A collaborative effort to perform software upgrade in-house saves UTMB $1 million
“Doing more with less” has become a commonly heard phrase, as health care organizations across the country—including UTMB—face financial challenges. Employees throughout the institution are working tirelessly to accomplish our mission more effectively and efficiently—and for a team within Information Services, the hard work is paying off.
“Our Administrative Information Systems (AIS) team came together beautifully and collaborated with other departments to help save UTMB more than a million dollars,” said Sarah Smith, associate director of Information Services.
Smith is referring to recent major upgrades to PeopleSoft—the software UTMB uses to manage the university’s student, human resources and finance systems. Instead of hiring consultants, which had been done in the past, the team relied on its unique capabilities and expertise to perform upgrades to its Human Capital Management (HCM) and Financial Management Reporting Systems (FMRS) completely in-house.
“It’s a really big project. It’s very disruptive and can be very expensive for organizations,” said Smith, who said upgrades occur about once every five years. “It’s basically like if I were to give you a new house and you had to move all your things in. We get this shell of an application and have to move all of our data and unique configurations in.”
It was a technical project involving thousands of hours of planning, communication and coordination across departments. Not only were AIS database administrators and developers involved, but end-users in Finance and Human Resources were relied upon to test the new product. Once it came time to “cut-over,” or implement the changes, the AIS team worked around the clock for days at a time.
“Our team actually spent the night in the building when we implemented the upgrades,” she said. “It’s a multiple-day process—that’s how big and resource-intensive these upgrades are and you can’t run the processes remotely. There was a lot of nervousness about doing the upgrades in-house because we had never done it before, but everyone was up to the challenge and we were really excited to be able to pull it off.”
As a result of their efforts, both HR and Finance upgrades were implemented on-time and without touching $1 million that had been budgeted for the two projects. Are they taking a break now? Not even close. The team is now setting its sights on the next big projects to be tackled—very likely in-house.
Editor’s note: This article was written prior to Sarah Smith leaving to pursue another opportunity at a different organization. We wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor and thank her for her contributions to UTMB.