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ISP News
February 13, 2001

Integrated System Site is Live
The portal to the new Integrated System is now live at http://www.virginia.edu/integratedsystem. This site provides access to the launch pad for the Oracle applications and offers important system news. In addition, the How Do I? tab will direct users to all the procedural documentation necessary to help them with their work on-line, and the Training tab will instruct users on how to register for responsibility-based training.
     The ISP website (http://www.virginia.edu/isp) will continue to provide information on the progress of the Oracle implementations, the monthly Bulletins, and project archives and documentation.     The Integrated System and ISP sites link to each other, but it is to the Integrated System site that users will go to enter the system and to find special notices regarding the system.

But What About Our Reports???
Remember: Change is often for the better. In the case of reports, we expect the future to be at least as good, if not better than the current environment.
     Today, the University relies on two primary vehicles to deliver financial and other information. First is a standard set of reports generated periodically and placed in an online report repository. From there they are either sent to the Fiscal Administrators' printers, printed out and distributed, or viewed online. These include reports such as the AMO 90, AMO 91, AMO 61, and a host of others.
     In addition, the Information Warehouse is populated with data made available from the current financial and other systems. Users who have received training are able to enter the Information Warehouse and view, print, or construct reports using a variety of query tools, such as Brio Query, Microsoft Query, SAS, or Microsoft Access.

What will happen to the Information Warehouse data?
Beginning in July, new information generated within the Oracle financial applications will no longer go into the Information Warehouse, but rather into the new Oracle Operational Data Store (ODS). This means that, for longitudinal reporting, users will have to go to two places, at least for a while. Both data repositories are compatible with Excel and Access, however, so information can be down-loaded into those programs and formatted for reporting purposes.
     "The decision was made not to convert Information Warehouse information into ODS, because making the data compatible would have forced us to remain 'account centric' rather than 'project centric,' which is available to us in Oracle," explains Bill Randolph. "We would have been trading away, in perpetuity, the power of Oracle for seamlessness in longitudinal reporting. Data that is required for compliance purposes will be converted."

What reports will Oracle offer?
In Oracle, a variety of standard reports will be available on-line for viewing at any time in the applications (not in the ODS). These will include Award Status Inquiry (ASI), Project Status Inquiry (PSI), and many others. Each application will have their own set of standard reports. They are considered to be snapshot reports of what is in the application at a given point in time. Training on how to access and interpret these reports will be included in responsibility-based training.
     In addition, the ODS will hold a complete copy of all the data in the applications database. Users can view, download, and print a variety of predefined reports that will supplement the standard reports available within the applications. Training on how to access the ODS predefined reports will also be included in responsibility-based training.
     Users can also create, schedule, and share their own reports using an Oracle query tool called Discoverer 3.1. Special training will be provided for individuals who will use this functionality.

Why use Discoverer, and can I use other query tools?
The same tools may be used to access the ODS as are used to access the Information Warehouse. However, Discoverer 3.1, an Oracle product, is designed to best take advantage of the full functionality of the ODS. It also uses the security already established in Oracle, so users will have one user ID and password that can be used in either the applications or the ODS.
     "A key feature of the ODS is the concept of Business Areas and associated Views," says Randolph. "The Business Areas might reflect the different applications, e.g. General Ledger, Purchasing, Accounts Payable, etc. The Views within the Purchasing Business Area might include open purchase orders, GL balances, and other transactional data. The Business Areas and associated Views can be queried in combination with data in other areas and views. Discoverer is built to make full use of this structure for reporting purposes, so that is the query tool for which we will provide training and support."
     The other query tools can also be used to query the ODS. However, users of these products will not have access to the full functionality provided by the Business Areas and Views. They will also have to arrange for a separate logon process. The way the ODS is being designed, trained users will be able to access virtually all information that exists in any Oracle application, according to Randolph. "However, legally restricted data and data that should be restricted for confidentiality purposes will be housed in a separate area of the ODS and will be available only to individuals having special access."

Overview and Navigation Training in Full Swing
Over 700 employees across the state have participated since January 8 in Oracle Overview and Navigation training to prepare them for training in the applications in the coming months. ISP staff is teaching the classes, while subject matter experts from around Grounds are serving as proctors.
     The response from participants has been quite positive. Pat Harlow, from the Surgery Department in the School of Medicine, had heard ISP Project Director Bill Randolph speak about the ISP over a year ago. "Then it seemed like a huge forest," she recalls. "Navigation training gave me a much clearer idea of what to expect."
     Peggy Gibson, who works for the Curry School Foundation, found it very useful to learn what's coming and see that it's fairly easy to navigate. "I particularly like the fact that the ISP is providing a tool to play with (Sandbox) until we go live in July."     Overview and Navigation Training is a prerequisite for responsibility-based training in the Oracle applications and will not be offered to existing University employees past March 31, 2001.

