September 14, 2022
A new academic year is one of my favorite times; I love the excitement, school spirit and energy of vibrant campus life. But, it occurred to me — if you’re someone involved with campus financial activity — by this time next year you’ll be working with new systems and processes, as well as navigating new policies. If that seems like a big deal, it’s because it is! With less than a year left in the UW Finance Transformation (UWFT) program, we’re on target for our July 2023 go-live across the enterprise.
Why is this effort so monumental? The University set as a core institutional priority a goal to transform our fragmented and out-of-date finance policies, processes and systems. In addition, the UW set out to create a sustainable financial infrastructure befitting an R1 institution to advance our public mission of education, discovery, community service and patient care. This transformation will standardize and simplify finances at the UW, providing accurate, real-time data, reducing risk, enabling long-term planning and forecasting and allowing us to be better financial stewards. As we adjust to this new world, our jobs in the near-term may not be easier, but they will be better.
Peeling back our work, here’s what’s most helpful for you to know right now.
- We revamped the future state financial operating model — which tells us where and how work gets done — as well as the customer support model, which is an essential component of the operating model, telling us where to go to get help. In our new operating model, there are four “levels of shared” categories that define where work is performed, including the finance, procurement and supply chain work that will occur within a unit Shared Environment (SE) or higher (enterprise- or organization-wide) across the University. When it comes to customer support, unit SEs will be the first contact for those in their units who have financial questions about all nine end-to-end business process areas. Additionally, UW Connect [a branded version of ServiceNow] will be used for case management (ticketing and routing). Note: work is ongoing to understand exactly how this will operate for the UW Medicine clinical enterprise.
- We’re currently in the Test stage of our program, and earlier this summer our testing team officially completed End-to-End (E2E) Cycle 1 testing. The results were positive and we’re optimistic for E2E Cycle 2 testing, which started in July and wraps up this month. To date, we’ve completed execution of 86% of planned test cases for this cycle. E2E testing involves the functionality and integration of systems and processes — confirming what’s been built actually works — plus discovering any change impacts to units and attend to any needed fixes.
- We also deployed an additional tool of Workday Finance — Workday® Adaptive Planning — a planning and forecasting tool UWFT is implementing to improve, prepare and maintain UW’s future-state financial budgets. It has its own implementation schedule with two different releases. Adaptive Release 1 (R1) — with a focus on FY24 planning — went live in August for the UW Academy with Office of Planning and Budget users and administrators, who received training, and will cascade training to broader UW Academy unit planners from now through November. This lays the foundation for Adaptive R2 — with a focus on FY24 managing and FY25 planning — which launches for the entire enterprise (including UW Medicine) in conjunction with UWFT go-live in July 2023.
Support, User Preparation & Learning Opportunities
The activities to get users, units and systems ready for finance transformation isn’t occurring in a vacuum. Many stakeholders, business and system owners have been heavily involved in testing and preparation. UWFT’s tech change management and organizational change management teams have been supporting them along the way. Formal training for most people will start in March 2023. But as part of your learning journey, there are resources you can access to shore up your own knowledge. Plus, there are continual opportunities to attend engagement events, so you’ll want to bookmark our events page. Below are some activities of note:
- System Remediation/Retirement — To further support system owners, we recently established system prioritization/support tiers and service level expectations for unit/system remediation, along with a Remediation and Retirement Portal for tracking the status of the software development lifecycle. We also initiated a regular cadence of check-in meetings with Tier 1 and Tier 2 systems. Next, we’ll be kicking off System Design Support (SDS) sessions for retired systems.
- Finance Literacy Seminars — We completed the second Finance Literacy Seminar last month. Done in partnership with the Foster School of Business, these seminars help you to strengthen your foundational knowledge. Each one covers a different topic, and you can access the recorded sessions on the Change Network. The next Finance Literacy Seminar will be in November 2022.
- Roadshows — There’s still time to register for Roadshow 4, which will be held on Tuesday, September 20. This is a virtual event for all UW employees where subject matter experts, program partners and leaders provide updates and overviews on the new financial systems, policies and processes. If you can’t tune in, you can always access recordings and presentations on the Change Network.
If I can offer any encouragement, it’s this: as you move through this new academic year, take advantage of the opportunities to learn about various aspects of the program that may affect your work. July 2023 will be here before we know it!
Have a great year…and go Dawgs!