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ISP News
January 6, 2000

The Pace Quickens – Current Processes Mapped
The new year brings increased intensity to the work of the ISP teams. Mapping of current administrative practices and processes in the areas of general ledger, departmental accounting, grants management, accounts receivable, cash management, and reports is near completion. In addition to mapping the “as-is” processes, the teams are identifying all system interfaces to FAS (the general ledger) and other legacy financial systems so that the project team will be able to determine which interfaces will need to be temporarily retained and what new interfaces may need to be built. The teams will also be looking at how and what data will have to be converted.

Fitting Current into Future

The process flowcharts resulting from the “as-is” analysis will enable a comparison to the Oracle applications’ functionality. This stage will offer the first concrete glimpse of opportunities for streamlining to maximize use of Oracle-prescribed “best business practices,” as described in the Integrated Systems Task Forces’ Strategic Direction Statements (see ISP website). This step should be completed by the end of January.

Plotting the Infrastructure
As the functional teams gather information and determine the best conversion to future processes, the technical team is designing the ISP technical infrastructure, which includes an analysis of hardware (server) and 3rd party software needs. The technical team is also beginning to document the project standards for interfaces and data conversion activities.

What We Learned About Oracle

ISP staff, five members of the ISP Advisory Committee, and representatives from ITC and Financial Administration attended a 5-day overview training session on the Oracle applications to be implemented in Phase 1a (a shorter training session will be offered to the rest of the Advisory Committee in January). Everyone came away with considerable respect for the power and capabilities of the software and recognition of the challenge not to attempt to implement all of the functionality contained within the software.
Lessons learned from two excellent Oracle Education instructors include:

  1. “It’s all in the set up.” What you get out of the system is entirely dependent on how it is set up. Decisions on what information to gather and who can do or see what must be well considered in the design stage to avoid rework, ease transition, allow for change, and generate useful reports. And each of those decisions must be well documented so they can be traced and understood for future use.
  2. “The good thing about Oracle is its flexibility. The bad thing about Oracle is its flexibility.” Oracle applications are designed for “best business practices,” but most of the fields are defined by the institution. This allows the University to adapt the software to its culture and needs, but also offers the lure of doing much more than is required to do work efficiently and effectively.
  3. “Save your deletes.” The need for detailed user training was made clear by an example of a counter-intuitive system requirement that you must “save” your information after making deletions or they will not be deleted!

More Detailed Information Will Soon Be Available
The ISP website is being redesigned and will soon include more detailed information on the activities of the separate ISP teams. It will also incorporate links for future training and help information. When the website is ready, the emailed ISP Bulletin will reference a url for each article rather than include full text in the email message.

Cavalier Daily December 1, 1999 Project consolidates informational systems


This stage will offer the first concrete glimpse of opportunities for streamlining to maximize use of Oracle-prescribed "best businces practices."
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2001 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Thursday, 22-May-2003 14:30:50 EDT
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