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ISP News
August 2001

Moving Through Stabilization
There is a reason consultants build a "stabilization" phase into systems implementation projects. It normally takes from three to six months not only for people to become comfortable and proficient processing their transactions and reviewing their accounts, but for the system managers to see how their set up works in a fully operational environment and how best to manage the behind-the-scenes processes. Slowly but surely, we all are moving through the stabilization phase of the Integrated System implementation, learning things day by day, making adjustments, determining how to make the system work optimally for the University community.

Responding to Users
Much of what we are learning is coming directly from users calling the Integrated System Customer Support Center at 3-7550 or the ITC Help Desk at 4-3731. When center or help desk staff receive a flood of calls reflecting the same problem or complaint, that moves ISP staff into high gear to design a solution or publicize the response.

"A perfect example is printing the payment voucher," says Gary Nimax, purchasing and accounts payable team lead. "Many people requested an easier way to print payment vouchers, especially when they needed to obtain their supervisors' signature. Since there was no standard Oracle report for this purpose, the only option prior to that was to print several Oracle screens to capture the desired information. Our technical support people quickly developed a custom report in the application to meet this need, and now we can run a simple report to print all of the information on one page."

In other cases, it is a matter of getting the answers out to all users with specific Oracle responsibilities. For example, when the month-end review procedures and reports were ready to use, an email message was sent to all individuals with GM Project Manager and GM Award Manager responsibilities. In addition, we share the answers with Customer Support Center and ITC Help Desk staff and add the information to the Current Frequently Asked Questions list on the Integrated System website.

Managing Overnight Processes
Another area in which slow but steady progress is being made is in managing the behind-the-scenes processes that take place every night as data gets moved between applications and into the Operational Data Store.

"How quickly the nightly schedule runs has a lot to do with the sequencing and compatibility of the processes," says Teresa Wimmer, ISP technical lead. "By refining the order of processes, we have been able to reduce the nightly processing time.

"There are some days, especially during payroll cycles and labor encumbrancing, in which nightly processes may extend into the morning hours. This also may occur when there are errors in the processes. We are still working with Oracle to improve performance in these situations. We monitor the nightly processes daily to be sure things are running smoothly, and problems are caught and dealt with as quickly as possible. This is definitely a learning process, just as users in the departments are learning as they go."

Learning Oracle
As 2000 U.Va. employees have learned, training is essential, but you really learn by doing your own transactions in your work environment. Being told that stabilization might be difficult and frustrating doesn't necessarily prepare one for the reality of transition. But we are less than two months into the live system, and calls to the IS Customer Support Center and ITC Help Desk have stabilized, questions are becoming much more individualized toward running more specialized transactions, and the hot button issues are being addressed as they arise.

"This is what stabilization is for and what it is expected to be," says Bill Randolph, ISP project director. "We know that people need extra support during this period, and the University has made every effort to set up a support network to provide it."

Tips for getting answers:

Frequently Asked Questions Website Reorganized
You no longer have to scroll through pages of questions and answers to find the one you are looking for on the Integrated System FAQ website. The index has been reorganized and includes subcategories. When you click on the subcategory of interest, you will find a list of questions from which you can link to the answer to your question. The team leads have developed these FAQs in response to user questions. We hope the answers are now easier to find.

Reports Coming of Age
We knew month-end closing would be the first big test for the ISP reports team, and we weren't wrong. "Reports was the most difficult area to test before go-live, because there wasn't sufficient data in the Operational Data Store to reflect the quantity and diversity of information that would live in production," says Rose Argaud, reports team lead. "Month-end is when managers need to go into Discoverer and review their reports, so that was our first true test opportunity."

Argaud found within days of month-end that there was a problem with the "history" reports that managers would require. She quickly pulled the reports from Discoverer to avoid confusion, and began the intense revision and test process that is required for any changes in Oracle.

"Any change we make to the system has to be tested in a non-production instance to be sure it doesn't negatively impact any other process," says Argaud. "On August 9, we were able to republish the revised reports. We truly appreciate everyone's patience."

General Accounting published month-end review procedures simultaneously. View procedures

Who Has Which Oracle Responsibilities?
A new ODS Discoverer report will answer this question for you. The report, named ASC_Employee Application Responsibilities, lists each user and identifies their assigned Oracle responsibilities.

Integrated System Application Support Center Ready to Assume System Management
What happens now, as the financial applications are stabilized, and the ISP moves on to HR/Payroll? Who will monitor the system's performance, oversee revisions and enhancements, coordinate testing of the financial applications with the development and testing of phase 2 applications, and manage the upgrade to the next version of the Oracle applications?

