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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 29, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 36
HopkinsOne issues being addressed

Workshops have begun,Additional assistance is in place

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The leadership of HopkinsOne has launched a series of actions to address concerns, especially over training, that faculty and staff raised in a recent large-scale survey of the software system's users.

The new moves include additional training for both end-users and support staff, the creation of new user manuals and an increase in help line staff and hours.

HopkinsOne, the largest technological business systems project in Johns Hopkins history, went live on Jan. 1. The initiative was created to replace many of the business and administrative systems of the university, Johns Hopkins Health System and Johns Hopkins Medicine. The scope of the project includes finance, human resources, payroll, purchasing, accounts payable, materials management and pre- and post-award research administration activities.

One of the main objectives of the project is to improve business functions by introducing best practices across all three entities to improve service, compliance and productivity.

Stephanie Reel, chief information officer for the university and health system and a member of HopkinsOne's executive committee, said that it became clear early on that aspects of this complex system would require significant changes in how current work is done.

"In a major and massive implementation like this, which has changed everything everywhere, there are going to be surprises and aspects of the system that do not integrate as well as you thought into business practice or the work flow," Reel said. "This is a huge implementation. In my 17 years here, I've never seen anything this immense applied so universally. In spite of it all, a lot of things are working well. We are working so hard to deal with issues as they arise."

The survey was sent to 9,800 users and was conducted from March 30 to April 15. Of the more than 2,600 employees who completed the survey, 72 percent said they were not yet satisfied with the system, 21 percent had neutral feelings, and 7 percent were satisfied. Many respondents, as requested in the survey, provided a list of recommendations for needed system and implementation changes.

Stephen Golding, executive program director of HopkinsOne and director for financial affairs at the School of Medicine, said that receiving the detailed feedback has been very constructive, and he praises the support from what have been "very engaged users."

"We really appreciate the tremendous response we received. We wanted to ensure that we had every opportunity to listen to user concerns and recommendations," Golding said. "This survey allowed users to voice their concerns and tell us how to improve the system. Basically, we wanted to listen and react, which we are doing."

Respondents commented on issues such as the inability to have "hands-on" exposure to the "real" system during training, and the need for more post-live support and follow-up training. Users also said that initial training depended too much on online courses laden with jargon.

Other significant issues expressed were that most tasks require additional time or staff to complete, and that security and work flow are inconsistent with access and approval requirements.

In response, HopkinsOne staff and university trainers have conducted more than 280 workshops, reaching more than 2,500 employees; extended help center staffing; formed user groups to provide peer help; crafted new user documentation and training aids; and are creating an online "issues" list. In addition, a completely new training strategy has been developed to extend practical, hands-on training.

Reel said that HopkinsOne staff are also working, within the boundaries of what is possible in the SAP software, to make the system more user-friendly.

In the coming months, HopkinsOne will double the number of workshops and Q&A training sessions for end-users. It also will form rapid response teams to address critical issues and provide training and troubleshooting at the department level.

Other next steps include the formation of functionally specific user groups to resolve problems and prioritize efforts, and to work with the shared services center to provide a greater level of outreach and user support.

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