CSU Systemwide Effort toward Uniform Technology Use

Campus Moves Forward on Implementation of One System for Business Functions

February 5, 2007

By Russ Hudson

Talk to Chris Manriquez and Michelle Totten, project director and assistant project director, respectively, of Cal State Fullerton’s Common Management System or CMS project and terms like “pink teams,” “blue teams” and “fit-gaps” come pouring out.

What they all relate to is the massive changeover from a hodgepodge of systems to manage registration, hiring, data and many other functions to a, well, a common management system.

Once the changeover is complete and any “bugs” are worked out, nearly everything on campus should run more smoothly and be done in less time: student registration, hiring, recruiting, purchasing, payroll, contracts, even library transactions and the campus’s budget, say the duo.

“This will standardize business practices… so everything is done the same way,” Manriquez explained. “One example is that full- and part-time faculty are hired differently. The hiring of part-time faculty had to be pushed out to the colleges, then it had to come back again. It was time-consuming and took too many people. Someone had to ‘own’ it and, with CMS, it’s standardized. Contracts can be printed immediately. CMS will centralize where everything is, what’s been done, and things can be up-to-date.”    

It isn’t just Cal State Fullerton making this changeover; every campus in the 23-campus California State University system is going to PeopleSoft’s CMS, spurred by a mandate from the CSU Chancellor’s Office in 1998. In fact, Fullerton is in the last wave of campuses to make the changeover. As it turns out, that is to Fullerton’s benefit, since PeopleSoft and the other campuses have cooperatively worked out many of the inevitable bugs that occur in such large-scale changeovers, said Manriquez and Totten.

But each campus has somewhat different needs and must make the changeover from different systems. That is where the pink teams, blue teams, vanilla implementation and fit-gaps terminology comes in.

“The pink teams are the end users,” Totten explained. “They’re the ones who will be using the new system day in and day out. They drive what is wanted. It is much like 3M Corp. when they handed Post-It pads to company secretaries to see if the new adhesive was worth anything. It was they, the end-users, who knew what was useful.

“Then,” Totten said, “those ideas go to the blue teams. They’re the functional work teams, the ones who know what can be done and how. ”

“We won’t be tossing out all the systems currently being used,” Manriquez said. “Some will remain long enough to transfer data to the CMS system, others will remain in use indefinitely, but the gap between those systems and PeopleSoft has to be bridged so that the existing system and PeopleSoft can quickly and efficiently communicate with one another. That’s a ‘fit-gap.’”

CMS has already started on campus. The human resources component went live in August 2005 and is now being upgraded to a newer version with rollout expected in March. The upgrade will include a friendlier user interface, the ability to save favorites — a time-saver — and a search tool.

July is the target date for the campus’s financial system to be switched over to CMS. The for the remaining application, Campus Solutions (formerly known as Student Administration), is scheduled to be ready in time for summer 2008 registration. That will mean, said Totten, phasing in certain modules, such as those dealing with admissions and financial aid, sometime during this fall and spring 2008.

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