HRIS v20 news and updates

Each month we provide an update on the progress of the project to all users via the HRIS Bulletin. Copies of these Bulletin items are collated below.

February 2016 - v20 project survey feedback

In December’s Bulletin we invited you to complete a short survey to give your feedback on how the v20 Project was managed. 14 people (approximately 3% of our users) responded. Feedback was broadly very positive; a summary relating to each topic is provided below:

  • Communication: all respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the communication throughout the project met their requirements.
  • User group involvement: there was a mixed response to the question on the effectiveness of involving the user group representatives in communicating with and representing users. 31% agreed that it was an effective approach, 31% neither agreed or disagreed, and the remaining respondents were spread across the other categories, with one respondent stating that their representative did not communicate with their department.
  • Training: 77% of respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the training they received prepared them for using v20. One respondent commented that the training provided didn’t cover all areas, another commented that it was excessive and indicated that they would have preferred online training.
  • QRGs: 86% of respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the updated documentation (QRGs) met their needs.  One person “disagreed” and another “neither agreed or disagreed”.  
  • Support: 92% of respondents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that the support they have received since go-live has been effective and timely. One person “neither agreed or disagreed”.

A more detailed summary of the survey results is available on the right hand side of this page.

December 2015 - HRIS v20 Project: your feedback please

HRIS v20 Project: your feedback please

Now that we are live with v20, the HR Systems Steering Committee is seeking feedback on the upgrade project. The approach to maintaining and updating the CoreHR software is changing and we expect to run upgrade projects more frequently in future, albeit smaller in scale than on this occasion. A range of interested parties including IT Services, the project team, the HRIS User Group, the supplier and CoreHR users are being asked about their experience of the v20 project and the final switchover. 

The HRIS v20 Project went live on time, within budget and was delivered to scope. We want to know however, from a user perspective, what would improve the upgrade process further. To this end, we are inviting you to complete a short survey.  The results will be compiled into an anonymised report for the HR Systems Steering Committee and will inform the approach to future projects. We will also provide a summary of the findings in a future edition of the HRIS Bulletin.

Please note that the focus of this survey is the user experience of the v20 Project in terms of communication, training and implementation, not the system functionality delivered by the upgrade.

The survey will be open until Friday 12 January. Please follow this link to take part: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/HRISv20

Thank you for your assistance.

November 2015 - v20 is now live!

Following a well-planned and smoothly executed switchover weekend, HRIS v20 went live on Tuesday 28 October, marking the culmination of 18 months' work since the early planning of the project commenced.

The project was successful in going live on time and to plan with minimal disruption to users.  Reaching this point has involved a great deal of work from people in IT Services, Personnel Services, Finance, CoreHR and the wider HRIS user and IT support community. We would particularly like to thank those users who took part in UAT, and the User Group representatives who undertook a valuable role as a sounding board and communication channel between the v20 Project team and the wider user community throughout the life of the project.

There is further work to be done in resolving minor issues and taking forward some of the new functionality. Details are provided below.

If you have any additional comments or feedback on v20, please contact your user group representative. The group will continue to meet monthly to review feedback and progress project matters until January, at which point they will review their quarterly meetings.

A report on the HRIS v20 Project, including a summary of what has been delivered vs scope, will be provided to the HRSSC for consideration at their meeting in December. We will publish a copy of this on our website.

Update on current v20 issues

a)      Ending cost allocations

We are still investigating the problem with ending some cost allocations. If you experience this issue, please contact the HRIS Support Centre who will provide a workaround.

b)      Cost codes feed from Oracle

The issue with the overnight feed that updates GL and Project codes from Oracle Financials to CoreHR was fixed on 9 November. If you inadvertently selected an ended code you will have been contacted by the HRIS Data Services team and requested to update this information. If you were unable to find a new cost centre or project code you should now be able to return to the record and select this information.

