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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Supporting faculty during technology upgrade

The Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program (ESUP) will change the way students, faculty, and staff take care of business with the University. The Faculty Go­-To advance team is a group of system users who will serve as resources for faculty in their units throughout the upgrade of the University’s PeopleSoft system. The Go­-To advance team represents the concerns and needs of their units with regard to supporting faculty during the system transition and may serve as a communications contact after the planned launch in April 2015*.

Kick-off meetings will be held:

  • Wednesday, August 13, 10-11 a.m. - Biological Sciences Center, room 64 (St. Paul)
  • Thursday, August 14, 2:30-3:30 p.m. - STSS, room 114 (East Bank)
  • Friday, August 15, 10-11 a.m. - Hanson Hall, room 1-106 (West Bank)
Most colleges have nominated representatives for this Faculty Go-To role. If you wish to join or want further information about who from your college is part of this group, please email vollu004@umn.edu.

You can find more information about the Faculty Go-To team here.

*This article was updated on 02/04/2015 to reflect the most recent timing information.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What's Changing in Finance - General Ledger

When the Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program plans to go live in April 2015*, many employees' processes will be streamlined, including those for around 700 Journal Entry preparers and approvers working in the General Ledger module of the financial system. The changes coming to the General Ledger will not be drastic but they will be welcome. 

Highlights include:

  • For those authorized to use spreadsheet upload, being able to directly import Journal Entries from the spreadsheet template (versus requiring navigation in PeopleSoft). 
  • An option for Journal Entry preparers to create and use shortcut alpha-numeric codes that represent a chartstring to facilitate faster journal line entry. These codes are called SpeedTypes.

According to Molly Koewler, a business analyst on the EFS Module Support Team, “Improvements will save the GL preparers time when entering GL journals, and will be especially welcome for those that prepare frequent journal entries.” Overall, the changes will streamline processes across the Finance workstream and will maximize efficiency.

The General Ledger is a summary of all the University's budgeting and financial transactions.

Below are the coming changes, in summary, for General Ledger.

For Journal Entry approvers:

  • Approval actions will be standardized across all transaction types. In the 8.9 version of PeopleSoft Financials, each transaction type has different actions available and they can be confusing.
  • Departments will have the ability to move from a single alternate approver to a pool of alternates for Journal Entries that require approvals. In the 8.9 version, there is only one primary and one alternate approver.
  • Approval WorkCenter will reduce the need for complex navigation and bring all types of approvals to one place. In the 8.9 version, primary and alternate approvers may have to navigate to the same activity via different paths, and there are separate paths for each type of transaction.
For Journal Entry preparers:
  • General Ledger WorkCenter will include components for many common journal entry-related tasks, associated links, queries, and reports/processes. In the 8.9 version, people have to know a wide variety of navigation paths.
  • Import journals via spreadsheet with fewer steps. For those authorized to use spreadsheet upload features, the process to load transactions will be less complicated.
  • SpeedType shortcuts allow a journal preparer to add, create, change alpha-numeric codes that represent chartstrings, reducing entry time. In the 8.9 version, people have to key the sometimes lengthy ChartField strings repeatedly. The upgrade will provide the ability to create shortcuts for data entry on Journal Entries.
  • T-Accounts allow preparers to see effects each journal has on the balance for a chartstring, reducing the potential for errors. Today, if a Journal Entry is made that doesn’t have the intended impact, it can sometimes be difficult to correct. This new feature will allow people to check their work before submitting the entry for processing, which is especially helpful for large entries or for those less-experienced in accounting.
  • Attach supporting documents feature available on journal header page. Documentation may be uploaded/attached to the Journal Entry for reference.
  • Chartfield Request functionality within EFS to replace BPEL. This enables requests for ChartField values to be submitted through approval workflow and, if approved, will automatically update within EFS. The current BPEL tool has a number of areas where it performs in a manner that is less than ideal, for example, once approved, the information has to be manually keyed into PeopleSoft.
  • Combo code edit error messages across all modules are more indicative of the error. Within the restrictions on length of message, we’ve re-done the error codes, and perhaps more importantly, we’ve published what the error messages mean.
  • Unit finance leaders may update approval assignments themselves using ChartField Request functionality. In the 8.9 version, each change must be done by a central employee with workflow administration access.
  • HR Entity and ZDeptID values have been synchronized. Prior to the upgrade, there were two separate values representing rollups of departments, making reporting on combinations of HR and Financial data difficult.
If you would like to read more click here.

*This article was updated on 02/04/2015 to reflect the most recent timing information.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HR Stars to Meet July 31; Focus Will Be Electronic Time and Absence Reporting

Planning is well under way for the next meeting of the University’s HR Stars on July 31. The Stars are a key advance team of more than 100 HR professionals throughout the five system campuses that has been organized by the Office of Human Resources to provide valuable leadership, insight and advice regarding the upgrade of the Human Resources Management System, as well as the larger Enterprise Systems Upgrade Program. The Stars convene monthly and serve as important resources within their units.

One of the key areas of focus at the Stars’ July meeting will be the new electronic time and absence reporting capability, which will replace paper timesheets and absence forms when the HRMS upgrade plans to go live in April 2015*. Heather Kidd from the Office of Human Resources will be leading a presentation and live demonstration of electronic time reporting.

