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As Final Deployments Prepare for Go-Live, ctcLink Support Evolves to Serve Colleges

February 15, 2022 by ctcLink Communications

The ctcLink Project is nearing the finish line!

The ctcLink Steering Committee meets today to consider and approve Deployment Group 6-A (LWTech, Renton, Shoreline) readiness for go-live on Feb. 28, 2022. The next group (DG6-B) is scheduled to go live April 25 (Clover Park, Columbia Basin, Walla Walla), followed by the last group (DG6-C) on May 9 (Bates, South Puget Sound, Yakima Valley). 

Once all DG6 colleges are on ctcLink, that will mark the end of the “Project” phase, as all 34 of Washington state’s community and technical colleges and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) agency will be fully implemented (live) on ctcLink PeopleSoft.

Remember! Go-Live Weekends = No ctcLink for Users

Every time a new group of colleges goes through its Go-Live Weekend, ctcLink is unavailable for all users from DG2, DG3, DG4 and DG5 colleges. This means, among other things, students will not be able to access ctcLink functions such as class search, enrollment, transcripts, etc.

The ctcLink Support team has provided detailed instructions to each college’s ctcLink Primary Point of Contact about special steps colleges need to take. Your campus communities should be notified of which services will be unavailable during these six upcoming outage windows.

See dates below and mark your calendars.

ctcLink Project Winding Down; ctcLink Support Scaling Up

The ctcLink Support organization — whose primary role is to support, stabilize and work toward optimizing the ctcLink system — has been scaling up as the ctcLink Project — whose primary role is to partner with colleges to implement the software — begins its final phase activities while looking toward winding down.

After the DG6-C go-live and related activities in May, the ctcLink Project team will begin wrapping up its work with final reports to the Washington state Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), thus concluding the implementation phase of ctcLink.

When all colleges are on ctcLink, the ctcLink Support organization of the SBCTC Information Technology Division will comprise 92 staff. This level of support is comparable to the Legacy system support levels of 2008, but somewhat less than the earliest days of Legacy support when staffing levels hovered around 120.

Fortunately, SBCTC has been able to retain the expertise of many HP Legacy employees and ctcLink Project team members in support team roles. In addition, the agency plans to continue evaluating staffing levels and structure after it has been in place one full year.

As each group of deployed colleges goes live in ctcLink, they no longer rely on the temporary Project team that helped them reach go-live and will transition to rely on the ctcLink Support organization which includes:

  • ctcLink Customer Support
    • ctcLink functional support for the Finance (FIN), Human Capital Management (HCM), Campus Solutions (CS) Core, and CS Student Financial/Financial Aid pillars
  • ctcLink Training
  • Application Services
    • Technical/operational support, development, integrations, system upgrades, environment/hardware support and ctcLink accessibility
    • Quality assurance/testing
    • ctcLink application security
    • Third-party application support such as HighPoint HCX, Online Admissions Application Portal (OAAP) and CampusCE. Oracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud Services (PBCS) will transition to the support organization after all colleges are live in ctcLink.
  • Data Services
    • Data Integration & dataLink, Data Warehouse, ctcLink PeopleSoft Reporting, Query training
    • Coding, finding reporting errors (QARS), and preparing to release your quarterly data – Access Request, QRG and QARS Report Guide available under ctcLink PeopleSoft Reporting Tools

An Evolving Support Organization

In addition to a new structure and added capacity, the SBCTC ctcLink Support organization continuously adjusts based on “lessons learned” to serve the colleges more effectively. Below are just a few examples of training, resources, and collaborations available to colleges live on ctcLink.

Two Weeks Post Go-Live Intensive Sessions

College teams spend their first two weeks post go-live with the ctcLink functional and technical support teams walking them through how to do their work in ctcLink with hands-on guidance in critical activities. These include running their first payroll, ensuring enrollments are showing up as expected, tuition and waivers are calculating correctly, purchasing is up and running, and more.

Post Go-Live In-Depth Special Topics

Some colleges have shared that only after go-live did they fully realize the extent of change required in their local business processes, as well as the degree of organizational transformation overall.

ctcLink Customer Support has found that providing in-depth training for colleges after they have been live for a while has made a difference in the more complex activities. They provided instructor-Led Training (ILT) for DG5 college PMs and lead subject matter experts (SMEs), as well as a series of additional in-depth sessions. This was well-received and similar sessions are planned for DG6.

ctcLink Support Meet & Greets

Before each go-live (since DG4) ctcLink Customer Support holds a Meet & Greet session for college teams to get to know the support team, explore resources available for live colleges, and preview key activities for the two-week post go-live period. College PMs, functional/business analysts, super SMES, as well as college leads for security, training, testing, and reporting/query development should attend.