Please ensure that any changes to cost allocations are made by the supplementary payroll deadline on 20 November.

c)      Copy staff request – do not use

We are still experiencing an issue in the post and appointment creation process (undertaken by the Reward Team) which is being caused by departments using the Copy Staff Request function.  Until we confirm that this is fixed, please do not use this functionality.

d)      Read-only menu availability

An issue with the configuration of options for the Enquiry menu resulted in some read-only users noticing that they could not access the new “Appointment Details” option and associated “Selection” menu. This has now been corrected.

e)      Letters

  • A correction has been made to the list of enclosures on three of the contract templates.
  • We are currently testing a fix to the shortlisting grid to address the order in which names are merging into the grid.

 f)      Other known issues

Details of other issues are available on our Known Issues webpage, which we update regularly.

Questions from v20 training

A number of questions were raised at the v20 training demonstrations. These have been published, along with our answers, on the v20 training webpage.

Remaining work

We are currently testing minor releases required to address issues regarding continuous service functionality, HESA and various other minor issues. We will advise users of the date of the downtime required to implement these releases (expected to be half a day) as soon as possible.

We are also planning the work to do after this. This includes service continuity, further work on continuous service data, possible additional references templates, and a pilot of online interview booking. We are liaising with the user group over aspects of the work that impact departments and will provide further details and timescales in the Bulletin over the next couple of months.

October 2015 - Are you ready for the v20 upgrade?

Switchover - system availability

As a reminder, CoreHR will be unavailable from 5pm on 22 October until the morning of Tuesday 27 October. We will remind all users about the downtime by e-mail and will alert you when v20 is available on 27th October (expected to be by lunchtime at the latest). A notice has been placed on the jobs and vacancies webpage and our system availability page will be updated. A summary of the system availability during the switchover period can be found on our HRIS v20 Switchover Plan.

Thursday 22 October - strictly no user input

The switchover period begins at 5.00pm on Thursday 22 October. This day is a standard ‘no input’ day for Personnel users. This month it is more important than ever that users abide by this rule. Any changes made within the Personnel module could disrupt the payroll preparation and payrun process. Disruption of this kind will prevent the project team from meeting their timescales which in turn could delay the return of the system. Please ensure that you do not make any changes in the Personnel module on 22 October unless you are specifically requested to by a member of the Payroll team. Only recruitment, absence and training administration may be undertaken on 22 October.

v20 Training demonstrations

 We have run 7 training demonstrations for users in preparation for go-live. These sessions have been well attended but there are a small number of users who have not yet confirmed their booking. It has been made clear from the earliest stages that training is mandatory for users with update access (personnel administrators, recruitment administrators and HRIS Data Services users) and that failure to attend will mean that access to v20 will not be provided. We are currently making contact with those users who have not yet made arrangements for training. If this applies to you, please ensure you e-mail hris@training.ox.ac.uk as soon as possible to make the necessary provision to allow you to obtain access to v20.

JRE update

All IT Officers have been advised of the requirement to update the PCs of users of CoreHR during the switchover period to an updated version of JRE (Java Runtime Environment). This work is necessary to ensure that all users can login to and work with all aspects of v20. Depending on whether you also access Oracle Financials and/or OSS, your desktop will need to be updated with either the JRE 1.8 or the JRE 1.6 & 1.8 combined package. Your IT Officer will have all the information. HRIS Guardians (in departments outside of UAS where the update will be deployed centrally) have been asked to confirm to the v20 Project team via HRIS@admin.ox.ac.uk that arrangements are in place to upgrade all CoreHR users’ desktops with the new JRE package over the switchover weekend.

Desktop changes

The IT Officers webpage on our site has been updated. The page provides details of the certification matrix and desktop requirements for letter generation in v20. Information has been sent to all local IT officers.

Communication plan - HRIS users/departments

In addition to the e-mails detailed below, updates will be provided on the Systems Status webpage used by many local IT officers.

