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SUNFin team ready to go live in July 2023 team ready to go live in July 2023Petro Mostert<p>​Stellenbosch University (SU) will soon have a new financial system. The SUNFin project has reached its final phase before going live in July this year. A comprehensive testing period is nearing its end, vital to ensuring a successful cloud implementation of Oracle Cloud Financials (OCF).  <br></p><p>“The SUNFin team – consisting of people from many SU divisions and external partners - has done a tremendous job of keeping this critical project on track. In addition to the seamless execution of the normal tasks of the Finance Division, they gave a lot of extra hours to ensure that we reach our milestones," said Prof Stan du Plessis, SU's Chief Operating Officer. </p><p>“This is the single biggest system SU has ever implemented. It is a wonderful example of a project that is future-focused and solution-orientated. It required us to review our processes and consider their effectiveness and relevance. It also allowed us to address internal complexity with a modern cloud-based solution. This is how we unlock the productivity gains of digitalisation in our business processes," said Du Plessis.</p><p>Since cloud implementation projects are evolutionary and integrated, SUNFin must undergo a comprehensive testing phase. “The SUNFin project reached a significant milestone when they commenced their User Acceptance Testing (UAT) phase. Over the next few weeks, we will complete the UAT phase and begin user training from May onwards," said Manie Lombard, Chief Director: Finance.</p><p>Lombard said the training phase will now commence, coordinated by Lizzy de Beer, Deputy Director: Financial Systems Support and Training, in collaboration with the SUNFin training team; the latter comprises the respective Subject Matter Expert (SME) of each business module and their super users and core finance support. Training will follow a carefully developed training schedule. It will take place in various formats and areas: one-on-one sessions, focus groups, and interactive question-and-answer sessions are a few methods the training team will use to ensure all users are equipped and able to use the financial system optimally and independently.</p><p>“From a technology point of view, this is our first Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) cloud solution whereby we are leading with cutting-edge technology being implemented in a university of our complexity and size. This is a giant leap we have made on the technology front," said Denisha Jairam-Owthar, SU's Chief Director: Information Technology.<br></p><p>As part of the SUNFin roll-out, a permanent user support desk will be established and managed by Brendon Grindlay-Whieldon, SUNFin Business Owner. Together with website support, his team will offer help when needed. As part of the support desk, there will also be technical support from the IT team, who will be responsible for the operational and technical support of OCF.  </p><p>Over the next few months, regular communication via SUNFin newsletters, SU's website, and social media channels will inform future users of the new financial system at SU about training schedules, implementation processes, and go-live roll-out deadlines. A special email address for SUNFin – <a href=""></a> – is available for staff with questions on the project. Please give 48 hours for the SUNFin team to respond.</p><p>​<br></p>
SUNFin implementation postponed till 2022 implementation postponed till 2022Finance<p>​​​<br><br></p><p>SUNFin, Stellenbosch University's new financial system, will go live in 2022 after the Rectorate approved the postponement in April. It will now be implemented after SUNStudent goes live and be defined by the outcomes of the Iteration 3 review and a detailed replanning exercise.</p><p>“Despite a challenging first few months of this year, with foreseen pressure on our project resources due to our financial year-end and external audit, the SUNFin project team remains committed and focused on achieving their set goals and project timelines," says Manie Lombard, Chief Director Finance.</p><p>Manie said that despite the team's best efforts, a detailed bottom-up planning exercise during February and March this year highlighted that they would not complete the required activities to go live by 1 July 2021, as was initially planned. </p><p>The project team is currently preparing for Iteration 3 of the Oracle Cloud Financials (OCF) system.  This includes an updated set of SU data and the system configurations identified during the Iteration 2 review. The objective of the iteration is to address as many of the current outstanding issues and concerns of the Finance Subject Matter Experts (SME's) regarding the OCF system as possible, to increase the level of confidence in and knowledge of the new system to meet the University's requirements.</p><p>According to Manie, planned ICT integration work and data cleansing initiatives continue on the project. In addition, the realignment of the Finance Division's organisational structure and roles and responsibilities remain a crucial focus for the Finance leadership team.</p><p>“The new SUNFin go-live date in 2022 will be communicated together with an updated project plan as soon the date has been confirmed."<br><br></p><p>​<br></p>
