Welcome to ctcLink CONNECT, the ctcLink Project blog.
After a hiatus during the project pause and restart, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) ctcLink project team is pleased to relaunch this blog to bring you news and views about the project, including implementations, enterprise resource planning (ERP) support updates, tools and resources for colleges.
Future editions will include guest articles by project staff, college leads, subject matter experts, project managers, organizational change managers and others.
Do you have a story to share in ctcLink CONNECT? Contact ctcLink Communications.
Who Deploys When?
Over the next three years, all the colleges and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges agency office in Olympia will implement in groups (formerly referred to as “waves”) ranging from six to nine colleges each.
Deployment groups were created with an eye toward balancing many factors, including, but not limited to: deployment size, college readiness, colleges’ preference, college type (technical or community college), and whether the summer quarter is the start or the end term (“header ”or “trailer”) for the college’s financial and student calendar.
The dates and groups below are best estimates of when ctcLink PeopleSoft products will go live at each college, district office and SBCTC.
Like any enterprise-wide project of this magnitude, it is subject to multiple factors, including college readiness. Colleges will be evaluated on measures of readiness before being part of any deployment group.
Deployment Group 2 (DG2) Takes the Stage
The ctcLink Project team has turned its focus to the next deployment group.
Now that they’re "on deck" and ready to begin this cycle to implement ctcLink, a series of activities are planned to both refresh the memories of existing ctcLinkers and orient new employees to the global framework.
Deployment Group 2
Late October 2019 (four colleges, one agency)
- Clark College – initial implementation
- SBCTC – initial implementation
- Spokane District – PeopleSoft upgrade
- Tacoma Community College – PeopleSoft upgrade
You might be wondering why Tacoma Community College and Community Colleges of Spokane are part of Deployment Group 2 when they already implemented PeopleSoft. Good question!
While DG2 is a small cohort, it is complex.
Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College and Tacoma Community College were in the first implementation group (“First Link” colleges).
The PeopleSoft software is now due for a major upgrade. And it’s more complicated than just downloading the latest version of your favorite browser, requiring a substantial effort for Spokane, Tacoma and project resources.
So, while Clark College and SBCTC go through their initial implementation, Spokane and Tacoma will focus on the adoption of PeopleSoft Fluid (a responsive interface for better user navigation) and Campus Solutions 9.2, as well as implementing the new chart of accounts and security redesign, all followed by a whole lot of testing and training.
Deployment Group 3
Jan/Feb 2020 (six colleges)
- Cascadia College
- Lower Columbia College
- Olympic College
- Peninsula College
- Pierce College District (2 colleges)
Deployment Group 4
October 2020 (nine colleges)
- Bellevue College
- Centralia College
- Columbia Basin College
- Edmonds Community College
- Highline College
- Seattle College District (3 colleges)
- Wenatchee Valley College
Deployment Group 5
Jan/Feb 2021 (eight colleges)
- Bellingham Technical College
- Big Bend Community College
- Everett Community College
- Grays Harbor College
- Green River College
- Shoreline Community College
- Skagit Valley College
- Whatcom Community College
Deployment Group 6
October 2021 (seven colleges)
- Bates Technical College
- Clover Park Technical College
- Lake Washington Institute of Technology
- Renton Technical College
- South Puget Sound Community College
- Walla Walla Community College
- Yakima Valley College
ctcLink Governance Restructure
In February 2017, the Washington Association for Community and Technical Colleges Technology Committee (WACTC-Tech) became the governing body for the ctcLink project and began the process of reorganizing ctcLink project governance and oversight. A new structure was implemented in late April 2018 as WACTC-Tech handed off its previous role to the ctcLink Executive Leadership Team (cELC), and members of the Steering Committee and Working Group were voted into their committee positions.
To date, each of the committees outlined below has met and is growing into its new processes and procedures.
ctcLink Governance Framework
Three ctcLink Governance Committees work together to guide and manage the ctcLink project, uphold the project's guiding principles and provide a consistent mechanism for decision-making:
- ctcLink Executive Leadership Committee (cELC)
- ctcLink Project Steering Committee
- ctcLink Working Group
The governing bodies provide project guidance and decision-making, including scope definition, review of high-impact global (system-wide) change requests, and approval of risk mitigation strategies and project decisions, which includes ctcLink Decision Requests and ctcLink Change Orders.
