roles IS students fall into their company. I would definitely suggest future tours for all IS students, even if they have internships and jobs at other places.” — Joanna Amezcua, ISA President

“I loved touring the campus and learning about the Workday culture in a much more intimate, in-depth way than I could have gathered from reading about the company on so much more dynamic and insightful to be on the company grounds.”  — Matthew Cornelison, ISA Director of Professional Relations

Professor Patricia McQuaid Presents at International Conferences

Professor Patricia McQuaidCal Poly information systems professor Patricia McQuaid was a keynote speaker at the Southeast European Testing Conference 2016 (SEETEST), held in Bucharest, Romania, in September.  The talk was entitled, “Best Practices for Independent Quality Assurance of Major IT Projects.” She also gave a four-hour tutorial, entitled “Test Design Techniques.”

In October, she presented a talk similar to her keynote talk, at the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference in Portland, Oregon.  She presented this talk with Dr. Ying Kwong, the Statewide Quality Assurance Program Manager for the Office of the Oregon State CIO. She, Dr. Kwong, and Dr. Pettit, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the State of Oregon, published a paper on the topic in the December issue of the American Society for Quality’s (ASQ) software division journal, the Software Quality Professional.

McQuaid was also invited by the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the State of Oregon to speak at the State capital in Salem, Oregon.  She discussed software quality, software testing, software process improvement, and project management issues, tailored to their methodologies of developing software projects.  There were nearly 60 people from 23 agencies in attendance.   Representatives of these agencies attended the talk:  Commission for the Blind, Administrative Services, Consumer and Business Services, Corrections, Environmental Quality, Fish and Wildlife, Human Services – Shared Services, Public Safety Standards and Training, State Lands, Legislative Fiscal Office, Office of the State CIO, Board of Pharmacy, Construction Contractors Board, Agriculture, Justice and Health Authority – Shared Services, Housing and Community Services, Judicial Department, Legislature, Parks and Recreation, Public Employees Retirement System, Secretary of State.

Since Cal Poly formed a CyberSecurity Center in 2013, McQuaid has been involved in a variety of way.

She is a faculty liaison to the Orfalea College of Business for the Cybersecurity Case Study Library (CSCL), a collaborative project in conjunction with Cal Poly’s Cybersecurity Center which allows students and staff from all disciplines to engage with cybersecurity research and data.  Students across all majors have the opportunity to create case studies on cybersecurity events, exploring how cybersecurity affects their area of study and encouraging them to apply their critical thinking skills in order to find innovative solutions. The case studies created by students as part of CSCL are then used by professors as curricula to teach their classes how to analyze, interpret, and solve potential cybersecurity threats. Each case study explores a topic traditionally associated with cybersecurity and connects it with a discipline such as political science, philosophy, and agribusiness. By exploring cybersecurity issues across multiple disciplines, classrooms are exposed to valuable security content they might not otherwise study.  Pat and a professor from the college of agriculture are supervising a team of two students writing a case study, one person from Information Systems and one from agri-business.

McQuaid has been appointed as a California Cyber Training Complex (CCTC) Research and Education Coordinator, representing the Orfalea College of Business.  This initiative is a collaborative partnership between Cal Poly and the California Military Department, located at Camp San Luis Obispo, and relates to cybersecurity youth education and skills development programs.  The CCTC will host and support the CyberCalifornia Cyber Innovation Challenge (CCIC) for 2017 and 2018 for the State of California. The CCIC is an annual cybersecurity competition for high school students that will leverage existing cybersecurity competition network and outreach programs, including the Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot Program and the San Diego Mayor’s Cyber Cup.  By coordinating these existing high school cybersecurity competitions and increasing access to cyber innovation challenges, the CIC will help California’s defense community proactively address the global cybersecurity skills gap. McQuaid will be working on these initiatives.

McQuaid is also is the Program Chair of the seventh World Congress for Software Quality (WCSQ) to be held in March 2017 in Lima, Peru. The international conference, held every 3 years, and is sponsored by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) software division, the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE), and European quality interests. McQuaid will give a presentation entitled “A Plan for Providing Cyber Education for Critical Infrastructure Protection to Law Enforcement Personnel,” related to the Cal Poly cybersecurity initiatives.

Faculty Spotlight: Jim Burleson

20150430-IMG_5352 smallJim Burleson, assistant professor of management
Specialties: information systems and social media

What attracted you to Cal Poly?
Cal Poly offers a unique environment that promotes excellence in both teaching and research. I wanted to find a university that places a priority on education while offering the resources necessary to explore new ideas.

What industry positions have you held?
I worked as a business analyst for the global consulting firm CapGemini. My primary responsibility was to work with organizations to identify how technology could solve their business problems.

