Focused on Service
Aligning with the Business Community
The University's investment in market leading application and technology services must be supported by a strong shared services model. In order to ensure this model aligns with the business community, the University persists in reviewing and incorporating business leading practices, and ensuring a diverse, evolving Application and Technology Governance Model.
Integrating Business Leading Practices with Software Application Implementations & Upgrades
A key goal for the administrative business community is designing business processes to promote the highest level of efficiency and service delivery. To achieve that goal, the University has established a strategic cornerstone with a commitment to continually assess and benchmark University administrative processes against market and industry leading business practice.
Prior to the onset of an application implementation or upgrade, the University evaluates the impacts enterprise application functions, features, and technology have on the identified leading practice business process improvement opportunities. The objective is to ensure the University maximizes the impact and value attained from the software investment.
This review process has been developed based on industry standards and corporate benchmarking that is independent of application track and can therefore be continually applied to multiple business opportunities. This process provides the University with the opportunity to:
In FY2007, this process and methodology contributed to how the University approached the Financials applications upgrade and e-Procurement and Grants Administration implementation. Currently, the University is integrating this process into the Human Capital Management applications project.
Embracing the University Applications and Technology Governance Model
As part of the University's long term IT strategy, the campuses in collaboration with the President's Office designed an applications and technology governance model. This model serves to guide application and technology strategic direction as well as provide a leadership role in managing the inevitable change the University must undergo as a direct result of that strategy.
One of the fundamental intentions of the governance model and process is creating a partnership between the business community and information technology. This partnership allows for a collaborative focus on how applications and technology are designed, implemented, and managed at the University.
As the University continues to grow and change, so do the business conditions and variables. These changes drive the information technology investments that the University makes. The applications and technology governance model is designed to evolve as these changes present themselves. The model's structure and principles are continuously evaluated in terms of its comprehensiveness (e.g., as new applications and technologies are brought to the University) and its effectiveness in delivering on defined governing principles.
FY2007 presented considerable change at the University that has resulted in growth in applications and technology. As a response to these changes, the governance model is being expanded to include more broadly representative governing bodies for Student applications (Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell consortium), Grants Administration, Business Intelligence, Institutional Advancement, and Identity Management. The governance model will expand existing bodies to include additional constituents (e.g., faculty representation for Student Administration applications). It will create entirely new bodies where they do not exist today (e.g. Business Intelligence and Identity Management).
In addition, this year has brought a review by the University's Administration and Finance Council of the guiding principles that steer the governance model. The Council ratified several significant changes to governance that seek to address improving the timeliness and cost of delivery for applications and technology projects.
Building Community through our Multi-campus Collaboration Model
The University governance model contributes directly to the multi-campus collaborative model, which is employed in delivering quality outcomes for University application and technology initiatives. This past year has sought to build upon the current foundation with focus on improvement opportunities.
The University persists in enhancing the Campus level project participation experience. Our FY2007 projects placed a heavy emphasis on collaborative processes, tools, and technologies that:
Key tools used during the Financials upgrade and Grants and eProcurement implementation included a collaborative project team location site and the deployment of WebEx, which allows for meeting leads to conduct online meetings where they share desktop materials with attendees in other locations.
Another opportunity identified was improving the content and reach of project and operations communications by providing more concise information in a timelier manner with a keen eye to the target consumer. The campus liaisons and project managers have been instrumental in the delivery of information (e.g., through collaborative project team sites).
The University continually remains focused on consistency and quality of delivery of application and technology training. In FY2007, the University concentrated on how better to develop and deliver effective application training to ensure end users are best positioned to use the University's application and technology services. During the Financials project, an increased level of central training occurred whereby multiple campus team members were in the same classroom receiving the same content and delivery from a single instructor. This training proved successful and holds promise for additional subject matter areas. It also aligns with the University's A Vision for the Future, as collaboration "means a directed, focused effort to bring together pockets of excellence spread among all of the University's campuses to create research and teaching strength that is greater than the sum of its parts." The University also invested in web-based interactive training tools broadening the University's diverse array of training delivery methods that can be tailored to the content and audience level.
Maintaining alignment with the Board of Trustees Strategic Priorities, efforts are continually made to streamline project and operational application and technology decision making processes. The administration and finance campus leadership has been instrumental in reinvigorating the governance model, having a direct impact on how implementation and upgrade projects are executed. The process is more streamlined, promoting timely multi-campus decisions with the effect of ultimately reducing the overall time and cost it takes to deliver a project to fruition.
The University also took the opportunity to strengthen the development, articulation, and communication of critical strategic and operational business drivers. The administration and finance campus leadership, through collaborative discussions and focused attention, has provided clarity and focus for identification of key business strategies and drivers for application and technology projects in FY2007. This provides the entire project team with a sense of mission and purpose tied to key business drivers. The long term impact will result in more streamlined and efficient execution of projects.