The new Integrated System Application Support Center (ASC) will assume these responsibilities. Directed by Shy Hicks (GL team lead), the ASC will be staffed with functional and technical team members from phase 1, including Wayne Angell (AR team lead), Callen Molenda (GM team lead), Hedy Southard (POAP team member), Bill Brenneman (POAP technical track lead), Beverly DelPrete (GM technical track lead), and Richard Parkins (GL technical track lead). They will be supported by ISP data base administrators, reports team members, and developers.

"These are individuals fully versed in the new system and best able to manage, enhance, upgrade, and trouble-shoot it," says Bill Randolph, project director. "They will work closely with the ISP and central offices to assure that the system does the work of the University now and into the future."

Classes Scheduled for Wave 2 and New Employees
We have reached a point in the stabilization phase where additional classes can be scheduled to meet the pent up demand for training wave 2 and new employees as well as employees who have been assigned new Oracle responsibilities.

"The IS Customer Support Center calls have calmed down to the point that the staff can periodically be relieved from phone duty to teach classes," reports Gary Helmuth, interim manager of the ISCSC. This is a relief to James Potter, ISP training manager. "This means we can, hopefully, see the pent-up demand met by the end of September, when we hand the reigns over to the Division of Training within University Human Resources." says Potter. "That was our goal."

Phase 2 Teams Explore the "To-Be" World
While most of the University community, the IS Application Support Center, the central offices, and the new Division of Training are focused on stabilizing phase 1 of the ISP, phase 2 is barreling forward under the leadership of Barbara Henry, phase 2 functional lead. Henry is also the functional team lead for the human resources team, while Darrell Kozuch leads the payroll and time management teams, and John Hill leads the training administration team.

"Phase 2 is on a bit tighter timeline," says Henry, "so we have no choice but to barrel forward. The Training Administration go live date is November 1, 2001, and human resources/payroll will go live on July 1, 2002. A fixed assets team, led by Tim Gillet, will begin work in October, with a July 1 go live date."

The teams have already mapped the "as-is" processes, and are currently having reviewed the "to-be" process mapping. While as-is is self-explanatory, to-be refers to a "perfect world" scenario, according to Henry. "The to-be document gives us the opportunity to lay out everything we would like to see, whether or not we can actually have it," she explains. "The next step is to determine which of the to-be items is a University requirement versus a 'wouldn't it be nice.' Then we see what Oracle can do out-of-the-box. That is called 'gap analysis.' At that point we will ascertain how to meet all requirements, and how many of the 'desirables' can be met with no or minimal modifications to the software.

Training Administration Goes First
"There was very little to map for as-is with training administration," reports Hill. "There are a number of units doing training across the University, but each has configured its own means of managing that training. In addition, there has been no centralized training operation, as is now required because of the Integrated System implementation."

There is clearly a "to-be," however. "All Integrated System training has been managed through a program called OTIS, which has gotten us this far, but is not a good long-term solution," says Hill. "Oracle Training Administration (OTA) will better meet our needs for registration, class planning and scheduling, and registration management (adds, deletes, changes)."

OTA will also benefit other units doing training, for example ITC, Office of Development and Training, University Library, and Facilities Management, according to Hill. "This is the only system specifically designed to do this work, so it is more comprehensive and efficient than any system devised by departments. In addition, it is fully integrated with all Oracle applications, which means all the 'people' information already resides in the system and won't have to be reentered."

With a November 1 go-live date, OTA development is certainly on the fast track, and gap analysis and build and test will follow forthwith.

Human Resources/Payroll
In contrast to the training administration as-is document, the HR/Payroll document is over an inch thick. It explored the current processes for:

  • Vacancy management
  • Applicant tracking
  • Employee details and history
  • Position management
  • Absence monitoring and accrual plans
  • Benefits administration
  • Reports and inquiry
  • Payroll

Some of the highlights of the to-be document include:

  • Departments will enter HR data directly into the Oracle Human Resource Management System (HRMS).
  • Self-service functionality will be introduced.
  • Paper timesheets and paper leave sheets will be eliminated, except where on-line recording is not possible.

"These HR and Payroll documents address only classified employees at this point," says Henry. "We hope to be able to include faculty recruiting and vacancy processes in the system as well, to help units eliminate some of their departmental shadow systems."

ISP Website Moves on to Phase 2
The ISP website now notes phase 2 as the current phase, and offers descriptions of the applications to be implemented during phase 2.



Inside UVA
March 30, 2001
Spring 2001
Fall 2000
Cavalier Daily
September 28, 2000
Inside UVA
September 22, 2000


"The teams have already mapped the "as-is" processes for phase 2, and are currently having reviewed the "to-be" process mapping. "

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2001 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Thursday, 22-May-2003 14:31:10 EDT
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