ctcLink Goes Live for LWTech, Renton and Shoreline
The first Deployment Group 6 colleges (DG6-A) — Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Renton Technical College, and Shoreline Community College — went live on ctcLink PeopleSoft this morning, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.
Welcome to the ctcLink family, now 29 members strong with 28 colleges and the SBCTC agency.
The recurring themes heard during last night’s Go/No-Go briefing were “no issues reported” and “uneventful,” as well as the remarkable accuracy rate in converting data from Legacy to ctcLink across all areas in nearly every category.
Thanks to their outstanding local organization, Legacy data cleanup, and advance preparation, the LWTech, Renton, and Shoreline teams achieved the best data conversion accuracy yet: an unheard-of 100% conversion accuracy for all DG6-A colleges in the Finance pillar; Campus Solutions and Human Capital Management were over 99% to 100%.
All three colleges reached 100% in User Acceptance Testing (UAT) before go-live. UAT is a critical set of activities to help college subject matter experts (SMEs) kick the tires and learn to complete their local business processes (e.g. payroll, travel and leave, financial aid, enrollment) in ctcLink.
Navigating an ever-shifting landscape
DG6-A 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.
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).
LWTech, Renton, and Shoreline subject matter experts (SMEs) will take advantage of a two-week, Post Go-Live Support Activities series dedicated to immediate response needs, troubleshooting, and reporting issues. These sessions provide focused support to walk college SMEs through critical business transactions such as processing payroll, check disbursement, financial aid awards, and refunds, to name just a few.
After college staff have had some time to acclimate to the system and conduct any post-conversion clean-up, students will begin to see their new ctcLink interface beginning varying dates per college: LWTech (March 16), Renton (March 14), and Shoreline (March 7).
Lead-Up to Go-Live
Beginning Thursday night, Feb. 24, through Sunday, Feb. 27, teams worked around-the-clock for three days straight (with little to no rest) leading the multiple layers of conversion and validation.
Legacy Customer Support, ctcLink Project technical and functional teams — SBCTC Application Services, Data & Infrastructure Services, the ctcLink Support organization, and Burgundy Managed Services (Amazon Web Services service provider) — all worked together to convert the colleges’ data from the HP Legacy system to ctcLink PeopleSoft.
SBCTC Application Services, led by Sandy Main, successfully brought everyone back online for business by early last night.
Checking and re-checking before Go-Live
On Sunday, Feb. 27, college subject matter experts (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.
DG6-A project managers — Lauren Heller, LWTech; Lia Homeister, Renton; Joe Chiappa, Shoreline — 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; SanjivBhagat, Human Capital Management; Christyanna Dawson, Finance; Charles Velasquez, Student Financials; and Stephanie Casino, Financial Aid), and technical lead, Bhuvana Samraj, 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 for their excellent work and for setting a high bar as the opening act of DG6. “It’s wonderful to hear how smoothly this went. Today’s go-live assessment is a reflection of all your hard work and long, late hours,” Yoshiwara said. “I’m excited that the leading group of the sixth and final ctcLink deployment is finishing strong!”
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. “Today’s results are directly attributed to your work over the last months and years. Thanks to Christy and Tara’s leadership, we have seen continuous improvements,” Rodeheaver said. “Congratulations and I looking forward to working with you on the other side.”
Christy Campbell, SBCTC Chief Technology Officer-ctcLink Program, thanked the ctcLink team, LWTech, Renton Technical, and Shoreline Community colleges — especially their project managers and teams — for the months and months of hard work and partnership. “This has been one of the most successful conversion weekends yet,” she said. “The Project team did outstanding technical work and the college teams did an incredible job with data cleanup.”
Campbell acknowledged the extraordinary leadership of the DG6-A PMs (Lauren Heller, LWTech; Lia Homeister, Renton; Joe Chiappa, Shoreline) and the hard work and resiliency of their ctcLink teams; the steadfast guidance of their executive sponsors (Chris McLain, LWTech; Jacob Jackson, Renton; Phillip King, Shoreline) and the ongoing leadership and support of campus leaders (Dr. Amy Morrison, LWTech president; Dr. Kevin McCarthy, Renton Technical College president; and Steve Hanson, Shoreline Community College interim president).
Tara Keen, ctcLink Project Director and Solutions Architect, commended DG6-A for its remarkable evolution and progress compared to six months ago, then three months ago, to today’s go-live. “You all cleared hurdles and climbed mountains, pushing aside fear and doubt,” she said. “I could hear the growth in confidence in the college SMEs’ voices. You set the bar high and made this go-live an extreme pleasure.”
