PSU begins Oracle Cloud upgrade

  Thursday, September 17, 2015 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

PSU begins Oracle Cloud upgrade

Pittsburg State has begun the process of upgrading its online Gorilla User System (GUS), the system that contains records on everything from payroll and benefits to transcripts and financial assistance information.

After an extensive and lengthy search process, the university has purchased Oracle Cloud Solutions to replace its current 30-year-old GUS system. Angela Neria, PSU’s chief information officer, said signing the agreement with Oracle Cloud was a milestone moment for the university.

“Oracle is an industry leader in database technology and technology solutions,” Neria said. “It is built on modern standards and will serve us very well in this ever-changing IT environment. The GUS system we are replacing was created in 1984, and it was effective for many years. The time has come, however, to make this important and necessary upgrade.”

Neria said the move to the Oracle Cloud Project will be implemented in stages. The Oracle Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) will replace the university’s finance system, which is targeted for July of 2016.

The Oracle Cloud Human Capital Management system will replace the human resource, time and leave and payroll system, which is targeted for January of 2017.

The third phase, Oracle Cloud Planning and Budget will replace the university’s budget system. A date for full implementation of the third phase has not yet been determined.

“Fully implementing the Oracle Cloud Project will be a lengthy and challenging process,” Neria said. “This is a new venture for us, and I’m sure there will be a few bumps along the road. But as with most things that take time and effort, it will definitely be worth it in the end. Oracle Cloud is a wonderful product that will provide a myriad of improvements and advantages for the university.”

Because the Oracle Cloud system is vital to many essential university operations, Neria said an upgrade to a system that is more secure and easier to navigate was essential.

“Our current system is fragile,” she said. “We have to monitor it regularly in order to make sure that nothing major goes awry. And when you’re talking about making sure students get enrolled and faculty and staff are getting paid, that’s a very serious responsibility."

Michele Sexton, director of budget and human resource services and member of the Oracle Cloud project team, said the new system is more reliable and flexible than GUS.

“With Oracle Cloud, PSU will have a cloud solution that incorporates best practices and modern structure and support to our daily activities,” Sexton said. “We will not have to worry about the system ‘dying’ and putting us in a position where we can't perform necessary processes such as paying employees through payroll.  We will have a system that is kept up-to-date with federally-required laws and processes, and that is flexible to allow the university to respond to organizational changes and new ways of doing business.”

Barbara Winter, PSU controller, said the upgrade will improve the university's financial processes. 

"Oracle Cloud will provide the university the opportunity to automate and transform financial processes for greater efficiency across the organization," Winter said.   

John Patterson, PSU vice president of administration and finance, praised the ERP project team for the work they did over the two-year process of selecting a replacement for GUS.

“The agreement with Oracle Cloud is the culmination of years of hard work by many people on this campus,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the energy, passion and devotion that the project team put into this process.”

The cost of the project is approximately $2.2 million, an expense for which the university has been planning for many years.

“We’ve known the day was coming when we needed to replace GUS,” Patterson said. “We’ve been saving for this for many years because we knew the cost of doing nothing would be much higher in the end.”



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