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Monday, March 31, 2014

Sneak Peek: Finance approvals process

The Finance work stream recently released a sneak peek on approvals. The video explains how the University's financial transaction approvals process will change as a result of ESUP. If you haven't yet seen this sneak peek, check it out! (And remember, all the videos and sneak peeks are on the Program's website.)

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, please email esup@umn.edu. We’ll track down the answer and get back to you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Teaming Up with ESUP - Finance Work Stream

According to Gina Danyluk, an Academic Health Center cluster director and ESUP Finance Functional Steering Committee member, an effective team is one that, "has a common goal with well-defined expectations of team members and an organized approach to achieving the goal.” Gina’s co-lead on the Expenses Workgroup for Finance is Lisa Luhman Bass, a business analyst on the Module Support Team. Lisa described an effective team as one where, “it's important to listen to everyone's point of view and to be respectful. As a member of a team no one person is greater than the others.”

Gina and Lisa make a great team on Finance because they’re able to appreciate what the other person brings to the table, along with the ability to see differing points of view. This ability came into play when the issue of pcard purchase approvals arose. The current process includes a forced reconciliation process, which will not exist once My Wallet is introduced. The exclusion of forced reconciliation was a concern for both Central and local managers. Gina and Lisa’s hard work, and the determination of their team, allowed them to come up with a proposed solution: notifications and reporting to different constituencies related to pcard transactions. For example, alerts will go to cardholders of pending transactions to be reconciled, while reports will be created for unposted transactions and sent to department managers.

Gina and Lisa make great co-leads, but they want to make sure that credit is given to their dedicated team members.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Morris Campus Develops ESUP Leadership Team

At the end of 2013, ESUP team members from the Twin Cities headed west for the University of Minnesota, Morris campus. Driving through snow and blizzard-like conditions, the team made it (albeit, slightly late) for a day of ESUP discussions.

Front (L to R): Nancy Helsper, Clare Dingley, Jim Hall

Back (L to R): Lori Kurpiers, Jenny Quam, Colleen Miller, Bryan Herrmann, Mike Vandenberg, Lowell Rasmussen, Sarah Mattson, Jill Beauregard

Once there, the ESUP team was formally introduced to the Morris ESUP Leadership Team, a committee selected by campus Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson. Led by Vice Chancellor of Finance and Facilities Lowell Rasmussen and Human Resources Director Sarah Mattson, the leadership team is comprised of Jill Beauregard, Clare Dingley, Jim Hall, Nancy Helsper, Bryan Herrmann, Lori Kurpiers, Colleen Miller, and Mike Vandenberg, with Jenny Quam providing administrative support to the team. 

The leadership team meets bi-weekly to plan for the impact of the upgraded systems and discuss communications and change management strategies for the campus. For example, Vice Chancellor Rassmussen keeps Chancellor Johnson and campus executives current on ESUP plans and activities by providing updates at the weekly Chancellor and Vice Chancellor’s meetings.

Mattson said the team has been busy. “Right now we’re introducing ourselves as the Morris ESUP Leadership Team and informing our campus colleagues about what we need to do to get ready for implementation. We’re communicating about the work of the project to the Morris community by encouraging them to sign-up for the ESUP newsletter, The Upgrade, which provides great information and even 'sneak peeks' into what is to come.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sneak Peek: Introducing the New Reporting Center

The Reporting and Data Management work stream is releasing a "sneak peek" video introducing the new Reporting Center. This short video highlights key features and explains how University faculty and staff will use this new location in the new myU portal to access reports from UM Reports, UM Analytics, and PeopleSoft. Please take a couple of minutes to watch the video and share it with colleagues.

 Link to reporting center sneak peek

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

First Look: HRMS begins high-level training with unit and OHR staff

“It’s finally here!” said Lori Lamb, director of OHR Operations. “We’re really doing this -- I’m so excited!”

Lamb sat along the back wall of a packed room on the first floor of WBOB -- the space reserved for HRMS Business Process Owners -- last Thursday afternoon and surveyed a bustling room full of HR and Finance staff anxious for a first look at new HRMS business processes and functions. The gathering was the first of four ESUP HRMS Processes & Functions training sessions scheduled for unit HR and Finance leaders, and the first formal training sessions of the Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program (ESUP).

