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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 11, 2006 | Vol. 36 No. 2
HopkinsOne "Go-Live' Date in Sight as End-User Testing Begins

By Jessica Valdez

Terry King clicked on the image of the Rubbermaid Spacemaker, a storage organizer for pens, pencils and the like, adding the item to her online shopping cart. It was her first time using the new SAP business suite to shop on Office Depot.

Rather than placing her order online and then re-keying the information into a Johns Hopkins accounting system, which is current practice, King placed the order and it automatically flowed from the Office Depot catalog into the new, integrated SAP business software system being developed for the Johns Hopkins institutions.

"You're getting everything done in one entry," said King, a project coordinator in Oncology Nursing at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. "This is neat."

King, under the direction of Hopkins-One's Debbie Jackson, was in the first wave of end-users getting early exposure to the new SAP system.

But King wasn't in training; she was part of a contingent of 105 enterprisewide future end-users going to HopkinsOne headquarters in Mt. Washington in August (and continuing until Oct. 27) as part of the "user acceptance testing" process. King and her colleagues are applying the SAP business suite to end-user scenarios to test the effectiveness of the system.

President William R. Brody also joined the system testing at Mt. Washington one day, chatting with the acceptance testers as they worked. During his two-hour visit on Aug. 31 to monitor the progress of Hopkins-One, Brody spent nearly an hour working through one of the SAP online courses developed by HopkinsOne training staff.

"Clearly this work is vitally important to our future, and I'm both pleased and overwhelmed by the work that's required to deliver this system," said Brody, who noted that the next four months will be very challenging to all Johns Hopkins employees facing SAP training while conducting regular duties.

"Our most valuable asset remains our talented staff, and I know this will challenge them, but I'm confident we'll be able to do this," he said.

Jayne Spence, HopkinsOne project manager for testing, said that the goal of the user acceptance testing is "to validate that the system meets Johns Hopkins business requirements." Testers like King were chosen because of their expertise in their functional areas.

The end-users, who will report to Mt. Washington one to three days per week over a two-month period, will execute prepared scripts that mimic expected SAP usage after the Jan. 1 "go-live" date. The process involves 20 scenarios that include more than 4,000 individual steps. Each end-user operates under the role that he or she has been assigned for "go-live," so the testing will provide early experience using SAP and "a leg-up on training," Spence said.

As they complete the scenarios, the testers will log in the results after completing each individual step. The goal is to know which steps pass and which fail so that any problems can be addressed before "go-live."

This end-user process is the fourth phase in integration testing, which determines how effectively the parts of the SAP business suite work together for the Johns Hopkins community. The first two phases gave HopkinsOne staff an opportunity to see the system in an integrated fashion with human resources, finance, purchasing and sponsored projects. The third phase consisted of layering security and workflow onto the system "to make sure that people only saw what they were supposed to see," Spence said.

But the user acceptance testing is the biggest step, she said. "This is what we've been working up to," she said. "This is the big show. Everything else was a dress rehearsal."

And the end-users are just as excited.

"We've been working with the Hopkins-One team," said Meghan Carter, administrator for the Krieger School's Chemistry Department, as she waited to begin online shopping using SAP, "and we're all eager to finally get our hands on the system."

Most of the training for the new SAP system will be in online, self-paced courses, and users will be able to begin some of those courses next week, when the training schedule is published on Sept. 18. E-mail notices will alert employees to the courses they need to take, and when. Formal classroom instruction for more complicated user roles begins Oct. 23.

For information about training, see the HopkinsOne Web site,


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