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Upgrade planned for M-Pathways Administrative Information System software

Plans are underway to upgrade the software for the M-Pathways Student Administration and Human Resource Management (HRMS) systems to PeopleSoft Higher Education (HE) version 8.1.

The decision was based on a number of factors, says Laura Patterson, associate vice president for administrative information systems. "The initial decision in 1995 to buy administrative software, as opposed to writing our own, was a strategic one. The University made a commitment to share data for management and best business practices. Staying current in the software advances us toward that strategic goal," she says.

Also, most staff members currently work in the M-Pathways system through PeopleSoft panels. "We've been hearing from campus for some time that delivering the administrative systems via the Web was desirable, and there are just a few Web-based processes currently offered," Patterson says.

PeopleSoft HE version 8.1 provides Web interfaces to all transactions. Upgrading now will allow the University to remain in a vendor-supported environment and expand Web self-service activities.

The upgrade process is underway at Michigan Administrative Information Services (MAIS). Feb. 2004 is the target date for completing the software upgrade for the M-Pathways Student Administration and HRMS systems. HRMS includes data related to human resources, payroll and benefits administration for the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses, and the University Hospitals and Health System. The M-Pathways Student Administration system includes data related to recruiting and admissions, student records, advising and degree programs, curriculum, financial aid and student financial operations for the Ann Arbor campus. Flint and Dearborn employ different student administrative software and will not be affected by the upgrade.

The services that currently are delivered via Wolverine Access at include student registration, academic advising (teaching support) and registration for Office of New Student Programs (ONSP) orientation sessions that are part of the Student Administration system. University staff members who manage human resource activities in HRMS use the Web for employee recruiting, selection and hiring activity, and in employee human resource administration. University staff can update their home address information on Wolverine Access as well. All these transactions will be adapted to the new PeopleSoft version 8.1 Web interface.

Plans also have been approved to upgrade theM-Pathways Financial system to PeopleSoft version 8.8 software with a tentative date of Feb. 2005. Work on this part of the project will not begin in earnest until fall 2003 because PeopleSoft has not yet released the software. A complete analysis will take place next year before confirming the time schedule.

One change that will impact University hospital timekeepers and units interfacing with the payroll system is that the time and labor functionality will be modified significantly with the upgrade. Other changes relate to how M-Pathways systems users will access information. "University staff will notice the new look and feel because information will be presented on Web pages instead of panels," says John Gohsman, director of the MAIS Student Administration and HRMS system divisions, and director of the MAIS HE Upgrade Project. "They'll also navigate through the system differently after the upgrade."

Initial software demonstrations and discussions are underway between MAIS, central offices and unit liaisons. During the coming 15 months, central office and unit staff will be involved in the project in a number of ways as decisions are made on how best to present information using Web pages.

In preparation for the upgrade, MAIS has implemented a "soft freeze" of the current software to allow staff to work in a stable environment. This means that few changes other than those needed to keep financial aid and tax information current will be made during the upgrade preparation period.

Information about the upgrade project will be available on the M-Pathways Web site at beginning in December. In addition, University staff members who currently use the M-Pathways systems will receive information via e-mail and through the unit liaisons for their departments. Training will be provided prior to the upgrade in 2004, and while it is recommended, much of it will optional. The MAIS Help Desk will continue to support individuals using the M-Pathways system if they have questions or need assistance.



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