ctcLink Goes Live for Bellingham Technical College, Big Bend Community College, and Whatcom Community College
The second Deployment Group 5 colleges (DG5-B) — Bellingham Technical College, Big Bend Community College and Whatcom Community College — went live on ctcLink PeopleSoft this morning, Monday, Oct. 25, 2021.
During the Sunday evening Go/No-Go briefing, Bellingham, Big Bend, Whatcom, and ctcLink Project PMs and leadership discussed the results of the afternoon validation session.
Each deployment is unique and DG5-B was remarkable in two ways: the first of Washington’s five technical colleges went live and a storm threatened Whatcom county for most of Sunday afternoon. Several team members lost power intermittently.
Despite the weather, a recurring theme heard during Sunday’s meeting was how quiet and smoothly the validation session went.
Hats off to a successful team effort!
We have reached yet another significant ctcLink milestone: We are at the two-thirds mark, with 22 colleges now on ctcLink and only 12 more to go, it is a significant milestone and we cannot say enough about Bellingham, Big Bend and Whatcom for helping us (and each other) get there.
A standing ovation is due all the college subject matter experts (SMEs) for their hard work, stress, and exhaustion leading up to this moment. We appreciate their time and expertise all along the way, and especially over the weekend, to check for issues and validate the system to ensure ctcLink is ready for you and your users.
Plotting a course in an unsettled landscape
All the DG5 deployment group colleges, SBCTC support, and ctcLink Project implementation teams were presented imposing challenges. With the unsettled landscape of the current remote and hybrid operations (including the impact to college HR SMEs to track the vaccine mandate), college and SBCTC teams met one challenging task after another these last many months, all while running a complex go-live process.
Throughout this week, college employees will log on to their new ctcLink PeopleSoft accounts for the first time, checking their data and basic settings in Human Capital Management (HCM), Finance (FIN) and Campus Solutions (CS).
Bellingham, Big Bend and Whatcom staff are taking advantage of a two-week, post go-live, dedicated support Webex available for immediate response needs, troubleshooting, and reporting issues.
After college staff have had some time to acclimate to the system and conduct any post-conversion clean-up, Bellingham, Big Bend, and Whatcom students will see their new ctcLink interface beginning Nov. 8.
Lead-Up to Go-Live
Beginning Thursday night, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Oct. 24, the Legacy team, ctcLink Project technical and functional teams — SBCTC Application Services, Data Services and Infrastructure Services, the ctcLink Support organization, and Burgundy (Amazon Web Services service provider) —all worked together around-the-clock to convert the colleges’ data from the HP Legacy system to ctcLink PeopleSoft.
Technical PMs Chandan Goel, Bhuvana Samraj,and Venkat Gangula, and their teams worked round-the-clock for four days straight (with little to no rest) leading the multiple layers of conversion and validation, partnering with Sandy Main and the SBCTC Application Services team to bring everyone back online for business by Monday morning.
Checking and re-checking before Go-Live
On Sunday, Oct. 24, college SMEs—supported by the ctcLink Project team, as well as Dani Bundy and the ctcLink Customer Support team—conducted a go-live check to validate the system.
SMEs and pillar leads representing student services, financial aid, payroll, accounting, purchasing, human resources, and grants management (to name just a few) spent several hours Sunday afternoon validating the conversion and walking through the system to check for issues, not to mention the countless hours they have spent validating and testing the data in several cycles over the last many months.
DG5-B project managers—Nat Reilly, Bellingham; Patrick Steele and Angela Garza, Big Bend; and Matt Connelly, Whatcom—helped guide their SMEs through the day’s validation activities. As issues were found during the validation period, they were either addressed by the ctcLink/SBCTC teams or noted as issues to be resolved in the days ahead.
The "Go or No-Go" decision process
During the Go/No-Go briefing on Sunday evening, college and SBCTC PMs and leadership were presented a review of the full conversion weekend, including outcomes and issues.
Tara Keen, ctcLink Project Director and Solutions Architect; PeopleSoft pillar PMs and leads (John Henry Whatley, Campus Solutions; Sanjiv Bhagat, Human Capital Management; Christyanna Dawson, Finance; Charles Velasquez, Student Financials; and Stephanie Casino, Financial Aid); and Chandan Goel, Senior Technical Manager, shared results of the validation session, any issues encountered, how they were corrected and those still outstanding. A few minor issues were noted, with plans in place to correct any findings over the next few days.
It’s a Go!
Jan Yoshiwara, SBCTC Executive Director, acknowledged the colleges and SBCTC teams for their incredible hard work to get here, telling the colleges, “You ran a marathon and made it to the finish line. Congratulations!” She thanked everyone for continuing to make the implementation process better with each deployment.