Channel Date Message Audience
E-mail Thursday 15 October Request to check/supply latest department letterhead. HRIS Guardians
E-mail Monday 19 October Request for support to ensure no user updates in Personnel on 22 October and confirmation that JRE upgrade arrangements are in place. Departmental Administrators and HRIS Guardians
HRIS Bulletin Tuesday 20 October Overview of plans and action required in preparation for go-live. All HRIS users, Guardians and Departmental Administrators
E-mail via ITSS Announce Tuesday 20 October Information about the new local IT requirements (e.g. JRE, desktop arrangements for letter generation). IT Support Officers
E-mail Wednesday 21 October Reminder of no user input on 22 October. All HRIS users
E-mail Wednesday 21 October Overview of when Data Services’ users can generate contracts and correspondence from the Personnel module. Data Services’ users
E-mail Wednesday 22 October Reminder that system access will be withdrawn at 5pm and provision of a “go-live guidance document” summarising the main changes that users need to be aware of. All HRIS users
E-mail Monday 26 October An update on how the switchover activity is progressing, expected timescales for the system being restored on 27th and a reminder to read your go-live guidance. All HRIS users
E-mail Tuesday 27 October Confirmation that the system is now available for use. All HRIS users

 

September 2015 - v20 go-live briefings and training

As previously communicated to all users by e-mail, we are running two different sessions relating to the v20 upgrade, as follows:

1. Training demonstrations:

  • Demonstration of the new/changed functionality in v20
  • Mandatory for personnel and recruitment update users and Data Services users, recommended for read-only users.
  • Scheduled between 22 September and 16 October

2. “Go-live” briefings:

  • Presentation covering the plan for the switchover to v20, the implications for users and the preparation required from departments
  • Essential that at least one individual attends from each department
  • One session remaining – Monday 21 September
  • Slides will be available on the v20 webpages from 21 September

It is essential that all users who fall into the “mandatory” category are booked onto one of the training sessions. If you have not already done so, please e-mail hris.training@admin.ox.ac.uk to secure your place. Details are available on our v20 webpages.

September 2015 - The "Switchover"

Those of you who have already attended the go-live briefings will be aware of the activity planned for the “switchover” period and the implications for processing, in particular recruitment activity.

However, some of you who have not yet attended may be starting to plan more lengthy recruitment processes that could be impacted by the switchover period. Therefore, please note the following key points that we have been communicating at the go-live briefings:

General

  • Thursday 22 October at 5pm - access to the current system (v16) withdrawn (all modules and includes applicants)
  • Fri 23 October - Monday 26 October - no access to the system for any users
  • Tuesday 27 – go-live with v20

The October payroll cycle diagram [link] reflects these dates. Please note that there will be no change to the pay dates.

Recruitment

  • No vacancies to close between 22 and 28 October inclusive
  • Where possible, avoid having vacancies open during the switchover period
  • Vacancy closing dates to include an additional week to allow for the four days of system downtime
  • Last closing date in v16 = 21 October
  • First closing date in v20 = 29 October
  • Applicants will be advised via the website and applicant portal

After the final “go-live” briefing on 21 September we will upload the briefing slides to our website and e-mail a summary document covering the key switchover dates to all users. In the meantime please link to our HRIS v20 Project webpage to access a summary plan of the switchover period and implications for departments.

If you have any questions regarding these plans, please e-mail hris@admin.ox.ac.uk

August 2015 - September briefing sessions

As detailed in our e-mail to all users on 11 August 2015, we will be running a series of briefing sessions in September to provide details of the plans for the switchover to v20 and the implications for users.

The sessions are aimed at users of CoreHR but will also be of interest to departmental and divisional administrators responsible or involved in managing personnel administration, whether or not they are users of the system themselves. Local IT staff will be briefed via separate channels.

Content of the briefing sessions:

  • Timescales for go-live and expected impact on system availability
  • Implications for payroll deadlines and recruitment closing dates
  • Single sign on and local IT considerations
  • Implications for letter generation
  • Training requirements (new and existing users)
  • Support arrangements for go-live

Ideally as many people will attend as possible but each department should ensure that at least one representative attends a session. The content of the sessions will be made available on our website after the events and all information will be reiterated in the Bulletin and via e-mail where necessary. Members of the HRIS User Group will also be fully briefed on the plans so will be able to advise locally if required.

Dates of the session are available on our website. To book a place, please e-mail HRIS@admin.ox.ac.uk, by 4 September, stating the date of the briefing you wish to attend, your name, job title and department.

