THE CAPTAIN'S CHAIR
John Hooper, Executive Director of Administrative Information Systems, CITC
The Computing and Information Technology Center (CITC) recently reorganized in order to rationalize some of the duties of various departments (i.e., put the departments where they make the most sense). One part of the reorganization affects the Administrative Information Systems (AIS) groups that support the finance and administration organizations at UNT, UNT-HSC, and the UNT system.
A new department of Administrative Information Systems, the Finance and Administration Systems Team (FAST), has been created. This new department aligns the services of AIS with the organization structures at both UNT and UNT-HSC. The structure is consistent with organizational support at most other institutions of higher education. I think we all realize how intertwined the Human Resources and payroll areas are with the financial systems. The creation of FAST provides more direct oversight of this integration and coordination on the AIS side. Although this is a change in structure, the teams are still in place that have built great partnerships with the finance and administration users.
The new FAST group reports to Dorothy Flores. It consists of three teams: the Payroll/Human Resources Systems Team (PHRST), the Financial Systems Team (FIST), and a new team, the Finance and Administration Budget and Business Intelligence Team (FABBIT). PHRST continues to be lead by Steve Vrbka, the FIST team is led by Alan Wilson, and FABBIT is lead by Will Senn. PHRST continues to service the payroll and HR functions for the UNT system. FIST continues to be responsible for the core financial functions of the UNT system. FABBIT is responsible for the new budget implementation as well as providing for the explosive needs in the finance and administration areas for data warehousing and business intelligence.
I am confident that this new structure will provide many benefits going forward. We already have outstanding people in place in all of these organizations that do some exciting things. This reorganization will provide for more coordination of our services, support priority setting and resource allocation in support of strategic goals, and provide consistency in our approach to delivering services to the finance and administration areas of the UNT system.
Campus Solutions 8.9 Upgrade
Don Butler, Assistant Director, EIS Student/Contributor Services, CITC/EIS Upgrade Project Manager
I am sure some of you are asking "What has been going on with the EIS Upgrade Project?" The project consists of upgrading the modules in EIS known as Learning Solutions to Oracle/PeopleSoft's version 8.9 software that has been renamed Campus Solutions (CS). The following is a status update on the progress we have made and what remains to be done.
First, I think it is helpful to give you some perspective on the size of the project. From beginning to end the project spans 170 working days (the half-way point was reached on Friday, July 27, 2007). There are 108+ UNTS employees participating in the upgrade (47+ technical and 61+ functional staff).
Since the April issue of theEnterprise, when I discussed the project kick-off and the development freeze, UNT and HSC developers have been burning up their keyboards retrofitting UNTS customizations into the Campus Solutions 8.9 version of the delivered PeopleSoft software. The functional areas have been just as busy -- testing, attending training, documenting changes, and designing/implementing the security changes (with support from the EIS Security Administration and EIS Training Administration teams). These are all basic things required to ensure the upgraded system meets UNTS functional needs.
The PeopleSoft Application Infrastructure Management team has taken project members thru several major milestones since April 2007. These include the upgrade initial pass, the first, second, and third test move to production upgrade cycles, and the three sets of patches/fixes applied to the new version. (Believe me it was much easier to write about than to accomplish!)
The Oracle Database Administration team has been busy supporting the Oracle database backups/changes needed to support the implementation of this new version of the software. The CITC Infrastructure and Technical Services team has been installing and configuring the new hardware purchased to ensure our infrastructure remains up-to-date. The Data Warehouse and Reporting Infrastructure team is working on the ETL changes needed to build our Reporting Database from the new CS 8.9 data model.
"What is left?" you ask! Well, we need to finalize our retrofits, documentation, and security changes, perform a mock go-live cycle, conduct user training, and finalize testing that includes integration testing and load testing. And last but not least, perform the REAL go-live cycle over the Thanksgiving holiday this year.
So, the next time you see someone that is participating in this project, stop and tell them how much you appreciate all of their hard work -- hard work that will ensure this first major upgrade for EIS is a success!
EIS Product Family Head Restructure
The Computing and Information Technology Center (CITC) recently created a new Administrative Information Services group titled the Finance and Administration Systems Team (FAST). This change brings development support for Human Resources, Payroll, Finance and Reporting together in one group.
Additionally, the functional sponsorship for the FAST team has been adjusted to reflect the new CITC organizational structure. Phil Diebel, Vice President for Finance and Business Affairs, recently announced that Jean Bush, Assistant V.P. for Finance and Busniess Affairs and Chief Budget Officer, is the EIS Product Family Head for not only budgets and reporting but for Human Resources as well. Jean will work in cooperation with Donna Keener, UNT Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, and Rand Horsman, HSC Vice President for HRS/EEO, on Human Resource activities relating to EIS. Ginny Anderson, Associate Vice President, Finance and Business Affairs; Controller, will continue her role as functional sponsor of the Finance Information Systems Team.
Both Ginny and Jean have been closely involved with EIS since the early days of initial implementation. Product family heads guide and are involved in their EIS user groups by identifying and prioritizing EIS projects and enhancements in coorperation with CITC technical staff. Jean has served as Product Family Head for Budgets since the beginning of EIS. Her experience will be a great asset as she becomes more involved with the reporting, payroll, and human resource aspects.
Budget Project Goes Live
This summer, the Finance team, in concert with the budget offices of UNT, UNT System and HSC and our Fujitsu partners, embarked on the implementation of a new Budget Planning system - Cognos Planning. The project involved the UNT and HSC budget offices working at the UNT Research Park, alongside CITC developers and with the Fujitsu consultants. Having everyone on-site enabled us to work very closely together and helped foster an environment of cooperation and teamwork. As a result, we were able to successfully implement Cognos Planning and leverage its use in the production of the FY 2008 budget.
