by Margo Takemiya
Thanks to a concerted team effort, a contract has been signed with PeopleSoft Inc. to supply the campus with a new financial software system to replace the 30-year-old general ledger system.
The new Berkeley Financial System is aimed at streamlining work while providing timely, useful information for managers and others.
"The PeopleSoft product will allow us to enter the 'new age' of client-server technology," said Joan Streit, a representative on the campus team that evaluated requirements for the new system.
Under the direction of Carolyn Smith, the requirements for the new system were carefully defined during in-depth interviews and discussions with users in more than 50 departments.
Then an evaluation committee was formed with 25 representatives from control units and staff organizations across the campus. This group met bi-monthly during 1994 to select a software vendor.
"Although this was a time-consuming process, it has also been one of the most rewarding. I expect that this strong sense of teamwork will continue throughout the implementation phase," said Leslie Leonard, assistant dean for the College of Letters and Science.
"The core team and the evaluation committee are to be commended for getting broad-based participation in this selection of a software system with so much potential for the entire campus," said Horace Mitchell, vice chancellor for business and administrative services.
"I really enjoyed working on this exciting project, it has great potential benefit for the whole campus," said Professor Roger Glassey of Industrial Engineering Operations Research, and a member of the evaluation committee.
Following the committee's recommendation, the campus negotiated and signed a contract with PeopleSoft on April 28. Throughout the evaluation and negotiation process, Information Systems & Technology staff provided technical advice.
Some of the many improvements that the Berkeley Financial System is targeted to offer the campus are:
o Streamlined work: Client-server technology will place electronic administrative processing at the fingertips of each staff member involved in financial management. Data will be entered once, rather than re-entered by several units.
o Timely information: Departments will be able to see account balances without having to wait until the next month.
o Current management information: Users will be able to generate reports for any time period, download data to departmental databases and generate their own projections.
o Flexibility: Departments will be able to set up cost centers with more flexibility and add or change reporting structures more easily. The system will allow quick and seamless movement of information for authorization or notification.
As in earlier phases, work groups are being formed to address implementation tasks. Departmental representatives from across campus will participate on the teams to ensure the new system streamlines day-to-day work in central offices and campus departments. Following testing in pilot departments, campuswide implementation of the Berkeley Financial System is expected to occur within the next two years.