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UW Finance Transformation

Nearing final decisions on UWFT Architect Validation and operating model

March 17th, 2021

By: Brian McCartan, Vice President for Finance
      Aaron Powell, Vice President for UW Information
      Technology and CIO

Most of you have already heard about the reassessment of the UW Finance Transformation (UWFT) program that started back in October 2020. We named this five-month period the Architect Validation stage (AVS). The objective of AVS is to provide options and recommendations to UWFT program sponsors to validate and adjust as appropriate the comprehensive program scope, schedule and budget. This includes revising the program structure and operations to support improved collaboration. So, with the end of AVS upon us, where are we and what remains to be completed?

As noted in the January Transformation Insights post, UWFT is a core institutional priority for the University of Washington and fully supported by President Cauce and Provost Richards. They, along with senior leaders, program staff and independent advisors, have provided input to help us move forward in the validation process.

Program schedule

One question we’ve been asked is regarding the program’s schedule and how go-live will be affected. We’re looking at four options and evaluation of each is still ongoing:

  • Original 7/1/22 go-live date
  • UW Medicine (UWM) first: with 7/1/22 go-live date, followed by UW Academy (UWA) go-live date on 7/1/23
  • One-year extension – with UWM and UWA simultaneous go-live date on 7/1/23
  • Options for implementation of Adaptive (planning & forecasting)

The analysis is being conducted by a sub-committee, with the goal of arriving at a recommendation by the end of March that will be presented to sponsors for a decision in April.


To help improve collaboration and coordination and move us forward toward program success, we’ve made changes to UWFT’s structure and operations. We’ve created a single program structure led by the two of us in order to provide closer Finance and UW-IT oversight and alignment. This new structure  which became effective February 22, 2021  better aligns what we have been calling the “core UWFT team” with those teams previously known as the program’s collaboration partners: UW-IT/IT Finance, Office of Research Information Services, UW Medicine, Finance Readiness Program and the Integrated Service Center. 

The new organizational structure of the UWFT program has five pillars:

  • Change Management
  • Functional
  • Technical
  • Program Management
  • Enterprise Systems, which includes UW-IT, Office of Research Information Services, UW Medicine, Finance Readiness Program and the Integrated Service Center

These pillars are now unified under a single management structure led by both of us, and we report to the program sponsors and Provost Mark Richards. It's common for a large, complex program like ours to reach a point where leaders engage in this type of reassessment, then make the necessary changes so the program can continue to be effective and successful. In UWFT, we focused first on business processes, and now at this stage, we need to shift to align the organizational structure to better support the implementation of Workday® Finance and its impacts on key enterprise systems. We are confident this approach is best for the program. It takes many voices and the support of key stakeholders to help chart the right path.  

Where will the future state work happen?

Another area of great interest is the operating model: how best to organize our finance and procurement work across the enterprise. A key component of this is shared environments that will incorporate the enterprise’s financial process decisions and how units will work in the future state. During AVS, we have relied on unit administrators to provide information on their specific current state processes. There is ongoing work to provide administrators with enough specific information to make shared environment decisions. We have targeted summer 2021 for final decisions about the operating model, including which units will elect to be served by a central finance shared environment and which units will form their own shared environment. For more detail on the activities undertaken during AVS, see the March 2021 operating model update on the Change Network. 

Our belief is that the finished results will create full integration, more transparency and accuracy, and that many may find the financial tasks related to their jobs easier to perform and allow them to focus on other mission-critical aspects of their work. It‘s important to note that all of this validation work has been done in addition to the ongoing work associated with the UWFT program. 

Thanks to all of you who are involved in this important work, splitting your time to help make this validation stage possible. 


Editor’s note: For more information on the Architect Validation stage, please see the fact sheet on the Change Network. If you have any questions about AVS, the new program restructure or other general UWFT activities, please feel free to contact either of us (; or send a note to

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