The Silver Lining in Our Cloud
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 52 seconds
Dear staff and faculty:
In the last Strong Ties, I highlighted a handful of the thousands of staff who are working to keep the University of Kansas running all day, every day. You may have noticed that a few of the individuals featured have been doing double-duty. They’ve been involved in KU’s financial systems transformation to Oracle Cloud.
The transition is a monumental undertaking nearly two years in the making with significant benefits for the institution and end users — faculty, staff, and administrators. The transformation provides three integrated systems: Financials in the Cloud (FITC) replaces PeopleSoft FSKU, Planning and Budgeting Cloud Services (PBCS) replaces NIBS and UBUD, and Oracle Analytics Cloud replaces BudCast and DEMIS financial reporting. The financial systems transformation website provides overview videos and explanations. Concurrently, Office of Research pre-award functions are moving to cloud-based Streamlyne.
On Dec. 4, when the first of the financial systems are switched, members of our transformation working groups will surely be on pins and needles. This is a very large and complex implementation and it would be impossible to anticipate every possible issue that could arise. I have great confidence, though, that the working groups have prepared KU well for the transition and that they are committed to solving issues that emerge.
We can expect there will be a learning curve for those of us using the new systems. Changing the processes we’ve grown accustomed to can be hard. I’m positive we will all get the hang of it and, with time, we’ll be able to celebrate the energy and effort it saves KU. Over the next several weeks, centralized staff in Administration and Finance, the Office of Research, and Shared Service Center and department staff who review and approve transactions will take part in learning sessions on the new systems. The FST website also offers links to a wide variety of training sessions available to help individuals across campus master the many different modules comprising the systems.
Planning, Preparation & Patience
I truly appreciate all the planning, hard work, late nights, and testing that staff have invested in executing this transition. More than 150 individuals have been involved, working to build the system with the end user and KU’s greater good in mind. They’ve populated the system with data, worked to anticipate hitches and tested, tested, and tested some more. They’ve labored to identify and resolve as many technical issues as possible prior to the rollout. And the work won’t end there. After the first systems go live, we can expect some slight delays and the need for some tweaks, modifications, and updates. No one will abandon their post in the face of these hiccups.
As the transition is accomplished in the weeks and months ahead, I hope I can count on all members of our campus community to be both team players and partners. Your thoughtfully presented feedback and questions will be important as we work to ensure the system is all we hope it can be. Please know that the staff involved in the transformation are on your side should concerns emerge. They’ll be working as quickly as possible to resolve issues.
This time of year is known for being stressful. This is also a time of thanks, joy, and celebration. It’s within our power to make sure the stress we might feel from this particular change is eclipsed by the thanks expressed for hard work and commitment, the joy of approaching the finish line, and the celebration of accomplishment.
News and Notes
The KU Debate program is bringing home more hardware. Congratulations to the debate squad of Will Katz and Quaram Robinson who won the Wake Forest Debate Tournament on Nov. 14. It’s their third tournament championship of the semester.
The next Community Table will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Anschutz Library. All are welcome, and especially those experiencing food insecurity. The Office of Diversity & Equity event — co-sponsored this month by the College, the School of Business and the School of Engineering — features casual conversation and a free lunch from Ramen Bowls.
The School of Music will offer three performances of its annual Vespers concert. The first performance will be 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, at the Carlsen Center for the Performing Arts at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park. Two performances will take place, at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Lied Center. Visit the School of Music calendar for more information about ticket availability at each concert.
Congratulations to associate professor of applied behavioral science Jomella Watson-Thompson who received a $1.7 million, four-year grant from U.S. Health & Human Services to examine the effect of combined agency support to prevent youth violence in Kansas City, Kan.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs is accepting applications for the Spring 2018 cohort of Social Justice Fellows. The program provides intensive direction to faculty and staff on issues of social justice, inclusion and systemic oppression. The cohort meets for two hours every other Friday during the semester. Applications are due by Dec. 8.
Today is the Trans Day of Remembrance. Events and activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Center for Sexuality & Gender Diversity, 400 Kansas Union, and all day at the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center.
KU Endowment has a number of important initiatives featured as part of LaunchKU. Among the current needs is support for the Graduate Student Emergency Fund, which will help students weather unforeseen financial hardships.
A team of School of Business accounting students won top honors at Deloitte’s Audit Innovation Campus Challenge Nov. 13-14 in Minneapolis, Minn. The regional competition was one of six held around the country, and the KU team will continue on to the national challenge April 6-7, 2018, at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas.
Congratulations to the School of Business. The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine ranked the B-School’s undergraduate entrepreneurship program at No. 21 in its list for 2018.
The next Rock Chalk Talk coordinated by the Center for Undergraduate Research will be 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 28, in the Commons at Spooner Hall. Student presenters will tackle the topic “Why My Project Matters.”
Two KU buildings won 2017 Awards of Merit from the Illuminating Engineering Society for their exceptional lighting. Capitol Federal Hall and the DeBruce Center were recognized by the IES Kansas City Section on Nov. 16.
Every faculty and staff member has an opportunity to recognize the efforts of others they work with on campus. The next deadline to submit a nomination for staff Employee of the Month is Dec. 1. Nominations for Exceptional Teams are due by Dec. 31.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor