November 4, 2002
In attendance: Paul Anderson, Peggy Bottorff, Michelle Broadway, Chris Cook, Al Fanjoy, Bill Fitzpatrick, Steve Grasson, Lisa Huber, Ginger Knutsen, Ellen Lepine, Dave McCarren, Rich McCaulley, Tim Miller, Chris Murphy, Eileen Prazniak, Dee Smith, Linda Somers.
Absent: Anna Bloch, Amy Taylor
1) The meeting for the Communication Team to discuss the chart of accounts will be held on November 13, 2002 from 1 to 3 p.m. The rollout for the chart of accounts will be on December 3. The time and place will be announced.
2) PeopleSoft version 8.4 is now usable. The new url is:
3) The next regular meeting, November 18, of the Committee will look at 8.4. Peggy suggested that everyone try using the queries before the next meeting.
GENERAL MEETING MINUTES:
1) Rick McCaulley, the Crestone consultant met with the Committee to discuss strategies for implementation of PeopleSoft. He has been involved with 28 implementations PeopleSoft at a variety of organizations which have included universities, community colleges, cities and businesses.
3) Following introductions, the Committee members shared concerns about implementation. The major issues mentioned were:
a) Functionality should not be lost with the implementation of PeopleSoft.
b) High end users need to have access to a data warehouse or similar tool that will allow them to access and manipulate key data.
c) The system should make things easier for staff who make routine use of the financial system to purchase items, check balances, etc.
d) Attendees at focus groups said they wanted someone to call if they had questions. They also wanted access to training materials.
e) Ultimately the goal in moving to PeopleSoft was to get something that would be “faster, better, smarter, cheaper.”
f) There is concern that the old system will go away before PeopleSoft is fully functional.
g) There is concern that work processes need thorough examination in order to permit a smooth transition.
h) Providing training for routine use of the system may be the Committee’s biggest challenge. High end users will jump whatever hurdles are necessary to become adept at using the system.
i) Attendees at focus groups indicated that they were happy to have been asked about training needs. They also indicated that they wanted to be kept informed.
j) Having sample data, especially data similar to that used at the University, would greatly assist transition.
k) Having drill down capability would assist staff who use the system for simple look ups and standard processing.
l) There is concern about assisting non-power users in the transition. Power users will invest the time to master the technicalities of the new system no matter what. A successful transition will assist non-power users who make up the largest group of users.
m) There is concern that central offices directly associated with certain system functions (e.g. budgeting, accounting, purchasing) not encounter the kind of re-keying burden HR had to assume after the implementation of PeopleSoft.
n) A question was raised about whether the goal should be to train to the level people now are at with financial systems or to train to the optimum level.
o) Reporting is such a critical component that the Communication Team wants to start showing queries and reporting options.
p) It is difficult to assure people that needs will be met until things are more tangible.
q) A question was raised about the availability of historical data.
r) How much lead time will be available to train users of the system on local forms.
s) It is hoped that the capabilities of UD Check will be maintained as a lot of training has already been devoted to this system.
Rich McCaulley commented on some of the issues raised:
a) It is his assessment that the readiness level at the University of Delaware to implement PeopleSoft financials is very good. There is a lot of enthusiasm for the implementation and the ability to be successful.
b) Rick warned that sometimes organizations try to move too quickly. The development of a solid chart of accounts is necessary before moving on to reports. The chart of accounts is the key to everything else.
c) He talked about the strength of the reporting capability in PeopleSoft. He said supporting systems will go away or become merely supplemental. The ability to do local reporting with PeopleSoft financials is excellent and will quickly increase as the system is used.
d) Rick was asked about historical data. Financial data will be converted in PeopleSoft beginning July 2003. There will, however, be access to old data. This may ultimately be moved into an Oracle database to make access easier. Oracle allows separate backyards known as instances. This is a helpful feature as the most difficult part of retrieving data in PeopleSoft is knowing where the data is located. The implementation teams will need to develop a data dictionary. The template feature and hot keys help with this.
e) Some data needs to be mapped and transferred in PeopleSoft so the Report team can begin work. Rick thought this would happen at the end of November.
f) Rick talked briefly about nVision and its effectiveness as a formatting tool.
g) By January 16, 2003 all the set up of data should be complete. It should be possible to begin using real university data in testing queries and report features and in training at that time.
h) Rick warned about not sprinting because it can lead to burnout. Not everything is ready now. It is important to wait until it is so that the Training Team can instill confidence in PeopleSoft Financials.
i) One of the most important considerations for the Committee is how do you get people to attend training.
j) PeopleSoft Financials is built for the end user. Deans and other administrators may increasingly want to do their own reports.
k) Tools are not as important as the ability to use them. There are literally hundreds of tools available in PeopleSoft.
l) Key question in training is determining what it is that you want to know.
m) More data will be available with PeopleSoft than ever before. It is a large integrated system with budget, asset management, accounts receivables, billing. There are of course many associated security and political issues.
n) Grants-pre awards probably will be available July 2004.
o) Security. First reaction of new users of PeopleSoft is lock things down, but this is not really a maintainable stance. Lock downs end up creating the development of subsystems. You can start with what a user needs at a minimum. The consultant can advise on how hard it will be to maintain this level of security. Security is not delivered by department. Rick encourages organizations to open up access except to salaries for reporting purposes. Security regarding who can make changes to data is the one area that does need to be tightly controlled.
p) nVision. No decision on how many users will have client loaded on their computers. Issues to be considered:
1) User needs – how necessary is this.
2) How many users will have the time to develop own nVision reports.
3) How is support to be provided for loading the client widely on users’ computers and dealing with upgrades.
4) Loading the client will impact the type of equipment required on the desk top.
q) Should the Communication Team learn what the Report Team knows?
Rick thinks it important to wait until data is available. He also recommends that implementation team members learn the system using the developmental data (US001 data).
This can begin sooner and will lead to a better understanding of PeopleSoft. Trouble-shooting is where you learn the system.
There is also a PR issue of having lots of people working with a system that is not fully in place and does not work well.
r) Some reports will not be available on July 2003.
s) How much time can the Communication Team devote to implementation. Rick said that organizations typically need to gear up at this stage of the implementation.
t) Peggy – Bottom line is to get campus comfortable with new system.
u) Currently control tables are being established and values are being added.
v) The Committee asked Rick McCaulley to look at the Training plan explaining that it had been devised by brainstorming on all the possible ways to train. The list has been refined and has now been prioritized.
w) University staff have been categorized in tiers based on the level of their use of the financial system. The top tier containing the people who most interact with financial systems. This group also contains what is being described as power users, these are the staff that will need to extract and report on information at a sophisticated and demanding level. These tier one users are to be invited to a rollout of chart of accounts on December 3. The rollout is designed to inform staff about the new chart of accounts. It will provide an opportunity to explain a great deal about how PeopleSoft Financial systems will work. The meeting will also provide a chance for questions to be addressed and identify issues.
11/13/02 – The rollout of the Chart of Accounts will be conducted for a small group composed mostly of implementation team members.
10/18/02 – The Communication/Training Team will begin working with release 8.4 even without UD data.
12/03/02 – The rollout of the Chart of Accounts will be conducted for a large group of Tier One users.
The Committee discussed the fact that meeting every other week for one and one half hour was not going to be sufficient. The Committee will be asked to go either to longer or more frequent meetings. Another strategy to meet the increasing work load will be to increase communication by e-mail between meetings of the Committee. [Following the 11/4/02 meeting of the Committee, it was decided to meet every week, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon, beginning with 12/3/02.
Minutes submitted on 11/15/02 by Paul Anderson