Deployment Group 2 Upgrade Go-Live a Success; Accessibility Testing in Progress
First Link Colleges Upgrade
While Deployment Group 2 (DG2) is a small cohort, it is complex and comprised of two parts:
- PeopleSoft Upgrade for “First Link” Colleges – Community Colleges of Spokane Community College and Tacoma Community College
- PeopleSoft Conversion for Clark College, Vancouver, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) agency, Olympia
DG2 Part 1: The Upgrade, Oct. 14
Beginning Friday night, Oct. 11, through Sunday, Oct. 13, the ctcLink Project team and members of SBCTC application services worked round-the-clock shifts to upgrade Community Colleges of Spokane and Tacoma Community College to PeopleSoft 9.2.
On Sunday afternoon, college, SBCTC agency and ctcLink project team members met to decide on a “Go” or “No-Go” decision for Monday, Oct. 14.
It was a “Go.”
The system came back up late Sunday, Oct. 13, and beginning 7:30 a.m. Monday, Oct. 14, Tacoma and Spokane staff were logging support tickets and taking advantage of an open WebEx service line available for immediate support needs and troubleshooting.
Clay Krauss, Tacoma Community College Director of Information Technology and ctcLink project manager, said the upgrade weekend and post-go-live went very well, but was not without hiccups (or hiccoughs).
“Our local college support and the SBCTC teams have been quick to respond to any issues, and we continue to monitor the system as things progress,” Clay said. “We are very excited to see this project move forward and other schools join the ctcLink family.”
Matt Connelly, Community Colleges of Spokane project manager, reported that most issues were quieting down by Wednesday. Monday started out with many unable to log into Finance and HCM, but SBCTC unlocked those accounts.
Managers were blocked from approving timesheets, absence leave, and purchase requisitions early on Monday and Tuesday due to an issue with Absence Request approvals or tile functionality. By late Tuesday afternoon, everyone seemed good.
“The SBCTC ctcLink support WebEx has been extremely helpful and they are addressing issues or identifying problems very quickly,” Matt said. “Thanks to them all!”
The most common calls to the support line included:
- Access and permission level log-in issues
- Preference settings (“favorites”) disappeared, so users need to update with new links
- Oracle bugs with certain tiles. Some functions were missing in tiles, but were in the NavBar, meaning Travel Authorizations, for example, had to be done via NavBar only.
- Browser issues: Chrome seems to work better than Internet Explorer for many users
During the weekend implementation, we saw great collaboration between the ctcLink Project technical/functional teams; SBCTC Application, Data and Infrastructure services, the ctcLink Support organization, and Burgundy (our Amazon Web Services service provider).
Thank you to project managers, Clay Krauss, Tacoma Community College, and Matt Connelly, Community Colleges of Spokane, and the many subject matter experts (SMEs) at Tacoma, Spokane and Spokane Falls community colleges for spending a few hours of their Sunday to validate the upgrade and walk through the system to check for issues.
Weren’t they already in ctcLink?
Yes. Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College and Tacoma Community College were part of the first ctcLink implementation group (“First Link”) in 2015, which was, to say the very least, a challenging implementation and eventually required the entire project to be rethought and reorganized, with new leadership and governance, as well as a new methodology/implementation process, budget and timeline.
Spokane and Tacoma focused on the adoption of PeopleSoft Fluid (a responsive interface for better user navigation), Human Capital Management 9.2, Finance 9.2 and Campus Solutions 9.2, as well as implementing the new chart of accounts, remediation fixes, several accessibility fixes and security redesign, all followed by a lot of testing and training and required a substantial effort for SMEs at Spokane, Tacoma and project resources over the last 18 months.
DG2 Part 2: The Conversion, Oct. 28
Beginning Friday evening, Oct. 25, and running through Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27, Clark College and the SBCTC agency will undergo ctcLink PeopleSoft implementation, which requires converting existing data from the HP Legacy system to the new software.
ctcLink will be offline for Community Colleges of Spokane and Tacoma Community College from 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25, until 8 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 28.
