Integrated Systems Project
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Integrated Systems Project Overview
The University of Virginia is embarking on a five-year effort to replace obsolete core technology and business systems in the areas of financial, human resources and student services with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, a state-of-the-art group of integrated software applications that will effectively and efficiently support the core missions of the University: teaching, research and public service.

The University of Virginia is recognized as one of the country’s premier public universities. Its goal is to maintain this position through its ability to attract and retain top quality students, faculty and staff. The University also has engaged in a long-range strategic planning process, setting the agenda for the third century at the University. The strategic plan recognizes that the quality of the University’s administrative services and information systems must support its strategic vision.

The University’s strategic vision cannot be met with current administrative systems or processes. The University now supports 24 core information systems and 26 programming languages. This is in addition to more than 120 shadow and supplemental systems throughout the University. Many of the systems and the business practices they support are twenty to thirty years old. Replacement is past due in some cases, and the risk of system failure in others increases with time. In 1994 the University began modifying its processes, policies and procedures as part of its new Process Simplification initiative. This effort has been hampered by the current technology base, which cannot accommodate the technological requirements of many best business practices.

In 1996, a three-year process was begun through which the University community determined that the University should purchase and implement a group of integrated software applications and solicited proposals from software and consulting companies.

Oracle has been awarded a contract for the software applications. Their experience in the higher education arena and their product depth in the area of grants management were critical factors. KPMG Consulting was awarded a contract for assistance with project implementation. The major reason for selecting KPMG was their recent experience implementing ERP software (particularly Oracle) in institutions comparable to the University. KPMG also has an established relationship with Oracle in product development. The experience of KPMG in higher education reduces the risk of encountering difficulties during the implementation.

Project Objectives

  • Increased efficiencies and effective operations
  • Improved customer service
  • Better ability to adapt to growth and change
Project Strategies
  • Install and implement an Enterprise Resource Planning system
  • Modify and simplify the University’s administrative processes, consistent with the capabilities of the software
An Integrated System
  • Integrated database;
  • Web-enablement;
  • On-line processing;
  • Automated routing and approvals;
  • On-line status checks;
  • A common “look and feel” across systems;
  • More self-service features to employees and students;
  • Remote access to information;
  • Electronic commerce capabilities;
  • Conversion to modern client-server technology;
  • An established migration path to new technology as it becomes available on the marketplace;
  • Flexibility which allows the University to adapt its information systems to meet requirements caused by changing programmatic needs and program growth; and
  • Enhanced ability to meet compliance requirements.
If processes and technology are changed simultaneously, faculty, staff and students can expect the following benefits:
  • Greater access to the data contained within the system through the use of better reporting tools;
  • Greater access to the system’s functionality through the Internet;
  • A better trained workforce;
  • Easier and faster response to changes in state and federal regulations;
  • Simpler policies and procedures;
  • Fewer steps from start to finish;
  • Streamlined roles and responsibilities for all personnel;
  • An opportunity for fewer approvals per transaction;
  • Less pre-audit and more post-audit of transactions;
  • Minimized submission of inaccurate transactions;
  • Economic and intangible benefits.
In addition, the technical architecture will be dramatically simplified by reducing the number of diverse systems and associated interfaces.

Critical Success Factors
  • Commitment of the University leadership ( President Casteen and all of the vice presidents have expressed total commitment to the success of the project.
  • Full-time project personnel ( The project has a core team dedicated full-time to the project. In addition, personnel from all academic and other business units will have an opportunity to help design, guide and implement the new systems. This will truly be a team effort that will require the talents, expertise and time of all members of the University community.
  • Communications and training are critical – One of the basic tenets of this project is that extensive training must be provided if this effort is to be successful. All University faculty and staff will be given ample opportunity to be successful when operating the new system. Excellent and accessible training will be vital to achieving this goal.
The integrated systems will be implemented in phases over a five-year period:
Phase 1 Financial Applications
Phase 2 Human Resources and Payroll Applications
Phase 3 Student Information System (currently under development by Oracle)

The logo represents the future infinite and smooth flow of information throughout the University community with each individual able to enter and retrieve the information they need.




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2001 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Monday, 21-Apr-2003 16:10:12 EDT
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