ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. It refers to large computer information systems that typically support integrated applications for multiple offices or functional areas in an organization. In higher education, ERPs most commonly cover Human Resources, Finance, and Student Services.
Most of Baylor's current ERPs were implemented in the 1990s and are housed on servers contained in the ITS Data Center on campus. While these systems have served the university well, Baylor's academic programs, operations, regulatory environment, and constituent expectations, as well as the technology landscape have evolved tremendously since the 1990s. They are continuing to change rapidly, increasing in complexity and demanding agility to continue to meet goals, serve our students, and accomplish our mission. New ways of supporting university processes and operations will be required to support accomplishment of Illuminate.
The Oracle Cloud system was chosen, including cloud-based human resources (HCM), financial (ERP), planning and budgeting (PBCS) systems, as well as their integrated analytics, reporting, and business intelligence solutions.
Oracle has their infrastructure set up in such a way that Baylor's information is isolated from the information of other customers. All data is encrypted both at rest and in transit. The data is stored in redundant locations to ensure availability, but also provides quicker disaster recovery. The datacenters provide a level of network and physical security that would be difficult to replicate using available Baylor resources.
In the fall of 2016, a campus leadership group from representative university administrative areas and Information Technology Services began a discussion of Baylor's enterprise systems and their potential replacement, focusing on the Human Resources, Payroll, Financial Systems, and Grants Management.
Over the next 18 months, this group engaged others in the campus departments involved to define needs, to attend demonstrations of potential solutions (two sets of demos held a year apart), to contact colleague institutions who had recently selected new systems, to evaluate options, and to keep the Board of Regents apprised of the status of the review. In the late spring of 2018, proposals from potential new ERP partners were received and assessed, and a selection was made for recommendation to the Board. In addition, a review by Baylor's Office of Internal Audit was completed regarding the process and selection. In May of 2018, the Board of Regents approved moving forward on a contract with Oracle for their cloud-based human resources (HCM), financial (ERP), planning and budgeting (PBCS) systems, as well as their integrated analytics, reporting, and business intelligence solutions.
One of the primary reasons to move to a cloud-based system is to adopt industry best practices, which simplifies implementation, training, ongoing updates, flexibility, and data integrity. The Oracle Cloud systems come with many parameters and options that can be configured to meet Baylor's specific needs while still retaining the best practice methodology that does not support customizing the system. The use of configuration rather than customization allows Baylor to achieve the full benefits of cloud-based systems.
Student employees (including graduate students with assistantships) will use Ignite for the job application process and then log in to enter their work hours, check their pay stub, view their tax information, etc. In addition, they can use it if they are needing to be reimbursed for incidental or travel expenses.
Unlike systems that reside in our campus datacenter, the Oracle Cloud system will be updated on a fixed schedule, largely set by the vendor. There are quarterly releases which may affect functionality and will be tested by the Ignite team in a test system before they are applied to the production system. In addition, smaller patch updates may be released monthly. Though the Ignite team will test as many scenarios as possible, just as with on-premise systems, it is likely that campus users will discover changes to the system after updates are applied.
A major emphasis of the Ignite project will be the re-evaluation of many campus administrative processes, with the goal of moving to more standardized business processes that are supported by the Oracle Cloud system. This transformation of business processes may not mean all current manual processes are automated by the system. But, it is expected that a number of those current manual processes will become obsolete due to the improved access to data and enhanced user interface, in addition to the new business processes, brought by Ignite. The hope is also to build a system that will be flexible enough to accommodate new processes as those needs arise and to make all processes more efficient overall for the University.
Yes! The web page is responsive, automatically adjusting to the size of the device being used. Of course, some screens will have more information than will be usable on a small screen, but there will be a great deal of mobile functionality.
Training will begin in the Spring semester of 2020 and continue into the summer. There will be several different levels of training based on the level of work you will perform in Ignite. In addition, there will be several different modes of training- online, webinars, and in-person training. You can learn more about training opportunities here.
The current systems will need to be retained for some time for reporting and historical purposes, though an exact timetable has not been set. In addition, though the systems will not be available as they are now, the data will be retained. The method by which this will be done is being evaluated and more information will be forthcoming.