Rob Super, one of the administrative center directors at the University’s Medical School and bowtie aficionado, plays a critical role in ESUP. We sat down with Rob to ask him a few questions.
ESUP: How did you get involved in ESUP?
Rob Super (RS): Richard Pfutzenreuter (Fitz), vice president and CFO, and Mike Volna, associate vice president of finance and University controller, asked the Financial Management Advisory Committee (FinMAC) to serve as the user community representatives on the Financial Functional Steering Committee on ESUP. I am a member of FinMAC. Fitz and Mike also asked me to serve as the chair.
ESUP: What excites you about this project?
RS: Many things. The user perspective is being actively sought and given equal weight in all decisions. We are building up trust between the user community and our central colleagues. System integration issues are identified early on and addressed in the most collaborative way I have seen in my 20 years at the University. We have great support from President Kaler and his senior leaders. We are seeing very creative solutions emerge from our workgroups. I think we will see new functionality in many areas that will be embraced by users.
ESUP: We keep hearing the finance project is a true upgrade versus a re-implementation. What's the difference, for the average person who uses EFS?
RS: When EFS users work on the upgraded system, it will be very familiar to them. When the HRMS and Student Systems users work on their new systems, they will have much more to learn in terms of new functionality and concepts.
ESUP: Will this upgrade project address every EFS end user pain point that's been shared over the last five years?
RS: No, it won't address every pain point but we will make significant improvements in many areas. For example, approval workflow will be improved, allowing pools of approvers the ability to approve each transaction. Functionality will also be added so chartstrings will be validated, thereby eliminating the really large number of invalid chartstrings that get created and corrected each year. A more complete list of improvements can be found at the ESUP finance website.
ESUP: How is this project different from earlier enterprise projects/EFS?
RS: The scope of the project: encompassing all the enterprise systems. It is great to see reporting, change management and training issues teed up at the beginning of the project rather than the end. Also, I think most of us who represent end users of the systems would agree that user needs are being given a primacy in the decision-making process that is unprecedented. The level of teamwork, staff commitment, respectful discussions about tough topics, and creative problem-solving has reached a level I have not experienced before. I feel privileged to be a part of ESUP and I think many others feel the same way.
ESUP: How will the work you and others are doing on the finance functional work stream affect the U of M community?
RS: We believe EFS will work better because of our work. We hope EFS users will unanimously prefer the upgraded version to the current version.
Thanks to Rob for answering our questions. Please let us know who would you like to see interviewed and what topics you like us to cover. We’d love to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions.