By Linda Powell, Director, OSU Shared Services
Your Business Center colleagues on the Communication Coordinating Committee have been working through this beautiful Oregon autumn to put together an information-packed issue of the BC Connector. In addition to a profile of the FOBC, an eProcurement update and the reader-favorite technology tips and tricks, I would like to share a few other things OSU Shared Services has been working on.
First, please join me in congratulating Mike Green, the new Vice President for Finance and Administration. After serving in the interim role for nearly a year and a half, Mike was selected as vice president in early October after a competitive national search. Mike, an Oregon State alumnus, joined the university in 2014 as associate vice president for finance and administration. During his time as interim VP, he led key advancements including the creation of a new treasury management policy, management of the process for Oregon State to receive its first independent credit rating, the development of a ten-year business forecast, and the initial implementation of an eProcurement system.
As you probably know, Mike recently undertook a review of the university’s business operations, including Business Affairs, Business Centers, and Budget and Fiscal Planning. The goal of this review is to ensure that the business services we offer meet the current needs of our university partners. The consulting firm Baker Tilley is in the process of analyzing the information they collected after reviewing business processes and speaking with over 200 stakeholders during interviews and focus groups. Baker Tilley is expected to consult with the leaders of business units throughout the process to validate their findings. The Business Operations Review Oversight Committee, together with Mike Green, expects to receive Baker Tilley’s final recommendations around the end of December. Thank you to those of you in the Business Centers who have provided information and insights into this review. We look forward to hearing Baker Tilley’s ideas and suggestions about how we can continue to improve our operations and services.
On another note, the Business Center Managers and I have been working with the office of Risk Management to complete emergency operations plans for each Business Center location. This is part of a university-wide effort to reevaluate and update our processes for responding to emergencies, and make everyone aware of what to do when a problem arises in their area. Look for more information from your BCM as these plans are finalized.
Please enjoy the rest of the BC Connector newsletter during what I hope is an extended run of sunny fall days. Pass the hot apple cider!
By Kayla Campbell, Accountant, BEBC and Kelsey Herman, Accountant, FOBC
In August, Purchasing, Contracts and Materials Management (PCMM) and Vendor Payment Operations launched OSU’s new eProcurement system, Benny Buy, beginning with two pilot groups. Since then, the system has been rolled out university-wide. As representatives of the pilot groups (BEBC and FOBC), Kayla Campbell and Kelsey Herman sat down with Alex Sims, former manager of Vendor Payment Operations and now Senior Payment and System Manager at PCMM, to find out what went into undertaking such a large-scale project and what we can expect of Benny Buy in the future.
It all started when Purchasing solicited feedback via a customer satisfaction survey in 2012, which indicated that timeliness, cost savings, and use of technology were areas that needed improvement. After a lot of research and groundwork, the eProcurement project was greenlighted in early 2016. Since then, the project team has been tirelessly working to get the system online while engaging stakeholders along the way through advisory groups, focus groups, and direction from the executive steering committee.
SciQuest (now Jaggaer) is the software provider that was selected to provide OSU’s eProcurement tool due to the functionality and their demonstrated success in higher education. Alex explained, however, that large software companies, including this one, like to have very abbreviated launch schedules which doesn’t always work well for a large and complex university. For this reason, OSU partnered with Huron Consulting group to help with the launch. Huron has helped many other entities launch eProcurement systems and they helped OSU prepare for what to expect as far as the questions they would need to be able to answer and the decisions they would have to make.
Fast forward to now: Phase 1 of the roll out is officially complete and we’ve moved into the continuous improvement stage where we carry on with operations, add enabled vendors, improve business processes, and update FIS policy to align with eProcurement. Alex explains that this is a critical juncture in the roll out as people become familiar with the system, identify hiccups, and make changes to their processes to accommodate the system. He emphasized that it’s important for us in the Business Centers to keep plugging away at it and working with the eProcurement helpdesk to bring issues to light and get them resolved. He assures that the improvements and fixes will come, but it will take time and feedback from users.
While continuing to support the continuous improvement of Phase 1, the project team is also working on the roll-out of Phase 2 of the system, which will integrate more advanced tools for authoring contracts and sourcing large projects, as well as enhanced spend analytics for strategic decision-making. Phase 2 is slated to roll out in January 2018 and will likely have much less of an impact on business centers than did Phase 1. After Phase 2 is completed, Jaggaer will no longer be directly involved with the eProcurement system, which is why OSU has hired a dedicated System Layer Administrator to manage the software going forward.
As mentioned before, university staff need to continue to evaluate business processes, structures, and policy to better align with Benny Buy in the future. One such change that has already taken place is the re-structuring of the Vendor Payment Operations group within Business Affairs. While they used to be positioned under the umbrella of Financial Accounting & Analysis, they are now part of PCMM. The move made sense due to how Benny Buy integrates the procurement and A/P processes. Alex now splits his time between Kerr, where the rest the vendor payment operations team still resides, and the Property Services Building, where PCMM is located. The goal is to one day find a space that can accommodate the whole group.
