U of T’s SAP Administrative Management Systems upgrade launches November 3

Blue arrows pointing forward on highway

On November 3, 2020, U of T will launch the next phase of an upgrade to its Administrative Management Systems (AMS) – called the S/4HANA Migration. The new platform will create the foundation for improved overall system performance and future modernization of the SAP systems.

U of T’s Financial Information System will be a core part of this upgrade and will create a flexible transactional and reporting system built into one. As well, the upgrade will set the stage to improve speed and reporting for the Human Resources Information System and Research Information System in the future.

“While the transition represents minimal change to business processes, it’s a large technical upgrade for U of T,” says Praveen Narayanaswamy, solutions architect with Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI). “We’re implementing revolutionary database technology that will streamline reporting and operations and provide a foundation for future growth.”

This undertaking has required extensive planning, including code cleanup, system design and build, three rounds of testing involving more than 150 users, two full dry run cutovers, and detailed final preparation to ensure a smooth go live.

The core project team has involved over 40 people with members from Financial Advisory Services and Training (FAST), Human Resources & Equity, Procurement Services, Facilities & Services, and Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation. It has also required consultation from divisions, local IT administrators, Information Security, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions and the vendor, EPI-USE.

It’s an exciting development for staff and U of T in general.

“Moving to the S/4HANA platform will have many benefits for the end users and the University as a whole,” says Lorena Gaudio, manager of FAST. “While the initial migration to the S/4HANA platform, slated for the beginning of November 2020 will be primarily technical in nature, resulting in little to no changes in the system and business processes currently employed by the end users, there will be an immediate benefit realized due to the vast improvement in system performance.”

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.

“The S/4HANA Migration is another major milestone for the U of T Enterprise Modernization Program,” says Cathy Eberts, director of Enterprise Applications and Deputy CIO. “Last year we moved from Halogen to SAP SuccessFactors Performance and Goals. We also created a new staff Learning Management System, and in July we launched a recruitment platform to replace Taleo. Next we plan to work on Succession Planning and Employee Central, which will replace parts of the Human Resources Information System.”

The platform will have the potential to provide an improved user interface as well as enhanced analytics and better insights into reporting. The new interface will be part of the U of T’s first steps into SAP’s latest and greatest web-based user experience offering: the SAP Fiori Launchpad.

A sneak peak of the user interface will be available with a redesign of the Expense Reimbursement Direct Deposit (ERDD) on the Web application, which is expected to launch in early 2021. This application will still be available through the Employee Self-Service and Manager Self-Service portal, but its new user interface will be responsive to mobile use.

The transition to the new system will also eliminate the need for the historical “Reporting only” (RPT) instance. “The main purpose of RPT in the past was to handle big reports so it didn’t slow down the system,” says Gaudio. “After the launch, everyone can run their reports at the same time using the live AMS data.”

While RPT will not be available during scheduled AMS downtimes, EASI will be reducing these downtimes. The new 24/7 reporting solution is anticipated to be ready by the holiday shutdown period and will run a range of key reports.

The S/4HANA Migration cutover is scheduled to happen from Saturday, October 31 at 12 p.m. to Tuesday, November 3 at 7 a.m. You can see supporting documentation and upcoming information sessions for modifications to the Financial Information System.

In the future, Gaudio sees a lot of potential.

“Going forward, the introduction of the FIORI technology and future plans for the deployment and use of that technology, will play a key role in the future modernization of the ways in which the University manages the collection, storage and use of system information.”

EASI and FAST would like to thank everyone who has helped to make this project a success.