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Thursday, January 30, 2014

ESUP Town Hall Cancelled for January 30th

Instead of holding the University-wide Town Hall today, the ESUP change team has decided to hold more targeted in-person gatherings with stakeholders who are directly affected by the business process changes. We think this is a better use of resources and will allow more in-depth conversations to happen around specific issues and concerns. We apologize for any confusion regarding the "save-the-date."

We will promote these smaller events more heavily in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the best way to stay informed is to subscribe to the Upgrade newsletter and check out the "What's Changing" section of our website. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Portal Project Selects IntraSee as Development Partner

The Portal Team is happy to announce their partnership with IntraSee, Inc. to deliver the University's new myU Portal. IntraSee brings a wealth of portal implementation experience to ESUP. They have worked with many large, complicated entities in both private industry, government, and higher education. They bring significant experience, user-focused technical solutions, and a proven methodology to implement the portal within ESUP's timeline. Through evaluation, the University has deemed this to be the most efficient and sustainable option for portal development and the Program is optimistic they will help deliver the best possible product for the U.

As the team moves forward with IntraSee, they will continue to base their work on the feedback provided by the U community over the last year. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise!

Questions about the Portal Project? Email the program at esup@umn.edu or umportal@umn.edu.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ESUP Ready to Copy Databases

Core PeopleSoft applications (HR, Student, and Finance) may experience intermittent disruption for approximately two hours tomorrow, between 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. During this time, database administrators will prepare the databases for a copy of the data from the PeopleSoft applications to use during the testing phases for the Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program (ESUP). The timing of this snapshot is critical, as ESUP must use payroll information from a particular stage in the payroll process to ensure accuracy during testing.

ESUP has worked closely with IT’s service owners to minimize disruption across the University. Updated information will be posted to the University’s system status page during the two-hour block. In addition, people may refer to any of the following change tickets through ServiceNow:

  • Finance: CHG0035186
  • Student: CHG0035187
  • HRMS: CHG0035188

This date and time were determined based on the end of a payroll cycle, as requested from the ESUP HRMS work stream, and were selected in close coordination with the Student and Financial work streams to be as minimally intrusive as possible. The two-hour window allows for “quiet hours” where batch scheduling and messages going between the systems will be paused. The team anticipates completing these activities before 7:00 p.m. and will re-start the normal batch cycle and communications queues at that time.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sneak Peek: PCard is Moving to the Expense Report

A short post today--stay warm out there!

Some changes are coming to the financial system as part of the Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program (ESUP). (Hint: you can read about other changes, here!) The finance team has created a sneak peek of the planned change to the PCard reconciliation process. Please take a few minutes to watch the video posted at http://z.umn.edu/pcardsneakpeek.

Please share this sneak peek with those in your unit who may have an interest in the PCard process. A link to the video will also be posted on the EFS message screen.

For more information about the financial system (EFS) upgrade, visit http://z.umn.edu/finance. If you have questions about coming changes as a result of ESUP, we’d love to hear from you! Please send us an email at esup@umn.edu. We’ll track down the answer and get back to you!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sneak Peek: New Self-Service Centers in PeopleSoft 9.0

The ESUP Student work stream will be releasing several new self-service centers in PeopleSoft 9.0. The following short videos provide an overview on how these centers will benefit users. The ESUP Student Training Team will be developing more in-depth tutorials and documentation of this new functionality before ESUP goes live.

Advisor Center  

The Advisor Center will provide advisers access to real-time data on their advisees, including biographical and demographic data, academic information and more.

Faculty Center

The new Faculty Center will provide faculty (and their proxies) one centralized location for completing tasks associated with teaching classes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What is hypercare and why should you care?

ESUP is starting to plan for end-user support post-go live. The stabilization period after a system launch is often referred to as ‘hypercare’. It focuses on customer support, data integrity, and system stability. The ESUP hypercare effort will leverage the knowledge and experience of each ESUP work stream and require coordination and collaboration between functional, technical, and security experts.

During this planning period, ESUP will identify appropriate channels for the first level of support, confirm issue resolution pathways, determine communications tactics, and ensure the program is gathering the necessary organizational support to meet user needs immediately post launch. In addition to relying on the expertise of integration partner Cedar Crestone International, the program is reaching out to other institutions who have undergone enterprise-wide upgrades to validate best practices. 

ESUP is also gathering lessons learned from previous internal upgrades and implementations. We plan to support our knowledgable help desk employees to ensure they have as many details about the changes as possible and leverage these experienced user support teams in the planning process.  The program’s goal for hypercare is to ensure that strong structures and procedures are in place so questions and issues are fielded, prioritized, resolved, and communicated back to the user community in a timely and effective manner.

We want to hear from you!
To ensure ESUP’s planning activities address the most critical needs and to provide you with the best support, we’d like your input. Please send your ideas or questions on hypercare to esup@umn.edu and include “hypercare” in the subject.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ESUP is Listening...Survey Results from the University

Through the Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program (ESUP), the University is improving its technology and streamlining procedures related to its three largest PeopleSoft applications: Finance, HRMS, and Student while building a new portal and enhancing reporting capabilities. The Program is a major endeavor with significant changes, and one bound to elicit different interests and opinions. To understand its stakeholders better, ESUP surveyed the University community for the second time in fall 2013, and plans two more surveys during the course of the program.

