IRIS Project Update – UK employees test configuration of new systems
The Realization Phase of the IRIS Project concluded in July with a major testing effort of the configuration of Financials, Materials Management (Purchasing), Student Accounting, and Human Resources. With help from numerous campus participants, the IRIS Project Team produced testing results necessary for the final preparation for the first Go Live on October 1.
To prepare for this major testing program, several team members and consultants developed business scenarios for hands-on exercises. Each scenario contained functions and activities typical of university business processes. These test exercises included several Human Resources transactions, such as creating positions, hiring employees, and entering time. For Purchasing, the scenarios focused on creating and changing requisitions, displaying purchase orders, and creating reports. In the Financials area, testing began with transaction-oriented scenarios, such as earmarking funds or parking a journal entry, and progressed to examining full processes, including the departmental authorization voucher (DAV) procedure (from source document to payment). Testing for Student Accounting centered on cash journal and cash desk functions -- opening the cash desk, posting payments, and completing required closing processes.
UK employees came from several departments to help with the testing process. Sitting alongside IRIS Project staff members, campus testers got hands on, working through exercises that mimic real processes at UK. They tested each transaction, explored the SAP screens, and raised lots of “what if” questions. Along with helping to test the system configuration, these employees also validated the business process procedures (BPPs) for accuracy and completeness.
The benefits of IRIS Project testing are two-fold. Testing identifies problems or glitches in advance and allows the team to see first hand how the integration of the SAP software modules works. Too, the involvement of future users provides them with exposure to the new software and a valuable learning opportunity.
And how did UK staff members react to the IRIS Project testing experience? As Information Technology employee Lori Eckdahl worked through a Purchasing exercise, she said, “This (new system) will be such an improvement. I can see everything I need to see when ordering supplies. I can view so much more information and know where my requisitions are in the procurement process.” Linda Williams, College of Medicine employee and HR tester, summed it up best. “It is going to be hard at first because the screens are so different and processes can be complicated. In time, though, it will be a great improvement, with so much more automation than we now have.”