Technical teams will work around-the-clock on multiple layers of conversion to bring them online for business by Monday morning, Oct. 28, 2019.
On Sunday, Oct. 27, Clark College and SBCTC subject matter experts will walk through the system to check for issues to guide the recommendation for a “Go” or “No-Go” decision that afternoon.
There will be a dedicated open WebEx service line available for immediate support needs and reporting issues for two weeks following. Clark College and SBCTC will also learn how and when to log support tickets and when to work with their own help desk.
Each time a new deployment group has its own “ctcLink Go-Live Weekend,” ALL of the ctcLink colleges will be offline, because ctcLink is a single systemwide PeopleSoft implementation.
ctcLink Accessibility Testing
Oracle is committed to creating accessible technologies, but there have been concerns about gaps in the product’s features. For background, see ctcLink Accessibility Update.
Based on input from the ctcLink Project Steering Committee, it was determined a third-party accessibility testing vendor was needed to test ctcLink to better understand the ctcLink/PeopleSoft accessibility challenges.
SBCTC and the ctcLink Project team contracted with Level Access, an independent accessibility vendor, to test the ctcLink/PeopleSoft implementation in two phases. Phase 1 is nearly complete, except for HighPoint Mobile & Message Center. Phase 2 includes Online Admissions Application, OSECE and CampusCE.
What’s being tested?
Phase 1 (as of Sept. 27, 2019)
- Student self-service (PeopleSoft Campus Solutions)
- Employee self-service (PeopleSoft Human Capital Management and Finance)
- HighPoint Mobile & Message Center
- Online Admissions Application (OAA), a PeopleSoft Campus Solutions bolt-on product
- Continuing Education online registration tool (OSECE)
Accessibility testing findings and next steps
As tests are run and SBCTC receives status reports, the in-house ctcLink Project technical team has begun to assess, prioritize and fix issues in parallel with continued testing.
The ctcLink team will first refer to Oracle’s “roadmap” for accessibility fixes to determine if and how soon a proposed fix is on an upcoming PeopleSoft release list. If the ctcLink Project technical team can fix a given issue more quickly than Oracle’s next release, it will do so.
Clark College is helping ctcLink to prioritize findings and has hired someone to create documentation for how to navigate PeopleSoft with assistive technology and create specific aids for student center and employee timesheet. They’ve asked their vendor to point out what is the most important.
The first focus will be on the highest ranked priority items (which cause the most problems for the most users). The Project Team has logged three Severity Level 2 Service Requests with Oracle.
- Number of issues ranked "critical" in each area tested to date:
- 39 (of 192 total) in Student Self-Service (Campus Solutions CS)
- 37 (of 182 total) in Employee Self Service (Human Capital Management HCM)
- 13 (of 35 total) in Employee Self-Service (Finance FIN)
ctcLink Project and Support have begun working on the PeopleSoft log-in and Self-Service priority fixes. Many of the findings were related to color, contrast and labels (whether forms, graphics and other objects had tags and labels to be read by a screen-reader).
We are working with an Oracle representative to set up discussions with Oracle pillar product (CS, HCM, FIN) leads to walk through the findings to determine when on their product road map Oracle plans to resolve the findings. If it’s not scheduled to be fixed in Oracle’s upcoming releases, this means we will have to fix it ourselves. However, if the fix is coming soon (within the next week, month or quarter), we would adopt the new functionality in the future PeopleSoft image updates.
The PeopleSoft-delivered screen-reader mode option has been enabled so users can self-select the screen-reader option without going through HR or disability services office. The Los Angeles community college system was recently involved in an accessibility lawsuit, part of which involved the PeopleSoft screen-reader mode. The LA system had not enabled the PeopleSoft-delivered screen-reader mode for logging in, so those using assistive technology had no way to enable them nor did they have a workaround process.