Starting in November 2020, U of T will launch the next phase of an upgrade to its Administrative Management Systems (AMS) – called the S/4HANA Migration Project. While changes to business processes will be minimal, the transition will create the foundation for improved overall system performance and future modernization of the SAP systems at U of T.
U of T’s Financial Information System will be a core part of this upgrade and will transition to a highly responsive system, allowing users to perform quicker queries since the new system will be a transactional and reporting system built into one. As well, the upgrade will improve speed and reporting for the Human Resources Information System and Research Information System in the future.
“The ‘S’ in S/4HANA stands for ‘simplified’ because it’s a simplified version of the product,” says Praveen Narayanaswamy, solutions architect with Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI). “The system now has a fraction of the thousands of tables it once had, which will streamline reporting and operations and provide a foundation for future growth.”
It’s an exciting development for U of T staff and the university as a whole.
“This is a whole new world from a technology standpoint,” says Sheila Brown, U of T’s chief financial officer. “The new financial system will be faster, more flexible and user-friendly. We’re one of the top universities in the world, and this technology upgrade is really setting U of T up for future success.”
The new platform represents the next phase of a five-year project, called the U of T Enterprise Modernization Program, that will upgrade U of T’s Administrative Management Systems and transform the future for more than 33,000 staff and faculty – with a revamped HR Talent Management Suite and core HR and research systems.
“We’re two years into this exciting program. We’ve already implemented a series of projects to transform our HR processes, including a new Learning Management, and Performance and Goals systems using SAP SuccessFactors,” says Cathy Eberts, Director of Enterprise Applications and Deputy CIO. “This summer we launched a new recruitment platform and in the future we’ll also be launching Succession Planning and Employee Central, which will replace components of the Human Resources Information System.”
Last year, as part of the program, U of T also moved its Administrative Management Systems from an on-premise data centre to the cloud. It’s a move that has vastly improved system performance and security.
“Before the cloud migration, our old servers offered limited capacity for intense workloads like payroll and we had to restrict access during peak times,” says Frank Boshoff, senior manager of technical solutions and architecture with EASI. “With our move to the cloud, this process has greatly improved. In the future, the new in-memory SAP database design promises blazing speed and will offer elasticity so we can expand during peak times and contract after the surge.”
The platform will have the potential to provide an improved user interface as well as enhanced analytics and better insights into reporting. A sneak peak of the user interface will be available with a redesign of the Expense Reimbursement Direct Deposit (ERDD) on the Web application, and a new Service Order application to be released as part of the current upgrade.
The S/4HANA Migration Project is progressing with quality assurance testing this summer and the new platform is scheduled to launch on November 1 this fall.
“This important upgrade will provide the foundation for the future,” says Brown. “We can expect a modern digital enterprise platform with rich user interface applications and real-time analytics, allowing staff to work smarter, faster and more strategically.”