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Update on Oracle System Initiatives

December 6, 2021

To: Faculty and staff

Campus colleagues,

As we speed toward the holiday break, I wanted to update you on progress made in improving users’ experiences with UC Merced’s Oracle-based financial management system. Nearly all the initiatives shared here are the result of formal and informal conversations with stakeholders from every corner of the university. Thank you, always, for the feedback.

The initiatives range from one-on-one support to new training to back-end updates to the system. Here’s a rundown:

Service Requests: Reducing the backlog of purchasing requests continues to be one of the primary goals of the Center for Business Services and Solutions (CBS2). In November, CBS2 closed 2,118 orders and, compared to October, reduced open orders by 20% and unassigned requests by 28%. As of Dec. 1, there are 893 open orders and 512 unassigned requests.

On-Campus Support: Three CBS2 staffers have been embedded in UC Merced’s three schools since early October and have logged more than 60 sessions with various personnel. Three additional CBS2 staff members are in the Faculty Support Center in Kolligian Library’s Suite 108 and have logged 23 visitors since it opened in mid-October. Staff at the center can help academic personnel with tasks such as purchasing lab equipment, paying an honorarium or setting up independent contractor agreements. The center is open to anyone in the campus community who needs assistance with administrative tasks. I encourage everyone to use this valuable one-on-one resource.

Access Upgrades and Training: About 80 research assistants and chief administrative officers received advanced system access, allowing them to query, view and extract data critical to business operations and services. They received more than seven hours of live training on their new abilities.

Oracle Access Workgroup : In early November, the Division of Finance and Administration and the Office of Research and Economic Development teamed up to identify system and process improvements. Key initiatives include a revamped project financial report to better support business needs. There also is a new third-party integration with iLab to support core facilities recharge, scheduled for late calendar year 2022.

Oracle Data Integrity Project: Several DFA teams are working on this project, which will assure consistency of financial data with little to no tolerance for variances. As a result, transactions in areas such as research, education or development will be balanced as long as data input is consistent.

Procurement Task Force: The group has held several meetings to hear about hands-on experiences with the Oracle system and determine back-end improvements that can increase system efficiency and decrease turnaround times for requisitions.

Coming Soon: DFA is fine-tuning content for an Oracle Toolkit that provides easy access to training tools and resources for purchasing, accounting, making reports and managing research projects. Meanwhile, many of those resources can be found here.

Thank you for your partnership in determining the steps we’ve taken – and will continue to take – to ensure the Oracle system supports our journey as a campus on the rise. We will provide updates as our initiatives progress.

Sincerely,

Kurt Schnier

Interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer