ASMP FAQs

* Updated November 18, 2013

General

Technical

Archive

General

What is the ASMP?

The Administrative Systems Master Plan (ASMP) is a strategic document for campus-wide administrative systems to clearly align resources and investments with the University's mission and goals.

What are the goals?

By providing a comprehensive roadmap for work ahead, the goal of the ASMP is to encourage coordination and collaboration between business areas and within the software development community.

The ASMP identifies three requirements and supporting initiatives in order for the University's administrative systems to best support business functions and operations:

  1. Create Business Driven Systems and Data Management
    • Initiative 1.1 – Develop System Replacement Roadmaps
    • Initiative 1.2 – Improve Design and Management of Data to Enhance Decision Making
  2. Modernize the Administrative IT Infrastructure
    • Initiative 2.1- Design and Build an Open Systems Technical Environment
  3. Strengthen the Systems Development Processes
    • Initiative 3.1- Adopt Common Software Development Methodology

What is the timeline?

Each ASMP initiative has its own milestones or timeline, as shown on the ASMP Timeline page in this section.

When will a contract be signed?

On September 16, 2013, an announcement what out notifying the campus that Workday had been selected to provide the cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for UT Austin. The agreement with Workday is subject to satisfactory negotiation of a contract, including pricing, and final approval by the Board of Regents.

When will the implementation begin for the ASMP ERP Replacement?

Late November: The Board of Regents requested additional information and plans to consider the ERP Replacement by the end of November.  If approved, the contract will be finalized subsequently.

Early December: The implementation partner presentations will proceed as scheduled. One of the implementation partners declined to bid, so the remaining two pre-qualified vendors will visit the campus and present their proposals for partnering with UT Austin to implement Workday for Financials and HR/Payroll. The agreement is subject to final approval by the Board of Regents.     

January 2014: An evaluation team will recommend an implementation vendor partner.

Early 2014: A Program Lead position will be filled and staffing decisions for the project and organization will move forward in order to prepare for the arrival of the vendor implementation partner.

Mid- to Late Spring 2014: The vendor implementation partner is expected to be on site.

What systems will the ASMP replace?

The scope of the initial RFP will be for Financial Administration, Human Resources and Payroll. A future RFP will be put out for student information system.

Does Workday have any experience with student ERP systems?

Workday has experience with a student ERP system because its founders were previously with Oracle PeopleSoft, which has a student administration product. Workday is working on a student ERP system in partnership with institutions such as Yale, and it has extended an offer to UT Austin to be the large, public research higher education representative on their student application design team, and this offer is under consideration by the ASMP ERP Replacement project leadership team. 

Note: The contract with Workday is for the HR/Payroll and Financials modules only. The decision as to whether to be a design partner with Workday does not in any way suggest Workday would be the system chosen to replace the current student systems. That decision will be made separately.

What will the implementation partner be responsible for? Does it only apply to HR/Payroll/Financials?

The implementation partner is responsible for working with UT Austin to accomplish a successful transition to the new ERP which includes Financials and HR/Payroll. In addition, the implementation partner will recommend and deploy a new technical architecture that supports integration and custom development outside of Workday.

Who are the decision makers for the ASMP (who's in charge)?

The ASMP went through the university's IT governance structure (Business Services Committee [BSC], Architecture and Infrastructure [AIC], Research and Education [R&E], Operational IT [OIT], and Strategic IT Accountability Board [SITAB]). These governance groups accepted the Master plan and action items in March 2012.

Initiatives associated with the ASMP are governed by the BSC. Ultimately, the BSC will provide recommendations to the all of governance committees for a final decision by the SITAB. Kevin Hegarty has asked that Mary Knight and Brad Englert oversee the ERP implementation. 

 

How and when is the project leadership team going to be selected for the ERP Replacement?

A Program Lead position is currently posted, open to current UT employees only, and it is anticipated that a selection will be made before the end of 2013. After the position has been filled, staffing decisions for the project and organization are expected to move quickly in order to ramp up the project and prepare staff for the arrival of the vendor implementation partner (next Spring).  

