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McMaster University


Mosaic Status Update: Lessons Learned and Next Steps


July 2014

McMaster has spent six months with its new ERP system and in many ways it’s been a tough transition with major challenges for some users.

To everyone who struggled with an unfamiliar process or who encountered a broken function, we want to acknowledge your frustration and thank you for your patience. This was always going to be a difficult transition but there were more process glitches and system challenges at launch than the team anticipated.
The Mosaic team is using this first launch to understand what worked, what was missed, what needs to be revised, and, most importantly, what should change for subsequent launches. This update will share the major lessons learned and what steps are being taken to both resolve outstanding irritants and adopt these lessons for future portions of the project.

Thank you to the many faculty and staff who filled out surveys or participated in feedback sessions. Given the number of process glitches and system bugs the project encountered in the first few months, the team expected to hear many concerns and the user community delivered, providing many insightful and instructive comments. The team has heard you loud and clear and is putting your feedback to good use.

In brief, many people felt that the system had too many issues at launch; it was difficult to get concerns resolved quickly and these challenges in some instances led to significant delays in payments and reimbursements. There is also frustration about some of the new or changed business processes, such as P-card reconciliation and electronic workflow. Further, some users find it difficult to get the information they want out of the system. Some find the system complicated to navigate. Many users report that it takes longer to complete work tasks now compared to the previous processes

The team would like to assure you that the finance and research systems are continuing to evolve. Remaining bugs will be resolved. Moreover, the team is listening to user feedback and looking at ways to refine the system. Changes, both big and small, have already been made and that work will continue. New functions, such as enhanced research project reporting, will be introduced in the coming months. In addition, senior management is re-examining business processes to see where policies can be modified to speed up processes without compromising security or compliance.  Areas of high concern, such as workflow and P-card reconciliation, are being reviewed. For example a Finance/Research Workflow Focus Group is being established to help provide input on workflow changes.

Looking Forward

The project team is keen to use these lessons learned to smooth the transition when the human resources and student administration portions of Mosaic launch. Several concrete steps have been identified for the next launches:

Changes that have already been made

  • Testing The project has enhanced pre-launch testing, making it more rigorous and conducting more of it.
  • Local support The project has overhauled the super user system, adding more super users from decentralized areas. For example HR has recruited more than 50 super users from outside the HR departments with a goal of having a local super user embedded in every large work unit at launch. HR staff will be trained to provide support as well.
  • Impact Assessment The project has expanded the change impact assessment process to include more users from decentralized areas to ensure impacts to departments are better understood and prepared for.

Changes that will be made

  • Support To shorten average response times, the team will enhance the post-launch support process.
  • User Efficiency Ongoing training will be provided to help employees learn more efficient ways to use the system.
  • Training The training system will more closely match the final production system that users will see. 

Again, thank you for your patience. The hard work of all staff and faculty through this transition are helping McMaster move towards its goal of implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system which will enable McMaster to support its current and future academic, research, and administrative support needs, such as enhancing the student experience, supporting student growth, improving routine workflows, and strengthening business intelligence.