McMaster logo with Mosaic wordmark

Managers' Mosaic Monthly Update

December 2012

To the members of TMG:

Mosaic, McMaster's program to modernize its business processes and replace its current business systems with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, is proceeding quickly. This month's newsletter will inform you about what's happening with the project.

Introducing Mosaic

Last month we teased you with the prospect of a new name. As of November 21 the project is officially known as Mosaic. To answer the most popular question so far: no, it is not an acronym (but feel free to invent one). The project steering committee selected Mosaic because it represents this project's methods and goals. Mosaic is bringing together many pieces from across campus — systems, people and expertise — and combining those parts to form a new picture at McMaster. The new name makes it easier to explain that this project is more than enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Modernizing McMaster's business and administrative processes to support the University's mission is the ultimate goal. Those improvements will happen in hundreds of ways, big and small. And each improvement will be another tile in the Mosaic.

We've also launched a new Mosaic website:

Mosaic Update

To quickly recap, the project is currently in the Fit-Gap stage. During this four month stage, we are holding more than 170 workshops with McMaster subject matter experts to determine how the PeopleSoft ERP software can meet the University's requirements and where there are gaps between the software's standard capabilities and our needs. At the end of this stage, the Mosaic teams will have a detailed plan for implementing the software to meet McMaster's needs.

We are now entering our third month of workshops. It is amazing to see how much has been accomplished in a short time. This is a very intense phase of the project, bringing together experts from across campus. For example, a typical workshop on student registration would have more than a dozen participants, including representatives from the Registrar's Office, Grad Studies and Faculties. It is intellectually challenging work and it takes significant time. So far we have one clear conclusion… McMaster folk are dedicated and are willing to work hard to improve McMaster's systems!

photo of a Fit-Gap meeting

A recent Fit-Gap workshop on student records data conversion brought together McMaster experts from across campus.

The project team truly appreciates managers freeing up time for key staff to attend. Having the right people in the room makes all the difference. With 115 workshops completed, we are progressing towards our goal of formulating a detailed plan for implementing the new system at McMaster.

Workshop Syndrome

With the ongoing workshops, one challenge the University faces is "workshop syndrome." People in workshops aren't at their desks doing their day-to-day assignments. Areas that are contributing significant numbers of staff to workshops include the HR Service Centre, Enrolment Services, finance and accounting and research services. Thank you for offering these groups your patience and support. Staying behind to keep departments running is essential work. The project team extends a special thank you to those who support Mosaic in this way.

Next Steps

With a month left in the Fit-Gap stage, you're probably wondering what follows. The common design phase is next, during which the project teams will develop some of the fundamental infrastructure that will form a foundation for the functional modules. For example, the new account code structure will be developed during this phase so that, in the future, salaries, research funds, purchases and student tuition can all be credited or debited to the University's ledger. At the same time, cross functional teams will hold discussions to identify additional process efficiency opportunities. Next, is the Design and Implementation stage when the project team will start configuring the PeopleSoft system and developing solutions to resolve the gaps that have been identified. During this stage, design workshops will gather input from system users. During these stages the project teams will still call on McMaster experts for advice and ask for reviews of proposals but the time commitment from those outside the team will be reduced significantly.

House Calls

Members of the Mosaic team have been visiting groups across campus to explain the project, answer questions and gather feedback. From FHS Grad Studies to Social Sciences to the Provost's meeting for Chairs and Directors, we've met with folk across McMaster, explained the project and answered questions (even got stumped by a couple). We'd be glad to meet with your group too. Send us an email with a proposed time, place and group:

Pass It On

One of our goals is keep people across the University informed about Mosaic. We encourage you to share the information from this newsletter with your team. Let us know if we can help answer any questions you receive about the project.


For additional information contact:

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