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FIS Release Takes UC San Diego Into New Era

UC San Diego’s Financial Information System (FIS) project is live with the release of Oracle Financials Cloud, a world-class financial system, and Concur, a new travel and expense system. FIS is a signature component of the Enterprise Systems Renewal (ESR) program—the largest technology improvement program ever undertaken at UC San Diego. 

"Our new financial system opens up a slew of new opportunities,” said Bill McCarroll, Senior Director, Internal Controls & Accounting, and FIS Business Process Lead. “Most importantly, it brings us together as one institution in one financial system, with a common chart of accounts providing consistent, near real-time data using shared business processes. Users now have one system to learn no matter whether they work for main campus, UC San Diego Health or UC San Diego Foundation.  

Go-Live Is Just the Start  

“FIS has officially launched!” exclaimed Adam DiProfio, FIS Change Lead. “This is an exciting step in a very long journey, but it is still one of the early steps. We have already begun the next steps of identifying issues, developing solutions and working on future enhancements. 

Adam’s statement complements the FIS team’s approach in emphasizing that the go live is only the beginning. The full transition to new systems will require time and patience. A key message is to be patient with each other, and yourself.    

To that end, training and staff engagement will continue. Adam said, “From a change management perspective, we put a large effort into communicating with our end users, crowdsourcing user support and developing training and knowledge base articles. Overall, we are very happy with the results from all of our work in these areas.

“However, there is still much more to do. The next areas we are going to focus on are communicating with our end users, crowdsourcing user support and developing more training and knowledge base articles.

“In other words, we are not done with change management and still have a large amount of work to get to where we need to be long term.” 

A Fresh Approach Years in the Making 

FIS is a monumental project, dating back several years. Here are some quick stats to sum it up: 

  • 578 staff members involved 
  • 2,234 deliverables completed 
  • 15,197 discrete tasks finished 
  • 82,269 project hours invested 

Additionally, at least four new family members, and likely more, were welcomed into the world over the course of the project! 

This was a very aggressive implementation, especially for an institution the size of UC San Diego with such complexity and so many moving parts,” said Bill. To pull it off, we approached the change with centralized decision-making continually informed by hundreds of campus users representing the diverse business practices of the university. 

Of the collective approach, ESR Program Director Kevin Chou added, “What we’ve accomplished as one team is special and I hope becomes our new norm of working together and a model for all higher ed. I’m grateful to be part of this amazing team.”  

To the 578 staff members who spent more than 82,000 hours on FIS, Adam said, “Thank you for helping get us to this point. Thank you for your patience as you are trying to absorb an incredible amount of change in a short period of time. Thank you for your understanding as we try to answer everyone’s questions even when we don’t have all of the answers ourselves. This has truly been a giant team effort!” 

FIS Ushers in New Methods and Ways of Working 

A key tenant of ESR is to not just change the tools used, but the way people and teams work. “We're transitioning from a highly configured and very customized environment tailored to a high number of unique business demands from across our business portfolio,” explained Bill. Through FIS, we’re adopting streamlined and uniform ways of doing business. This will require departments to think differently about their operations." 

The payoff is in simplicity and efficiency. “In the longer term, adopting a world-class financial system configured to meet our common business needs will significantly reduce the complexity of the work we saw in our legacy systems,” said Bill. As our features mature, our hope is that users will no longer need to hop between systems, subsystems and shadow systems to complete work or create reports.   

“Additionally, our insight to near real-time data will also significantly improve in a single ecosystem. We expect our reporting to be more consistent across the enterprise and that will help operational decision-making but also roll up information for more strategic analysis to help our leaders make key decisions to support our long-term goals.  

Looking Ahead

The FIS team wishes to again express its sincere thanks to the hundreds of individuals who contributed. "FIS becoming a reality has truly been a complete team effort and would never have been possible without each one of you backed by UC San Diego leadership through our sponsors and those contributing to our project governance," commented Bill. "As Adam said, we are on a journey that will require strong collaboration and teamwork. Based on the results thus far, we have no doubt we’re on the road to a bright future."

Category: News, Financial Systems