These are the prior updates for Oracle Finance. 

Please see the Project Ensemble home page for the most recent updates.


Oracle Finance Update – July 29, 2019

Dear Colleagues,
 
It has now been over three months since we first went live in Oracle and we wanted to take a moment to share our progress.  We have continued to climb the steep learning curve from our Banner system which we molded to fit our needs over 15 years.  We are gaining in our understanding of the Oracle Finance platform and increasing our adoption every day and we acknowledge that the transition has not been easy for many.  Thank you for your continued patience and support as we work through the issues.    
 
We have automated many of our existing processes that were pen and paper or outdated and have created strong dependency on workflows -- the rules that Oracle uses to route approvals. These new processes along with more advanced cloud technology will ultimately improve our efficiency, our financial stewardship, and our ability to maintain pace with technological advances.
 
Nevertheless, we have not been immune to our fair share of growing pains in particular around the following areas:
 
Expenses, Invoices & PO’s: While workflows ultimately improve efficiency, we have encountered workflow issues impacting expenses, invoices & PO’s.  Most recently, many individuals were unable to submit expense reports because of beginning-of-fiscal year changes in reporting structures.  We have identified the root cause and are reviewing actions to avoid future issues.  
 
Reporting: Oracle is a powerful tool but it is only as good as the data we are able to pull out of it.  We plan to use PowerBI as our long-term reporting tool, but in the short-term we will be relying on the built-in reporting that comes from Oracle.  Unfortunately, we have found that the built-in Oracle tools do not live up to our expectations.  Individuals have had a hard time viewing FY19 budget to actuals or transaction-level detail.  Nevertheless, we hope to better optimize the built-in Oracle tools by late August so that more individuals can see their FY20 budget to actuals and transaction-level detail. 
 
Realizing that these issues exist, we are taking a number of steps to support our user community.  Beyond the daily calls that Finance and ITS have to address both the short- and long-term needs of end-users, we plan to do the following:

Drop-in Sessions:  We will continue the drop-in sessions we started earlier this year.  The next one will take place Thursday, August 1, from 3-4:30 pm ET in Davis Family Library room 145 and sessions will be held once a week for the foreseeable future. Details will be posted on the Oracle Resources page on the Midd Project Ensemble site.  Please stop by or Zoom (https://middlebury.zoom.us/j/716417365, Meeting ID: 716 417 365 or +1 (646) 876-9923) with your issues so we can assist you.

Change Facilitators and Other Outreach: Finance and ITS will continue to work with our change facilitators to streamline communication and ensure there is a feedback loop on issues that need our attention.

Communication:  Starting next week, we plan to provide frequent updates on the status of the Oracle implementation.  Please look in Midd Points, the Oracle Resources page, and the Midd Project Ensemble site for information
 
Again, we appreciate all of your patience commitment to our Oracle Finance implementation.  We are confident that over the coming months our Oracle solution will be stabilized and start providing the much needed efficiencies, transparency, and oversight that we need to effectively do our work at Middlebury for the long-term.
 
Sincerely,
 
Alberto M. Citarella
Middlebury College
Associate Vice President for Finance
and Assistant Treasurer
acitarella@middlebury.edu
O: 802-443-2073
 
Vijay Menta
AVP & Chief Information Officer
ITS, Middlebury College
vmenta@middlebury.edu
O: 802-443-2929
C: 203-668-8945
 
Mike Thomas
VP of Finance and Assistant Treasurer
Office of Finance and Administration
thomas@middlebury.edu
O: 802-443-5551


New drop in times for assistance with Oracle Finance (updated July 29, 2019)

No need to sign up – please just stop by or join via Zoom

EVERY Thursday beginning August 1 - October 10

In person: 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET – Library 145

Zoom via internet: https://middlebury.zoom.us/j/716417365

Zoom via phone: dial 646-87


6-9923 and use meeting ID: 716 417 365

 

Oracle Finance Update - Alberto Citarella's June 19 email

Dear Colleagues,
 
As a follow-up to David Provost’s communication on Tuesday about the changes in the Finance Office, I want to provide details about the official transition of Accounts Payable to the Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium (GMHEC) on July 1. 