Training demonstrations will be held through late September and October. We expect that these sessions, which will be mandatory for most users, will take about two hours of your time. We will e-mail all users with further information in the next couple of weeks.

Details of the briefings are available on the HRIS v20 Project webpage, information relating to who needs to attend the training and the dates will be published shortly.

August 2015 - Training arrangements in October 2015

New format and structure of training

Following a training needs analysis with experienced CoreHR users, an assessment of the new functionality in v20, and a review of systems access roles, we are updating the content and structure of the Personnel and e-Recruitment training. We are also creating a new access role, staff request creator, for new users. Further details will be provided on our training pages ahead of the October training.

Existing users of v16

Existing users of v16 will be invited to attend a training demonstration during late September and October covering the changes to functionality in v20. This session, which will be mandatory for most users, is expected to last for about two hours. We will e-mail all users with further information and dates in the next couple of weeks.

New starters – training in October

New users attending our Personnel and e-Recruitment training in October, will be the first to benefit from the new format courses developed for HRIS v20. September will be the last month in which we will deliver training for use of v16. Please note however, that delegates attending these courses will not be given access to v20 until the morning of go live, planned for the end of October 2015. If necessary, we can arrange for the attendees to be given read-only access to v16 in the interim. People attending the new full v20 courses in October will not be required to attend the v20 upgrade training demonstrations being provided for existing users. If you anticipate any issues with this approach, or need further clarity, please e-mail hris@admin.ox.ac.uk.

July 2015 - Project update

UAT complete – what next?

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who took part in User Acceptance Testing. During the last two weeks of June more than 50 users from across all divisions and central teams came along to our “test lab” at Dartington House and tested a wide range of business processes, covering the system functionality currently in use across the Recruitment, Personnel, Absence, Training and Payroll modules.

A few issues were raised ranging from minor configuration changes such as incorrectly labelled fields, through to “wish list” or “enhancement” items and process queries. The project team, with assistance from CoreHR and the HRIS Support Centre, are working to identify appropriate solutions to these, which could be system fixes, configuration changes, training need requirements, or QRG updates.

The feedback from UAT has been very positive and the contribution made by participants was enormously valuable.

Work is now underway to scope “UAT2” – identifying and testing the new functionality that we want to introduce within the scope of the project (e.g. online references and continuous service rules). We will be involving the v20 Project Representatives in key decisions regarding this functionality, including the approach to implementation. Further information will be provided on our website next month.

Requests for enhancements

We are now maintaining two versions of CoreHR - our current live version, and the “production” environment in v20 which will become the new live system. Any configuration changes that we implement in Live will also need to be created in our v20 production system. We are now beginning to filter all change and enhancement requests and only those that are essential will be implemented prior to go-live. If you have submitted a request for a non-essential enhancement this will be re-assessed once v20 is implemented to establish whether the request is still valid in light of the new functionality.

JRE upgrade

Many business systems and websites need a piece of software called JRE installed on the PC in order to work correctly. Our current version of CoreHR works with JRE v1.6; this is an outdated version of the software and all CoreHR users will need to upgrade to JRE 1.8 in order to run CoreHR v20.

As upgrading JRE affects users of all business systems, not just CoreHR, a separate project has been established to co-ordinate the JRE 1.8 rollout. While this project will be managed outside of the v20 upgrade, the project manager will work closely with the v20 team to ensure a smooth rollout to HRIS users, as this is a critical activity for the v20 go-live. We will provide more information about this on our website and at our go-live briefings (see below).

Go-live briefings and training

We will be holding go-live briefings in the second half of September, followed by training demonstrations (approximately two hours in duration) throughout late September and October. We will e-mail all users by the beginning of August with further information about the purpose and content of these sessions, including dates and the mechanism for booking a place. Full details will also be provided on our website.

June 2015 - In the midst of UAT!

We are currently in the middle of User Acceptance Testing (UAT). 46 users from across all divisions are scheduled to take part in testing version 20 of CoreHR over the next couple of weeks. The task of timetabling and planning this level of involvement has been significant but it will be well worth the time and effort. Exposing the system to the scrutiny of regular users maximises the chance of uncovering any issues before we go live.