Will end-users and business leadership have a place at the table in ensuring that the student administration system meets their requirements?

All UT groups who have a stake in student systems will be engaged in the process in the coming months; this includes analysts and programmers who work on and integrate with current systems. There will be a separate planning effort that will provide more opportunities for involvement and input. 

Will the president's launch of the initiative for UT efficiency and business productivity affect the ASMP?

The recommendations from the president's Business Productivity Committee will inform the plans related to the execution of the ASMP initiatives.

Will ASMP replace the mainframe?

The system replacement transition will occur over several years. The ultimate goal is to decommission the mainframe services currently supporting administrative systems that use Natural and ADABAS, such as *DEFINE.

How can we learn from peer institutions' experiences in implementing new systems? Do studies exist that suggest this kind of process will likely succeed?

During the creation of the Administrative Systems Master Plan (ASMP), work groups reached out to peer institutions regarding their experiences with ERP solutions. UT Austin representatives have also had numerous interactions with higher education customers of some of the replacement options (including Kuali, Peoplesoft, and Workday customers). Reactions are often mixed. There are various factors that determine the level of success -- experience of implementation partner, pricing, assurances made by the software vendor that weren't actually correct, etc.

We will explore the possibility of reviewing more comprehensive surveys and analyses and welcome any specific information regarding surveys that are available. Our plan is to continue the dialogue with other institutions throughout the planning and delivery of the replacement solution and to apply lessons learned where possible.

How will historical data be accessed?

This has not been determined and will depend upon the outcome of the solution selection process, implementation planning, and solution design.

Our current systems are integrated and real-time. Can we expect the new system to have the same real-time functionality?

Our goal is to have a fully integrated administrative system. During the transition process when we are working between the new and legacy solutions, there may be a change in the level of integration. However, our goal will be to maintain current integrations throughout the process and that most functions will be real-time, at least where that is important in the requirements. We do not expect to lose real-time capabilities where they currently exist. We currently make decisions about whether a process should be real-time, semi-real time or overnight and will continue to make these determinations based on the business problem at hand.

The University is exploring electronic hourly timekeeping solutions. How does this fit into the new ERP?

We have included requirements related to timekeeping in the specifications for the ERP that will replace our current administrative systems. Electronic timekeeping will be included in the HR/Payroll phase of the ERP project.

Until the time that the ERP time and attendance solution is available to the campus, the current electronic timekeeping system for benefit-eligible employees will  continue to be used and will incorporate enhancements to accommodate monthly and hourly non-benefit eligible employees. The enhancements are in development and will be released in late 2013 or early 2014.

How does the ASMP affect individual departmental shadow systems?

Where possible, we would like to pull the requirements associated with departmental shadow systems into the core administrative systems. However, inevitably some functions will remain outside of the core systems and will need to be integrated during the transition.

Who will be required to use the new ERP?

Current users of the legacy core administrative systems (Financial, Human Resources, Procurement, Payroll and Student Administration) will be required to use the new administrative systems. Legacy systems, such as DEFINE, HRMS, FRMS, will be decommissioned over a period of three to five years.

Will the university community have any input during the decision-making process?

Representatives from the university community were included and provided input into the system requirements that will be included in the ASMP system replacement RFP. Over 120 individuals across campus participated in determining and rating these requirements.

An ERP Evaluation team has been selected from the Business Services Committee, the decision-making committee, as approved by the IT Governance process. The Evaluation team will also receive advice during the process from functional experts and university community representatives.

If you would like to volunteer for committees or have questions to submit for FAQs, please send an e-mail to Transformingut@austin.utexas.edu.

What IT positions are expected to be eliminated due to the reduction of 500 positions?

None. The workforce reduction, through mostly natural attrition and retirement, is related to the Shared Services model and will primarily affect administrative positions responsible for daily transactional actions. Some IT staff will have opportunities to transition to new and expanded roles that are common in cloud-based ERP implementations (i.e., change management, business analysis, reporting and analysis, integration experts, etc.) while others may be affected by the administrative workforce transition as it relates to potential new IT positions, organizational changes and work groups that may support Shared Services.