The DG6-A Meet & Greet was held on Feb. 9, 2022. A separate session will be set for groups DG6-B and DG6-C, with date to be announced. Given the high rate of staff turnover at colleges since DG2 go-live, ctcLink Customer Support is also planning a future Meet & Greet for all live colleges.

Connect with your ctcLink peers and colleagues

College subject matter experts (SMEs), PeopleSoft users/stakeholders can use the ctcLink Support eLists to ask college peers questions about how they do things in ctcLink, best practices, local training plans, and more. 

ctcLink Customer Support uses the lists to send updates, outage notices, changes to configuration, training and workshop opportunities, global and cross-pillar communications to colleges already live on ctcLink.

Pillar Work Sessions

ctcLink Customer Support holds weekly Pillar Work Sessions, featuring ctcLink PeopleSoft module- or pillar-specific work sessions for all colleges live on ctcLink to share best practices.

These sessions —  for example, “May the (WORK)Force be with You! Coding Worker Retraining, Apprenticeship and WorkFirst Students,” “Secure in Security,” and “Item Types Roundtable and Waivers Update” — are not trainings; but rather, are intended to build community, share information and approaches (local business practices and unique college policies) for working in ctcLink, and develop collective knowledge based on the experience of those sharing their expertise.

Pre-scheduled throughout the month, the sessions offer topic-specific updates and content. This is also a forum for ctcLink users to share discoveries, issues, quirks, best practices, questions, business process options and whatever else might come up.

Reporting & Query Development Training

As the colleges leave behind Data Express, the Data Services team steps in to provide training in PeopleSoft Query development, Enrollment Reporting, PeopleSoft Query, Fundamentals, and more.

Accessibility & ctcLink Open Forums

SBCTC hosts monthly Accessibility & ctcLink Open Forums to engage Washington's community and technical college system in discussions around ctcLink accessibility and technology. Meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month, 11 a.m. to noon.

ctcLink Service Level Agreement and Standard Operating Procedures

The ctcLink Service Level Agreement (SLA) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) were recently updated to reflect the centralized support organizational model. The SLA Dashboards provide information on service ticket and response/resolution time metrics.

Transparency in Ticketing & Security Partnerships

Customer Support approved the Information Technology Commission’s recent request for cross-college service ticket views to see if similar issues are out there before submitting a new one.  College PMs will provide names and emails of who to add to the Solar Winds ticket system approved viewing list.

They will also expand viewing rights to the SMEs and Local Security Administrator (LSAs) rosters so college LSAs can identify and connect with their counterparts. The LSAs are teaming up to develop a consistent employee onboarding and offboarding business process.

ctcLink Offline During DG6 Conversion Activities

This notice is for all users of ctcLink, DG2 to DG6. Remember, you can always check for upcoming maintenance and downtime dates of Planned Service Outages at the ctcLink Support page.

Bio-Demo Conversions

  • DG6-A: Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, 9 p.m. – Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, 4 a.m.
  • DG6-B: Thursday, April 21, 2022, 9 p.m. – Friday, April 22, 2022, 4 a.m.
  • DG6-C: Thursday, May 5, 2022, 9 p.m. – Friday, May 6, 2022, 4 a.m.

While SBCTC performs Bio-Demo Conversion activities in support of DG6:

  • The Campus Solutions and Human Capital Management pillars will be unavailable.
  • Admissions (OAAP) and HighPoint Mobile HCX pages will be unavailable.
  • Integration between CampusCE and ctcLink will be unavailable.
  • The Portal and Finance pillars will not be impacted.
  • Canvas will not be impacted.

Weekend DG6 Conversions

  • DG6-A: Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, 3 p.m. – Monday, Feb, 28, 2022, 7 a.m.
  • DG6-B: Friday, April 22, 2022, 3 p.m. – Monday, April 25, 2022, 7 a.m.
  • DG6-C: Friday, May 6, 2022, 3 p.m. – Monday, May 9, 2022, 7 a.m.

While SBCTC performs Weekend Conversion activities in support of DG6:

  • The entire ctcLink environment will remain offline during the Weekend Conversion dates.
  • A Portal message will be added the week of the maintenance period.
  • Users who attempt to log in will be redirected to an outage notification page.
  • Admissions (OAAP) and HighPoint Mobile HCX pages will be unavailable.
  • Integration between CampusCE and ctcLink will be unavailable.
  • Canvas will not be impacted.
Last Modified: 5/9/22, 2:26 PM
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