Thank you to all of you who have volunteered to take part in this exercise. We will provide an update on the outcomes of UAT in next month’s bulletin.

The current phase of UAT focuses on ensuring that you can continue to use the system in the way that you do now. However, v20 offers some new functionality that we hope to make use of. We are now planning the detailed analysis and testing of this functionality to determine the potential benefits and decide what we want to implement and when. Examples include online references, new service date functionality, and enhancements to the applicant experience such as the ability to sign up for job alerts by email. We will be involving the user group in our analysis and decision-making and will be seeking the views of users that we know have specific interests in some of these areas.

Visit the v20 Project pages of our website for more information about the new features and benefits of v20.

May 2015 - Can you help us test v20?

Current activity on the v20 Project is focussed on preparations for user acceptance testing (UAT) which, for users based in departments, is due to start on 16 June.  Many of you will have already been contacted by your v20 Project Representative, asking you if you would be willing to take part in UAT.  

The purpose of UAT is to identify any minor issues that may not have been picked up during earlier testing, and give end users confidence that the upgraded system is still fit for purpose. We are looking for a number of volunteers, across all divisions, to attend a short demonstration of the new features of v20 followed by a three hour testing session at some point during the latter half of June.  If you are able to take part in UAT but have not yet been contacted by your Project Representative, please feel free to contact them to express your interest and request further details.  Alternatively, you can contact the HRIS v20 Project team directly for more information.  Your involvement in testing the system at this stage of the project is vital to ensuring we deliver an upgraded system that continues to support your business processes.

April 2015 - The pace is picking up!

During the past month the project has really picked up pace and the project workstreams are now working closely together as the various activities become increasingly interdependent.

v20 “Production” environment due this month

The technical workstream is focused on the build and delivery of the various environments, the first of which is our “Production” environment which will become the new “Live”. This is due to be completed at the end of April. From this point onward any configuration changes (e.g. new fields or screens) that we implement in Live will also need to be created in our v20 Production environment (changes that you make to your data will not need to be duplicated as these will be copied over immediately prior to go-live). We are therefore, beginning our planning to minimise changes in the current system – we will provide further details next month.

Volunteers needed for testing

While the testing team are busy with regression testing, planning for user acceptance testing (UAT) has begun (see User Acceptance Testing (User Group March 15) (365kb). We need volunteers from all divisions to undertake hands-on testing of the v20 system, using realistic scenarios. Your v20 Project Representative will be contacting users in your area very shortly to request volunteers for UAT. This is an essential phase of the project to ensure that users are able to test their own scenarios and have confidence that the upgraded system is still fit for purpose. Please take the time to get involved if you can!

Separate arrangements are being made for users of the Training Administration module.

Project webpages now live

We now have a set of webpages dedicated to the v20 Project, which can be accessed via the v20 logo on the Using HRIS landing page. The pages contain details of the project representative for your area, copies of relevant presentations slides, and details of the benefits that the project will deliver. We will continue to develop these pages to include videos of key functionality changes and information about briefings and training as we get closer to go-live.

If you have any feedback on the new webpages, or any questions about the project that are not answered by the information provided, please contact us at HRIS@admin.ox.ac.uk

March 2015 - Project update

This month the project team and HRIS Support Centre has relocated to Dartington House. This offers the benefits of a dedicated room for the project team and space for the Subject Matter Experts on the project (members of the HRIS Support Centre, Payroll and other central teams) to “hot desk” alongside the project team when required.

The project team are currently working with a test version (or “environment”) of v20.  During the course of the project further environments will be built and delivered, including one specifically for training and a “production” environment which will become the new “live” environment that you will receive access to when we go live.  The IT Services team has now completed the infrastructure for the production environment and Core will be starting work on their part of this installation in late March.

Our testing team has been busy planning the approach to testing, and identifying all the processes and system steps that need to be thoroughly tested in v20 before we go live.  These will be signed off by the User Group.  We will be involving departmental and divisional users in User Acceptance Testing (UAT).  The Testing Manager for the project will be attending the next user group meeting on Monday 16 March to present the testing approach.  We will make the presentation slides available with the user group minutes and also on the project pages of our website when these are live.  Information on UAT and how you can be involved, will be provided closer to the time.