The University governance body has endorsed a set of Guiding Principles for Business Process and Accommodating Systems Implementations, Upgrades and Operations Management that provides stronger guidelines on how multi-campus collaborative projects are to be managed and executed. One key driver in these principles is the offering of guidelines aimed at streamlining, if not expediting, the delivery timeframes for specific application and technology projects. These principles hold the promise of paving the way for opportunities to enhance 'speed to market' in the University's delivery of application and technology projects.
Strengthening our Key Strategic Partnerships
The University's application and technology partners bring contemporary product and market knowledge regarding application design and business process as it relates to new application versions, functionality and emerging technologies. The University has established and continues to maintain relationships with our partners. Some of the University's key applications and technology strategic partners that contributed to our successes this past fiscal year are:
Accenture is a worldwide company with rich services in application and technology implementation and upgrade projects across multiple and diverse business organizations. Accenture was the leading partner in the University's upgrade efforts for the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software upgrade for Accounts Payable, e-Procurement, and General Ledger. Read more about eProcurement in FY2007 Strategic Achievements.
AnswerThink is a leading vendor in benchmarking and assessing leading Finance and Human Resource business practice for top companies. AnswerThink was instrumental in assisting the UMass business community in evaluating leading practice opportunities and in turn where and how those processes may be complimented with applications and technology here at the University.
CedarCrestone is a market leading company focused on PeopleSoft software implementation and upgrade services targeted exclusively for the Higher Education market. CedarCrestone is the University's implementation partner assisting in leading the effort to upgrade our current Benefits, Human Resource, Payroll, and Time and Labor software. They will also play a key role in assisting us in the evaluation and implementation of other value add HR/ERP business applications. Read more about the HCM applications project in The Years Ahead.
Executive Alliance is a strategic consulting firm that focuses on helping companies successfully link strategy, process, and technology to business objectives. Executive Alliance is providing strategic guidance to the University, assisting us in linking our business process improvement opportunities to key applications and technologies.
Huron is a market leading company offering business solutions to multiple business niches in the area of Grants Administration, Contracting, and Compliance. Huron was instrumental in leading the University's Grants Administration software implementation project effort. Read more about the Grants implementation in FY2007 Strategic Achievements.
Perfect Commerce is a company focused on 'On-Demand' applications that cover every aspect of Spend Management from spend analytics and sourcing to contract management, procurement, and invoice management. As part of the e-commerce implementation, the University implemented the hosted catalog application service provided by Perfect Commerce. Read more about the hosted catalog in FY2007 Strategic Achievements.
Cisco is the worldwide leader in networking for business networks and the Internet. The University has recently begun to upgrade 10+ year old Cisco routers with Cisco's latest routers. The University has installed Cisco's latest switches in our LAN infrastructure at most of the President's Office locations. Cisco continues to partner with the University, currently assisting with the new University data center design.
Dell is one of the world's leading computer systems companies; Dell designs, builds, and customizes products and services to satisfy a range of customer requirements. Recently, the President's Office chose Dell servers as the backbone for the President's Office new Collaborative Services environment. Additionally, a recent competitive bidding process conducted by the University President's Office in collaboration with all five campuses resulted in a three-year contract award for desktop and notebook computers to Dell, Inc. (Read about the U$ave Program in FY2007 Strategic Achievements or visit the U$ave website).
EMC Corporation is one of the world's leading developers and providers of information infrastructure technology and solutions. The President's Office primarily uses EMC storage equipment to store our growing volumes of information supporting systems such as our PeopleSoft shared services applications, our learning management system UMassOnline, and email. EMC hardware is critical in keeping our systems highly available through fault tolerant and component redundant designs. Additionally, EMC equipment is central to the economical management and protection of our information assets through backup technologies. Finally, we use EMC VMware software to help us significantly reduce hardware, power, and cooling costs through their virtualization technologies.
UMass Worcester has one of the largest IT organizations in the University, supporting core business services for the Medical School and Commonwealth Medicine. The President's Office leverages this relationship by outsourcing data center and infrastructure support for the University ERP and Collaborative systems. Support is provided from a pool of 20 systems and network professionals. As an IT organization, UMW is responsible for supporting 600 servers, three high performance Linux clusters, 120TB usable storage space, 23 thousand network ports (11 thousand active) and 157 wireless access points.
The Merger of Applications & Technology: The University's New Business Model with Oracle
In 2007, the University engaged Oracle in becoming one of the first institutions to be assigned a single Oracle executive responsible for both application and technical infrastructure services. This new business model has allowed the University to strategically purchase several applications and technical services under a single umbrella (see FY2007 Strategic Achievements) saving the University an estimated three million dollars over the next five years.
Oracle Corporation is a global leader in the development of database, middleware, monitoring, and ERP software solutions. Because of the University's site license for Oracle's database software, Oracle databases proliferate across the campuses and are used centrally to support all of the President's office mission critical applications. These core applications include many of Oracle's PeopleSoft ERP suite modules including the Finance, Student, Human Resources, and Business Intelligence applications. Additionally, Oracle products increasingly are being used by UMass to increase the stability and availability of our applications through their monitoring, clustering and systems management functions. Lastly, Oracle's products are helping to secure our applications and important data assets through their Identity Management offering.