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SkyVU leaders update community on project, provide training timeline

by Apr. 6, 2017, 9:13 AM

Vice Chancellor for Information Technology John Lutz at the SkyVU Town Hall April 4. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)
Vice Chancellor for Information Technology John Lutz at the SkyVU Town Hall April 4. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

More than 250 faculty and staff participated in the third town hall meeting April 4 to learn about the progress of SkyVU, the new cloud-based Oracle solution that will provide support for many of the university’s financial, administrative and research support systems effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Vice Chancellor for Information Technology John Lutz welcomed the community to the meeting and explained that the team is in the process of completing module testing and business process reviews.

“We need to find the right balance between where we change and where the code must change,” Lutz said. “In going to the cloud, we want to do the latter as little as possible.”

Eric Kopstain (Vanderbilt University)

Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain introduced two new roles that will accompany the upcoming changes to system structure: a financial unit manager and an HR/HCM specialist.

The financial unit managers will be responsible for all financial transactions for a financial unit, including related projects, and must have a broad understanding of the institution as well as a specific understanding of their organization, he said.

The HR/HCM specialist will be responsible for all HR transactions in the new system for a business unit. Many of the items that occur today in ePac will be managed in the HCM system after Jan. 1, 2018.

Business processes themselves also will change. “We will see a big shift in how we do business and will set an example for the university in how we deal with change and move forward,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente. “The end result is that our faculty and staff will have more time to devote to the mission we are here for.”

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente at the April 4 SkyVU Town Hall. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente at the April 4 SkyVU Town Hall. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

Wente quoted the Academic Strategic Plan to emphasize the reason the university has chosen to move to a cloud-based system: “Vanderbilt has a profound responsibility to society and all its stakeholders to be good stewards of its precious resources.”

“This means being good stewards of people resources, such as our students, staff and faculty—not just our financial resources,” she said. “And there’s lots of opportunity for that with the Oracle cloud system.”

This stewardship does not end with the university’s implementation and will carry over into structuring user adoption support and training.

Nicole Oeser (Vanderbilt University)
Nicole Oeser (Vanderbilt University)

Nicole Oeser, SkyVU program director, assured the community that there would be continuous support following implementation.

“We are looking forward to inviting users to our user acceptance phase so they can become familiar with these new processes,” Oeser said. “This is not a single-day change, and we are launching a lot at once. … We will offer Flight School, in-person training, online resources and live help.”

Lutz closed the town hall meeting by comparing Vanderbilt’s move to the cloud to a family moving to a new house.

“When you move, you have a couple of choices: You can pack up everything as-is and hope everything fits, or you can stop to really unpack and analyze each element carefully and place it just the way it should be,” Lutz said. “We are being very thoughtful in unpacking 30 years or more (of data and processes). … We look forward to a very bright future.”

More than 250 faculty and staff participated in the third town hall meeting April 4 to learn about the progress of SkyVU, the new cloud-based Oracle solution. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)
More than 250 faculty and staff participated in the third town hall meeting April 4 to learn about the progress of SkyVU, the new cloud-based Oracle solution. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

The SkyVU executive steering committee and G2 team include Vice Chancellors Eric Kopstain, John Lutz, Brett Sweet, Audrey Anderson and Susie Stalcup; Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente; Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer Barb Carroll; and Associate Vice Chancellor for Internal Audit Doug Horr.

Go to the SkyVU website to view the town hall in its entirety. For more information about the project, email skyvu@vanderbilt.edu. To learn more about cloud computing and cloud security, watch Cloud 101.

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