Learn more about the ctcLink Project Governance committee roles and responsibilities and how the groups interact with stakeholders and each other.
Global Design Review Sessions
Global Design Review (GDR) sessions were held in Olympia and Spokane, May 14 to 25, 2018. The events were well-attended, with just over 200 participants representing 28 of 30 districts, both in-person and online.
The GDR sessions were designed to help attendees understand the ctcLink global framework and how PeopleSoft has been adapted to support our unique model of multiple colleges in a single, shared instance of the product.
The 22 all-day and half-day sessions spanned all the PeopleSoft pillars, as well as hybrid cross-pillar topics:
- Campus Solutions (CS): admissions and recruitment, course scheduling, financial aid student financials, student records
- Human Capital Management (HCM): absence management, benefits, payroll, employee and manager self-service, employee recruiting, time and labor, workforce data management
- Financials Supply Chain Management (FSCM): chart of accounts, general ledger, asset management, commitment control, purchasing, accounts payable and receivable, grants and contracts, billing, treasury/cash
There were outstanding items in some areas of ctcLink that require system-wide input. The resulting recommendations have been forwarded to ctcLink governance for review and approval.
What are global configurations and frameworks?
- Configurations, centrally maintained and controlled by SBCTC, which all colleges use and may not change without governance approval.
- Configurations with a mix of locally- and centrally-controlled values for which a range of values are considered “system-wide” values. The global “system-wide” values are centrally maintained, but each college has access. Colleges have to agree to not change values within the “system-wide” range.
- Global Frameworks are business processes to which colleges must align. PeopleSoft products do not properly function if colleges diverge from the global framework usage of the system. Colleges that veer from the Global Framework will likely encounter reporting issues or problems in business processes dependent upon use of the Global Framework. SBCTC's ctcLink Production Support will only provide support when the Global Framework is adopted.
What are local configurations and frameworks?
- Local configurations are maintained and controlled by each college. Such configurations may be subject to adoption of “best practices” as outlined in the Common Process Workshop-based agreements. Colleges may change these values, if needed, without governance approval, but may encounter issues if veering from “best practice” adoption.
- Local Frameworks are business processes colleges have flexibility to adopt as their local business and policy defines. It is strongly recommended colleges align to the agreed-upon common process use of the system. The “best practice” use of the PeopleSoft product is recommended to avoid improper system function. Colleges that veer from the 'best practice' use of the system may encounter reporting or downstream business process issues. SBCTC ERP Support will provide support for local business processes, unless the college chooses to adopt a business process not aligned with the proper function of the PeopleSoft system. To receive support, colleges will be directed to re-align to the best use.
Business Process Fit/Gap Sessions (BPFG)
This summer, as part of the implementation, the DG2 cohort will participate in one of the most important phases of the deployment. The Business Process Fit/Gap sessions will help DG2 (Tacoma Community College, Community Colleges of Spokane, Clark, and SBCTC) understand local business processes and the ctcLink configurations associated with them.
The sessions will:
- Highlight differences between legacy and ctcLink
- Understand changes in ctcLink due to the PeopleSoft upgrade
- Help define the scope of User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
- Inform the upcoming data conversion activities
Sessions run from June 20 to August 29 at various locations around the state (SBCTC in Olympia, Clark College in Vancouver, Tacoma and Spokane colleges). Registration is currently underway and is being managed by DG2 project managers. To find out more and access the session list on Canvas, contact your college or SBCTC project manager.
What is Fit/Gap?
Fit/Gap is a process in which subject matter experts (SMEs) work with the project team to identify where there is either a fit or a variance (gap) between our current policies/processes and what our implementation of PeopleSoft delivers.
For our “FirstLink” colleges this means understanding the differences between their current PeopleSoft functionality and that available after the upgrade.
For our initial implementation colleges, this means understanding the differences between their legacy business processes and PeopleSoft. The goal being to address those gaps through development of Change Action Plans to guide colleges through the transition to adoption of PeopleSoft.
During the sessions, DG2 colleges and SBCTC, along with the ctcLink project team, will collaborate to identify and document fits and gaps, confirm business processes, complete necessary configurations, identify and plan for the key areas of change.
Once the Fit/Gap phase of the project is complete, gaps will be reviewed, and decisions made on how to address them.
