March 30-April 5, 2001
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IN THIS ISSUE
University continues reorganization of top Health System administration
ISP: "It's going to be terrific!"
Dave Matthews Band announces second benefit concert in Charlottesville
Breaking bread brings faculty and students together

Notable -- awards and achievements of faculty and staff

Kunitz's poems chronicle passing through the 20th century
Novelist Margot Livesey to be here beginning of April
Hot Links -- Libra, the library's magazine
Off the Shelf -- recently published books by faculty and staff
U.Va. professor recalls growing up in Mississippi during the Civil Rights era
Electronic Text Center will share $1.5 million gift with Monticello
In Memoriam
Two Engineering faculty named AIMBE fellows
Artist's "Galactic Journal" on display
Looking for dark matter, distant stars and extraterrestrial life

Integrated Systems Project ISP: "It's going to be terrific!"

By Nancy Hurrelbrinck

July 1 is an important date to mark on your calendar, when U.Va. switches to the new integrated systems from Oracle that will standardize and streamline computerized procedures University-wide. Hundreds of U.Va. employees have been undergoing training to use the new system.

"It'll be a big change overnight — we'll shut down the old system and turn on the new one," said Carole Horwitz, ISP communications manager. The currently used CAPPS (Computerized Accounts Payable Purchasing System) was going to be kept in place for a year as a backup, but now the plan is to close down CAPPS June 30.

"We need to have a strong support network in place for the transition," she added.
That support network consists of about 200 employees designated as ISP "Subject Matter Experts." They have been receiving extensive training and testing the applications, as well as the integration of different parts of the system. They will share their expertise with people in their divisions seeking help with the transition.

Everyone who will use the new system 2,500 people has undergone "overview and navigation" training, in which they've practiced using a copy of the Oracle database.

The system is set up so that people have some of 16 possible "responsibilities," tasks they're authorized to perform within it. "When you enter a password, the system knows what your responsibilities are – a menu comes up [showing them]," Horwitz said.

The Subject Matter Experts (good name for a band?) expressed enthusiasm for the new system.

"It's going to be terrific!" said Stella Loftin, assistant director of financial management in the housing division, who has worked at U.Va. for 30 years. "There's a lot of information we'll be able to access we can check things ourselves without having to call someone."

Several employees said they liked the fact that, with Oracle, information that has been entered is immediately available, without having to be re-entered by a central office.

"It's much more flexible than the current accounting system," said Bobbie McClemmens, business manager at parking and transportation. "When a cash benefit credit is entered into the system, it's available immediately."

Paul Willis, an accountant in the provost's office, concurred. "It's much better than the system we have now. You can put a lot more information into it and get a lot more out of it. You don't need to use Excel spreadsheets, etc."

"We'll use less paper because this system will hold anything we put in it," Willis said. "We're a paper-driven university and this might ease that up, save a few trees."

The system's appearance also garnered rave reviews.

"It will be familiar to anyone who has surfed the Web," allowing users to open several screens at once, Loftin noted. "Younger folks won't bat an eyelash at it."

Oracle's uniform look and feel should also be a boon to other employees. "The way it is now, to put in an LPO number, you go to a program that looks a certain way.

Then to pay someone you go into another program that looks different, and you have to remember which program is case-sensitive and which isn't," she said.

Now, new employees, or current ones who've changed departments, won't have to learn several systems. "It makes you an employee of the institution," Horwitz said.

McClemmens praised the new system's reporting abilities: "It will be much easier to generate a report in the fashion that you'd want it in."

Loftin conceded that some employees have reservations about the switchover, worrying there might not be enough support. "But they're working on that," she countered. "There'll be a contact person for ISP in every department, as well as help desks.

"It will take some adjusting there are a lot of codes, letters and numbers to look up, but once people get used to it, they'll be grateful," she said.

For more information, see ISP's Web site at http://www.virginia.edu/isp/index.html.


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