- Why are we doing this project?
PeopleSoft, our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, is the backbone of our administrative information system and enables our Human Resource, Finance and Student Administration Teams to function. UM System is spending approximately $17M per year in central support services, primarily in support of PeopleSoft. These costs have been increasing at about 14% per year over the past several years. Furthermore, these central costs do not include costs (staff, technology, software licenses, etc.) that are incurred by the individual campuses to support hundreds of secondary software systems that link into PeopleSoft.
We are currently expending about 80% of our technical resources simply keeping the systems running, leaving insufficient time and resources to deploy enhancements or acquire and deploy new systems to advance the mission of the university system. Thus, the current setup and the costs of managing this system as we have in the past is unsustainable.
The ERP Optimization Strategy project was initiated to perform an evaluation of our ERP system and associated business processes. It is focused on: (1) identifying areas for further process automation, streamlining and cost efficiencies in the business operations enabled by PeopleSoft and secondary systems; and (2) identifying opportunities to minimize the growth of the increasing costs of managing/supporting the systems.
- Will we be replacing PeopleSoft as a result of this project?
We are not evaluating other ERP systems to replace PeopleSoft as part of this project. PeopleSoft is one of the leading comprehensive systems in higher education, especially in universities our size. While there are emerging alternative solutions, none yet match the range of integrated capabilities offered by PeopleSoft. We will continue to stay abreast of the ERP marketplace and solutions that further our ability to enable student, faculty and staff success. However, our immediate priorities are to optimize our current business operations, fully utilize the capabilities of the PeopleSoft system and curb the technical management/support costs.
This work will also better position UM System to move to another solution in the future, if warranted.
- Are we planning to consolidate Campus Solutions operations to one PeopleSoft instance?
When PeopleSoft was implemented, Campus Solutions, the modules which support student administrative processes, could not be configured to support four distinct campuses effectively. UM System now operates four separate instances of Campus Solutions, one for each campus.
PeopleSoft has since released improved functionality, which enables multiple institutions to coexist on one instance. One of the objectives of this project is to conduct an analysis of the feasibility of implementing the multi-institution functionality. This analysis will consider the costs, benefits and implications of multiple instances vs. one instance of the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions system in our environment. The output of this analysis will allow us to make a well informed decision.
- How will the study affect 3rd party software applications the campuses are using in addition to PeopleSoft?
The project is focused on the efficiencies and costs of operating PeopleSoft for the entire system. Campuses have deployed several ancillary solutions to supplement PeopleSoft, using their own budgets. The project will consider the costs of such investments and explore opportunities to improve integration across campuses and promote efficiency and capability sharing.
- What are the expected outcomes of the project?
A multi-year roadmap and action plan aligned to our systemwide and campus strategies, that defines initiatives for further automation and streamlining of Human Resources, Finance and Campus Solutions processes, and identifies the current ERP systems costs, their drivers and opportunities for managing/supporting the system more effectively.
- When can we expect to see the results of the study?
We anticipate the study will be completed in December, 2014. The results will be reviewed by the President, and he will work with this team and others to build a roadmap of solutions which is to be completed by the end of FY15.