Currently, software developers are able to do custom programming to meet a department's specific needs. Is that going to change with the new system?

Custom development will be used when open source or vendor solutions do not meet our needs. Custom development is also likely needed for integrations within the ERP and with other non-ERP systems.

As we transition to new software systems as specified in the ASMP, what will the role and function be, if any, of the ERP UI that is currently under development by ITS Applications: Is it intended to continue to exist and evolve as a “permanent” resource, or is it only an interim provision along the way toward realizing the new vision? 

The ERP UI is a user interface development framework that provides developers with templates and features to help facilitate the implementation of a campus-approved, consistent user interface for administrative applications written in Python/Django. Depending on the solution chosen, and the approach to providing a portal, it is too soon to tell if the ERP UI will be needed in the future. In the interim, the ERP UI will continue to provide developers the templates and formats they need to continue to support UT administrative systems and the ERP UI will be supported and maintained.

The university has experienced budget reductions in recent years. How does ASMP funding affect future budget planning and how will the ERP replacement be funded?

The Administrative Systems (ERP) Replacement and Shared Services are two tightly intertwined initiatives. One-time investments (temporary budget increases) are needed for this joint initiative. Early estimates project benefits of $270 million to $300 million, with one-time expenditures between $150 million and $170 million, netting a savings of $100 million to $150 million over a ten-year period. Within 5 to 6 years, after the initial investment period, an annual savings ranging from $30 million to $40 million is estimated.

In this budget environment, we have already reduced the annual operating budget by $46 million due to the state budget reduction. The current funding model requires that we reallocate the core budget by about 2% annually ($25 million per year) to fund operating cost increases for modest salary increases, benefits, utilities, etc.

Balancing the budget by simply mandating annual budget reductions and reallocations is not sustainable over the long term; it will eventually diminish the quality of teaching and research missions. Therefore, we must envision new ways of doing the business of the University that will maintain and even improve the quality of service. Implementing the concept of a shared services model and replacement of the administrative systems, we believe, has the potential for reducing our overall administrative cost structure while improving quality of service. Therefore these are critical elements for achieving sustainability over the long term.

Now that we are in the more detailed planning phase of the Shared Services initiative, and we will receive refined ERP cost estimates from the RFP responses, a revised business case will be developed in the fall, 2013. This response will be updated, as the information evolves.

How will we measure/determine success on this project?

The ERP implementation is expected to take five years. We realize this major change will be difficult. For that reason, during the transition, the goal will be to manage the change by keeping the campus-wide community updated.

Some factors of success include: 1) Solution selection meets most of the needs of the campus and users are able to be more productive, 2) in conjunction with the shared services initiative, recurring cost savings of $30M to $40M within 5 to 6 years after the initial investment period, 3) More comprehensive availability of data and analytics for management decisions, 4) Solution produces accurate and timely business transactions that meet all audit requirements.

Technical

Is UT System's transition to PeopleSoft going to affect the ASMP?

UT Austin's IT and functional staff are actively assisting the other UT System campuses with their transition to PeopleSoft. However, this time is planned and is expected to conclude by September of 2013, before the work on the UT Austin ERP replacement begins. UT System's transition to PeopleSoft may provide additional information to be considered, but does not directly impact UT Austin's RFP and decision making process.

Will UT Austin still employ and train software developers/analysts?

Yes. Regardless of what ERP solution is selected, there will be a need to retain and train software developers.

If Kuali is chosen, software developers/analysts will be part of the collaborative consortium and will be trained in the Kuali infrastructure and development process.

If a vendor product is selected as the best ERP solution instead of Kuali, the process to fully transition will take several years. The extent to which new trainees will be needed is unknown. IT professionals will have several roles during the transition. Current IT software developer/analysts will continue to maintain and upgrade existing NATURAL/ADABAS administrative systems. And they will continue to develop custom build needs for areas that are not met by the ERP solution alternatives. IT professionals will also be needed to move data to the new system.

