Integrated Systems Project
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ISP News
October 9, 2000

POAP Demos Get Good Reviews
The Purchasing/Accounts Payable team, which began work 4 months into the project, is running just about even with the other teams as we enter the build and test phase. The big events of the last month were demos for employees of the Procurement Services and for school and departmental subject matter experts. Team members demonstrated how to:
•Add a vendor
•Enter a requisition
•Change a requisition to a purchase order
•Receive
•Process a direct purchase order entry (LPO)
•Process an invoice and match to purchase order
•Process checks
•Process vouchers (demand payments)
•Make inquiries regarding invoices, purchase orders, and requisitions
    "The response from subject matter experts was very positive," reports Gary Nimax, POAP team lead. "People seemed pleased with the new functionality they will be getting."     In particular, Dolores Hildebrand, business manager for Procurement Services, likes that fact that the purchasing application is Windows-based, "allowing us to drill down for further information." She also notes that "entry into the system is simplified to the point that buyers can complete their own purchase orders rather than having central data entry staff performing that function."
     ITC Purchasing Manager Jackie Daniel is "fascinated by the whole thing." "It seems logical and straight forward," she reports, after seeing the demos. "The screens prompt you, so it seems you move smoothly through the process."
     While she is excited at the prospect, Daniel has the hardest time imagining how she will be doing her work without paper. "We print out everything now," she exclaims. "We staple things together until we have a complete history of the order and put it in the vendor file. Our biggest adjustment will be having nothing to staple! And our biggest challenge will be not pressing the print button."
     The payoff will be worth the adjustment, according to Daniel. "I like doing things on line," she says. "We'll be able to see the whole process, the whole history on the computer without going to the file drawer and hunting for misfiled documents. We're going to have to find something other than paper to put in our file cabinets. Maybe we'll fill them with candy!"


Do I Need Special Skills?

Nine out of ten University of Virginia employees who will use the new Integrated System already have the basic technology skills they need to qualify for the Oracle training. Assuming that you have basic Windows knowledge, including mouse, point and click, drag and drop, etc., the prerequisite skills are:
•You must be able to communicate via email, including sending and receiving attachments;
•You must be able to work in Netscape 4.5 or Internet Explorer 5.0, including navigating on the web, recognizing a URL (Uniform Resource Locator), and sending messages from your browser.
Where can you get the skills that you need?
Email programs Eudora and Simeon have help screens for "attaching a file to a message" that contain all the necessary instructions. ITC also offers free, introductory workshops for both programs and documentation for Simeon on the ITC web site at www.itc.virginia.edu.
     Internet Explorer does not require special settings to send messages from the browser, but Netscape does. To set addressing preferences in Netscape, select "Edit, Preferences" on the toolbar, and enter the requested information. The help menu gives step-by-step instructions for editing preferences.
     Visit the Integrated Systems Project's web site often at http://www.virginia.edu/isp and follow the links to training for more in depth information on training pre-requisites for the new system. As more information on required skills becomes available, it will be posted on the web site, including information for specialized audiences.

Teams Prepping for First Big Test
We've been planning. We've been configuring. We've been setting up. We've been loading data. How are we going to know if it all works??? Our first big test comes in November, and we're cramming.
     Conference Room Pilot 1 (CRP 1) sessions will be held the first two weeks in November. At that time, selected central, school, and departmental subject matter experts will come in and, with ISP team members, follow scripts to test transaction flow within each application, using U.Va. data. This will offer an opportunity to validate our set-up steps and identify any issues or problems with the software.
     Team members are currently developing the test scripts and loading actual U.Va. transaction data. "Oracle gives us some generic, model test cases," explains Shy Hicks, General Ledger team lead. "We are fitting them to our business processes to develop detailed scenarios of how employees would use the applications. For example, the General Ledger team is scripting all the business processes involved in taking a gift from receipt by the Office of Development until funds are made available for disbursements in the Funds Management application."
     The next big test will come in February with CRP 2. At that time, teams will use the same scripts, but will then string them together to test cross-application integration. Does the entered requisition show up as an encumbrance in funds management? Did the bill from Facilities Management debit and credit the correct object codes?
     CRP2 is also when any modifications to the software will be tested, as well as the flow of information into and out of legacy systems such as the Human Resources System, OPAS, and ISIS - applications that will not be implemented until later phases of the project.
     "The teams have been working fairly independently to this point, making sure their individual applications function smoothly for the University community," says Matt Waldron, ISP functional lead. "We're anxious to get this first test under our belts so we can start working across teams and realize the real benefits of an integrated system."

Tackling Transition
The Integrated System, once implemented and once employees are comfortable with the new procedures, will dramatically improve data gathering and reporting on as well as streamline business practices throughout the University. There is a learning curve, however, and that period of transition can cause anxiety. In anticipation, project staff is gearing up the transition effort, working to foresee questions, provide answers, and prepare all employees for the implementation.
     "The goals of the transition effort are to help employees anticipate and adapt to the changes that come with the Integrated System, to minimize disruption to their work and to them personally, and to ensure smooth business operations," says Carole Horwitz, ISP communications manager. "Obviously, information is the best anecdote to uncertainty, and we are sharing information as soon as we have it. The difficulty we all face is that the system is being built as we speak, so we don't have all the answers yet. The good news is that what we know about the system is rapidly increasing, so people's curiosity can be satisfied much faster in the next few months than it could be in the past several."     "For example," says Bill Randolph, ISP project director, "we have just completed a set of business rules that will guide us on how all the various sources of money at the University will be handled in the Oracle system. We have received tremendous support from Steve Kimata and his staff in Financial Administration in completing this important task. We are now ready to begin meeting with the administrators in the schools and departments to begin to establish the award and project structure for their units, a process they have been anxiously awaiting."
     "We know that everyone's comfort level with the new Integrated System is dependent on how well they understand and are prepared for their role in it," says Horwitz. "So we will be devoting a lot of attention toward making sure employees are trained, have open lines of communication, and receive timely information."
     For current information on the Integrated Systems Project, visit the ISP website at http://www.virginia.edu/isp

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

 

"We'll be able to see the whole process, the whole history on the computer without going to the file drawer and hunting for misfiled documents."

 
 
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Thursday, 22-May-2003 14:31:14 EDT
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