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ISP News
April 6 , 2000


Easier and Better Reports Come with Oracle

The promise of the Oracle applications is the prospect of getting great reports right out of the original transaction information rather than by creating and maintaining shadow systems. The ISP Reports Team has found much to confirm that promise.
     "Oracle has reporting tools to fit multiple needs, from the simple to the complex," attests Lynne Hancock, reports team lead. "There are standard reports bundled with all Oracle applications that can be requested by an authorized user at any time. They have a fixed format and layout, but their content can be focused each time the report is submitted by specifying selection parameters.
     A tool that will meet most users needs, according to Hancock, is Oracle Discoverer. "For ad-hoc queries," she says, "Discoverer offers the capability of accessing the database with an interface that allows users to generate informative, decision-ready reports. Templates for instant report layout, seamless connectivity to the databases, and point-and-click query construction provide a simple mechanism for users to retrieve information.
     In addition to these reports tools, Hancock points out two tools in Oracle Grants Management that will be useful for reporting:
   The Award Status Inquiry (ASI) is a feature that enables users to quickly review actual and committed     transactions, invoices, and budget and expenditure data at the award, project, resource, or task level.     This feature allows users to view financial data at the award and project levels for all projects funded by     an award.
   The Project Status Inquiry (PSI) is a feature that enables users to quickly review the current status of     their projects and then drill down for more detailed expenditure data at the resource or task level.
Both ASI and PSI data can be exported into a spreadsheet for further analysis.



New on the Website

Members of the ISP Advisory Committee have identified people throughout the University to serve as subject matter experts for the ISP teams as the teams configure the Oracle applications to meet the needs of our community. The names of these subject matter experts, by department or school, are now on the ISP website, under the respective teams. Link from the homepage to the team that interests you, and scroll down to "Subject Matter Experts."
     Also new on the website is an ISP slide show that will change as the project progresses. Click the What Is ISP? tab at the top of the home page, then click the slide show on the yellow bar. If anyone knows how to get the slide show to fill the page, please send an e-mail to isp-mail@virginia.edu.



Planning for PTAEOs

Changing all the University's charging instructions for every transaction seems like a daunting task, but the re-phasing allows time to make the adjustment, and ISP staff will attempt to ease the transition in any way possible, as early as possible.
     On July 1, 2001, the PTAEO will become the new University currency, replacing the current account code/object code set of charging instructions. Valid PTAEOs (Project, Task, Award, Expenditure Type, Organization) will have to be assigned to every transaction upon initiation, be it a purchase requisition, a request for services from Facilities Management, payroll, or a travel voucher.
     While this is a huge undertaking, "it is required by any organization implementing a modern system with the capability of storing more and better information and, then, producing better reports," says Bill Randolph, ISP project director. "If we weren't choosing to go Project Centric, it would not be a PTAEO, but it would still be different from what we currently have. The current account code/object code structure has been in place for almost 25 years - it is time for an improvement"
     The University currently has approximately 12,000 fund codes, though not all of them are active. "The magnitude of the task of converting this number to PTAEOs in the first effort will, of necessity, limit how sophisticated we can be in initially setting up the PTAEOs," warns Randolph. "We have to get them up and running and then ensure that they are working. Then, we can begin to explore ways to use more of the potential contained within the Grants Management module."


Teams Get Stakeholder Input for Gap Analysis

As noted in the last ISP Bulletin, the ISP teams are currently identifying potential gaps between the future business processes defined in March and the functionality of the Oracle applications. The first step in analyzing those gaps has been to identify the University's business requirements for each Oracle application, using the Integrated System Task Force reports, the goals and objectives of the RFP for the integrated system software selection, and the strategic directions noted in the ISP Business Case. Each team will hold a stakeholders meeting to receive feedback on their success in identifying the critical business needs.
     The General Ledger Team, Magic (Funds Management and Labor Distribution) Team and the Accounts Receivable/Cash Management Team will meet with key stakeholders the week of April 10. The GL group will consider 180 potential requirements in the areas of security, general ledger set-up, journal entries, encumbrance accounting, allocations, systems balancing, outputs, month-end and year-end activities, reporting, and financial analysis.
     The Magic group will consider approximately 175 potential requirements in the areas of Project-Task-Award setup and modification, funds management, revenue management, reconciliation, reporting, close out, and training, and approximately 150 in the areas of payroll creation, labor scheduling, distribution adjustments, labor encumbrances, effort reporting, timekeeping, reconciliation, and training.
     The Accounts Receivable/Cash Management group will consider approximately 175 potential requirements in the areas of customer setup, invoicing, receipting, collections, non-invoiced receipts, invoiced receipts, gift receipts, bank reconciliation, daily local cash forecast, lockbox payments, SODC/CDS, and reporting.
     Based on the input received at the meeting, the teams will analyze how Oracle functionality can best meet our business needs, identify any gaps in that functionality, and design solutions for any gaps.