Even after a full transition, the expertise of IT professionals will be vital in developing interfaces, transition processes, and providing business analyses. Additionally, custom-built systems will be needed for functionality not met by the selected ERP solution and for ad hoc reporting needs.

We will invest in our experienced staff and provide any training needs necessary to retain them for these important efforts.

Will all software developers in the business units be centralized into ITS? When this happens will all the software developers be laid off and forced to reapply for their jobs?

There are no changes planned regarding the organizational alignment of software developers in the business units at this time. However, when we embark on implementing new administrative systems we will want to create central teams of people to accomplish the project but we will also want to retain people in the units to manage and maintain ongoing administrative systems until the cutover. Creating central project teams will likely be done by transferring people and hiring additional IT professionals to meet both ongoing maintenance and project transition needs. There is no plan to lay off staff and ask them to reapply for positions. Post implementation, given our commitment to establish a campus shared services model, we will study the question of how best to organize our administrative programming and technical resources for the future.

What does Technical Architecture encompass in the ERP Roadmap?

As a result of the implementation of new ERP systems for Financials, HR/Payroll, and Student Administration, there is a greater need for a robust technical architecture that handles integration and development across a diverse enterprise. In addition, with the decommissioning of the mainframe at the end of 2020, all system replacement efforts need to have a flexible, robust and scalable infrastructure upon which to run or build. A holistic look at our technology architecture will help build confidence that we are well positioned to meet the challenges we face during the transition to new systems but also for years to come. Python, Django, and Oracle will continue to be supported and will be available as part of the offerings in the Technical Architecture.

What can I do today to prepare myself for the transition?

Participate where appropriate in the requirements gathering process. Stay informed on progress via this website and the FYI Sessions. Once a solution is determined, training plans to prepare staff will be created. Let us know when you have questions or concerns, so that we can address them. If you would like to volunteer for committees or have questions to submit for FAQs, please send an e-mail to Transformingut@austin.utexas.edu.

Will training resources will be available for developers on the campus?

We plan to offer appropriate training in the new system to the developer and user communities, so the university staff can perform their duties using the new systems.

When the mainframe is replaced, will mainframe programmers still have jobs?

Yes. Regardless of what ERP solution is selected, there will be a need to retain and train software developers. IT professionals will have several roles during the transition. Current IT software developer/analysts will continue to maintain and upgrade existing NATURAL/ADABAS administrative systems. And they will continue to develop custom built needs for areas that are not met by the ERP solution alternatives. IT professionals will also be needed to move data to the new system.

Even after a full transition, the expertise of IT professionals will be vital in developing interfaces, transition processes, and providing business analyses. Additionally, custom-built systems will be needed for functionality not met by the selected ERP solution and for ad hoc reporting needs.

We will invest in our experienced staff and provide any training needs necessary to retain them for these important efforts.

The next step is to begin to develop the staffing and resource needs for the transition. A committee is being formed of both IT and Functional professionals to help with these plans. The committee will consider:

  1. Backfilling positions for core functions
  2. Incentives for project and backfill staffing
  3. Numbers and types of new positions needed
  4. Training program needs and skillsets required
  5. Strategy for focusing resources on the transition plan and high university priorities and developing policies for limiting lower priority system enhancements

What is a backfill position, what incentives are you offering, and what is the selection criteria?

When the ERP replacement project is underway, some critical positions may need to be filled temporarily while a member of the project team works on the implementation. For example, someone will need to continue to fulfill the day-to-day responsibilities of payroll, while some of payroll’s current staff work on the ERP replacement project. The strategies for how this will work, including how the project team will return to their normal duties and what happens to the temporary staff are part of the charge of the Staffing and Resource Subcommittee.

The Staffing and Resource Subcommittee will also address incentive planning and selection criteria for the project teams in their recommendations.  The subcommittee is in the process of making recommendations and more specific information will be provided when available. 

Will new employees be hired with the skillsets required for the new system? If so, will these new hires replace current mainframe programmers?

