The work that started four years and three months ago, culminated in Stellenbosch University switching over its financial system from its 35-year-old legacy system Tera Term to its new platform Oracle Cloud Financials on 26 July 2023.
The SUNFin project team, consisting mostly of staff from the Finance and Information Technology divisions has been working around the clock to reach this milestone: implementing the largest system of its kind at the University.
“Going live with OCF, was the start of a new era at SU, with a system that offers the opportunities to support the University's financial processing effectively and efficiently, while recognising and working towards minimising the challenges that this significant change will impose on users of the system," says Manie Lombard, Chief Director: Finance.
Over the past years, the project has been postponed at stages as the team encountered obstacles caused by a very customised and complicated legacy system, engrained in the woodwork of the Institution. Despite many challenges, late nights, and sacrifices from a magnificent team, the go-live went seamlessly, thanks to a carefully planned sequentially cutover process aligned with the user training.
"It is chaos, but great chaos. Somehow everything is working and we are solving issues and learning as we go along," was the words of Annemi Murray, Director: Financial Planning and Budgeting, one of the champions of this project and someone who has burnt a few candles on both ends over the past years to ensure this project takes flight.
“The success we are experiencing now, is because of our users who are taking ownership of the system," says Elizebeth de Beer, who is championing the OCF training – which is ongoing for a few weeks now. “I am amazed to see the willingness and excitement of the staff who are embracing this new way of doing financial accounting at the University."
SUNFin business owner, Brendon Grindlay-Whieldon ensured that a SUNFin service desk is in place to provide a communication channel where you can log on to the systems' major business processes.
Prof Stan du Plessis, Chief Operating Officer, congratulated and thank the team for celebrating going live on Wednesday, 26 July 2023. “I only hear great things from people using the system. We are grateful to the SUNFin team who pulled out all the stops to make this deadline."