Research Foundation Systems Implementation (08/11/2014)

Hello to all,

I am pleased to report that the Research Foundation is now in the final stages of the implementation and delivery of a new enterprise reporting platform to the research community. The existing systems that have been in place since the early 1990’s have been limited in their ability and flexibility to be successful in supporting sponsored research activity at Old Dominion University.  The Research Foundation management team began evaluating replacement options, with assistance from the professional services firm of RSM McGladrey. Three potential systems were thoroughly demonstrated and evaluated.  The software package currently known as Abila (formerly Sage MIP Fund Accounting) provided the most effective integration of general ledger, human resources, grant administration, purchasing and financial reporting and is being  integrated with new and existing web-based capabilities to form an effective enterprise resource planning platform.

We are currently on-target with a “Go-Live” date of September 1st.  The human resources and payroll modules of the new systems are fully up and operating and we have been processing dual payrolls since early March.  The general ledger module will contain detail financial data for the previous four fiscal years of history (FY2010 through FY2014) and will be uploaded for the current year through August 31st.  Dual processing and testing of June transactions is substantially complete.  The design of the new general ledger has required the development of a new project numbering methodology that enhances our ability to group related projects and task order activities.  The new system will also enhance our procurement process significantly by linking the electronic requisition, purchase order, and accounts payable processes.  The new systems will build from the existing electronic requisition system to alleviate additional changes for external users submitting requisitions.

Our enterprise resource planning platform is a combination of several modules. An automated web-based payroll authorization (e-108) application has been developed internally by our IT and HR staff that significantly improves the efficiencies in hiring and payroll. The new robust payroll encumbrance system will provide timely and accurate committed payroll obligations necessary for effective project management.  The new grants administration module provides a significant number of additional fields for tracking award information, compliance and reporting requirements. This will assist administrators in support of faculty researchers.  We have developed an initial package of project financial reports in a more user friendly format. You are invited to attend an open forum on September 10th to discuss your initial impressions and recommendations. We will continually seek your direct feedback for further enhancements to the standard reports as well as customized reporting requests.

Over the next several weeks we will be distributing periodic updates via the PI List Serve with more detailed information on specific aspects of the implementation.  It is anticipated that these will cover the following topics:

We anticipate that these enhancements will allow for the successful administration of sponsored programs by providing responsive and cost-effective support. Our goal is to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible to our faculty researchers and administrative support staff.  During this process please feel free to contact any member of the Research Foundation management team and IT staff with suggestions, questions or concerns you may have.

Julian F. Facenda
Executive Director

 

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