There will likely be some new hires needed, though this does not mean they are replacing existing developers. Existing developers will have opportunities for training in any new systems.

Should I just stop writing against the mainframe? If so, what should I write against? What language should I use?

The transition will take several years. At some point, the IT Governance process will determine when mainframe development will stop, and all new development will occur in the new systems. That date has not been set at this time. Functional management and development teams should jointly determine whether an enhancement or maintenance change in a current system is needed and whether the mainframe is the right place to develop until such time that all mainframe development is ended.

If we move to a new system that is primarily Java, will support for Python go away? Will there be room for both?

It has been determined that the Python Django (PyPE) environment will be supported throughout the implementation and will be supported long term. 

How much control will UT have over internal data and access to database information generated by the new system? 

UT Austin will have full ownership of its data and will be able to use various methods for extracting the data. If needed, there are methods for updating data outside the online system; however, oversight and decisions on when this is permissible will be managed as part of the ERP Replacement Project.

 

Do units need to budget for the expense of data transition to the new ERP? 

 

If the unit currently has mainframe-based applications that will be replaced by the new ERP, they do not have to budget for data transition. However, departments/units should expect to develop funding plans within available budgets for the replacement of applications not included in the new ERP. If there are significant barriers to the funding attainment by a unit, units should develop a justification for why funding from outside the unit(s) is needed and further discussions with the ASMP ERP Replacement Project leadership will need to occur.

How do I make data available to other departments in the new ERP? Will there be changes to the university-wide procedures regarding data sharing?

There is a data initiative that will be addressing access to data and how that access will be granted. This is included in ASMP Initiative 1.2 and updates will be provided, as available and as decisions are made. Reference Business Services Committee website, Other Files Section -- ASMP Final March 2012 - http://www.utexas.edu/cio/itgovernance/business_services

During the decision-making process, who is evaluating the technical side of each product?

The Evaluation and Implementation teams consist of technical leaders from Administrative, College and ITS departments. The chair of the Administrative IT Leaders is included on the ERP Evaluation team. Additionally, a group of technical experts will provide advice to both the Evaluation and Implementation teams.

The Architecture and Infrastructure Committee (AIC) has taken the lead on the technical architecture for the replacement systems (ASMP Initiative 3.1).

Archive

What types of solutions are being considered for system replacement?

  • Full Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System
    • Hosted Off-Premise - Software is owned/licensed, installed and run on computers off the premises (remote facility) of the organization using the software.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) - Organization subscribes to software as a service (not owned) and the software and associated data are centrally hosted on the internet and delivered by a vendor/provider.
  • Collaborative Consortium (e.g. Kuali) - Open source software built by and for a collaborative consortium of higher education institutions. www.kuali.org

Has the decision to switch to PeopleSoft already been made?

No, the decision for the ERP solution for UT Austin has not been made. Several UT System campuses that were previously using *DEFINE are moving to PeopleSoft as of September 1, 2013. UT Austin IT and functional staff are assisting them with the transition, since we provide administrative system support and host their data. So you may be hearing more frequent discussions about PeopleSoft.

Under the established IT Governance structure, the Business Services Committee prepared an Administrative Systems Master Plan (ASMP) that was finalized and approved in March of 2012.

By April of 2013, the focus groups and university stakeholders will complete the administrative system requirements to prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit bids on replacement of the ERP.

UT System's transition to PeopleSoft may provide additional information to be considered, but does not directly impact UT Austin's RFP and decision making process. UT System and the Board of Regents will also be part of the UT Austin decision process.

What vendors are being considered?

Solution selection will seek a competitive bid through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Some of the possible vendors include Oracle (e.g., PeopleSoft, Fusion) and Workday. Any other vendor that meets the RFP requirements will be considered.

What open source systems are being considered?

Solution selection will seek a competitive bid through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. A possible open source solution is Kuali. Other providers could be identified through the RFP process.

How will accessibility concerns be addressed in selecting a new system?

