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Initiatives to Improve Campus Financial System

November 3, 2021

To: Faculty and staff

Good afternoon,

I wanted to update all of you on several steps we have taken to improve the user experience with our Oracle-based financial system and to reduce the backlog of transactions and purchase requests. The steps, inspired by feedback from across campus, include new staff, process upgrades and additional training.

One of the primary reasons for launching the Oracle platform in January was to give the university modern, scalable financial tools that can grow with us. That has not changed. However, we are aware that for many of you the transition has been difficult and impacted your ability to conduct your daily work. The purpose of the initiatives listed here is to ensure the financial system efficiently underpins our goals of teaching, research and service while assisting your efforts to support the campus.

Our initiatives include:

  • The Center for Business Services and Solutions (CBS2), in partnership with Human Resources, is developing concise, easy-to-follow training videos on how to find account data and complete requisitions online. The videos, along with other helpful resources, will be available in the Go-Live Toolkit, which is being streamlined and updated. Watch for more details later this month.
  • Approval for the hiring of 11 new staff positions – six for CBS2 and five for other departments in the Division of Finance and Administration. These hires will address both short-term issues – particularly purchase request backlogs – and long-term initiatives such as strengthening our ability to update the system’s processes in response to users’ needs, along with providing ongoing support and maintenance.
  • The CBS2 staff will focus on in-person administrative support at the three schools and the new Faculty Support Center. The latter is broadly accessible to all campus constituents who need support with procurement as well.
  • In October, nearly 80 administrative staff were granted expanded access in their Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) accounts, allowing them to query, view and extract data critical to business operations and services. Training for these new capabilities is being conducted this month.
  • A project launched this month will ensure the integrity of financial data across specialty areas such as research project management and accounts payable. The project brings together subject matter experts from several DFA units.
  • A Procurement Task Force formed in October will recommend steps to improve Oracle functionality and user experiences. To that end, the task force is holding meetings to listen to stakeholders from across the campus spectrum. Recommendations can include new training, enhancements to existing training, and modifications to the Oracle ERP system.

Most of all, I thank you for your suggestions, critiques and hands-on accounts. We intend to be collaborative, iterative and transparent as we work through the issues with the Oracle financial system. Please continue to use the DFA Service Catalog to submit requests and inquiries.

Be well,

Kurt Schnier

Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer