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April 14, 2003

PeopleSoft Update

When asked why new business systems don't reach their full potential, business leaders overwhelmingly give one answer - the change was not well managed. The technology was capable, but not enough attention was paid to how users would interact with the system and how it would change the way they do their jobs. This is why UMBC has launched a Change Management process, which will work in concert with the introduction of PeopleSoft and Human Resource systems on campus. The process was launched on February 25 with a workshop attended primarily by prospective users of the systems, as well as managers and faculty.

Nearly seventy members of the campus community participated in the February 25 workshop, where they were given an introduction to PeopleSoft and an opportunity to share their thoughts about how they feel the change will affect how people do business and work together at UMBC. The session focused on the Human Resources and Finance components of the system, providing answers to four basic questions: What is it? When will it happen? What's in it for me? Who's going to help me learn and use it? Video clips of all the presentations are available online at

Presentations were followed by an interactive survey (similar to the "Ask the Audience" feature on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?"), which posed 52 questions about how UMBC has handled change in the past, how prepared people feel for the change, and how supported they feel as they take on the change.

A smaller group of about thirty "Change Partners" spent the next two days analyzing the results of the poll with the goal of identifying trends and making recommendations about how best to move forward with the implementation of PeopleSoft. The group identified several points which came across clearly:

- The systems we are currently using no longer do an effective job (90% agreed)
- PeopleSoft will greatly change the way we do business (97% agreed)
- Implementation of this change will be complex (61% agreed)
- We (UMBC) do a good job of communicating change to all levels (52% disagree)
- Change projects are on time and on budget because management closely monitors them (67% disagree)
- I support the benefit that UMBC will achieve by implementing this change even it if means I have to do things differently (100% agreed)

While summarizing the data, the group drew from personal experiences to provide context to the figures. They shared their feelings on the importance of personal contact with end-users, specific information about training timelines and formats, the importance of backup support during training, as well as understanding, appreciation and support from managers.

The sessions were pulled together by the PeopleSoft Change Management Team, responsible for thinking broadly about how such a large-scale change will affect the entire campus -- from frequent users to those who are indirectly impacted by the system. This group will continue to rely on the Change Partners to help guide the change process. Additional change events are planned in April for supervisors of PeopleSoft users, department directors and faculty researchers.

Members of the Change Management Team are: Lisa Akchin (Associate VP, Marketing and Public Relations), Linda Brown (Associate Director, MIPAR), Carlo DiClemente (Chair, Department of Psychology), Gerhard Friedrich (Executive Director, RWD), John Fritz (Director, New Media Learning and Development), Charlie Melichar (Director, News and Information), Kathy Raab (Executive Assistant, Office of the President), Jack Suess (Chief Information Officer), and Nancy Young (Director, Residential Life).

Information on the change process, including frequently asked questions, a list of "who's who," and upcoming events is now online at The site will continue to grow as questions are posed, events are scheduled and members of the community share their experiences working with the system.

If you have any questions/comments or would like to become more involved in the change process, contact Lisa Akchin at

For information on training, see a new article by John Fritz, articledirector of New Media Learning and Development.

Posted by dwinds1 at April 14, 2003 12:00 AM