Background

In 2019, the University of Arizona assembled a Financials Modernization team comprised of staff from Financial Services, University Information Technology Services (UITS), and campus business units, to establish a plan for modernizing the University financial system. Later that year, the team hired Information Services Group, Inc. (ISG) an independent consultant to conduct a campus readiness assessment for the change. The Financials Modernization team developed a recommendation for a path forward including time, cost, and scope to begin the initiative. In Spring 2020, the impacts of COVID-19 hit, and the team recommended pausing the effort. By Fall 2020, the team reassembled and made the recommendation to move forward due to the imminent uncertainties with the future of the current financial system.


Why Are We Doing This?

The University of Arizona current financial system no longer meets the needs of our University. To achieve modern efficiencies in today's world of fast-moving changes, we are exploring a more robust Software as a Service (SaaS – cloud-based) financial system that will provide the University increased financial clarity, a more standardized and robust Chart of Accounts, and more modern and streamlined business processes.

This multi-phase, multi-year initiative to modernize the University financial system aligns with Pillar 5 of the University of Arizona strategic plan.

The updated system will ensure the University of Arizona culture of adaptation, exploration and data-driven decisions continue as the University grows.

System Stability

The University is concerned about the ongoing support of the system, which puts the University at risk for stability with respect to cost, maintenance, growth, and security.

Technical Challenges

The myriad of disparate and siloed systems on campus warrants the need for evaluating ways to better optimize, leverage, and integrate those systems ahead of a new financial system.


The Path Forward

The Financials Modernization team has been tasked with providing additional campus readiness to address substantial considerations and risks. The team is collaborating with campus and central units to achieve the following high-level goals for the planning phase:

  1. Document an outlined blueprint for SaaS financial system implementation, Chart of Accounts (COA) implementation, Business Process Re-engineering.
  2. Build readiness and awareness across campus. The team will take necessary steps to attain a better state of readiness.
    • Begin a quasi-marketing campaign with the University business community to build awareness, morale, and cooperation
    • Engage in a discovery process for central administration processes
    • Host multiple vendor demonstrations to create awareness of what a modern financial system can provide and inform the quasi-marketing campaign
  3. Establish pathways with Smart Design–Determine the best path forward in partnership with the Operational Efficiencies Financial Sustainability Emergency Response Taskforce (FSERT) working group for how to leverage the outcomes from Smart Design in conjunction with financials modernization, ensuring the new SaaS system will be optimally interconnected from both a technical and organizational standpoint.
  4. The Financials Modernization team will work with the Operational Efficiencies working group to determine speed of implementation.