February 13, 2001
Integrated System Site is Live
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
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
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
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
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
The Funds Management team is beginning to test
the data so that any adjustments can be made well in advance of the deadline
From Project to Process
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,
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
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).
to ARCHIVED ISP NEWS DIRECTORY
ISP NEWS FROM OTHER PUBLICATIONS
is now live at http://www.