January 9, 2009 - Fridays @ First

This first edition of Fridays @ first for 2009 will update the current status of the project and answer a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for those just learning about the project.

Student Administration – Campus Solutions

Our Student team began the New Year focused on its work to bring the Vanguard Colleges (Queens College and Queensborough Community College) into CUNYfirst.  Specifically, they are finalizing the data conversions that will ensure that SIMS (CUNY’s current Student Information Management System) data transfers correctly and becomes CUNYfirst data.  Work is also in progress from creating course catalogs for all our colleges for use by the Vanguard students.

We are beginning our work with the Wave Two colleges (The City College, Hostos CC, John Jay College, Lehman College and York College) to begin data conversion for their students, the strategy and responsibilities for Admissions and Registration, and the implementation of CUNYfirst Financial Aid, which will go live during Wave Two.

Human Resources – Human Capital Management

The Human Resources implementation remains in high gear.  Systems Integration Testing (SIT) is currently underway.  When it is completed, HR professionals will test the system during Users Acceptance Testing (UAT).  Next Tuesday, a selected group will take part in UAT preparation.  This is where they will create the various scenarios to put the HR system through its paces to ensure that it meets CUNY’s requirements.

On the campus level, an inventory of “shadows systems” that create reports for HR professionals are being evaluated to see what will be replaced by CUNYfirst and those that will need to be maintained by the colleges.  This has involved the HR Directors, IT professionals working with the CUNYfirst team.  Work is also continuing as the CUNYfirst team has asked the colleges to document their Faculty Workload processes.  Colleges have been invited to attend CRPII for Faculty Workload scheduled for January 21 at the Graduate Center.

Finance

Currently, the General Ledger is live and receiving tuition data.  This year we will grow our Finance processes to add Procurement (Purchasing, Accounts Payable and Expenses), and Finance and Budgeting modules.  Our teams configuring those modules are actively reviewing material and requirements to configure their CUNYfirst systems. 

Training

During the 2009 calendar year, the CUNYfirst Training Team will train in the following areas:  Human Resources, Recruiting, Planning and Budgeting, Procurement, and Student Services.  In December, Trainers for HR processes took part in a two day session to learn presentation skills.  Their next step will be learning the specific processes so they can train our HR professionals and managers and supervisors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

It is important that everyone be on the same page when it comes to understanding some of the basics of CUNYfirst.  The following lists a number of common questions we’ve received from college Town Hall meetings or from emails that have been sent to the Core Team (cunyfirst@mail.cuny.edu).  We encourage any question, any time.

Will CUNYfirst affect me?

Yes.  By the time all modules and applications are fully implemented every one of our students, faculty and staff will have access to CUNYfirst.  All employees will have access via self-service when the Human Resources modules go live in a few months.  They’ll be able to view their personal information (address, phone number, etc.) and current listing of benefits and report to their local HR office if their data is incorrect.

What is the biggest difference between current systems and CUNYfirst?

The answer is right there - systems vs. system. Our current systems, which are numerous, operate to conduct all our business at CUNY. Very few of them interact with each other. CUNYfirst will integrate all our financial, HR and student processes so that data can be used instantaneous across departments and across the university.

Will we have both systems (old and new) up and running at the same time?

When we retire systems like CUPS (City University Personnel System) or SIMS (Student Information Management System), we will no longer be using both processes. The systems may be up for data reasons only until CUNYfirst stabilizes. But once we launch new CUNYfirst processes for Finance, HR and Student, there will be no need to do processes twice.  Some systems will remain, as they perform functions that CUNYfirst will not (example:  printing theater tickets), but there will interfaces if their data is required for university or campus reporting.

Will I receive training on all CUNYfirst Processes?

No.  In CUNYfirst everyone is assigned roles based on the work they do.  Those are determined by managers and supervisors who are translating current work into CUNYfirst functions.  When that has been determined, you will receive training to perform the exact tasks you need to do your job.  No more, no less.  If it is determined you need training on functions outside your role, your bosses will make sure you get it.

Can I have more than one role in CUNYfirst?

Yes.  For example, let’s say you are faculty chairperson.  You will have access to CUNYfirst Student processes needed to do your job in your department.  You may also have access to Human Resources processes in your role as someone who manages people or can hire new employees.  You may also have access to Finance processes for purchasing material for your office or getting expenses reimbursed.  Access to all functions with one sign-on in one integrated system.

How will I have access to CUNYfirst?

Everyone (faculty, staff and students) will be given an ID and an initial password to sign into the system.  At the first sign on, you will be required to change your password to something familiar to you.  You will then be asked to give answers to three security questions of your choice so you can get help if you forget your password.  You will change your password many times in a given year to ensure the security requirement needed to protect this system.

I work in a job that doesn’t require a computer.  Does that mean I won’t have access to CUNYfirst?

No.  CUNYfirst can be accessed from anywhere via your favorite internet browser.  There are specific requirements for which browsers can be used, but if you have a computer at home, you can sign on to look at your personnel information or, in the future, fill out a time sheet.  Campus IT teams are making available computers at various locations at the colleges for those who don’t use a computer in their day to day work.

I’m a student who is used to dealing with the bursar, financial aid and registrars offices.  Will they all have access to my information?

Anyone who is given security access to assist students in their careers will be able to refer to a student’s record and look at the same information.  They could even look at the data at the same time, but only one person can update a student’s record at a time.  This will improve service as everyone will be on the same page – no more “he told me that and she told me this.”

How will I be trained to use the system?

In a number of ways.  If you have a job that will require you to have everyday access to the system, you will be trained in a classroom setting by your peers.  CUNYfirst Training is based on a model called “Train the Trainer”.  Professionals from throughout CUNY learn how processes work, and train individuals how to do their work.  Training occurs at five Borough Training Centers at The City College, Hostos CC, Queens College, Brooklyn College and the College of Staten Island.  This allows training close to your campus or your home.  If you don’t use CUNYfirst every day, training for processes you need will come from Web Conferences, Computer Based Training, and at the One Stop kiosks (for students).

If I am a student at the Graduate Center, but teach as an adjunct at Queens College, does that mean I will have two ID’s and have to remember two passwords?

Every person in the CUNYfirst system has one record.  That means you will be identified in the system for all that you are to CUNY.  This allows for your information to follow you wherever you go and should speed up new employee procedures if you move to a new job at another campus.

Submit your questions to cunyfirst@mail.cuny.edu

Week of January 12-16

Next week – The Procurement team meets Monday and Wednesday to review fit/gap material captured at configuration sessions.  Project and Change Management Liaisons meet Wednesday to update tasks for the HR implementation.  The Planning and Budgeting Subject Matter Experts have a session on Thursday.  The Queensborough CC CUNYfirst Team will hold a Town Hall meeting about the project on Wednesday.

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