For the next two hours, HRMS Training Lead Amanda Wolford walked more than 50 people through high-level flowcharts mapping end-to-end HRMS business processes from recruiting and onboarding through time and absence reporting and payroll accounting. Along the way, Wolford took special note of the new importance of Position data, as well as important process changes and new functions unit staff will be expected to perform when the new system goes live in February 2015. 

Participants were also given a more detailed functions document, explaining the responsibilities of each function and the competencies required to perform it well. This led to an exercise in which tables used Post-Its to map specific functions to the appropriate steps in the process flows. The goal was twofold: To see how well the group understood the process flows and to encourage units to begin thinking how current HR and Finance roles may need to evolve.

As the tables worked through the exercise, Dann Chapman, director of employee benefits, told Lamb how helpful the flowcharts were to understanding how the system and functions will work together -- and why data integrity is important every step of the way. Chapman’s feedback is important, because beginning in April, all Office of Human Resources (OHR) staff will begin similar high-level training so that the entire OHR team has a basic understanding of how we do the business of HR at the University.

As a final exercise, tables were asked to document the biggest changes from their perspectives, as well as what excited and worried them most. The overlap between tables was striking. On the positive side, attendees were excited about electronic time and absence reporting and approvals, automated COBRA notifications, and the fact that, going forward, not only does Position data “finally mean something,” but helps to integrate and automate currently disconnected business processes (especially recruiting).. At the same time, people expressed concerns about changes in staff functions, payroll accounting processes, and timeliness of time and absence approvals, as well as the scale and timing of training needed for successful implementation. 

Nevertheless, attendees offered kudos and applause for a successful and informative first session.

“I can’t say enough that this is only the beginning,” Wolford said. “This is high-level process training. Today is just an appetizer -- there will be much more to come!”

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Announcing Changes in Finance/EFS - Part Three: WorkCenters and Issue Selection

In this three-part series, we are exploring some of the changes for Finance or the Enterprise Financial System (EFS). Part One covered ChartField values, Workflow, and Approval changes. Part two covered PCards and Combo Codes.

As mentioned in Part One and Two, for EFS this effort is an upgrade of the existing system. In general, we don’t expect or plan on massive changes to financial business processes. Nevertheless, we are taking this opportunity to make some changes and address major points. So far, after reviewing the proposed changes to EFS, stakeholder representatives and financial advisory groups have welcomed the new procedures and approaches coming with ESUP.   

For more information about the planned changes see Potential for Change by Module in EFS.

What’s one big new thing that will be in the Finance system (EFS) after the upgrade?

This is just one of the new features available to the University, as a result of changes made to PeopleSoft: WorkCenters. PeopleSoft now offers WorkCenters for many functions. For example, voucher preparers (payments) will have one screen they can go to that amalgamates functionality from many different places in the system: which transactions have errors and need attention; queries and reports the preparer might need to find things; transactions in progress/status; a link to create new transactions; and so on. End users of the system from departments and colleges helped determine which features and links to include in these WorkCenters. Finding things in the system should be much less complicated and stressful for busy unit support staff. Think of it as a control center for the common and necessary tasks for a role. Instead of having to remember a whole bunch of different system navigation, it’s all gathered in one place. Watch for a sneak peek from the Finance team, coming soon, about WorkCenters.

How did these specific issues get identified or selected to be addressed as part of the upgrade?

Vice President Pfutzenreuter chartered a functional steering committee for this effort made up of college and department representatives. When this upgrade project began, the finance community members on the functional steering committee reviewed and prioritized the list of EFS end user pain points that had been identified at that time. The resulting list guides the work of the entire finance system upgrade.

What’s happening next?

Teams will be working on: 

  • retrofitting or removing existing modifications, 
  • replacing certain online activities with new PeopleSoft functionality, 
  • resolving how to address critical pain points, 
  • collaborating with the other work streams where there is an impact on or integration needed with the finance system, 
  • collaborating with technical staff to address changes made to the technology infrastructure, and 
  • drafting job aids and training materials related to the changes being made.

For more information about the planned changes, see Potential for Change by Module in EFS.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Student Work Stream: Collaboration Key to Successful Decision Making

Members of the Student work stream Functional Steering Committees (FSC) faced a daunting task during the nine months they spent in Interactive Design and Prototyping: the first comprehensive examination and restructuring of PeopleSoft-related business processes since 1998. This included reviewing 93 business processes and nearly 900 modifications to the existing system. The goal of this effort was to increase efficiency and retire as many modifications as possible to allow for using delivered functionality. The challenge was accomplishing this while maintaining a high level of service. Questions such as, “Is there a better way?” and “What modifications can we do away with?” were routinely asked and the FSC members were charged with finding the answers and making decisions.

Because these decisions would affect the entire University system, it was critical that decisions resulted from open dialogue and discussion representing all five campuses. To accomplish this, a functional steering committee (with representation from each campus) was created for each Student work stream module and embedded in the team. In a methodology led by implementation partner, CedarCrestone, the FSC members worked alongside business analysts to review business processes and then make the decisions. “It takes all of the groups working together to best serve our students,” says Colleen Miller, finance director for the Morris campus and member of the Student Financials functional steering committee.

When a challenging situation arose, the functional steering committees often reached out to users. For example, both the Admissions and Student Records teams held Town Hall meetings to discuss the impacts of a particularly difficult decision with their stakeholders. 

Tina Falkner, director of Continuity and Compliance in Academic Support Resources and a member of the Student Records FSC, says taking the time to carefully consider each decision was a priority. “The Student Records functional steering committee took the time to discuss how we could change our business processes and how we would identify and fix errors that might arise from the new processes. We then allowed enough time for members of the FSC who would be the most impacted by the change to air their concerns.”

Transparency and a willingness to listen were critical. “All decisions were the result of open and thorough discussions,” says Brenda Herzig, director of financial aid and One Stop Student Services at Duluth and a member of the Financial Aid FSC. “Most decisions made were to improve issues we have had in the past but couldn’t resolve because of a lack of system resources. The upgrade is providing us the opportunity to make much needed changes that all campuses agree on.” For the Financial Aid module, these changes resulted in a 70% reduction in modifications to the system--a huge win for the University. 

To learn more about the outcome of work of the Student work stream FSCs, visit What’s Changing

Monday, March 10, 2014

ESUP Finance Workstream: Good news for people using EFS!

The upgrade team is working on one web page everyone can visit to prepare for the upgrade. Most people will be able to complete all of their EFS upgrade preparation online.

The upgrade of EFS is scheduled to launch (or “go live”) in February of 2015 for all of the PeopleSoft enterprise systems. Right now, staff with the following roles will have to do a bit more work than everyone else to get ready: PCard reconcilers, PCard approvers, travel & expense preparers, and travel & expense approvers.

Both the PCard and travel related activities may continue to be performed by separate individuals or the work may be combined into one role within units, once the upgrade takes place. Please discuss your role(s) with your supervisor or manager before planning to take the additional training. Your RRC manager and EFS cluster director will ensure you have EFS access appropriate to complete your assigned work. After the upgrade, PCard reconciler and approver security roles will cease to exist (they will be part of being a travel & expense preparer or approver). Details of the approval configuration for PCard activity will be available closer to the launch date for the upgrade.

PCard reconcilers and approvers:

  • Do this now (optional): Watch the sneak peek about PCard.
  • Do this soon (required before February 2015): If you have not already done so, complete this training:
  • When it becomes available (required before February 2015): You will have to complete one online training course that covers the changes to Travel & Expense functionality. And there’s no assessment!

Travel & expense preparers and approvers:

  • Do this now (optional): Watch the sneak peek about PCard.
  • Do this soon (optional): If you have not already done so, consider completing the PCard reconciliation or approving coursework or review the related materials looking specifically at policy-related information.
  • When it becomes available (required before February 2015): You will have to complete one online training course that covers the changes to Travel & Expense functionality. And there’s no assessment!