U of S : Communications : OCN : Sep 5, 1997
Following more than two years of planning and a 1996 Board of Governors commitment to a new human resource information system (HRIS) on campus, the University has begun the process of replacing the current human resource and payroll system (HRS) with another from PeopleSoft Canada.
Bob Kavanagh, associate v-p (information technology services), who notes that the technology for the HRS stems from the late '70s, says the new system - to be funded out of the Systems Fund, an annual reserve appropriation of $300,000 over five years - will deliver a high quality of information, with less duplication and much more unit access to it (with appropriate restrictions in place) campus-wide.
Bob Elliott, director of Management Services, says the efficiencies of the system will help to offset its total cost.
A decision to purchase the PeopleSoft software (over a system called Banner) was made in March of 1997. A training database was installed in May of 1997 and training was begun immediately.
A "fit analysis' with the current system was conducted in June and selected scenarios tested in August.
November 1, 1998, is the "go-live" target date. It will take about 18 months to complete the implementation process.
To be known as About US - the name submitted by Paula Croteau, HRD, in a campus contest to name the new system - the system will, it's expected, substantially enhance the processing efficiencies of a range of personnel and payroll functions, not only in HRD but in offices across the campus.
And because the system is Year 2000-compliant, Payroll will be able to pass January 1 of that momentous year problem-free.
Before obtaining B of G support for the new HRMS, a blue-ribbon steering committee consisting of Bob Elliott (chair), Sharon Cochran, Dean Jones, Bob Kavanagh, Laura Kennedy, Joan Llewellyn, Al Rung, Murray Scharf, Wayne Skrapek, and Sylvia Wallace consulted with those who'll be using the system.
User groups reported that payroll and other input documents were cumbersome, and many noted that they had set up local systems to compensate for limited and often untimely information from the HRS.
At a June 6 campus launch of the new system, project leader Joan Llewellyn described the potential for the system as "fabulous," adding: "Because the information departments regularly need will be readily available to them, they'll be able to do things quicker with a lot less paper, manage their units better, and to do more and better planning."
Sharon Cochran, assistant v-p (human resources), said that the supporters of the system "are going to have to continue to inform the campus community of its benefits," and went on to refer to its sophisticated capabilities in such areas as shared data bases, sessional lecturers management, hiring and terminating procedures, promotion and salary histories of individuals, etc.
President Ivany added his support to the purchase of PeopleSoft, noting that all employees "have an almost daily, if unseen, dependence on" such systems.
He said it was "a hard-sell [in these financially constrained times] and it needed leadership," but contended that institutions such as the U of S have to make such expenditures as these.
In its system comparisons, the Steering Committee kept a number of criteria in mind. These included the degree of capability of performing a high percentage of the University's functional needs, present and future; enthusiastic support of the core selection team; and cost effectiveness relative to other systems.
Implementation of the project now falls to the Project Team, under Llewellyn. Project manager and training coordinator is Al Rung; technical manager is Dean Jones, both of Computing Services.