Grant Rodeheaver, SBCTC Deputy Executive Director for Information Technology and ctcLink Project Sponsor, expressed gratitude to ctcLink Project technical and functional implementation team, SBCTC agency teams (Customer Support, Legacy, Application Services, Data Services and Infrastructure Services) for providing exceptional support and coordination to keep the project moving forward and guide college subject matter experts (SMEs) to the finish line. “It’s so impressive to see the level of effort sustained over the last year and a half to get here,” Rodeheaver said. ”Huge congratulations to the colleges, to our teams, and thanks to the leadership at every level. It’s phenomenal to see these deployments keep getting better. It’s fantastic and we’re excited to welcome three more colleges to ctcLink.”
Christy Campbell, SBCTC Chief Technology Officer-ctcLink Program, thanked the ctcLink team, Bellingham, Big Bend and Whatcom — especially their project managers and teams — for the months and months of hard work and partnership. “This group has been amazing. All three colleges have put in an incredible amount of effort,” Campbell said, and likened the go-live meeting to a graduation ceremony. “The Project team will miss you, but you have all graduated and have been promoted to the Support Organization.”
Campbell acknowledged the extraordinary leadership of the DG5-B PMs (Nat Reilly, Bellingham; Patrick Steele and Angela Garza, Big Bend; and Matt Connelly, Whatcom) and the hard work and resiliency of their ctcLink teams; the steadfast guidance of their executive sponsors (Chad Stiteler, Bellingham Tech; Linda Schoonmaker, Big Bend; Nate Langstraat, Whatcom); and the ongoing leadership and support of campus presidents (Walter Hudsick, Bellingham Tech; Dr. Sara Thompson Tweedy, Big Bend; Dr. Kathy Hiyane-Brown, Whatcom).
College Roll Call to Go-Live
Following the review and input from SBCTC/ctcLink and college leadership, the official “Go” status was determined for DG5-B.
Bellingham Technical College
Nat Reilly, ctcLink Project Manager, described the mood on campus. “No matter where on campus I went, there was nothing surprising, no screaming,” Reilly said. “The work they put in over the last year and a half has really paid off. We are excited and humbled to be the first technical college to go live.”
Reilly gave a special shout-out to the Student Financials team (Charles Velasquez and Charles Sapien) and John Henry Whatley, Campus Solutions, for their extra, focused support.
Chad Stiteler, ctcLink Executive Sponsor and Vice President for Administrative Services, conveyed his appreciation for the entire BTC team, especially Nat, and said, “We’re ready to get this party started!”
Walter Hudsick, Bellingham Technical College President, echoed the thanks to Nat and their entire team. He observed the team’s work over the weekend. Seeing the numbers and hearing the reports coming in from the State Board made him proud. “We are ready to go.”
Big Bend Community College
Patrick Steele, ctcLink Project Manager, said everyone was feeling much better after today’s validation compared to the mock validation. “It went really well today,” Steele said. “And we are ready to go.”
Angela Garza, ctcLink Project Assistant Manager, congratulated the BBCC team on 100% conversions across the board. “It was an amazing effort,” she said.
Linda Schoonmaker, ctcLink Executive Sponsor and Vice President for Finance and Administration, said, “This was an incredible amount of work for a very long time for the colleges and the State Board. In the end, it was a great job by all parties.”
Dr. Sara Thompson Tweedy, President, expressed her gratitude and pride. “As a president, you really trust the expertise of your staff and I am so proud of them right now,” she said. “Big Bend is a go.”
Whatcom Community College
Matt Connelly, ctcLink Project Manager, thanked the Whatcom leadership. “Overall, Whatcom is a go!” he said. “The team did excellent work with validation and the weather cooperated. Thanks to SBCTC for working at this crazy pace for years on end.”
Nate Langstraat, ctcLink Executive Sponsor and Vice President for Administrative Services, thanked Matt for his leadership. “Team members were just a bunch of superstars today. I so appreciate their focus, time, energy and talent,” he said. The weather paralleled the day’s activities. “We had some pretty strong showers and several gusts of wind during validation, but right as we were meeting as a team to discuss the validation results, the sun broke through,” he said. “We are ready to roll.”
Dr. Kathy Hiyane-Brown, President, “I am so proud of the team. Thanks to Matt and Nate for their leadership. As president, I didn’t do the heavy lifting, but I do get to press a button.” Dr. Hiyane-Brown showed the audience a green “Go” and a red “No-Go” button on her desk. She officially pressed the “Go!” button on behalf of the college.
Bellevue, Everett and Grays Harbor (DG5-C) step to the plate
From Thursday night, Nov. 4, through Sunday, Nov. 7, the SBCTC teams will work together around-the-clock to convert DG5-C data from the HP Legacy system to ctcLink PeopleSoft.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Bellevue College, Everett Community College, and Grays Harbor College will be live in ctcLink PeopleSoft on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
After college staff have had some time to acclimate to the system and conduct post-conversion clean-up, DG5-C students will see their new ctcLink interface in a phased college-by-college approach Nov. 17 to 29, 2021 (Bellevue, Nov. 17-22; Everett, Nov. 22-29; Grays Harbor, Nov. 18).