College Roll Call to Go-Live
Following the review and input from SBCTC/ctcLink and college leadership, the official “Go” status was determined for DG6-A.
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
Dr. Amy Morrison, LWTech president, acknowledged the diligent work of the college’s project management team, pillar leads, subject matter experts, and colleagues across the college who worked tirelessly, and often unseen, under cover of the pandemic.
She acknowledged Chris McLain, LWTech Chief Information Officer and ctcLink Executive Sponsor, who was hired less than three years ago to help get LWTech through the transition to ctcLink. Thankfully, his mid-Western sensibilities and sense of humor also got them through the pandemic at the same time.
Dr. Morrison said LWTech would not be where it is today without the persistence of their project management office, led by the tireless Lauren Heller, ctcLink Project Manager, and Kaytlyn Hoch, Business Applications Manager.
Heller said she was pleased with the validation results and that she is very proud of their college SMEs for all their hard work.
“We are ready!” Dr. Morrison said.
Renton Technical College
Jacob Jackson, Renton Technical College Assistant Vice President of Instructional Finance and Effectiveness and ctcLink Executive Sponsor, called out the outstanding coordination efforts of Lia Homeister, ctcLink Project Manager, to bring their campus to readiness.
“Lia did a wonderful job 'herding cats',” Jackson said. “We wouldn’t be positioned where we are today without her leadership. The excitement from our SMEs, super SMEs, and pillar leads during today’s validation was actually contagious. It was nice to see the level of camaraderie.”
Homeister marveled at how the Renton team was in such good spirits, owning their work, excited, and actually having fun during the Sunday afternoon validation. “Our Finance SMEs said ‘The GL [general ledger] was perfect!'" Homeister said. “Which is always good to hear.”
Dr. Kevin McCarthy, RTC president, said Homeister’s talents extend beyond the organizational, technical, and project management aspects of her role; she really paid attention to the all-important emotional and psychological aspects of the transition to ctcLink.
He also expressed gratitude to Jackson for taking on the heavy lift of the ctcLink Executive Sponsor role, simultaneous to taking on a new role as Assistant Vice President of Instructional Finance and Effectiveness.
Dr. McCarthy affirmed, “Renton Technical College is ready to go!”
Shoreline Community College
Joe Chiappa, ctcLink Project Manager, thanked the ctcLink Project team and couldn’t say enough about how supportive everyone was. Chiappa shared that two of Shoreline’s staff were employed at Clark College when Clark went live in 2019 and had great things to say about how much progress has been made and that the implementation of lessons learned is noticeable.
Phillip King, Vice President for Student Learning, Equity & Success and ctcLink Executive Sponsor, spoke on behalf of interim president, Steve Hanson. King has been in the ctcLink system less than three years and Shoreline’s ctcLink Executive Sponsor only since July, so it has been quite a ride.
King expressed gratitude to Joe Chiappa for a fantastic job pulling everyone together and keeping them moving; as well as Gavin Smith, Acting Director of Technology; Amy Rovner, eLearning Accessible IT Coordinator, who stepped up to help coordinate local ctcLink training; and Stephanie Baker, Business Analyst, who has been a ctcLink utility player throughout the deployment process.
Last fall, both the college and the ctcLink Project were worried about Shoreline’s UAT status. King said he appreciated how Christy and Grant’s teams came alongside to meet regularly and offer guidance. It was a long haul, but Shoreline reached 100% completion in its UAT.
King shared a bellwether moment when he knew Shoreline would be okay. “Two weeks ago, as we were pulling out our hair because of the Security Workbook,” he said. “Stephanie — who doesn’t often say things like this — said, ‘I think I’m okay. And I think we’re doing good. And I feel like I’m ready to do this.’”
King stated, “Shoreline has no concerns about moving forward and recommends a GO!”
Clover Park, Columbia Basin, Walla Walla (DG6-B) step to the plate
We are in the final stretch as DG6-B steps to the plate in about two months. From Thursday night, April 21, through Sunday, April 24, the SBCTC teams will work together around-the-clock to convert DG6-B data from the HP Legacy system to ctcLink PeopleSoft.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, Clover Park Technical College, Columbia Basin College, and Walla Walla Community College will be live in ctcLink PeopleSoft on Monday, April 25, 2022.
Bates, South Puget, and Yakima Valley (DG6-C) close behind
Two weeks later, on Monday, May 9, DG6-C colleges in the final deployment group (Bates Technical College, South Puget Sound Community College, and Yakima Valley College) will close out the ctcLink Project implementation.