Our Project Trainer, Julie Hickman, is currently assessing the requirements for v20 training, and also updating the training we provide to new users ready for v20.  To ensure that we are offering what users want and need, we are holding a focus group this month with a small number of users to gather views and preferences.  This will inform the approach we take to user training (we expect there to be minimal mandatory training and a low time commitment for users).  We will provide an update in next month’s bulletin.

On 24 March we will be holding a briefing at the UAS Conference.  The session, entitled HRIS v20 Project: updating software and infrastructure to bring business benefits” will provide an overview of the project aims, timescales, and immediate changes for users.  The session is aimed at anyone with an interest in the project.  Places can be booked through the UAS Conference webpages.

By the time of next month’s bulletin our project webpages will be live.  We will then be able to provide you with links from the bulletin to full project updates on the website.  The website will also contain details of your HRIS v20 Project representatives (see last month’s bulletin) and the mechanisms for communicating with users in your division about the project.  We hope that the webpages will provide all the information you need about the HRIS v20 Project.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about any aspect of the project, please e-mail HRIS@admin.ox.ac.uk, or contact your user group representative.

February 2015 - the v20 Project is underway!

The HRIS v20 Project formally commenced on 3 February with a “kick-off” meeting attended by the majority of people who will be directly involved in the Project, including the chair of the HRIS User Group, Roni McGowan. The project team are all in place now and have access to a v20 test environment so they can begin to analyse the features of the new version. This is a key activity for the project and the testing team in particular.

How we will keep you informed

We want to keep you updated on the progress of the Project, without overloading you with too much detail. From this month onwards we will include a regular feature in the HRIS Bulletin and from mid-March a dedicated Project page will become available on our website, where we will begin to provide you with information such as a project timeline and a video showing some of the key features of v20. We will let you know when this webpage is live.

Your v20 Project representative

We have agreed with the members of the HRIS User Group that they will act as user representatives for the Project. Throughout the Project their remit will include specific responsibilities for two-way communication with users within their division, ensuring that you are well informed about the Project’s progress, the implications for you, and who to approach with any questions or feedback. We will provide details of the representative for your division, along with the mechanisms for contacting them, in next month’s Bulletin and on the new webpage.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about any aspect of the HRIS v20 Project, please e-mail HRIS@admin.ox.ac.uk.

December 2014 - the preparation phase

The HRIS v20 Project was approved by IT PRAG and IT Committee at meetings held during November. The aim of this project is to upgrade the underlying infrastructure for the system and the software to versions 11G and 20 respectively. This project provides some immediate benefits to users whilst also representing a ‘catch up’ to the newest version of the software and an enabler for future projects.

Immediate benefits available from this project:

  • software improvements identified by the HRIS user group - at least 12 of the highest priority items on the user enhancements list are already known to be addressed by the upgrade, including: improvements to management reporting; greater clarity for departments and payroll in the approval process for salaries and allowances; better support to the management of multiple appointments; rules-based continuous service dates; the ability to forward a url for a vacancy; manage references; removal of the issues associated with ‘foreign characters’ (diacritics) in document production; improved look and feel to the system; single sign-on will enable users to access the different areas of CoreHR via a single route and is a necessary pre-requisite to employee self-service. Further analysis during the course of the project will reveal how many more of the c.125 items on the enhancements list are resolved
  • provision of a platform for subsequent projects such as employee self-service, online academic recruitment and the expansion of the time and attendance (absence) module
  • the provision of a secure infrastructure and
  • the provision of a standard infrastructure upon which disaster recovery plans can be built.

Preparations have been underway since Easter 2014 to ensure a robust plan for the HRIS v20 Project, which benefits from lessons learned from previous projects including the HRIS Programme. The project will begin formally at the beginning of February 2015 and we expect this to complete in November. More information will be made available in the new year on the dedicated projects page of the ‘using HRIS’ website to explain the project plan, scope and impact for users.