Updates to the Board of Trustees September 2003
AGENDA ITEM SUMMARY
1. NAME OF ITEM: Information Technology/PeopleSoft Implementation Update
2. INITIATED BY: Chancellor Joseph Westphal
3. BOARD INFORMATION:
XXX BOARD ACTION:
PeopleSoft acquisition and implementation
It has been two years since the University of Maine System Board of Trustees approved the purchase and implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP System). This administrative system upgrade included student information systems, financial and human resources systems, and development. It was budgeted for $10 million and will be implemented over a 5-year period. The goals of this implementation, as communicated to the Board of Trustees in September 2001, were to:
- Modernize aging legacy systems losing technical support
- Enhance integration among system
- Improve student processes
- Provide modern reporting tools
- Provide web-enabled self service
- Redefine business processes and thus gain efficiencies
- Provide a strategic advantage in recruiting and fund raising
- Position Universities of the UMS as the first class institutions that they are
Although the challenges have been and will continue to be enormous, the System has met several project milestones to report to the Board of Trustees as noted below:
- With the help of a consultant, between November 2001 and March 2002, a needs assessment was conducted and two software firms, with specialty products for Higher Education, were reviewed including full-week demonstration sessions. PeopleSoft was the selected software which was purchased at a reasonable price in March 2002, taking advantage of a soft market.
- In March 2002, the System was fortunate to hire an experienced PeopleSoft Project Director away from IBM (John Sponaugle), who has managed the project from that time forward. Implementation personnel resources have been and will continue to be substantial and include external consultants, newly hired technical leads, campus and system personnel with expertise in appropriate technical and functional areas.
- ERP Guiding Principles to guide us through the 5-year duration were agreed upon by Presidents at the outset of the project and are attached for your information.
- An ERP Steering Committee was established, consisting of senior level management from each campus (including faculty representation) and the System and has been meeting routinely since June 2002.
- In February 2003, a project was launched to redesign system wide student services prior to implementation of PeopleSoft student administration beginning in summer 2004. The project’s goals were to improve student services, standardize where appropriate and design more efficient processes. A core team of campus wide functional experts, led by an external consultant, met often from February to June 2003, culminating in a list of 30+ improvement opportunities which were reviewed by the Presidents in July. Although altered somewhat, all improvement opportunities continue to be explored going into the design phase of the student administration system.
- Human Resources/Payroll was the first module selected for implementation and after a year of much work, this system went live in July 2003. Features of this first implementation include payroll, benefits, time-and-leave reporting on-line, flexible spending account administration, human resources and self service modules. This was a massive effort involving much training and communication at all campuses and involving all employees (staff, student and faculty) due to the self service nature of this software system. The campuses particularly felt the pain of volume increases in student labor upon the onset of the academic year this September.
The cultural change which will come about as a result of the implementation of this robust ERP system has begun with the implementation of the Human Resources module with employees and supervisors required to take responsibility for accuracy and timeliness of time and leave reporting and other self-services typical of web-enabled systems. This cultural change, combined with the problems which go along with any massive software implementation, has brought about considerable pain in this first implementation which was supposed to be the easiest, but none-the-less, the first. Some lessons learned to date include:
- Security – the encryption security for the Human Resources module was not fully installed by the go-live date due to unforeseen technical problems, although it was available soon thereafter. The lack of encryption security, while not a major exposure, was perceived by some members of the UMS community to be a severe problem. Accordingly, community perception and encryption security will be a much greater focus in future implementations of self-service modules.
- Communication – always a challenge despite the system and campuses’ best attempts. In addition to an up-to-date web site and monthly newsletters to the UMS community, daily enterprise wide email distribution began in July upon the implementation of Human Resources in an attempt to give timely, immediate responses to questions and changing environmental issues, as they arose. The informational web site may be viewed at http://www.maine.edu/peoplesoft.
- Training – always a challenge despite the system and campuses’ best attempts. Due to the continuing need for basic and technical training for the duration of this project, the project team is considering the assignment of a full-time training staff, not just around the time of module implementation.
- Scope of involvement in the design and development phase – although many, many campus representatives were involved in the design and development of the Human Resources module, we now know that not all appropriate functional areas were involved that needed to be. For example, around the time of implementation, it was brought to the project director’s attention that a recently purchased time clock system would require integration with the PeopleSoft timekeeping system, not a small task which would take several months to accomplish. The project team will be inventorying all utility software applications requiring interface with PeopleSoft over the next several months in an attempt to prevent this problem from happening again and efforts will be made to standardize on utility software system wide to minimize implementation costs.
- Clear decision making authority – the student services redesign project taught us that issues which even remotely touched upon mission were decisions for the presidents to weigh in upon at an early stage. In July, a new project organization chart was developed and agreed upon by the Presidents clarifying decision-making authority for broad policy issues affecting PeopleSoft implementation.
- Risk assurance review – best practices in ERP implementations include independent oversight from experts in the evaluation of the controls and security for administrative systems. We intend to conduct independent risk assurance reviews on post-implementation of the Human Resources modules and pre-implementation of the Financial modules for the PeopleSoft implementations as a way of providing additional comfort for such high risk areas as data integrity, internal controls, user and programmer access, security management, back-up and recovery.
Despite the pain and heavy work load of this first implementation, it was a successful implementation. All employees are getting paid, the software is working as it is supposed to, the workforce has been trained to enter their own time, the self-service modules are encrypted and available to all employees. However, it will probably be a couple more months before the system works as smoothly as is intended.
Future project milestones for the upcoming year are:
- Implement the financial system, Position Management and Purchasing/Accounts Payable successfully on September 30, 2004.
- Begin the implementation of the student services module with admissions in the late spring of 2004.
- Develop add-on reporting tools to the current Development software as an interim solution until PeopleSoft’s Contributor Relations module can be implemented in two to three years.
Of the $10 million budget for the PeopleSoft project, $5.3 million has been spent through June 30, 2003, including the up front costs of the software and implementation consulting costs. The budget is tight, but so far, on track with our expectations.
Finally, as you most likely have all heard, Oracle initiated a hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft this past June. We currently license Oracle’s data base products under a system-wide license. It is too early to tell what impact such a merger would have on the UMS implementation but at the present time the expectations in the industry are that this merger will not reach completion. Oracle has competing higher education products including financial, human resources and recently developed student administration. Watch the news for updates!
Information Technology: Efficiencies, Consolidations, and Standardizations
In June 2003, the UMS Information Technology Policy and Efficiency Committee, chaired by President Pattenaude, was established as a surrogate for the System’s Chief Information Officer. Its immediate tasks include:
- to determine the priority IT spending from the recently approved $3 million state bond money for IT
- Infrastructure planning including telephony technology upgrades and wireless strategy
- distance education technology renewal
- infrastructure decisions which affect PeopleSoft implementation
- System wide policy recommendations regarding IT
Areas of possible efficiencies, consolidations and standardization identified by the committee for in depth discussions include:
- Enterprise wide email and directory.
- Course management systems
- E-business applications integrated with State’s new Data Management System for K12
- Telephone service over high speed statewide network (telephony)
- Consolidation of campus network services
- Wireless networking
- Standardized and centralized equipment and software purchases
The areas with the greatest payback for savings over the next couple years have been identified for allocation of the $3 million in state bond funding and include:
- System-wide wireless network
- Telephony enhancements
- Expansion of compressed video system
- Refresh ITV rooms
- Digital library infrastructure
- Additional enterprise software other than PeopleSoft
These areas of investment provide improved services and reduced costs to all campuses within the University of Maine System.
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