Crosswalk Newsletter

July 2014 Crosswalk

Entering the PeopleSoft Era

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After more than three years of hard work and dedication, we entered the first phase of PeopleSoft implementation in early May. Departments and central processing units (Accounts Payable, HR, Budget, Contracts & Grants, etc.) have been busy processing HR and Finance transactions through the new system. During this time we have also been dedicated to stabilizing the system.

A few of our accomplishments to date:

Payroll Runs in PeopleSoft

A key measure of success that we set for ourselves was ensuring that our employees were paid accurately and on time. On May 22, that indicator held true with the successful completion of our first payroll run in PeopleSoft. Since then, we have had 8 successful payroll runs. More than 17,000 payroll payments have been processed for our students, faculty, and staff.

The Interim Approval Process (IAP) System

In order to temporarily support PeopleSoft processing, interim approval processes (IAPs) were developed to collect data and approvals for common HR and Finance transactions. Seven IAP forms were developed over a period of three months. The IAPs have provided a reliable record of approvals for various transactions.

When processing bottlenecks were identified, adjustments were made swiftly to streamline the processing of transactions. For example, tracking numbers were added to IAP forms to facilitate the matching of forms to PeopleSoft documents. Departments are also now able to track the status of their IAP forms.

Payments to Vendors and Employees

After a slow start, hard copy documentation requirements were put in place to expedite the processing of travel & expense and vendor payment transactions. As a result, the turnaround times for processing these payments continue to improve as the weeks pass.

HR Transactions

As with the adjustments made to travel & expense and vendor payment processing, the team responded to HR processing delays by making modifications to the New Hire/Rehire IAP form. We have processed over 950 new hires/rehires in PeopleSoft.

Considering how close implementation was to the start of the summer semester, appointing employees was a unique challenge. A process was developed and executed to collect the data necessary for accomplishing this task.

Miner Mall

The interface between Miner Mall and PeopleSoft has been seamless. Over 3,700 purchase orders created in Miner Mall were programmatically converted to PeopleSoft, ensuring that encumbrances were accurately captured in the new system. With very little issue, departments continue to use Miner Mall to successfully process their purchase orders.

Grants Module

We are especially pleased with the successful implementation of our grants module. Among the participating institutions, we were the first campus able to make grants accounts available for processing HR and Finance transactions. Contracts & Grants has the capacity to create new grants, and just last month completed its first billing cycle.

Willingness to Learn

As of May, we have held 32 Drop-In Help Sessions, and over 100 training courses. Employees have shown their willingness to learn as much as possible about PeopleSoft. Adoption and expertise of any system will take time—our employees are off to a great head start.

PeopleSoft Moving Forward

The scope of this project is tremendous. UTEP collaborated with seven other UT System institutions to get PeopleSoft implemented. Project teams across the state worked together to build a system that fits the needs of all universities involved; and these teams will continue to work together to refine the system. Down the line we can expect reporting functionality needed for reconciliations, and workflow functionality for approval routing. The system will only improve from this point on.

We know that implementation projects present challenges that can be frustrating, which is why we are particularly appreciative of our employees who have shown their patience in learning a new system. We thank you for your continued support of this endeavor.

Getting Ready for New Functionality: Workflow

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More than two months post-PeopleSoft implementation, the PeopleSoft team is already working to introduce additional functionality to the campus: workflow. Workflow is the path for approvals that an HR or Finance transaction follows when it is entered in PeopleSoft. As you know, data collection and approvals for common transactions are handled outside of PeopleSoft through our interim approval processes (IAPs). The introduction of workflow means that after a transaction is entered in PeopleSoft, it will also route for approvals within the system, replacing the IAP forms for data collection and approvals.

“We are in the process of meeting with departments to collect data needed for setting up workflow,” said Iris Niestas, PeopleSoft project manager. “Departments are being asked to provide input as to who is responsible for initiating and approving transactions for their department.”

Workflow for the following HR and Finance transactions will be implemented in sequences:

Sequence 1: Job, compensation & recruitment transactions
Sequence 2: Position funding changes
Sequence 3: Voucher payments, travel authorizations & employee reimbursements
Sequence 4: Direct hires
Sequence 5: Timesheets & leave requests

Workflow for each sequence will be released to a few departments at a time. As each workflow sequence is phased in, the currently used IAP electronic forms will be phased out. In doing so, departments will no longer need to take the extra step of entering data into an IAP form. Departments will only need to enter a transaction once, directly in PeopleSoft.

