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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chartfield Updates - A Change for the Better

ESUP's update to the ChartField Request form process will be, “a welcome change that replaces
an outdated process," according to Anne Heugel, Business Analyst - EFS Module Support, who has been at the University for 14 years.

The current process used to request new or updates to ChartField values happens in the Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) tool, a system outside of PeopleSoft. ChartFields are the building blocks of the University’s Chart of Accounts and the Chart of Accounts is the backbone of the financial system. The news that the BPEL tool was being eliminated from the ChartField Request process caused cheering at a recent meeting of departmental finance folks.

Currently, around 400 University employees manually update and make changes to ChartFields in BPEL, route the changes for review, and then manually re-key the new information into the PeopleSoft Financial system. The process requires off-line spreadsheets to track requests and record updates, which is inefficient. 

ChartField values including workflow attributes and submit them for approval. Being able to process Chartfield requests and updates in PeopleSoft will be much easier and less frustrating for departments across the University."

For more information about this process or others coming to the Finance part of ESUP, visit the Potential for Change by Module in EFS web page. Please email questions to esup@umn.edu.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Student work stream hosts Town Hall

The Student work stream held a town hall meeting on Thursday, May 15. More than 250 staff from all University of Minnesota system campuses gathered at locations across the state to hear about changes that will affect students, faculty and staff as a result of the upgrade to the student system. Highlights of the presentation include:

  • An overview of how ESUP came about, its goals, and how those goals fit into President Kaler’s Operational Excellence initiatives
  • A preview of the new myU Portal and an explanation of how it will work for students, staff and faculty (a sneak peek is available)
  • Synopsis of how Financial Aid (disbursing aid) will be affected by the upgrade
  • Synopsis of how Student Financials (collecting tuition/fees) will be affected by the upgrade
  • Synopsis of how Admissions will be affected by the upgrade
  • Synopsis of how SEVIS will be affected by the upgrade
  • Information on the Academic Advisement (degree audit for graduate programs) implementation
  • Details on specific changes to Student Records processes: Course Guide, waitlists, and grading

“I thought it was an informative overview of what ESUP entails,” said Jenny Malek, scholarship coordinator for the Office of Admissions. “Sometimes it’s easy to forget all of the ways the project will affect the University when you’re always focused on your part. I’m looking forward to learning more over the next year.” 

Because changes affect colleges differently, the Student team would like to meet with colleges individually to go into more detail on how the upgrade will affect Student Records processes and how to best prepare. A representative from the Student team will be reaching out to each college to make arrangements for these meetings. Email esup@umn.edu if you have questions before then. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

ESUP plans for launch: getting down to details

What happens to regular business activities during the upgrade itself?

During the upgrade period in February 2015, PeopleSoft systems will be available for inquiry only for a period of time while the new systems are brought online.

In advance of system upgrade activities next February, ESUP will share a set of detailed processing procedures and deadlines with the community. Here’s a small sample of the Finance fiscal year-end process to illustrate what will be available. 

Each year there are several days in June when purchase transactions may not be processed in the financial system. Purchasing activities cannot completely cease during this window, so there are special procedures ready for departments to use in case they need something during that time. This year the deadline to enter fiscal year 2014 purchases in the financial system is June 24 at 4:00 p.m. Data entry of purchasing activity must pause until July 1. What are people to do during the interim, if they need something immediately? There are a number of methods for emergency purchases during this window when transactions may not be processed in the financial system; detailed instructions are available in the fiscal year-end procedures. 

Processes similar to the example above will be available for key activities during the upgrade. This is just one example of the types of work adjustments we need to make to certain processes during the upgrade.

More detailed information on go-live activities, including impacts to tertiary systems, will be available in the future at upgrade.umn.edu!

***This blog post was updated since it's original post date to reflect new information.***

Monday, May 19, 2014

OHR speaks with one voice on HRMS upgrade

In late April and early May, all Office of Human Resources (OHR) staff were invited to attend one of four high-level training sessions regarding the more significant changes coming as a result of HRMS Upgrade Project and the impact of those changes on the ways in which OHR does its work. Those training sessions are now complete, with participation of nearly 100 percent.

At the end of each session, small groups were asked to share what they learned by developing an “elevator speech” they could share with colleagues or University leaders if asked about the upgrade. More than 20 speeches were drafted and compiled; the word cloud below helps to illustrate the major themes that emerged from the small groups.

OHR Staff elevator speech "word cloud."

HRMS Upgrade Project team members then reviewed the word-cloud and the speeches themselves to draft a single, consolidated elevator speech for use by OHR staff, HRMS stakeholders, and communicators. The result is concise -- less than 100 words that capture the essence of what the HRMS Upgrade is achieving:
The HRMS Upgrade supports our HR work in five important ways:

  • By using “off-the-shelf” software features to reduce customization;
  • By simplifying our appointment structure to remove non-employees from the job record, reduce multiple appointments, and improve data accuracy;
  • By streamlining distribution entry and other payroll accounting processes in collaboration with our Finance partners;
  • By introducing integrated time, absence, and recruiting features that eliminate paper processes and reduce data entry; and
  • By clarifying roles and automating workflows.
HRMS users and the University will benefit from more efficient systems and processes, a better user experience, and improved data integrity and reporting.
Special thanks to OHR leaders and staff for making this training a priority and a success!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sneak Peek: The New myU Portal

The purpose of the new myU portal is to help staff, faculty and students be successful in getting their business done at the U. Take a peek at the homepage for the new myU and learn how the University community will use some of its features.

Questions about ESUP or the new myU? Email us at esup@umn.edu.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Student grading process to improve

When ESUP goes live in spring 2015, the University will begin utilizing a new process to assign grades. The new process is simple, intuitive and should make the grading process easier for all involved, but it is a significant change. 

Currently, faculty need to utilize four separate systems--UM Reports, the Final Grade System, the Supplemental Grade System, and the Midterm Alert System--in order to assign grades and notify students. When ESUP goes live, all of these tasks will be completed in one location: the Faculty Center. In addition to the consolidation of these functions, faculty using Moodle will be able to import their final grades from Moodle into the Faculty Center!

There are two steps for submitting final grades. First, the grades will be entered, uploaded from a file, or imported from Moodle into the Faculty Center by those with grade-entry access (e.g., faculty, teaching assistants, other designees). After a review for accuracy and completeness, the second step is to submit the grades. Once the grades are submitted, they will be posted to student transcripts and available for students to view in the new myU the next day.

Currently, if faculty do not enter a student grade, it displays as blank on transcripts. This will be changing. Any final grade not entered within the timeframe established by policy (Duluth policy) will be administratively posted as “NR” (Not Reported) to the student’s transcript. An NR grade will act the same as a blank grade does now (i.e., generally no impact on GPA calculations, but does impact other calculations such as satisfactory academic progress for financial aid). As the Faculty Center is also where grade changes will be made, changing an NR to a permanent grade will be straightforward.

ESUP staff are hard at work creating materials that will guide faculty and students through these changes. If you are interested in learning more about what’s changing with ESUP, see the “What’s Changing” page.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Data cleanup efforts critical to HRMS success

The HRMS Upgrade Project is much more than just a technical upgrade from PeopleSoft version 8.9 to 9.2. In addition to significant new functionality and redesigned business processes, the project includes a major simplification of the appointment structure and a new reliance on Position data to drive other essential business processes.

“This is a big deal,” said HRMS project manager Kris Hause when the new appointment structure was unveiled last fall. “This new approach to appointment data lays the foundation for a number of other important changes to our system and business processes, which will simplify and streamline the way we work and improve data quality and consistency.”

The changes to core HR data and processes mean that the structure and accuracy  of HRMS data at implementation is critically important. Since last winter, the HRMS Upgrade Project team has been working with the OHR Operations and HR professionals in the academic and administrative units to “clean up” data prior to conversion to the new structure.

In this context, data cleanup means one of two things:

  • In some cases, our current data is outdated, inaccurate, or missing -- e.g., when the Reports To field for an employee lists a past employee or an administrative assistant instead of the actual, current supervisor -- and needs to be updated or removed so we do not duplicate errors in the new system.
  • In other cases, the data is essentially accurate but will not be supported in 9.2 and needs to be updated to transition to the new appointment structure. For example, today the Location associated with a Position does not necessarily have to match the Location assigned to the associated Job record, but going forward Job data is tied to Position, so the two locations will need to be brought into alignment.

OHR Operations staff and the HRMS team have partnered to automate the cleanup wherever possible, however, in many cases the units have the best perspective on the accuracy of the data or the ways in which it needs to be updated to fit within the new structure. The list and schedule for data cleanup tasks continues to evolve, and is being tracked on weekly basis to check on the work in progress and to monitor data that has already been updated to ensure that it stays “clean.”

The work can be time-consuming, but timely completion of specific cleanup tasks is essential in order for the HRMS project to keep pace with program-wide milestones and test conversion moves. (A test move is essentially a practice run for moving and converting data from PeopleSoft 8.9 to 9.2; updated data is essential for the conversion to perform correctly.)

The benefits of data cleanup extend well beyond the HRMS Upgrade itself, and data integrity will be an ongoing priority. For example, units are currently focused on updating Reports To data in the system, which is essential to new online time and leave approvals and is useful in workflows more broadly across the University if the data is accurate and complete. In addition, in the future, more accurate Reports To data should enable the University to report more accurately on its organization structure and to target communications directly to supervisors and managers.

“This work is important to the success of the HRMS Upgrade and ESUP overall,” said Hause. “For example, users across the University are stressing to us the importance of robust reporting to their work -- but our reports are only as good as our data. We need the help and support of every academic and administrative unit to ensure our data is as accurate as possible when the new system is implemented in 2015 and to help ensure it stays that way.”

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sneak Peek: Financial WorkCenters

 Sneak Peek: WorkCenters Financials 9,2The Finance work stream recently released a sneak peek on Financial WorkCenters. The video explains how the University's financial community will use the new Financial WorkCenter functionality coming with 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.