SUNFin project go-live extended to 1 July 2021 project go-live extended to 1 July 2021Finance<p>​​Stellenbosch University's Rectorate agreed for the SUNFin project's go-live date to be extended from 4 January 2021 to 1 July 2021 to ensure a seamless transition from the current financial system to the new Oracle Cloud Financials (OCF) system. <br></p><p>“Despite many challenges during the past few months, the project team has made significant progress on the project," says Chief Director Finance, Manie Lombard. The team is currently finalising critical business decisions and changes to business policies that are required by the OCF application. SU data is also being cleaned before the final cutover and data load. </p><p>Furthermore, the team is developing integration solutions to ensure that the required SU peripheral systems can 'talk to' the OCF application. Visions, our implementation partner, is focusing on transferring knowledge of the OCF system to the SU finance subject matter experts (SMEs).</p><p>According to Manie, the SUNFin team has adopted a unique agile way of working on projects in establishing cross-functional teams to develop the integrations of peripheral systems to OCF. “They are instilling a culture of using templates, documenting findings and sharing information. The team established a set of values which they live by, as well as adopted a formal change management approach to manage the people element of change systematically."</p><p>The project team is busy preparing the SU data for the last practice data load and system configuration before reviewing the third and final iteration of OCF in early 2021, followed by user acceptance testing (UAT) in March 2021.</p><p>Manie says they will inform staff about features of the new SUNFin solution and key changes to the financial processes and policies on planned roadshows in April 2021. </p><p>End-user training will commence in May until mid-June 2021. “We will communicate cutover processes and dates to relevant staff members well in advance."</p><p> Please send your questions or comments regarding the project to <a href=""></a>. For more information, please visit <a href="/sunfin"></a>.​</p><p><br></p>
SUNFin celebrates second milestone and launches new website celebrates second milestone and launches new website Finance<p>​​The SUNFin team have been working hard since April this year and at the end of November reached their second milestone of evaluating the first Iteration of Oracle Cloud Financials (OCF), the new cloud-based financial system to be implemented by January 2021.<br><br></p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU) is the first tertiary institution in South Africa to take a giant leap in adopting the OCF to replace the current financial system.<br><br></p><p>The interactive implementation methodology is on track after the recent successful completing of the Iteration 1 workshops. Currently the team focuses on the planning and preparation for Iteration 2 which will take place in the second quarter. <br><br></p><p>Iteration 1 is a prototype of the new OCF system. This first Iteration of the SUNFin system was based on SU's configuration decisions made during the Cloud Process Alignment (CPA) workshops earlier in the year and is populated with SU data. The objective of the Iteration 1 review workshops was a confirmation that the data and SU's configuration decisions by Visions, the implementation partner, was correctly interpreted and applied.<br><br></p><p>A series of roadshows are planned for early 2020 to give the current financial user a preview of the new system. Look out for the invitations to these roadshows.</p><p> </p><p>If you have any queries about SUNFin, please visit our new website <a href="/english/SUNFin/new-about"></a>. If you have any further enquiries, please email us on <a href=""></a>. We would like to hear from you.<br></p><p><br></p>
SUNFin will adopt new financial system will adopt new financial systemMr Manie Lombard – Chief Director: Finance/ Mnr Manie Lombard – Hoofdirekteur: Finansies​<p>​​<br></p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU) is the first tertiary institution in South Africa to adopt the <em>Oracle Cloud Financials </em><em>Application</em> to replace our current financial system. </p><p>This new cloud-based system will enable SU to modernise our finance function by streamlining processes, increasing our productivity and improving our business decisions with access to real-time financial data and multi-dimensional analytics and reporting. </p><p>SU's decision to follow an 'adopt' approach versus an 'adapt' approach means that some of our financial business processes and transactions will change from the way we currently do them. </p><p>The Business Optimisation workstream, led by Annemi Murray and her team, are conducting End-to-End (E2E) workshops. The team has completed the review of the Procure-to-Pay, Assets, Cash & Treasury Management and Expenses business processes and are currently working through the Accounts Receivable (AR) business process. The objective of the E2E workshops is to identify how SU's current business processes will need to change in order to adopt the streamlined Oracle Cloud Financials' processes. Functional representatives from Finance, IT and Faculties are playing an essential role in these workshops.  </p><p>The next SUNFin Implementation Project milestone is the delivery of Iteration 1 by our implementation partner, Visions. Iteration 1 is a prototype (an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process) of the new Oracle Cloud Financials system. This first Iteration of the SUNFin system is based on SU's configuration decisions made during the CPA workshops earlier in the year and is populated with SU data. The objective of the Iteration 1 review workshops is for Visions to walk the project team through this first release of the system and the core financial processes so that SU can validate configuration decisions. The Iteration 1 review workshops are currently in progress and will be completed by mid-November.</p><p>The SUNFin team will use the remainder of November to validate Iteration 1 and plan for the work required for Iteration 2. Iteration 2 is scheduled for delivery during the first quarter of 2020.  </p><p>During the preparation for Iteration 1, the SUNFin team identified several data cleansing initiatives which will be prioritised and addressed in preparation for Iteration 2. As part of this initiative the SUNFin team will implement new validation rules in the current financial system that will help prevent further data issues. </p><p>For more information on the SUNFin Implementation Project, please visit <a href="/sunfin"></a>.</p><p>Please email your questions, comments, concerns or suggestions regarding the SUNFin project to <a href=""></a>. </p><p><br></p><p><br></p>