Results from the second survey:
  • More than 2,000 people responded for a response rate over 30 percent
  • Awareness and support for the program and readiness for change are strong - around 80 percent
  • Knowledge of what the program entails and the business reasons for ESUP are not as high - around 60 percent
  • Respondents who know ESUP team members personally have greater confidence in its success
  • Many stakeholders think the program will succeed but it may take some time to work out the kinks or details
  • History of past enterprise projects still on the minds of stakeholders with low confidence

ESUP’s response:
As part of an educational institution, ESUP is trying to demonstrate what it has learned by taking several steps based on knowledge gained from previous enterprise system implementations and survey results, including: 
  • Establishing its current governance model and functional structure
  • Incorporating reporting and data management as an integrated project within the overall program
  • Committing to an enterprise communications, change management, and training strategy
  • Launching The Upgrade newsletter to improve reach of communications and provide more depth of information

Thank you to those of you who completed the survey. Please watch for future opportunities to provide feedback as we move closer to implementation. If you have questions or would like more information about the survey, please email the program at esup@umn.edu.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Teaming Up with ESUP: Finance and OHR staff exhibit great team work on challenging topic

Wills and Oliveira kept users and the ‘greater good’ in mind while working on Payroll Accounting 

In our last edition of Teaming Up with ESUP, we defined a team as: “a group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project” (taken from dictionary.com). Like the last team, this definition also fits Carlson School of Management’s Finance Director Michelle Wills and Office of Human Resources Business Analyst Silas Oliveira who, with their colleagues, worked to streamline business processes and leverage the new Payroll Accounting functionality coming with ESUP.

Silas Oliveira and Michelle Wills

Payroll Accounting processes are complex, and the delivered PeopleSoft solution didn’t entirely meet the University’s needs. During the Interactive Design and Prototyping (IDP) sessions, there were some rough patches where previous decisions had to be revisited and changed, which led to more IDP sessions and in some cases, significant changes. Silas and Michelle guided the whole effort as the team worked through these challenges together to find acceptable solutions.

When asked what they appreciated about the other, Michelle valued Silas’s ability to keep the users in mind and his “incredible amount of institutional knowledge.” In return, Silas admired Michelle’s ability to take on others’ perspectives and keep “the greater good in mind when weighing decisions.”

Silas and Michelle agreed that it takes diverse perspectives and a willingness to engage and get involved for a team to be effective. Their colleagues noticed. Instructional Designer and  System Campus Training Lead Pattie Samberg said, “They could readily see the other’s perspective … they made it seem easy to discuss topics and arrive at solutions.” 

According to Silas, this ability to take on each other’s point of view helped the team achieve “a much needed understanding of how central business practices impact departments differently,” along with a more user-friendly Distribution Entry process. 

The cross-functional collaboration between Silas, Michelle, and the HRMS and Finance work streams--as well as countless collaborations--continue to be a vital part of ESUP’s success. Please submit names of people you think demonstrate outstanding teamwork as part of ESUP to esup@umn.edu and look for your colleagues in future articles as the program continues to move forward.

To learn more about what’s changing with Payroll Accounting, click here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Announcing Changes in Finance

Part One: ChartField strings, Workflow and Approval

In this three-part series, we’ll explore some of the changes for Finance/EFS. Stay tuned for parts two and three in future issues of the Upgrade.

One of the most common questions people ask about the Finance or Enterprise Financial System (EFS) upgrade is, “What exactly is changing?” Until recently, the finance teams could not answer that question in detail. The teams could have guessed but before now, no one could have known exactly what would change until the work groups completed a lot of analysis work. Nearly all the analysis is complete now and they have information to share!

This effort, for EFS, is an upgrade of the existing system. In general, massive changes to financial business processes are not planned nor are they expected. Nevertheless, there will be changes made, since we have the opportunity to address major pain points for end users of the system and business processes in some areas. The proposed changes to the Financial system and business processes have been warmly received when reviewed by representative affected community members and advisory groups. For more information about the planned changes, see Potential for Change by Module in EFS.

Will the upgraded Financial system (EFS) prevent people from using random combinations of ChartField values?

People who work with EFS or financial reporting asked for improved chart string validation, to reduce the number of erroneous transactions due to the use of invalid chart strings. 

  • An improvement is planned for FY16 (taking effect on July 1, 2015) to edit the full string as a whole rather than merely editing if the individual values are valid. (The edits will check if a unit created a budget line for the string, that is, that the department intend for someone to record activity on the string of values.)

What workflow and approval changes are coming to EFS?

Online approvers asked for more consistent workflow across financial transaction types, to improve the efficiency of transaction review and approvals. Highlights of the new system approval features:

  • Each of the finance modules that use workflow will behave in a similar manner.
  • There will be one primary approver for each department ID and transaction type.
  • There will be a pool of alternate approvers for each department and transaction type.
  • Both the primary approver and alternate pool will be able to access the transaction for approval at the same time (no waiting period before alternates can access the transaction).
  • Certified approvers who hold both the department approver role and the certified approver role will only need to review/approve a transaction one time instead of twice (once for each role).
  • Preparers of transactions will be notified after five days if no approval action has been taken.
  • The actions available to approvers will be consistent across all types of financial transactions: approve, return, hold.

As ESUP moves forward, we will provide additional details and information about coming changes in Finance and the other work streams so stakeholders can get a better idea of their impact.  Please send an email to esup@umn.edu if you have questions about chartfield strings or workflow approval. Watch for parts two and three of this series on coming Finance changes in future issues of the Upgrade.