Oracle Responsibilities Assignments Near Completion
ISP advisors are completing the assignment of Oracle responsibilities to all future users of the Integrated System. In Oracle, one's "responsibility" tells the system which screens and transactions that user has access to in the system. Any individual can be assigned one or more responsibilities. (Go to http://www.virginia.edu/isp/5archives/repository.html and click Responsibility Document to view a list of all Oracle responsibilities.)     Once the assignment lists are complete, users will be notified of their Oracle responsibilities, and the ISP will send out emails explaining how to register on-line for responsibility-based training. Separate training will be required for each responsibility assigned to an individual. The number of hours of training for responsibilities will vary depending on the complexity of the tasks involved.
     "E-mail notices will be mailed within the next month," announces James Potter, ISP training manager. "Remember, however, that an individual must have completed Navigation Training prior to receiving responsibility-based training."

FAS Accounts Mapped to PTAEOs
The conversion of all current FAS account codes to Project-Award-Tasks has proven to be a monumental undertaking on the part of units, ISP advisors, ISP staff, Financial Administration staff, and the University Budget Office. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
     This effort has entailed the review of every existing FAS account to determine its disposition in the Oracle system. Specifically, it means listing every attribute of every account in FAS and every comparable or new attribute required in Oracle for the Projects and Awards being created.
     "There are 23 attributes for Projects and 73 attributes for Awards for about 16,000 accounts," reports Bill Randolph, ISP project director. "The spreadsheet is at least 16,000 lines long and, printed end to end, it is 16 legal size pages wide. This has got to be the largest data conversion ever run out of Excel, but it gives us the flexibility to make changes to the data instantaneously."
     In addition to the many hours invested by Randolph and each ISP advisor to research and structure information, Melissa Clarke from the University Budget Office has been loaned to ISP to help assure the accuracy of the conversion. Melissa Brads, an ISP staff member, works fulltime on completing and managing the spreadsheets.
     "We knew this would be a significant effort," recalls Randolph, "but I don't think anyone could have foreseen its ultimate magnitude."
     The Funds Management team is beginning to test the data so that any adjustments can be made well in advance of the deadline for conversion.

Moving From Project to Process
How does one provide for continuity of a new project once the project personnel have moved on to something new? That is the question recently resolved by the ISP Executive Committee, based on the research and recommendation of a working group charged with proposing a post-implementation Oracle applications support environment.
     Representatives from the ISP, ITC, business units, and schools served on the working group and reviewed research on best practices for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems post-go-live. That research revealed that the six essential elements in any ERP applications support environment include:
• Business process support
• End-user support (training, help desk, documentation, etc.)
• Applications functional development and support
• Applications technical development and support
• Applications tuning and systems administration
• Technical infrastructure (network, hardware, operations support, etc.)

     After spending considerable time discussing the proper organizational structure for these support elements, the working group recommended, and the ISP Executive Committee approved the following:
Business process support: As currently applies, the central office application/process owners (e.g. Purchasing, Financial Administration, etc.) and others who initiate the process transactions (e.g., schools, departments, etc.) will be vested with this responsibility.
End-user support: A newly-created central training office will reside in University Human Resources and be responsible for post-implementation applications training, communication of and access to University policies and procedures, and maintenance and update of all on-line system help.
Technical infrastructure: This will continue to reside with ITC who acts as a service provider to the ISP production and implementation environments. This responsibility includes network, hardware, operations support, the LSP program, etc.
     At least until the conclusion of phase 3 of the Integrated Systems Project, three support elements - applications functional development and support; applications technical development and support; and applications tuning and systems administration - will be overseen by the ISP, due to the highly integrated nature of the Oracle applications and the many co-dependencies between the applications. An Applications Management Group with broad representation will advise the ISP director regarding these support functions, considering the costs and benefits of proposed requests, determining adherence to the Project's original strategic direction statements and the business case upon which the Project was approved by the Board of Visitors, and evaluating any potential conflicts between the request and the other applications, including those under development.
     Many thanks to the members of the working group: Tom Gausvik (Human Resources), Steve Kimata (Financial Administration), Don Reynard (ITC), Anda Webb (Continuing and Professional Studies), Robert Reynolds (VP and CIO), Colette Sheehy (VP for Management and Budget), Leah Goswell (ISP), Bill Randolph (ISP), and Joe Iannacone (KPMG).

Go to ARCHIVED ISP NEWS DIRECTORY


ISP NEWS FROM OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Inside UVA
September 22, 2000
Cavalier Daily
September 28, 2000
virginia.edu
Fall 2000

 

"The portal to
the
new Integrated
System
is now live at http://www.
virginia.edu/
integratedsystem."

 
 
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2001 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Thursday, 22-May-2003 14:30:55 EDT
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