SUNFin achieves its first milestone! achieves its first milestone!Mr Manie Lombard – Chief Director: Finance/ Mnr Manie Lombard – Hoofdirekteur: Finansies<p>​​​The SUNFin Implementation Project achieved its first milestone with the completion of the Cloud Process Alignment (CPA) workshops in June. <br></p><p>The SUNFin project team, comprising representatives from Finance, Information Technology, HR, Faculty Management and Facilities Management obtained a good baseline understanding of how the new financial system will work and what changes we might need to make to our current business processes in order to implement the new system successfully. </p><p>One of the key outputs from the CPA workshops was a list of Actions & Decisions for both SU and Visions Consulting to address. The project team prioritised the work packages on the Actions & Decisions List required to prepare for configuration of Iteration 1 of the Oracle Cloud Financials application by Visions Consulting. Configuration of the system is scheduled to start towards the end of August 2019. </p><p>During July, the SUNFin project team mobilised a number of new workstreams that will focus on completing the work packages prioritised for Iteration 1.  These include: Business Optimisation; System Integration; Data Management; Training; Testing; and Reporting Requirements.  These workstream teams are representative of the faculties and relevant divisions within SU. </p><p>In August and September, the SUNFin workstreams will focus on the work required to deliver Iteration 1 of the SUNFin system containing SU data. In October the team will have the opportunity to review Iteration 1. Several Project Update sessions are being scheduled before the end of the year<em> </em>to provide an update on the project and an overview of Iteration 1 to a wider group of stakeholders. </p><p>For the remainder of 2019 the SUNFin team will work on streamlining Iteration 1, cleansing data and re-designing business processes to align to the new SUNFin system. </p><p>The configuration of Iteration 2 of the SUNFin system is planned to be delivered in February 2020. Iteration 2 will include a more complete version of the financial system, including some integrations with existing systems.  </p><p>For more information on the SUNFin Implementation Project, please visit <a href="/sunfin"></a>.</p><p>Please email any questions, comments or concerns you may have regarding the SUNFin project to <a href=""></a>. </p><p><br><br></p>
System Renewal Project concluded with contracts for cutting-edge systems for SU Renewal Project concluded with contracts for cutting-edge systems for SUProf Ian Cloete/Corporate Communication​<p style="text-align:justify;">​​​With the recent signing of two software contracts the analysis, planning and procurement phases of Stellenbosch University's System Renewal Project (SRP) have now been concluded, paving the way for the implementation of two major systems for academic and financial administration respectively.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SRP, that formed part of the broader ICT in Learning and Teaching Project, was spearheaded by a Steering Committee comprising staff members from across the University who refined the institution's requirements and evaluated competing products. The subsequent rigorous procurement process led to the appointment of two reputable vendors. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The contract for the SUNFin (Financial System) project was signed on Friday, 15 February 2019 with Oracle. Implementation of the system is planned to stretch over two financial periods. The SUNStudent (Student Information System) contract with SeroSoft was signed on 26 April 2019.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“These two systems form the bedrock of our academic and financial administration and with the implementation of two cutting edge cloud-based systems we will not only replace the current systems, but unlock the opportunities offered by a new generation of information systems. These systems will have a deep impact on the University as they alter our processes and procedures in academic and financial administration, and even the organisation structure in our administrative divisions. While these changes will require careful and deliberate change management, they will help SU realise the potential efficiency gains offered by new generation information systems," said Prof Stan du Plessis, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of SU.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SRP started as part of the broader ICT in Learning and Teaching Project, under the auspices of Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, Vice-Rector: Teaching and Learning. The project was initiated with SU Council funding to replace two ageing information systems of the University namely the financial system and the student information system with SUNStudent and SUNFin. </p><ul><li>SUNStudent: This will be the Academia student information system provided by SeroSoft Solutions. This state-of-the-art student information system dealing with student administration, of which academic curricula and modules are important components, takes Stellenbosch University on its next step to digital transformation in education. The new system will replace the current, outdated system and promises to be solid and reliable, yet also flexible, modern and student-centric.  </li><li>SUNFin: Like the student information system, the University's financial system too has reached the end of its lifecycle and will be replaced with Oracle® Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud (Oracle ERP Cloud), which is a comprehensive, integrated and scalable financial management solution. </li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;">“SUNStudent and SUNFin will be implemented in parallel, and close attention will be paid to integration of the systems within the University's ecosystem of information systems and middleware. Together with the replacement of the ageing systems, the integration of data from the new and existing systems will provide the opportunity to track and manage our strategic metrics as well as support information governance initiatives," said Prof Hester Klopper, DVC for Strategy and Internationalisation.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">These contracts have been signed following the work of an SRP Steering Committee that was appointed to oversee the successful completion of the project. This committee was chaired by Prof Ian Cloete from the Division for Information Governance (formerly the Division for Institutional Research and Planning), with representatives from Information Technology, the Centre for Student Information System Support, Finance, Office of the Registrar, as well as Teaching and Learning.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I want to thank our staff for their hard work on analysis and planning that went into the project till now—that enabled us to follow a rigorous procurement process for the new systems, where staff from across the university contributed to evaluating competing products and refining of SU's requirements. Renewal of these two important systems will provide further opportunities for digitalisation and integration of information, as well as streamlining of existing processes to improve effectiveness and efficiency. We rely on the support of our staff and students for successful system implementations, and will keep them informed on progress as system components are planned and rolled out," said Prof Cloete.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">At first the intention was to implement open source community software systems, to be developed in partnership with the Kuali Foundation and an international network of universities, but with the rapid improvements in competitive products, this decision was revised to procure both systems from reputable vendors. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">As part of the SRP, a separate subproject for Middleware, Infrastructure and Integration (MII) was completed as well. The MII provides an architectural layer common to all present and future information systems of the University. Its purpose is to create an integrated information ecosystem for master- and transactional data for all SU information systems, which enables standardised data integration and sharing across disparate systems. Its capabilities were first proved with the successful implementation in 2018 of the Facilities Management Project Phambili to introduce a new facilities management information system.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During 2018, both the SUNFin and SUNStudent projects followed an extensive tender process which resulted in the appointment of two Rectorate approved vendors to replace the in-house existing systems. During the tender process stakeholders from across the University were involved in setting specifications and evaluating capabilities of various products, before the final choices were recommended. The new software solutions will provide modern up-to-date functions that were not possible with the older systems. The implementation projects will be reinforced by a comprehensive change management program, for which supplementary services have been procured.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">New governance and project management structures have been set up for each system to oversee the implementation and integration of the software. Mr Manie Lombard (Chief Director: Finance) is chair of the new SUNFin Steering Committee, whereas Dr Ronel Retief (Registrar) chairs the new Steering Committee for SUNStudent. Further communication regarding these new structures will be distributed shortly. The expectation is that a feasible go-live date is 2021, taking into account the normal student and financial lifecycle activities and the availability of SU personnel. This process will include consultation sessions, regular communication and training of stakeholders across the University environment. In the long term the SU community can look forward to improved services with modern interfaces.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Any general enquiries regarding the Systems Renewal Project may be directed to the Office of the Senior Director: Division for Information Governance. Please contact Ms Tarien Jacobs (X3967) in this regard or send an email to <a href=""></a>.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Enquiries regarding the <strong>implementation phase</strong> may be directed to the two new governance and project management structures. Further contact information will follow in the next round of communication.</p><p>​ </p><p><br></p>