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Mosaic Advisor

Helping Finance and Research Finance System Users Prepare

Issue 1

You have been identified as a user of McMaster's finance or research finance systems who will need access to the new system that will be introduced this December. This newsletter is intended to help you prepare for the new system's introduction.

What's this Newsletter

Some of you will have attended our information sessions and read articles about the new system in the McMaster Daily News. Others will only have a vague idea about the project. Either way this newsletter is intended to ensure that everyone who needs to use the new system in December knows what is going on and how to prepare. This first issue will concentrate on background information and some common questions; the next issue will look at process changes.

Background

Last October, McMaster began a project called Mosaic to modernize the University's business processes and implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Mosaic will replace the University's legacy systems used for student administration, finance, research administration and human resources. The new system will be launched in stages over the next two years beginning with the new finance and research finance system this December.

What's changing this December

New software, PeopleSoft Financial Tools, will replace the systems McMaster currently uses, including FAS, Walker Purchasing, and TFAIS. Travel and expense claims, purchase requisitions and accounts payable will all have new software tools and new business processes. The University's Chart of Accounts, what you might think of as an account code, will change (see the McMaster Daily News for more info). All of this might seem overwhelming. Don't Panic. The project team is developing a systematic plan, including training, to help you transition to the new system.

What's the new system like?

It's a modern, state-of-the-art, industry standard system, called PeopleSoft. This system is designed for large organizations like McMaster and many other universities use this system. Realistically, McMaster is a complex place, and a system that can deal with our complex needs will itself be complex. Ask yourself how long it took you to master the current system. The training team aims to help you learn the new system faster but there will be a learning curve. It will take months for all of us to get used to the new system and longer still to master it.

What can I expect: processes

Mosaic is more than the PeopleSoft software. It's also about improving McMaster's business processes. Don't expect that you will do everything the same but in a different computer system. Several business processes will change when we introduce the new software. For example, there will be a new, albeit optional, return-to-vendor process, to help you ensure that supplier refunds are properly credited. The next edition of this newsletter will discuss these changes.

Training

The project team is committed to providing users with the training they need to succeed with the new system. We introduced the training schedule in the McMaster Daily News last Monday. In a nutshell, there will be training in several different forms along with ongoing support. Training will extend well past the launch date.

Common Questions

How will I access the new system?

You will use your web browser. It's like visiting a website. You will log in with your MacID.

Will my computer work?

Generally, users will be able to access the new PeopleSoft system with a recent version of any of the major web browsers; however, there are a few exceptions. Read the details in our system requirements guide.

Training: when, where and how much?

A detailed schedule was released on Monday. The core training time is November and December, continuing into 2014. Training will be available as a mix of online courses and classroom sessions. The latter will be held in a variety of locations on the main McMaster campus and at the Downtown Centre (see the Mosaic Training page for more detail).

People who will use the system to do a wide variety of financial tasks are estimated to require 15-20 hours of training; others may need less. A typical online course will take one or two hours to complete; classroom sessions typically bundle multiple courses into half- or full-day units.

Will we be able to use FAS or the other legacy systems after PeopleSoft launches?

No. Running parallel systems is not practical. McMaster will "cutover" to the new system. Part of this process will be similar to preparing for the fiscal year-end, with transaction processing deadlines and cut-off days. Details to help you prepare for the transition will be communicated well before December.

What happens to my old data?

Data retention is a surprisingly complicated topic. There are various regulatory requirements to both keep and destroy different kinds of data. From financial transactions to research-account balances there is a plan to ensure that all the data McMaster needs is preserved in some sort of useful way. Several of the current systems, such as E-reports, will be maintained for many months so that users can access historical data. A key part of this preservation is the development of a data warehouse which will store a large portion of McMaster's legacy data in a way that will let our new Business Intelligence tools access it. In other cases, data will be migrated to the new PeopleSoft system.

Contact

For additional information contact:

Sheldon Smart
Public Relations Manager
McMaster University
905-525-9140 x28643
mosaic@mcmaster.ca