UTEP is taking the lead among the participating PeopleSoft institutions to implement workflow in Sequence 1. The transactions in Sequence 1 include: position requests/modifications, job posting request, job offer requests, additional pay requests, ad hoc salary changes, termination requests, and retirement requests. In the lead role we will have more opportunities to test and ensure that the new functionality fits our campus needs.

Though we are only starting with five sequences, there will be more to come. The project team is in the process of developing new training material that incorporates workflow. Training will be targeted to those individuals who will be responsible for initiating and approving transactions. Those individuals will receive an email notification to register for training.

Project Team Spotlight: Elizabeth Carr

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Elizabeth Carr is a subject matter expert (SME) for the PeopleSoft team. Prior to PeopleSoft implementation she was dedicated to the Project Costing module. She has a bachelor’s of business administration with an emphasis in accountancy from California State University, Long Beach. Prior to working at UTEP, she worked as an auditor for Deloitte.

What Is Your Involvement With The PeopleSoft Project?

I began working at UTEP about 2.5 years ago in Special Projects, assigned to the PeopleSoft project. I initially was tasked with completing a wide breadth of tasks to support the project. In 2012 I was assigned as the subject matter expert (SME) dedicated the Project Costing module, also dealing with Accounts Receivable and Billing for capital projects. I was part of a team that tested and made configurations to the Project Costing module.

Since PeopleSoft went live, I’ve been providing support to Accounts Payable Office with processing vendor and employee payments. I will continue to be involved with PeopleSoft configuration and testing as more functionality comes down the line.

During Your Time On The Project, What Has Surprised You Most?

I was surprised by how much the modules are integrated. It’s surprising to see how one thing can affect so many other business processes. Until you start processing in the system, you might not realize how much the modules are interrelated.

Now that We’ve Gone Live, What Advice Do You Have For People To Help Them Get Acquainted With The System?

It might be helpful to remember that policies and principles that held true in the Define era more than likely also hold true in the PeopleSoft era. With a few exceptions, business principles haven’t changed drastically. For example, the relationship between a budget group and object code in Define works the same way as the relationship between a cost center/project ID and an account. The terms might be different, but the concept is still the same.

When You Were Little, What Did You Want To Be When You Grew Up?

Until about the age of 17, I wanted to be a computer engineer. In college I went back and forth between business and engineering, eventually settling on business. My dad was an engineer, and thought I might like a job with more emphasis on interpersonal relationships.

Module Spotlight: Project Costing

Project Costing is the PeopleSoft module used to track and maintain project-related costs for capital projects. Capital projects typically refer to large-scale assets, construction, or special projects. The PeopleSoft project and the Campus Master Plan (Campus Renovation) are considered capital projects.

According to Elizabeth Carr, the PeopleSoft subject matter expert (SME) overseeing the Project Costing module in PeopleSoft, some capital projects can take years to complete. The Project Costing module is a robust system that can track the project from creation to completion.

UTEP has over 300 capital projects managed through the Project Costing module.

PeopleSoft Tips and Tricks

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PeopleSoft is new to us all. Learn more about how the system works.

Active Positions & Appointments

Transactions can only be processed for employees who have an active position and appointment in PeopleSoft. If want to process a transaction (like travel authorizations, employee reimbursements, timesheets, etc.) but you can’t find the employee, they may have an inactive appointment. The timekeeper for your area has access to run a report to verify active appointments.

Trivia Questions: Answer and Win!

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If you answer all four trivia questions correctly (answers can be found in the articles in this newsletter), you will be entered in a drawing to win one of three $5 gift certificates to Starbucks. Just enter your answers in the fields provided and click on Submit below. Make sure you provide your name and email address so that we can notify you if you win.

1. How many electronic IAP forms were developed?
2. How many capital projects are managed through the Project Costing module?
3. Provide an example of a capital project at UTEP.
4. What transactions will have workflow in Sequence 1?
We'll need both your name and email address to contact you if you win the drawing. Please enter both in the field below.

  • The University of Texas at El Paso.
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  • El Paso, Texas 79968
  • (915) 747-5000