Current U of M paper absence reporting card
Current paper absence reporting card

The meeting also will provide an opportunity to test and gather feedback on key messages being developed about the change from paper to electronic reporting. The messages and other communications tools being developed will ultimately be provided to the Stars to help disseminate within their units, as well shared with other employees to raise awareness of training and other how-to resources that will be provided.

For more information about the HR Stars, or the group’s upcoming meetings, please contact Nicole Salm in the Office of Human Resources at (612) 626-2286 or salm0078@umn.edu.

*This article was updated on 02/04/2015 to reflect the most recent timing information.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sneak Peek: The new class waitlist process

The Student work stream has released its latest sneak peek. This video explains the “auto enroll” feature of the new class waitlist process resulting from the PeopleSoft upgrade through ESUP. Auto enroll will allow the system to automatically select and enroll students at the top of a waitlist for a class on a space-available basis. Watch to learn more:

For more information about the new class waitlist process, see What’s Changing for waitlist.

Friday, July 18, 2014

IDEAA iCOP June meeting recap

The Integrating Data, Enterprise Architecture, and Applications (IDEAA) informal community of practice held its most recent meeting on June 24. IDEAA is a venue where the University IT community can discuss ESUP and the coming changes to the data, processes, and technology powering critical data systems such as the Data Warehouse and the x.500 directory.

Agenda items included:

  • ESUP Portal and Student updates - William Dana, Portal and Student project director, shared how the portal will be a new tool to aggregate services from different areas customized to each individual with its main focus on helping people get their University business done. William also highlighted a few changes coming in the Student area like replacing the Course Guide application, integrating Moodle and the new Faculty Center, and re-baselining security.
  • Reporting Center demonstration and Knowledge Base update - Amy Schult, business analyst from the Reporting and Data Management team, gave a brief demonstration of the new Reporting Center, a centralized place to display and organize enterprise level reports within the new MyU portal and covered the Knowledge Base, a tool being built for report writers and developers.
  • ESUP and file transfers - Bernardo Prigge, from the Infrastructure team, talked about a new file transfer service coming with ESUP.
  • Data Warehouse - Bill Collings, from the Integration team, gave updates on changes coming to the Data Warehouse.
  • University systems and applications - Janie Moore, from the Integration team, provided status updates from colleges and departments with applications that pull data from PeopleSoft.
Click here to watch a recording of the June meeting.

The next meeting of the IDEAA group will be on July 22, from 9:30 to 11:00 in room 402 Walter Library or on Google Hangouts at http://z.umn.edu/ideaalive. Click here for more information about IDEAA and to find recordings of earlier meetings.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

VP Levine assumes executive leadership of ESUP as Dean Elde retires

On July 1, Dr. Allen Levine, Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, became chair of ESUP's Executive Oversight Committee (EOC). Levine takes over for Dean Robert Elde of the College of Biological Sciences, who is retiring from the University after 37 years of service. 

Dr. Allen Levine
President Kaler recognized the importance of this transition.  "I'd like to thank Dean Elde for his years of service to the University and his leadership on this challenging initiative,” said President Kaler, “I am pleased Vice Provost Levine has agreed to step up, provide continuity, and lead this important effort to improve our operations." 

In addition to the Chair, the Executive Oversight Committee includes the leaders of the functional areas directly impacted by ESUP: Vice President Kathy Brown (Human Resources), Vice Provost Bob McMaster (Student), Vice President Richard Pfutzenreuter (Finance) and Vice President Scott Studham (Information Technology). Over the course of the program, the EOC has always been chaired by a senior academic leader who is charged with maintaining an independent, enterprise-wide perspective. Dr Levine will continue to ensure ESUP serves the academic endeavor at the core of the University’s mission.

Vice Provost Levine has years of experience as a senior academic leader, serving as the Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences from 2006-2013. “I am looking forward to providing leadership over this critical program,” Levine said. “A successful upgrade is important to the entire University. We need solid systems and consistent business practices to position ourselves for the future.”

If you have questions for Dr. Levine or for ESUP, please email esup@umn.edu.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ESUP Reporting information sessions and program status update

On June 18, ESUP staff presented the latest information on the Program’s status as a whole and its efforts around University reporting and data management to approximately 100 colleagues.

Amy Winkel presenting at the reporting and data
management information session in Nicholson hall

Dennis Wenzel, executive program director, gave an overall Program update recognizing the progress and effort made so far, the hard work and high level of collaboration on the project from across the University and acknowledging the road ahead won’t be easy.

Amy Winkel, Amy Schult, and Barbara Scotford from the Reporting and Data Management team also talked about their team’s scope for ESUP with more specific information about what’s happening with UM Reports, the Data Warehouse, and the new Reporting Center, which is being developed as part of the Program.

Amy Schult presenting
on the new Reporting Center

“I was most interested in the status and new developments in UM Reports,” said Mark Bultmann, director of Advising Initiatives and coordinator of Special Scholarships. “It is my lifeline to data for the student groups I monitor. I also appreciated the Reporting Center job aid and the features highlighted on that document.”

Click here to watch a recording of the first session, to see the reporting presentation, and to see the Reporting Center job aid used at each session.