As part of the solution selection process, focus groups developed a comprehensive set of requirements to include in the Request for Proposal (RFP.) Accessibility requirements and compliance with Federal Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act will be included in the requirements set. The Office of Institutional Equity reviews software agreements and provides software scans to ensure compliance.

How will security concerns be addressed in selecting a new system?

As part of the solution selection process, focus groups developed a comprehensive set of requirements to include in the Request for Proposal (RFP) regarding security requirements. The Information Security Office has also been involved.

Is the degree of system customization a factor in the selection process?

Yes. Each solution product will be assessed and scored by the level of "fit" their baseline functionality has to the system requirements included in the RFP.

How does the ASMP affect HRMS?

The functionality included in HRMS will be replaced as part of the ERP system replacement process. The timing of the replacement of HRMS will be determined as the schedule for replacement is developed.

Why do we need to replace the mainframe?

The ASMP report addressed the case for change. It is clear that change is needed to take advantage of technical advancements to enhance delivery of existing services, provide the basis for offering new mission-oriented services, mitigate the risks of relying on an aging technology toolset, improve the ability to interface with vendor products including cloud-based offerings, and enable improvements to IT practices. For more details, reference the Business Services Committee website, Other Files Section -- ASMP Final March 2012 --page 6 - http://www.utexas.edu/cio/itgovernance/business_services

Who will make the decisions on the Request for Proposal (RFP)?

The Business Services Committee (BSC) was charged with implementing the initiatives in the Administrative Services Master Plan (ASMP). The BSC selected representatives to serve on two teams to review RFPs. The ERP Replacement Evaluation Team members and the Integrator (Implementation) Evaluation Team members are listed on the ASMP subcommittee's web page. Additionally, Subject Matter Expert committees for each functional and technical area will provide advice to these teams on the RFP requirements.

Why is there such a rush to get the RFP out? Why not take more time to be certain we are doing the right job?

The timeline has been reviewed and accepted by all of the IT Governance groups, and the campus community is eager for a final decision. The development of the Request for Proposal (RFP) has actually been ongoing for several months. The Administrative Systems Master Plan (ASMP) was accepted by the Strategic IT Accountability Board (SITAB) in March 2012. Since then, functional units developed their IT replacement roadmaps and the enterprise replacement roadmap was completed in January, 2013. From February until May 2013, focus groups and stakeholders participated in the definition of thousands of requirements. Over 120 individuals across campus participated in determining and rating these requirements.

Doing "the right job" is of utmost importance, so the Evaluation Team has been careful and thoughtful in getting input from all stakeholders. The Evaluation Team has gathered enough information to issue the RFP.

The RFP will begin the formal process of collecting additional information about the options available for replacement of the administrative systems. There are still a few months left before a selection decision is made, and both functional and technical staff continue to have opportunities for input.

There are additional approval processes that must be met, including the involvement of UT System and the Board of Regents. So, we are also being mindful of outside deadlines.

The RFP is available at: http://esbd.cpa.state.tx.us/bid_show.cfm?bidid=105920

Originally, build was listed as an option provided it was against a relational database. Is the option to custom build systems completely off the table? (A)

Building the entire core administrative systems (HR/Payroll, Financial Administration, and Student Administration) is not an option. Kuali (collaborative open source consortium) is seen as the custom build core ERP option to be assessed. Build is still a viable option for areas that are not met by the core ERP (areas of high differentiation from the IT roadmaps and requirements). There will most likely be a need for custom-built systems in the future, but until an ERP solution is selected, all of the needs are not known.

Commercial and open source software ERP solutions now exist to meet the administrative service needs of higher education that were not as fully available five years ago. Efforts to design, develop, properly test, and prepare an equivalent custom-developed system for deployment across the university will take resources from all areas of campus over many years. Although similar efforts to test and deploy are required for commercial and open source software, much of the design phase, which requires campus-wide input is minimized. The commercial and open source transition efforts are more concentrated in the administrative and technical resources, leaving faculty and staff who support teaching and research to focus on the core mission of the university.