ctcLink Project in Spotlight at State IT Meeting
The ctcLink Project's progress was showcased as a “people project” during the Washington State Technology Services Board (TSB) regular meeting on August 12, 2021. The TSB is the governing board of the state’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), which provides oversight for large IT implementation projects such as ctcLink.
After the significant issues resulted from the original ctcLink implementation approach, Christy Campbell, Chief Technology Officer - ctcLink Program, was hired in June 2017 to lead and restructure the ctcLink project. She and her team spent the first five to six months engaging personnel from throughout the colleges in collectively planning a new approach to implementing ctcLink. She led the development of the new project plan, governance model, organizational change management strategy, training plan, and budget management process, with rigorous controls related to achieving milestones. She credits the colleges for the project’s successful restart and ongoing success, saying the colleges’ partnership with SBCTC, engagement in project activities, and ownership of their local implementation was a game-changer.
Butch Leonardson, TSB member, recalled ctcLink from the days before 2017, comparing it to the current effort. “You’ve created a ‘Lazarus’ here,” Leonardson said. “You’ve snatched victory from the jaws of defeat here almost.”
Jan Yoshiwara, SBCTC Executive Director, said she takes her role as ctcLink executive sponsor very seriously. “We made a decision as a college system to implement PeopleSoft, with all 34 colleges and SBCTC using the same system,” she said. “This means more standardized business processes and data definitions across the colleges.”
Paul Giebel, Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Moran Technology Consulting (the external quality assurance body assigned to oversee ctcLink), emphasized that ctcLink is a business transformation project. He said, originally, most people viewed ctcLink as an IT system replacement project rather than a business transformation project. “Those are two very different things,” he said. “A key to getting the project back on track was Dr. Luke Robins, Peninsula College president and then-chair of the WACTC Technology Committee, who helped the presidents understand this is a business transformation project and we need to work collectively and put together common processes.”
Grant Rodeheaver, SBCTC Deputy Executive Director, CIO/IT Division, agreed, saying “one of the big efforts was the agreement between the 34 colleges to focus on and streamline core business processes.”
Four Years of Progress
As any ctcLink college can confirm, the process of implementing and deploying ctcLink is not easy; requiring countless hours of effort, reorganizing entire teams, and learning a new way of conducting business.
Currently, the project is tracking per schedule and under budget. Implementation of key replacement solutions are almost complete. Christy Campbell shared, “As we look at where we are now since the restart, we’ve been able to upgrade the system, deploy half the colleges (as well as the SBCTC agency) with the remaining colleges in the implementation phase of the project.”
“It takes great leadership and it’s obvious that is in place.” ~ Bill Kehoe, TSB Board Chair and State CIO
You will find all the meeting materials, including a meeting recording, at the Virtual TSB Portfolio/Policy Subcommittee Meeting page.
Current Project Status
- The last two deployment groups (17 colleges) are on track to implement ctcLink during the 2021-2022 academic year.
- College staff are actively engaged and on-schedule with project activities, but it’s no easy task. Even under ideal circumstances, projects like ctcLink are extremely difficult to implement successfully. The colleges have gone above and beyond to stay-the-course even through the unprecedented times of 2020 and beyond.
- Deployment Group 5 (DG5) colleges are engaged in User Acceptance Testing and the corresponding Key Concepts End-User Training, which is designed to help testers navigate the testing process and activities. College communications staff are engaged in go-live communications planning and project managers will soon begin the go-live readiness assessment process. DG5 will go live in three groups - 11, Oct. 25 and Nov. 8, 2021.
- Deployment Group 6 (DG6) colleges—among many other activities—are focused on their third cycle of data conversion (from Legacy to ctcLink) and subsequent validation of the data after it was converted to the ctcLink/PeopleSoft environment. DG6 will go-live in three groups of colleges each – Feb. 28, April 25 and May 9, 2022.
- ctcLink Project OCM developed a 90-Day Post Go-Live Planning Guide to further assist DG5 and DG6 colleges with the transition to ctcLink.
“This project is such a wonderful case study. We are actively using the ctcLink project as one for other state projects to look at. It’s a marvelous case study for any project in the State, but especially for some of the significant efforts currently underway across the state.” ~ Sue Langen, OCIO Deputy Director for Strategy & Management