Integrated Systems Project Update - December 6, 1999
Kick-off has come and gone, and the teams for the Finance 1A phase of the project are already immersed in the first stages of analyzing how current University operations and processes will migrate into the Oracle applications in the areas of general ledger, grants management, labor distribution, accounts receivable, cash management, training administration, and reporting and data warehousing. The two-day kick-off event included addresses by each of the members of the ISP Executive Committee: Colette Sheehy, Vice President for Management and Budget; Robert Reynolds, Interim Vice President and Chief Information Officer; Peter Low, Vice President and Provost; and Leonard Sandridge, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. All four stressed the value of the teams efforts for the future of the University, as well as their commitment to providing the support necessary for the project to succeed. Team members were also able to benefit from the experiences of Colin Clasper from George Washington University and Dean Archer from GE-Fanuc, both of whom are leaders of ERP implementations.
2. What Happens Now?
The ISP will proceed according to an established methodology developed by KPMG. It is called Traction, and its key element is the generation of a detailed work breakdown structure in Microsoft Project that is used to track the progress on all activities required for a successful implementation of each phase of the project. The work plan is divided into the following seven phases, the first two of which were essentially completed during the construction of the Business Case:
The purpose of the Envision phase is to develop a common context and understanding of the organization, its current challenges, and its future direction. This phase enables the organization to initiate project efforts so that all project activities strive toward consistent objectives.
The Focus phase is an early period in the life cycle during which project activities are planned in detail for each of the focus areas. Information pertinent to each focus area is gathered and analyzed. Major performance improvement opportunities - based on employee suggestions and on industry best practices - are identified and presented to senior management as potential solution options. Potential changes may address any aspect of the current organization, including process and technology.
Design Conceptual Solution (current phase)
During this phase, a high-level design of the proposed solution is developed. Best practices and alternative solutions from the previous phase are explored to determine the best approach for the future model. Potential risk/constraints to implementation (or other gaps between current processes and what the applications do) are identified. The technical team is continuing to build and refine the infrastructure for the Build phase.
Design Solution Details
This phase entails defining the details of configuring the Oracle applications to operate within the U.Va. environment. The detailed design is reviewed to gain a full understanding of the implications that implementation will have on the affected units and on the organization as a whole.
Build and Test
During the Build and Test phase, key components of the detailed business solution are constructed and tested, often in a parallel operational environment, such as a pilot site. This phase is in preparation for an eventual organization-wide roll-out and includes initial end user training.
Deploy and Enhance
This is the "Go Live" of the Oracle Applications. Training will be completed within this phase. Enhancements will be an on-going process and will be prioritized through a change management process established during the design phase of the implementation.
3. Input from the U.Va. Community
The people affected by the Oracle applications to be implemented will be represented in all phases of the project. First, the teams are comprised primarily of people from within the U.Va. community who actually do the work that will be modernized by the Oracle applications. Many others were consulted in the development of the Business Case, the Core Assessment Team reports, and during the Integrated Systems Task Force activities. All this information will be used as a basis for determining the "as-is" processes and doing an initial analysis of the "to be." Further fieldwork will be required to complete that analysis. And still additional members of the University community will be consulted in the Design Solution Details phase and will participate in the conference room pilot (show and tell") events conducted during the Build and Test phase.
The Integrated Systems Project welcomes your comments, questions and suggestions. You may reach us through our website at email@example.com.