How has your subject changed in the last five years?
Information systems used to exist solely for the “nerds.” But today, we’re all nerds. Everyone uses technology. Facebook counts its users by the billions. It is no longer necessary to discuss why technology is valuable. Our goal is to show students how technology can be used to impact the world.

What are your favorite parts about teaching at Cal Poly?
My favorite part of teaching at Cal Poly is walking into a classroom full of students that sincerely want to learn. The students here are highly motivated and always up to a new challenge. The palm tree outside of my window isn’t bad, either.

How have you Learned by Doing personally?
One of my primary research interests is how organizations use social media to interact with the outside world. Through this research, I have had the opportunity to speak with managers from a variety of organizations and work with interesting software tools, which enable new forms of data analytics.

How have you challenged your students?
BUS 394: Systems Analysis & Design teaches students how to analyze and design the solution to a business problem using technology. This often involves a high degree of interpersonal interaction. To promote learning in this area, I have students work with local organizations to identify a business problem and gather the information needed to design a solution. The project forces students to step outside the comforts of the classroom and gain some real world, hands-on experience.

What’s been the biggest challenge in your career?
Because our field is constantly evolving, most of the teaching materials we create and examples we offer in class become outdated very rapidly. The challenge for the faculty is to stay current on new trends in technology and how it is being used in organizations. The “new” technologies of today will be ancient history in about five minutes.

Who is your go-to for faculty collaboration at Cal Poly?
I work closely with most of the information systems faculty. Dr. Leida Chen and I started at Cal Poly together, and we share an interest in data analytics. Though I only recently began working here at Cal Poly, I have already had the opportunity to interact with a wide assortment of outstanding faculty members.  It’s an honor to be part of this group.

How have your students changed in the last five years?
Students today seem more motivated than ever to plan for life after graduation. I have more conversations about internships and potential occupations than ever before.

What has been your favorite moment from this last year of teaching?
A local alumnus working for a software company asked for some ideas related to the re-design of one of its mobile apps. He tasked the Systems Analysis & Design class to identify opportunities to improve the user interface of the application. It was so much fun watching the students solve a real-world business problem and seek to improve a tangible product in a meaningful way.

What is your hidden talent or hobby?
I have a not-so-secret love of dancing, specifically swing dancing and contra dancing. I moved to California from South Carolina, where I learned most everything I know. It has been a blast to find opportunities to dance out here on the West Coast.

What’s your favorite thing about San Luis Obispo?
Driving anywhere in the area when the sun begins to set. It really is breathtaking here.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
One of the easiest traps to fall into is second-guessing your decisions. My father has the best advice for eliminating the temptation to second-guess yourself: “Make the best decision you can with the information at your disposal, and never look back.”

Information Systems Vet NetApp Certifications


During winter quarter, 10 information systems students partnered with NetApp to test resources for its Certified Storage Associate certification, a foundational certification offered to colleges and universities worldwide. The students thoroughly vetted materials through hours of reading and tutorials before giving detailed feedback to NetApp’s developers. Their feedback and comments were used by NetApp’s technical content developers’ quality assurance process to finalize the new guides, which went live in early March.

“There’s no better way for us to know if the content is hitting the mark than having our target audience give us direct feedback,” said Linda Moss, vice president of NetApp University. “We were really impressed with the great job, diligence and detail that Cal Poly’s students put into the exercise –– and I believe their input will lead to a far more effective learning guide!”

Students in information systems Professor Barry Floyd’s BUS 393: Database Systems in Business course earned extra credit for their work with NetApp. Floyd orchestrated the collaboration through to his role on NetApp’s Academic Advisory board.

Cal Poly Debuts Business Analytics Course

20111117_01343 smallCal Poly’s information systems concentration has pioneered a new course in business analytics as a response to growing industry demand for data analysts in all industries. The undergraduate course was developed by associate information systems professor Leida Chen, a former senior program manager of Microsoft’s Asia-Pacific research and development team. Unlike a statistics or computer science course, the business analytics course delved into mining, preparing and analyzing different types of data to tell a story and influence specific business decisions.

“There was lots of interest in this business analytics course because students understand that this is where the jobs are,” said Chen.

Chen also says the class teaches students to work with key data platforms including Microsoft SQL Server, SAS Enterprise Guide and SAS Enterprise Miner. The course gave students hands-on experience with different types of data for both reactive and predictive analysis. The course also taught students about visualizing data appropriately to effectively present findings to a business in any sector.

The new course is part of the Orfalea College of Business’ effort to infuse data analysis into a variety of areas of study. In addition to new undergraduate courses, the college will soon launch a professional certificate in business analytics through a series of five courses including similar information systems courses and new marketing analytics and social media courses. In 2016, the college aims to debut a one-year Master of Science degree in business analytics program as well.