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Colleagues,
 
My university recently completed (survived!) a comprehensive and expedited PeopleSoft implementation. We have moved from a highly-customized Tier-3 application to the world of PeopleSoft HR, Finance, EPM, Campus Solutions, etc and all the associated underlying infrastructure and database services. We have completed the implementation with very little modification to the delivered code, and maintaining this low level of customization is a priority.
 
The implementation, in many ways, was lead by IT and our implementation vendor. We are now trying to adjust our culture to an new approach. While, as part of our sustainment planning, we put in place a governance structure, I am now reviewing with our VPs what we did and considering a proposal to make adjustments.
 
I have some of the usual questions: What is your approach to governance around large scale ERP implementations ? What is the role of the "business" versus IT and how are priorities, decisions, problems and planning resolved ? For example,  where does the BA function sit in organization ? How is the role of IT defined in your model ? How do you ensure that the governance and support of the system is "business driven" ?
 
If you have any documents to share, or can point me to a link with additional information, it would be much appreciated.
 
I appreciate your help and advice.
 
regards.
 
John
 
 
 
 
John McGrath
Chief Information Officer, Grant  MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Comments

Hi John,

Congratulations on your ERP implementation!!  I started at LCC at the tail end of our Banner ERP implementation about 4 yrs ago, so I cannot say I know exactly what you went through, but I hear references to our intense project all the time here.  J

I don’t know that I have an outstanding answer to your questions, but I thought I would throw out a couple of things for you to chew on.  We established something we call the Systems Operations Coordinating Committee (SOCC) which I am the Chair of.  This is attended by various administrative Directors and their BAs on a weekly basis.  We have regular representation from Finance, Financial Aid, HR, Student, Student Finance, and sometimes from our Institutional Reporting team.  In addition, I have my Banner Support team attend these as well.  We invite others into the meeting as needed.  During this meeting, we work through many of the items you bring up below.  We set the schedule for patches and upgrades of our ERP system, the ERP bolt-on apps, and any other enterprise application we support.  As part of these discussions, we often have to take project prioritization into account, but to date we don’t do a great job of overall project portfolio prioritization.  That is a long-term goal of mine.  If you can identify some of the key orgs/users in your environment and get them to meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to discuss these items and set direction for the institution, I think you will be very well positioned.

SOCC reports to our Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) which is run by my boss and LCC’s CIO.  Occasionally, if we cannot resolve an issue in SOCC, we will escalate it up to this group for resolution.

One final thing I would recommend you tackle ASAP is a standard maintenance window.  LCC is very fortunate to have implemented a weekly maintenance window (mostly used for the enterprise systems my team supports, e.g. not network outages, LMS, etc.) of 6 pm – 11 pm every Friday evening.  This has proved to be extremely valuable and a major time saver as we don’t spend any time in SOCC or across LCC determining what day/time we can possibly implement this patch or that upgrade.  We do lay out our timeline for our two major EPR upgrades each year (October & March) about 6 months in advance (via SOCC) as those often go from Friday evening until sometime on Sunday.

I will stop there.  If you want to discuss any of this further, I would be happy to do so.  Just let me know.  And, good luck with your ongoing support of your new ERP system.

Take care,

Randall S. Jobski, PMP

Director - Enterprise Systems

Lansing Community College

ITIL v3 Foundational Certified

jobskir@lcc.edu

517-483-1760 (w)

517-582-5003 (c)

 

Good afternoon John.

Congratulations on you and your team’s achievement! Now the fun part of ERP management and maintenance begins. While at a previous institution, I served as project manager for the Banner implementation. Like your institution, we implemented with limited customization and intended to maintain this approach over the long haul. This was a bit of a cultural paradigm shift as we had migrated to Banner from a custom Cobol/dl1 IBM mainframe system developed over the course of 30 years. In the past, our team was flexible in adapting the legacy system to the changing needs of the institution. This was no longer the case in the Banner environment. The need for pragmatic and deliberate governance was discovered early in the post-go-live Banner world. The answers/ recommendations below are from my experience at my previous institution and from approaches that have been successful at Cardinal Stritch University in my current role.

What is your approach to governance around large scale ERP implementations ?

·         It is best practice to establish a ERP Project Steering Committee to aid in planning, monitoring and controlling the execution of large scale ERP implementations. However, many steering committees disband after ‘surviving’ the project. In order to continue institutional collaboration in refining ERP system configurations, data standards and institutional business processes, the steering committee should continue in the post-go-live environment under new charter. The role of the steering committee in the post-go-live world is to guide the definition, prioritization and planning of system, standard and business process changes. In essence, the steering committee becomes an ERP change control board.  System upgrades, maintenance and bolt-on implementations must be managed through the steering committee to ensure IT and business staff/resources are utilized to  their full potential.  Without governance, the potential for unclear priorities and resource over-allocation increases significantly.

 

What is the role of the "business" versus IT and how are priorities, decisions, problems and planning resolved ?

·         The Academy, Business and IT are all partners in delivering a student, faculty and staff experience. All must work collaboratively to create and maintain an excellent administrative and academic experience for our constituents. In order to create a collaborative environment between the Academy, Business and IT, we have established a cross representational Information Services Steering committee to set priorities, provide planning oversight for IS changes and review/refine/approve OIS capital project proposals. We are actively expanding the governance model to include advisory committees for (1) Library and Learning Services, (2) User Support and Infrastructure, (3) Enterprise Systems, and (4) Web Communications. This new model will enable expanded and improved involvement of faculty and staff in planning changes and new projects. If you would like, I could send you the ISSC committee charter for review.

·         Our Business Process Analyst function currently sits within the Office of Information Services – Enterprise Systems team. However, we are evaluating moving the function to the Project Management Office as there is a better alignment in services managed.

 

How is the role of IT defined in your model ?

·         The role of IT is defined as being service hub, fostering open collaboration to build and maintain a high quality student, faculty and staff experience.

 

How do you ensure that the governance and support of the system is "business driven" ?

·         All projects and changes are viewed through a strategic lens. All initiated projects and changes are aligned with the University Vision and (Strategic) Plan.

·         The Information Services Steering committee is cross representational and provides “business staff” with a direct line to ERP change planning and prioritization.

 

I wish you and your team the best of luck!

 

Regards,

TJ

 

 

TJ Rains, PMP

Vice President of Information Services and Chief Information Officer

Cardinal Stritch University

 

Phone: (414) 410-4535

Cell: (414) 732-1591

Email: tjrains@stritch.edu

 

 

 

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