With a trip to West Virginia University and a videoconference with Yale, the site visits (the final stage of the software evaluation) were completed in early November! These visits were similar to the earlier trips to MIT and Duke. U.Va.'s site visit team met with each institution's project team, and also talked to their counterparts at the schools. These site visits reinforced what was learned during the earlier visits - 1) the software functionality is generally meeting institutional needs and 2) the implementation project must be thoughtfully planned. As with the other site visits, notes and comments were forwarded to the Core Assessment Team (CAT) to be used in making CAT's final recommendation.
As stated in the last update, the final stage in the implementation firm evaluation was to conduct reference calls. These calls were completed in early November. Although some additional insights were gained, the overall impressions formed during the implementation firm presentations were reinforced with these reference calls. As with the site visits, these calls also provided opportunities to discuss implementation plans and lessons learned, an invaluable benefit for our own implementation. The CAT, in formulating their final recommendation, also used the notes from these calls.
In early November the CAT reviewed all the information collected during the software and implementation firm evaluation processes. After they emerged from the resulting mountain of paper :-), the CAT drafted and submitted their recommendations to the ISP Executive Committee whose members are Leonard Sandridge, Peter Low, Polley McClure and Colette Capone.
The CAT recommended two software firms and two implementation firms with whom the University should conduct final negotiations. The vice presidents accepted these recommendations and final contract negotiations are now underway.
With almost a sense of disbelief, the CAT welcomed the completion of their charge. After 16 months of detailed preparation and intense evaluation, the CAT, the task forces and the many other members of the University community who participated in this process can be proud of their achievement. This selection process could have been closed or even divisive. Instead, it actively included well over 200 people and resulted in strong consensus for the recommended firms. On November 18th the CAT held a celebration reception for the task force members, software demonstration participants and software test drive participants at the Colonnade Hotel. At the reception the task force members, CAT members, and Dave Smith (Chair of the CAT) were recognized for their significant contributions. The CAT received engraved compasses for their effort in directing the course of the project and all the task force members received baseball caps and a compass in appreciation of their roles in setting the course. Congratulations to everyone who participated in this endeavor. Our efforts have established a firm foundation from which the implementation can proceed.
With the completion of CAT's work, this project has officially entered the implementation stage. The Integrated Systems Project, under the direction of Bill Randolph, will handle all aspects of implementation, including negotiations, planning, installation of the software, communications, training, etc.
Negotiations are currently underway with two implementation partners and two software vendors, as recommended to the ISP Executive Committee. Members of the ISP Negotiating Team are:
Bill Randolph, ISP - Chair
Leah Goswell, ISP - Vice Chair
Gary Nimax, Purchasing
Eric Denby, Purchasing
Shirley Payne, ITC
Rich Kovatch, Business Operations
Melody Bianchetto, Budget Office
Susan Harris, Office of the CFO and Executive Vice President
The Negotiating Team has also received assistance from James Potter (ITC) and Rick Kast (Office of the General Counsel).
The Negotiating Team has been in close contact with all four firms over the last two months. During November and December, each firm attended separate, one-day negotiating sessions in Charlottesville. The agenda for each of the four sessions was as follows:
** Representatives from the firms met with the ISP Executive Committee.
** Each firm presented prospective candidates for top positions on the U.Va. account. Bill Randolph and Leah Goswell conducted interview sessions with these candidates.
** Representatives from each firm met with the full ISP Negotiating Team for several hours to negotiate the price, terms, and conditions of the proposed contracts.
Negotiations continue with the four firms. Some of the issues still under negotiation are:
** Software ERP license prices and pricing formulas
** Maintenance and support costs
** Training costs
** Intellectual property rights
** The extent to which third party software might be necessary
** Software development opportunities
** The extent to which consulting services will be provided by the software firms and the prices for those services
Negotiations with the software firms are particularly complex. It has taken time for both the firms and U.Va. to develop a common basis for the discussions and to determine which items are of major importance. The ISP is receiving excellent assistance and support in this endeavor from Gary Nimax, Assistant Director of Purchasing. Gary has been assigned practically full-time to the ISP to assist with negotiations and completion of the contracts.
The ISP staff is currently preparing job descriptions and advertisements for the initial phase of implementation. There will be several key management positions available. In addition, the ISP will be hiring functional team leaders and members for the initial set of teams. These advertisements will be widely distributed throughout the University community. In addition, job openings will be posted on the ISP web site (www.virginia.edu/~iscat/) as they become available.
The Integrated Systems Project and the Process Simplification effort now share a consolidated Steering Committee. Members of this new committee are:
Leonard Sandridge - Chair
Robert Cantrell, M.D.
Charles Grisham UCIT
Edward Ayers Faculty Senate
The first ISP/PS Steering Committee Meeting was held on December 17th. Bill Randolph provided a brief description of the ISP, as well as a progress report on current activities.
An ISP advisory group has been formed. This group is composed of:
Business officers from each of the Universitys ten schools
Business officers from Athletics, Business Operations, the Library, and Facilities Management
This group will serve in an advisory capacity to the ISP effort and will meet monthly to help guide the efforts of the ISP. The first meeting of this group was held on December 18th.
A meeting was held on December 17th with Tim Gillet and his management team to discuss staffing requirements for the ISP. Since it is likely that the first ISP implementation effort will be to install the finance module/s, it is important that this functional area be prepared to participate in this effort beginning in early 1999.
Once negotiations are completed, the ISP will undertake a 10-12 week planning phase. The goal of the planning phase will be to prepare a blueprint that will guide all aspects of this project over the next few years.