The initial phase of the project was completed at the beginning of September 2007. We are looking forward to the opportunity to enhance the system's budgeting and planning capabilities in the next year. Continuing work will focus on extending the planning models and improving the integration of Cognos Planning and the Cognos Business Intelligence Reporting Suite in order to provide better reporting out of EIS. Improved reporting will enrich the planning process for the university system as a whole.
Graduate Admissions Improves Recruitment Capabilities with CRM
CRM Implementation Team (L-R): Mike Shirley, Walter Bowen, Monika Botha, Angie Blank, Rob Torrey, Shawn Emery, Ann Rahmat, Sikkandar Sahib, KC Koh. Not Shown: Tom Henderson, Gopi Chavali (rolled off project April 25), Peggy Bell-Hendrickson, Maureen Saringer (rolled off project in January to lead admissions PS 8.9 project), Donna Hughes, Golda George.
A new prospect recruitment system is being successfully used at UNT. The new system is named CRM which stands for Constituent Relationship Management. CRM 8.9 replaced the old APS prospect system; it is part of the Oracle PeopleSoft application suite. The CRM project has been lead by Walter Bowen, Associate Director of Admissions. Graduate Admissions went live with CRM in May 2007. Undergraduate Admissions will be the next area to go-live with CRM in 2008.
CRM processes enable the institution to collect and better manage "prospect" information and inquiries to improve our response handling methods, strengthen overall marketing communication effectiveness and enhance our ability to target and recruit future applicants to UNT. In postproduction, CRM project members are working hard to more effectively integrate CRM with applicant and enrollment tracking in EIS, as well as to ensure a level of data quality in the CRM database that will support effective prospect tracking, campaign audience building and reporting. A long-term goal is to eventually be more tightly linked across other parts of the organization, as well, through full exploitation of CRM's functionality.
A primary recruitment goal is building towards the 360-degree view of a student. The CRM system is an initial step towards this goal. There are many benefits that CRM brings to graduate marketing and online marketing:
- Connects propsects to the right department;
- allows communication to be as broad, or as granular as necessary to fit the audience;
- closes the communication loop;
- segments audiences as target groups;
- provides early indicator of trends.
CITC Restructure Improves User Support
One of the recent reorganizations that took place within CITC involves combining the technical teams responsible for PeopleSoft Financials, Payroll/HR, and Budgeting and Business Intelligence under one reporting structure, called Finance and Administration Systems. This is consistent with the functional user reporting structure supported by those teams.
There are several benefits for CITC, as well as those individual teams. The ability to share resources, skills, and knowledge will be invaluable. This new structure will also facilitate communication and enhance the working relationship between those teams and the users they support.
Evidence of the benefits of the new structure is already being realized by the sharing of knowledge relating to a recent project requiring document modifications and testing efforts that impacts those technical areas. The coordination of another project for reporting information to the State of Texas has also benefited from being able to understand the needs of each of those areas, and facilitate the successful completion of that task.
This new reporting structure is seen as a positive step in CITC’s continuing efforts to foster an environment of cooperation among the technical teams and the ability to provide improved customer service to our campus users.
EIS FAST FACTS
Web-Based EIS Calendars
Need to keep up with what is happening for EIS? Web-based calendars are available for change management (maintenance/planned outages), training, and meeting events relating to EIS. The calendars are linked to GroupWise using GWExtranet. GWExtranet is a simple, yet smart and powerful application that dynamically publishes on the web any GroupWise calendar and folder information from one or multiple GroupWise accounts or resources. Technical and functional staff associated with EIS post to the calendars from inside their UNT GroupWise accounts. GWExtranet provides the handy capability of viewing the calendars individually or as composite views.
The EIS calendars are available at: http://eis.unt.edu/calendar/.
EIS Upgrade Quick Links
Campus Solutions 8.9 Upgrade -- Milestones
8.9 Upgrade General FAQs
EIS 8.9 Upgrade Training
Training will soon be available for faculty and staff who perform administrative tasks both in the EIS administrative interface and through MyUNT. Announcements will be sent out from student administration offices as well as Human Resources regarding dates and times training is available. Notification will also be published at UNT through InHouse and at HSC using the GroupWise email notification bulletin.
EIS Enterprise Learning Module
Faculty and staff can currently use the self-service features in the MyUNT portal to review their training history maintained by the Human Resources office. The upgrade to PeopleSoft version 8.9, also known as Campus Solutions, provides an opportunity to add additional services to facilitate training events throughout the UNT System. Features that will become available in Calendar Year 2008 through the portal are online registration for training events, management of training sites and resources, automated class rosters for instructors of faculty/staff training and enhanced training history.
Cathy Gonzalez, EIS Training, Communications, and Administration Manager, has been named as the module lead for the Enterprise Learning Module upgrade. She will be working closely with the CITC HR/Payroll development team to implement these enhanced features. During a recent discussion regarding the module's capabilities, Cathy said "The Enterprise Learning Module should be available for any type of training that is being conducted on UNTS campuses. No matter if the training is for faculty, staff, student workers, teaching fellows or teaching assistants, EIS will offer one-stop training registration for any department that chooses to use these features." Questions regarding the Enterprise Learning Module can be directed to Cathy at email@example.com.
EIS Timekeeper Training is now conducted on a one-on-one basis, and this can be organized directly with Human Resources (565-3995)
EIS ePro Training Calendar - includes ePro Coordinator Classes & PPS Travel
Budget Reports Training (contact BudOffice@fis.admin.unt.edu)
EIS WebCT training for Learning Solutions 8.0 is currently being transitioned to version 8.9 and is not available. Query training for Financial Services is available for faculty or staff new to Financials 8.4.
Introduction to Query for EIS (FS) (requires approval by Associate
Vice President for Finance & Business Affairs, and Controller)