End of April Set as Deadline for HR Table Set-Up

The Human Resources Team has made huge strides in constructing the structure for the HR tables that will drive the accessibility of the Oracle finance applications. Examples of what this team will design are: defining the Oracle business group as the University of Virginia (there really were other options!), the type of currency to be used in the payroll system, the number of separate payrolls that will be used (the same as now until Phase 2 of the project), information necessary to accommodate the new classified compensation plan, and other similar information.
     At the suggestion of Peter Low, provost and member of the ISP Executive Committee, several people have been added to the HR team to ensure that two years from now, when all the tables are set up and functional, we will have an improved capability to enter, store, and report on faculty and academic information such as rank, tenure status, administrative appointments, etc. Helping to focus on such issues are Kathy Reed of the Provost's Office, Nancy Bertram from Arts and Sciences, Kelly Gildersleeve-Price from the School of Medicine, and Anda Webb of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.


Project Schedule Set - Design Phase Ends July 31, 2000
The ISP team has taken seriously the warning to protect, at all costs, time for system testing and training before deploying an enterprise resource planning system. The final project schedule for phase 1 is as follows:

Design Conceptual Solution
        12/1/99 - 4/17/00
Design Solution Detail
        4/18/00 - 7/31/00
Build and Test
        7/5/00 - 1/31/01
System Test
        11/6/00 - 5/31/01
Training
        3/1/01 - 7/31/01
Go Live
        7/2/01
Deployment and Stabilization
        6/1/01 - 9/28/01

     Unit test refers to the testing of each application to be certain it performs its functions accurately. System test focuses on assuring that the applications work together and that information flows throughout the system accurately. Training of subject matter experts and central office staff who will assume ownership of the applications after stabilization will begin in early March, with refresher sessions close to go-live. All other users will receive training between May and July, depending on preference and need, as specified by their departments. Deployment is shown as beginning in June because, while go-live is July 2, some "real" data will begin to be loaded into the system in June to prepare for go-live.


Getting on Track for Training
Seventy-one U.Va. subject matter experts in the areas of management, funds management, accounts receivable, and general ledger attended training focus groups with ISP Training Manager James Potter during the weeks of March 14-24. The purpose of the focus groups was to get an early read on what training needs and preferences exist for deployment of Oracle financial applications on July 1, 2001.     "There is a clear preference for 'high-touch' training such as instructor-led training and mentoring," reports Potter, "supplemented by web-based documentation. Focus group participants also recommended departmental or area help sessions and a need for a phone number to call for help both during and after implementation."
     Other needs noted in the sessions included:
   just-in-time training for go-live, keeping in mind year-end and grant requirements, and
   identifying non-Oracle prerequisites and communicating them early, e.g. downloading information into     Excel, ability to navigate on the Internet, and the ability to send and retrieve e-mail attachments.


Number of Anticipated Interfaces and Conversions Fit Norm
The Technical Team has identified approximately 75 interfaces and 36 data conversions that might be required to adapt or convert legacy systems and data to the Oracle environment. As we proceed with our analyses, these numbers could increase or decrease. Conversions are one-time events where legacy data is transferred into the new system. Interfaces are on-going events where data continues to be converted because, in most cases, the functionality will come in a later phase of the project, or, in a few cases, because the new system does not provide the functionality of the legacy system. According to KPMG, this number is average for a project of this size. The list of identified interfaces and conversions has been distributed widely for feedback, and team members continue to meet with departments to evaluate specific needs.
     An issue that will require future attention, but that can be anticipated now, is the need for data clean-up to assure that information populated into Oracle is accurate and eliminates or inactivates old and duplicate records.

ISP NEWS FROM OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Inside UVA February 4, 2000 Teams get to work on bringing new integrated systems to U.Va.

Go to ARCHIVED ISP NEWS DIRECTORY

 

"Oracle has reporting tools to fit multiple needs, from the simple to the complex."

 
 
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