McMaster crest

Mosaic Year End Update for TMG

December 18, 2015

As 2015 comes to an end, it is an appropriate moment to reflect on Mosaic and look ahead at our plans for the new year.

In this issue:

Mosaic Update

This year Mosaic transformed the day-to-day administrative activities of McMaster. Through the year staff, faculty and students have had to learn new ways of doing things. Whether viewing a pay statement, looking up a class roster or enrolling in a class, everyone on this campus interacts with Mosaic in some way. Introducing a campus-wide change like Mosaic can be disruptive and even overwhelming. Thanks to everyone’s hard work and patience, we are all beginning to see service improvements from Mosaic. For example:

  • Travel and expense claims are being processed faster. It used to take weeks, now, once all the approvals are complete, Accounts Payable is averaging a single day to process a reimbursement claim.
  • Pay statements are now largely electronic, offering convenience, saving paper and ending the aggravation of a lost statement.
  • Students have immediate access to an unofficial transcript and to request official transcripts online

Thank you to McMaster’s managers and staff who demonstrated resilience and determination every day. Systems like this are difficult to implement and Mosaic has had technical and process issues along the way that at times disrupted and even aggravated end users. McMaster was able to keep operating through the hardest part of this transition because of you. Again thank you.

While Mosaic made substantial progress in 2015, it remains a work in progress. Some areas are seeing benefits, but there is still work ahead as all of us – staff and faculty, Mosaic team and end users – finish the transition. At this point, the Mosaic team has catalogued the outstanding issues and, in consultation with stakeholders, developed a comprehensive list of priorities defined by the impact on University operations. The team consciously groups related issues into a single priority to help our planning process. You will see them on the priority list along with target dates, and process owners.

Within the priority list, there is one issue that requires special attention:

System Performance

Everyone — the Mosaic team and end users alike — hates the spinning wheel. System performance is an ongoing challenge, and we are working to identify the causes of system slowdowns. Our efforts to date have yielded limited benefits, so we are adjusting our approach. We are setting up a specific team to tackle this issue and calling on additional outside experts for assistance. This is a big, overarching priority for Mosaic in 2016.

Re-Examining Processes

The Mosaic project was an opportunity to update McMaster’s administrative processes. As the system matures and bugs get fixed, process issues are beginning to predominate. Now that we have first-hand experience using this system at McMaster, it is an appropriate time to ask if there are departmental processes that should be adapted to match Mosaic’s capabilities. In 2016 we will begin to review the new processes and ask if they are meeting the University’s needs or if further refinement is needed. These discussions have started at gatherings such as the Financial Forum and Faculty Working Group and we would encourage you to continue the conversation. Feel free to contact us with your questions or suggestions.

Moving Forward with Mosaic: Maintenance Management

Mosaic is a foundation that can be incrementally upgraded, and you can anticipate additional features and improvements in the coming years. A first example is the maintenance management system used by Facilities Services which has begun moving to Mosaic. At the end of January, the general system for making maintenance service requests will move to Mosaic. There will be an online training module available in mid-January for individuals who submit maintenance requests. Watch for further details in the Daily News.

Vacation Balances and a New Year’s resolution

December 31 is the end of the McMaster vacation year, and thus it is important to confirm each employee’s carry forward vacation days/hours. In January, all employees’ approved unused vacation time will be transferred to the 2016 vacation year. This step could result in an incorrect carry forward balance, if an employee’s vacation time taken was not recorded in Mosaic. Managers can verify their staff’s vacation carryover using HR’s process, which was an emailed earlier this week.

This would also be a good time to resolve that in 2016 your unit will use the Mosaic vacation tracking feature so that you have less verification work next December. Ask your HR Advisor for details.

Security Threats to McMaster, Including Mosaic

McMaster, like most large institutions, is frequently the target of outside cyber-attacks. Historically these attacks were broad, ranging from denial of service (DOS) to crypto-ransomware, but recently they have become more advanced. In November McMaster was targeted with a highly sophisticated phishing attack that specifically attempted to gather Mosaic log-in credentials using a fake Mosaic page that was a picture-perfect copy of the real thing. Some people were deceived but fortunately a sharp-eyed employee noticed a small difference in the URL and contacted the UTS Service Desk. IT Security was able to intervene shortly after the attack was launched.

One lesson this incident reinforces is that employees are a critical first line of defence. Managers are strongly encouraged to provide computer security training to their teams, and the UTS IT Security team will happily conduct Phishing Awareness seminars for you. An hour of training is a far better use of time than, as has happened, finding your departmental shared drive held hostage by ransomware, which would cost you several days of work to restore, possibly much more. Thank you for your attention to this issue.


For additional information contact:

Sheldon Smart
Public Relations Manager
McMaster University
905-525-9140 x28643

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