Numerous and varied systems currently manage financial and human resources information across the university’s colleges, schools and units. Now a major transformation known as the OneSource Project is underway at UGA that will streamline business processes under one system that is integrated, efficient and aligned with those used by the University System of Georgia.
Over the multi-year course of UGA’s OneSource Project, all faculty and staff will see some changes in the areas of finance and human resources processes and technology.
“When I’m talking to people around campus about the OneSource Project, I always start with what the project’s about: a major transformation in the university processes for doing business, which includes adopting industry best practices and modern technology,” said Chris Wilkins, project director of the OneSource Project.
The underlying technology for UGA’s OneSource Project is Oracle’s PeopleSoft, the same platform used by all other institutions in the USG to manage their financial and HR systems. UGA’s OneSource Project is being implemented in coordination with OneUSG, a systemwide initiative to implement Oracle’s PeopleSoft Human Capital Management software for human resources and payroll across all USG institutions.
When fully implemented, UGA’s OneSource Project will mean UGA faculty and staff will be completing HR- and payroll-related activities on the new system. This ambitious, multi-staged project officially started in 2015, but the final phase won’t be fully implemented until 2019.
“It may seem like a long time, but UGA faculty and staff can bring value to the table on UGA’s OneSource Project with the numerous opportunities we’re offering to seek community feedback on key aspects of the project,” said Sarah Fraker, change management lead for the project.
The OneSource Project is currently in the discovery phase on several complex aspects, including business intelligence, purchasing and a revamped chart of accounts. The project team is collecting information to provide recommendations to the project’s leadership team. A list of events during which information will be gathered, along with other information about the project, is available at onesource.uga.edu.
“There’s an incredible amount of information to cover over the next few years of the project, all while our project team is continuing to work on current business activities,” Fraker said. “Getting people to the table early in this project will help us prioritize and guide decisions for future phases.”
To advise the UGA community of recent activities and timelines related to UGA’s OneSource Project, a town hall is planned for Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. in Mahler Hall of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.
The team of professionals assigned to the OneSource project already is taking shape. Team members from Enterprise Information Technology Services, Finance and Administration and other UGA units recently relocated to a dedicated project space in Caldwell Hall. More than 50 people now have a day-to-day role in UGA’s OneSource Project.
Among them is Penny Benton, the administrative financial director for the School of Public and International Affairs. Benton is the chairperson of UGA’s OneSource Project’s End User Advisory Group, individuals who will be among those to work directly with the new system when it’s implemented.
“The success of the project hinges on faculty and staff involvement,” Benton said. “Our end users are the ones who know what works and what doesn’t work. As the ones who work with the current systems, they are the experts in these areas. Without their input in all phases, we run the risk of creating systems that don’t address the needs of our campus.”
Fraker also has a unique role in UGA’s OneSource Project, as the project’s change management lead.
“Change management is the people-focused side of a project,” she said. “We’ll look at all of the changes coming and identify the stakeholders who will be affected. We’ll help managers identify the roles that their employees will have in the new systems and how they can prepare. We’ll look at comprehensive training plans and employee guides, depending on the complexity of the changes. In the end, these efforts should mean that UGA is as ready as possible for the changes as they are implemented.”
Despite the complex technical work behind the project, Wilkins said it’s not just a technology project. The new finance and HR system also will help UGA leaders make data-driven decisions that align with strategic initiatives.
“Any time we talk about the project, we refer to it as a business transformation project,” he said. “There are IT components to the project, but the technology side of it isn’t the tough part—it’s the changes to business processes at the university.”
UGA’s OneSource Project’s executive sponsors are President Jere W. Morehead, Provost Pamela Whitten and Vice President for Finance and Administration Ryan Nesbit.
The project leadership team includes Timothy M. Chester, vice president for information technology; Juan A. Jarrett, associate vice president for human resources; David C. Lee, vice president for research; Linda K. Fox, dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences; Christina J. Miller, associate provost for academic fiscal affairs; Holley W. Schramski, associate vice president for university business and accounting services; and James N. Shore, senior associate vice president and budget director.