First and foremost, you should not notice any substantive changes to the regular accounts payable processes on July 1. You will still submit your expenses and invoices via Oracle as you have been doing.  And you will continue to use the same phone number for questions about accounts payable: 802-443-2321.  Any of the four GMHEC team members who pick up the phone, including Nicole Corriveau who is transitioning from Middlebury to GMHEC, will be well equipped to handle your questions.  In addition, if checks or P-cards need to be picked up, you can continue to do so at Marble Works (152 Maple Street).  All in all, given all the preparation the teams have undertaken, the transition on July 1 should be seamless to you. 

There are however two changes to expect.  The first is a change in the official accounts payable email.  It will now be ap@gmhec.org.  Emails to this new address will receive responses just as those to the old accounts payable address for Middlebury did.  (Please note that in order to ensure a smooth transition, we will continue to monitor the old accounts payable address for Middlebury for a short period of time.)
 
Another change to expect are the individuals with whom you will be interacting.  The GMHEC AP team consists of the four individuals listed below.  These will be the individuals answering your phone calls, responding to your email requests, and ensuring the processing of your accounts payable transactions:

Nicole Corriveau, Accounts Payable Lead
Joe Cadoret, Accounts Payable Specialist
Christine Brown, Accounts Payable Specialist
Linda Williams, Accounts Payable Specialist (through Sept)
 
If you would like further information, the following links and numbers are available:

Website:  www.gmhec.org/accounts-payable/

Phone:  802-443-2321

AP email:  ap@gmhec.org 
(to be utilized for AP and Procurement-related questions; for expedited check requests, type “Time Sensitive” in the subject line.)

Oracle support email:  support@gmhec.org
(to be utilized for Oracle/technical-related questions)

AP Reference Guide:  Finance Knowledge Base (GMHEC)

Procurement Reference Guide:  Procurement Knowledge Base (GMHEC)

At this point, I want to thank and recognize the staff members who have been responsible for Accounts Payable at Middlebury prior to this transition.   While I have not had the opportunity to work with each of them, I know that all of Middlebury is appreciative of their years of service and we wish them the very best.  Monique Skowronek and BonnieRita Hearthstone will be retiring at the end of June after a collective 40+ years with Middlebury.  Shelley Bilodeau has accepted a position in Advancement Operations for Middlebury.  And as mentioned above, Nicole Corriveau will be transitioning to the Accounts Payable Lead role at GMHEC.  
 
I would also like to thank all of you for your support as we make this transition.  I look forward to meeting many of you soon.
 
Sincerely, 
Alberto Citarella


Oracle Finance Update - Thursday, June 6

We are seeing ticket volume decrease with functional questions, but we are still struggling through a couple of issues.  We expect further updates soon around budget reporting and getting access for our employees not on the U.S. payroll.  These items are tested and continue to be worked.  We are making progress and this week has been very promising, but we are not there yet.  More to come soon.

Additionally, on June 6th, several P-Card transactions were submitted to Oracle in error.  The transaction were from before we were on Oracle.  We have run a process to inactivate all of the PCard transactions prior to April 1.  We have tested with several people and everything appears to be correct.  If you are seeing transactions from before April 1, please log a ticket at support@gmhec.org


Oracle Finance Update - Friday, May 24

Expense reports / P-Cards Audits

Not exactly an Oracle update, but the system has given us great visibility into expense and P-Card reports.  We have seen three common themes in the audits of P-Cards and Expense Reports. 

The first is that users are creating an expense item for things purchased on a P-Card and not waiting for the actual P-Card transaction to hit their queue.  This can cause a duplication of the expense and could lead to a check being processed as if it were a reimbursement.  

The second item is that when processing business meals and entertainment, Internal Revenue Service regulations require that we include the following information on the reports:  

• Amount of the expenditure
• Time and place of the expenditure
• Business purpose of the expenditure
• Names and the business relationships of individuals for whom the expenditures are made
 Please make sure we have adequate descriptions.
The third item is that we do a great job with the proper receipts!  Good to see it, thanks for the work to keep us in compliance.


