Skip to main content

UC San Diego is Renewing its Systems!

ESR logotypeUC San Diego has launched a focused effort which, over the next several years, will renew most of the business processes the university uses today. The program, titled “Enterprise Systems Renewal” (ESR), will affect just about all major systems in use, from core accounting, to human resources, to payroll, to student enrollment, to grant administration, to the systems we use to manage capital assets, to...

It’s a hefty list, adding up to a few hundred business and academic processes and several thousand discrete activities.

At first glance this might seem to violate an old and well-known principle: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” After all, as an institution we’re able to enroll students in classes, conduct over $1B in research each year, deliver best-in-class patient care, and otherwise do everything we need to do.

But under the covers the situation tells a different story. To figure out where to start, we reached out to hundreds of people representing major groups of systems users across major administrative domains (Finance, Human Resources, Students, Research Administration). What we heard over and over again was that there’s a lot more “manumation” – manual work and points of “friction” in processes that could be automated – than there should be. Workarounds are currently necessary to perform basic daily tasks, and often times the software technology is less effective than what is found on home systems.

While our portfolio of mostly home-grown systems largely does what we need it to do right now, the systems are increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain and support. Keeping the lights on is one thing. But we need much more than that to support the expected growth of student enrollment and research activities in coming years. Faced with a future in which tomorrow will look less and less like yesterday, our tools need to support our future by allowing us to be much more efficient at what we do for us to better support the university mission. With that in mind, we have identified projects in as in-scope for ESR.

To master the change ahead, we plan to:

  • Use UC San Diego talent, not consultants, to drive and implement the projects. Product experts will be leveraged to teach us how to ride the bike so we can do it ourselves. Think “expert sourcing,” not outsourcing.
  • Consult with a Lean Bench of process improvement experts from our very own community to  optimize our business processes; not focus on replacing systems just for the sake of doing so.
  • Require prospective vendors to pilot their solutions with real UC San Diego processes and data to  demonstrate their commitment to our collective success.

ESR’s impact will be transformative, but the approach will be collaborative.

I invite you to browse this website for more details on the program, and to sign up for our newsletter for periodic updates.

Category: ESR Behind the Scenes