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January 30, 2009 - Fridays @ First

The following contains the latest information on the CUNYfirst Project and upcoming activities. Please share with your colleagues and co-workers who will be interested in its contents. This edition of Fridays @ first updates the current status of the project and answers a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for those just learning about the project.

Human Resources – Human Capital Management

Every day is one day closer to the spring launch of the new CUNYfirst Human Resources and recruiting processes.  Today, HR Liaisons met to get an update on testing, training, reports needed after go-live, shadow system identification, the conversion of current employee data to be usable in CUNYfirst and the validation process, how HR information works with the new Chart of Accounts, and the next steps to take place on our campuses.

The CUNYfirst Testing Team will begin work next with Core HR Team members to begin the Users Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase of the Core HR and Talent Acquisition Management (TAM) implementation.  They will be validating the testing environment and setting up the parameters for the process of conducting UAT when actual users are on the configured system a few weeks later.

Campus teams were also reviewing and resubmitting lists of staff based on the roles they will have in CUNYfirst.  Those lists will determine who will receive training and what courses they will be assigned to take.

They were also given a list of standard reports that will come when CUNYfirst goes live – either reports required by CUNY or needed by college staff.  The listing of those reports will assist in the identification of shadow or supplementary systems and the determination if they will be needed, especially if they duplicate CUNYfirst processes.

Training – Human Resources – Human Capital Management

Training the Trainers resumes next week.  CUNYfirst Training Manager Adante Harvey released an updated training calendar for the Human Resources launch and shared it with the Training and Communication Liaisons.  Beginning Wednesday February 4, Trainers will be placed into four groups focused on the following areas of the HR Module – Position Management, Talent Acquisition Management (TAM), Workforce Administration, Labor Administration and Manager and Employee Self-Service. The TAM Trainers team will kick things off on Wednesday the 4th.  The updated calendar is on the CUNYfirst Project site –

Finance – Chart of Accounts

As a result of feedback from the campuses, the new Chart of Account’s Department ChartField was analyzed to determine if those Departments are not used or if there were duplications.  After review, approximately Department codes were inactivated, renumbered (i.e. given a more appropriate value), or renamed to provide greater clarity in their meaning.  These changes will be apparent in CUNYfirst in the near future.

Colleges should take some time to review the Department to ensure that any mapping uses a valid code and that they update their trees to reflect the new values (if applicable).  It should be noted that this sort of maintenance will occur somewhat regularly but not of the magnitude of this change, so colleges should identify staff to perform these tasks when ChartField changes are communicated and make it part of their job functions.


The CUNYfirst Procurement Team and Liaisons have been working very hard over the past two months to clarify and define the CUNY business processes that we need the new system to address. This involves accommodating policies of the City, the State, and all the CUNY related entities which have been operating independently.  University Office Process Owners Barry Kaufman, and Sharon Russell, along with Sarah Wilkins, Lynne Hung, and members of the OUC Tech team under Ray Tam have been faced with decisions on everything from 1099 filings to complex interface mapping to the possibilities for internal CUNY Procurement catalogs and Vendor File Clean-Up.

There have been some snags as well.  For instance--we discovered that while the City has been using one standard for commodity codes, the State will soon be using an entirely different system; and while CUNY has its own coding system to determine the general category of offerings of each of our vendors, PeopleSoft uses its system.  Our leadership wants to be sure to capture all the functionality that is required to meet our myriad of policies procedures, and legal requirements.  We also want to quickly move into new, more efficient processes being developed in private, government, and academic procurement nationwide.

Frequently Asked Questions

As we did in last week’s edition, we’re listing a number of common questions we’ve received from college Town Hall meetings or from emails that have been sent to the Core Team (  We encourage any question, any time.

The current hiring process is time consuming.  Will CUNYfirst help?
Yes.  With the new Talent Acquisition Management (TAM) tools, the entire process will occur on-line.  Managers and supervisors will work with HR to create the opening and post it electronically.  Applicants will apply via email and their information will be routed to the search committee.  No more large paper files and multiple copies of packets.  Once a hire is made, the new employee’s information is loaded into their personnel data file, speeding up that process as well.  Currently it takes, on average, about 100 days to hire a new employee.  We hope TAM will cut that in half.  

There’s been much talk about shadow systems.  How do I know if I need to shut a system down?

Throughout the project, we’ve been focusing on systems that will not be needed once CUNYfirst is fully functional.  The concern on campuses is these systems were designed not only for their functions, but also their reports.  The goal in sunsetting shadow systems is to eliminate systems that perform the same functions available in CUNYfirst in our Finance, HR and Student Service areas.  Part of the configuration process is to help identify the reports needed in our offices and create a process for getting them in CUNYfirst.

The I in first stands for Integration.  Explain how.
There are hundreds of administrative systems that drive the business of the City University of New York.  Most of them don’t interact with each other and that does not promote good service.  With CUNYfirst, our systems will be integrated so, for example, there are finance functions needed when a student pays tuition, and HR functions when he/she is working in a college office.  All of the data about that person is in one record, in one system.  There will be no need to have several systems operating to track that individual as we have now. 

The Week Ahead – February 2 – 6

Coming up next week, Vanguard College admissions professionals will meet Wednesday to review admissions configuration.  Wave Two schools have also been invited to begin participating. CUNYfirst Admissions module is scheduled to be implemented alongside the Wave Three launch.

On Thursday, February 5, Campus Executives will attend a meeting focused on the upcoming Human Resource module launch.  The tasks that are required by the Core Team and Campus Teams are many, so it’ll be a session focused on turning things up a notch.  I’ll report on that next Friday.

Tomorrow, Marketing and Advertising students from Baruch and York Colleges will present plans that will lead to the creation of marketing materials and strategies for reaching our student population, first at the Vanguard Colleges (Queens College and Queensborough Community College), then the rest of our campuses.  They will present to a group of judges consisting of students from those two schools and myself.  The teams will compete with one another, but also see the event as a great networking opportunity.  In essence, these students will rightly tell us how to connect with fellow students.  We’ll share some of their work next week.