Oracle Finance Update - Monday, May 20

Over the weekend, we went through our first quarterly cloud upgrade, a.k.a. 19B.  Reports so far are that the upgrade was successful.  If you see something that doesn’t work that used to, please use support@gmhec.org.

Also, from the Procurement team, you may see icons indicating “under construction” on the punch out page.  The punchout is still available, and you can use the Amazon and B&H sites.  One way to get there is to go to the “Shop by Category” and choose your punchout supplier from there. The icons do work, just not the ones that say “Under Construction.”  The team is addressing and will update accordingly.


Oracle Finance Update - Tuesday, May 14

A couple of quick updates this morning:

Supplier approvals remain in good shape, the backlog is down to the last few days only.  We are currently testing a mass upload of over 200 student suppliers with the hopes of rolling that into production in the next day or so. 

We have found that in the Oracle system re-set from April 22, expense reports and p-card reconciliations were hung up and need to be pushed through manually for approval causing delays in reimbursements.  We have developed the fix for those items and will be pushing those through this morning.

We have also heard a few reports of P-Card transactions not showing up in Oracle as soon as expected.  There can be a delay based on load times…. For example, if a vendor sends JP Morgan a purchase on day 1, if it is after the time that the feed is scheduled,  the Oracle import of that transaction could happen on day 2, which could make it available for approval in Oracle on day 3.  So there could be up to 2 days between the transaction and availability. 

Drop in hours - we have drop-in hours for the Vermont campus on most Tuesdays and Thursdays from May 16 - June 18 from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.  Click here for details.  Matt Curran will be heading to MIIS the week of 5/20 for additional meetings with the teams in Monterey.

For technical help please email support@GMHEC.org.  Middlebury's IT staff is using a new ticketing system that's shared with the GMHEC consortium and vendors.  


Oracle Finance Update – Thursday, May 9, 2019

We have made some great strides on the student suppliers.  On the manual load front, (thanks to some long weekend days from AP) we were able to put a major dent in the supplier queue and are only looking at a few days of backlog.  Down to 58 in the queue! We are currently testing a mass student as supplier upload process.  This will allow us to remove the registration process and the approval process and simply upload the information from a spreadsheet.  It will likely take a couple of days to finish and test, but we are optimistic so far.  We know there are many more coming as we approach graduation and the summer – so the upload process is a top priority.

The other message for today is about outreach.  Matt Curran and Mike Thomas (and many others) have reached out to several power users over the last few days to check in, see if there are any compliance concerns, field questions, and offer up positive vibes.  We have some more group sessions scheduled, Matt is working on getting out to MIIS, the Change Facilitator Group meeting is coming up, the Trainer Group is meeting next week and Mike will be visiting the CAOS group next week.


Oracle Finance Update - Monday, May 6, 2019

As we come upon our first month close in Oracle, and to help answer some of the questions we have heard around campus, we have created this blog to give some quick updates.  The main message now is that we are paying bills.  We have paid millions of dollars since we went live.  As many people know, staying on top of supplier registration (including students for AP payments) has been difficult.  To give an example, two weeks ago we were caught up with the approvals and despite having 2 plus people assigned to approvals for 60 hours a week, we are losing ground.  In the last 2 weeks we have seen the supplier approval queue grow to over 180.  The team spent significant time last week develop a systemic solution to get all students loaded as suppliers out of Banner and input into Oracle.  We have a plan in development to accomplish this.  If it works, it should free up the staff to manage the non-student suppliers.  If the path isn’t locked down by the evening of May 6th, we are planning on increasing the manual resources to get back on course. 

I would also like to share that while we are working through many things, the first month has seen us clear over 500 help desk tickets, make millions of dollars in payments, integrate with a variety of internal and external systems, and transition millions of transactions from Banner into Oracle.  Additionally, we are wrapping up both the Planning system (PBCS) and Oracle reporting so we can look at the April results.

Finally, there are some new FAQ’s on the resources page including how to see if an invoice has been paid.

Look for more updates coming soon. 

The Oracle Finance Team