Preparing for the HR/SIS Upgrade

It’s challenging to strike the right balance when discussing the upgrade to our HR and SIS systems—we don’t want the project to be understated nor do we want it to be overblown. It’s a disservice to the hard work of our staff members to understate it, considering all the time and effort being put into making programming changes and getting users ready, not to mention the work by the users themselves to adjust processes for the coming changes. The benefits to the university are also something we don’t want to understate, as the improvements in cost and efficiency promise to be considerable. In mid-April we made the decision to move the implementation of the HR/SIS Upgrade project from Memorial Day weekend to our planned contingency date, Fourth of July holiday weekend, July 4-9. We made this call at the right moment, with plenty of time to shift gears. Lengthening the schedule also brings some benefits, the most important being more time to test the system, find defects and repair them. In addition, by going live in July instead of May, we will completely avoid the impact that downtime will have on grades and Student Evaluation of Instructors (SEI) and grade submission for May Term. This change also means that all HR accounting process changes will begin in the new fiscal year.  In terms of risks, we will be working with the appropriate teams to mitigate impact on the graduate and professional admissions applications, orientation and autumn fee assessments. Back to finding that balance...we don’t want to overblow the changes in a way that might cause panic, because for the vast majority of users, changes will be relatively minor.

  • Users who interact with PeopleSoft on a daily basis will see the biggest changes and consequently will receive the most training, resources and support. In fact, many are already involved in the project to ensure processes and systems are integrated.
  • Staff who talk to students or advise employees about using our systems will need baseline knowledge of what has changed and will receive job aids and talking points to help.
  • Staff members in neither of these areas will be unaware there was a change until they use Employee Self Service and see the differences there. On the user side, functions will be fairly intuitive, so users may feel like they are using a “new” site for the first time but most will navigate it themselves with little difficulty.
  • Students will see some beneficial changes, including much more access to the system in off-hours, so we expect them to welcome the changes they see. Plans are in place to ensure they have everything they need to use the new features.

The upgrade is also important because PeopleSoft is the engine behind so many processes that it is used by nearly everyone in one context or another. Processes driven by PeopleSoft include student admissions, registration and payment; student financial aid; student records, grades, transcripts, and degree audit; HR core processes and recruiting; HR accounting; benefits; HR self-service; and payroll. If you need a refresher on the background of the project, you can read up and get the basics here. Now that we are less than 90 days away, it's time to get ready for this transition, and you can help:

  • Support the project team by helping them collect the information they need about your department's processes and users quickly and efficiently. In most cases the goal will be integrating the processes and the system, so your assistance will help both the project team and affected users in your area.
  • Support users who are making the transition. In addition to technical support, be sure they are aware of the upgrade site,, which includes links to past awareness session presentations, previous communications and training materials. Users with questions can send them to
  • Stay positive; attitude is everything. There will be bumps in the road, but we will complete this project successfully. Your positive attitude will help all of us maintain positive momentum.

Let’s not forget there are numerous benefits associated with this transition including upgrading to the current, supported releases, allowing near-24/7 access for students and removing more than 50% of the HR system customizations, which will allow us to use other delivered processes immediately and in the future.  Thanks for your patience as we move through this change – our foundational systems and processes will be much improved for the effort!