Common Process Workshops Go Beyond the Commonplace
Over the years, our 34 colleges used the Legacy software systems to create a variety of practices and processes to take care of business, from student financial aid reports to payroll processing. Each district developed different ways to do the same thing.
Last year, WACTC-Tech sked for support of the system-wide Common Process Workshop initiative on behalf of ctcLink governance. At the time, outside experts (Moran and Gartner) agreed that developing common processes and configurations for ctcLink was critical to revitalizing the project.
Fast-forward one year, and 20 workshops were successfully completed, with another 20-plus planned beginning this summer. This is all thanks to the dedication of time and expertise from SMEs, especially the core planning team of college project managers (PMs) and the SBCTC and college staff that played a key role to plan, deliver and participate in the workshops.
The Common Process Workshops (CPW) are beneficial in facilitating discussion and agreement around common core processes; the sessions are also an opportunity to see inside the ctcLink (PeopleSoft) system to see how it works, reinforcing confidence in the ctcLink Project. SMEs gain a sense of ownership of the ctcLink product(s) they’ll be using and return to their campus as ambassadors for ctcLink/PeopleSoft and the project overall.
The core CPW planning team will release the 2018-19 Common Process Workshop schedule soon.
The presidents on the new ctcLink Executive Leadership Committee have asked their colleagues for continued support in encouraging staff to participate in the workshops.
Many college volunteers, along with the SBCTC functional teams, have been highly engaged and dedicated over the last year to make this important work happen. In particular, ctcLink executive leadership want to recognize the following for their leadership:
- Daniel Cordas, ctcLink Project Manager, Seattle Colleges
- Ligia Cicos, Project and Organizational Change Manager, Edmonds Community College
- Mary Kay Wegner, Director of Information Technology, Bellevue College
- Pat Daniels, Associate Director and DCIO, Information Technology Services, Highline College
- Rich Lunden, ctcLink Director, Olympic College
- Reuth Kim, ctcLink Project Manager for Issue and Risk Management, SBCTC
Common Process Workshops Initiative Summary, June 2018
Common Process Initiative Background
This initiative began in early 2017 to allow common end-to-end processes to drive global PeopleSoft configurations and set-up. The intent was to build on the original ctcLink project principles, including the project approach as an “educational service and business process reform project.” The project governance at the time, WACTC-Tech, approved the initiative charter, formalizing the “80% rule” for in-workshop decisions; meaning that the common process is adopted as best practice if 80% of workshop-participating colleges agree. A list of relevant “common processes” was developed by SMEs from Bellevue, Cascadia, Edmonds, Highline, Olympic, Peninsula, Seattle, SBCTC and Tacoma. Multiple three-day workshops were approved and scheduled.
Common Process Status Update
To date, 20 workshops have been completed: five Campus Solutions (plus three Financial Aid), six Finance and five Human Capital Management. Average college participation has been 22 (66%), with an average of 46 SMEs per workshop. Of the 20 common processes, eight have been tested successfully.
How Colleges Can Leverage Common Processes
Workshop preparation offers an opportunity to document current business processes, identify supplemental systems currently in use, learn process-mapping skills, and provides an introduction to PeopleSoft pillars, modules, ctcLink Reference Center materials and other benefits.
The common process workshops are just one example of organizational change management (OCM) in action.
Through common process testing, colleges can begin to build subject matter expert knowledge of PeopleSoft functionality, identify appropriate experts who can become trainers and demonstrate the future state to impacted employees to help reduce resistance to change.
Next Steps for Common Process
The common process and SBCTC teams are working together to rebuild the schedule for the remainder of workshops, taking into consideration that Deployment 2 is now underway. A few sessions are currently being planned in the July/August/September timeframe. An invitation to the Faculty Workload (FWL) Management workshop scheduled for July 17-19 has been distributed.
The group aims to ensure the right topics are covered to better support testing and training, creating agendas and methodology for some shorter workshops, and will continue to refine the common processes into Value Chains to support end-to-end testing.
Governance groups will continue to meet to review issues and consider proposals, such as recommendations from the Global Design Review sessions and Common Process Workshops. Over the coming months, the groups will refine and routinize their decision-making processes.
DG2 SMEs and the ctcLink Project team will spend the summer in Business Process Fit/Gap sessions, configuring the system and readying themselves for the upgrade/conversion cycle activities coming up soon on the project. Stay tuned for more news.