To close, we’ll share Alex’s favorite feature of Benny Buy—email and mobile approvals. He strongly recommends that BCs communicate this feature to departments and faculty (see the Benny Buy Tech Tips below for details). Setting these features is easy (see links in Lessons Learned, below) and saves people from having to log in to the eProcurement system, making the approval process quick, convenient, and pain free.
As we in the Business Centers continue to work with the system, Alex encourages us to provide feedback and ideas either through the project team’s inbox, email@example.com, or through formal channels such as surveys that the project team plans to conduct in the future. As with any major business process change, there have been growing pains and lessons learned. Below are some key lessons that BEBC and FOBC learned the hard way so you don’t have to.
BennyBuy - Lessons Learned
A special edition of tech tips and tricks focused on BennyBuy shoppers
By Scott Lommers, Buyer, AABC
Custom Address Creation
To add new, custom, Bill-To and Ship-To addresses to BennyBuy, follow the steps below:
Sending Purchase Orders to Vendors or to Yourself
Certain vendors, mainly the “punch-out” vendors, have been set up to have a purchase order automatically sent to them once the PO workflow is finished in BennyBuy. However, most vendors require a few small steps to be certain that the PO is directed to the correct individuals.
Comments and Attachments, Internal and External
Yes, comments and attachments can be added to all BennyBuy documents. Comments and attachments are permanent, for the most part, so this is a good place to store backup documents, as well as quotes and comments that may be useful if needed during an invoicing or auditing process.
Yes, BennyBuy has a mobile app. While shopping can be tedious on a small phone, the app is a perfect tool for approvals on the go.
Hard Copy of Purchase Orders
In order to view Purchase Orders, BennyBuy provides an HTML link that directs the viewer to an online version of the PO. However, there is a way to print a hard copy version of the PO to scan or fax.
By Leigh Larkin, Center for Learning & Organizational Development, Office of Human Resources
Registration is still open for the annual OSU Training Days Conference, scheduled for November 7 and 8 at The Lasells Stewart Center. Training Days was established in the mid-90’s as a Procurement and Contracts Services event that featured technical and procedural topics of interest to Division of Finance and Administration employees. Over the years, the DFA has continued to sponsor the event, and most recently, it has been recognized by the Office of the Provost and other key units as a valuable annual training event.
With increasing support, OSU Training Days has grown to include a broader employee base as its audience. Attendance over the last five years has grown from 800 attendees to over 2,400. Topics consist of up to eighty 50- to 90-minute sessions that are collected through a presentation proposal process from all units and departments on campus. This year, we collected more presentations than needed and had to have our first waiting list of presentations.
Light beverages are provided in the mornings and afternoons; participants are on their own for lunch. There is no cost to attend. Visit the OSU Training Days website for the schedule of topics and to register.
By Kelsey Herman, Accountant, FOBC
In this series, we profile each business center and how it makes a unique contribution toward Oregon State’s mission and goals.
The Forestry, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Business Center supports the College of Forestry and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science (CEOAS). We share the vision of OSU Shared Services of advancing the university mission through strategic partnerships and delivering innovative, customer-focused solutions. Because the two colleges we serve have diverse needs, our business center is essentially split in two, both physically and functionally, in order to provide expertise in the particular areas each needs.
FOBC is the only business center with two Business Center Managers. Each manager works .5FTE for Shared Services as Business Center Manager and the other .5FTE working for their respective college as a direct report to the dean. This configuration allows FOBC to readily anticipate and understand the needs of the faculty, staff, and students in the two colleges, enabling us to head off issues before they become problems (or at least we hope!).
When fully staffed, FOBC employs about 23 people, including our HR partners. We also usually have several student employees who provide vital support to the finance and HR teams.
The FOBC-Forestry finance group and our HR partners are usually located in Peavy Hall, but anybody who’s happened by 30th and Jefferson recently can tell you that the old Peavy Hall is no more. While the building is being re-constructed and transformed into the Oregon Forest Science Complex, the finance office has relocated to the newly renovated Strand Agricultural Hall. The CEOAS finance offices and now also our FOBC HR partners are located in the CEOAS Admin Building at 26th and Monroe, which is a former sorority house. Even though having separate offices isn’t always convenient, being located in close proximity to the units we serve is incredibly important in building successful partnerships.
As mentioned, the business center is split not only physically, but functionally. The only shared function between the two groups is payroll. Both colleges have high research activity so many of our processes center around spending and managing grant funds. In the 16-17 biennium CEOAS and Forestry were responsible for bringing in about 35% of the University’s total grant funding. While the two groups function differently in order to best meet the needs of the different colleges, we still make a point to collaborate with each other (and the other BCs) on business processes and ways to improve our service to the university. In addition to FOBC quarterly meetings, we try to engage in occasional gatherings and are currently planning a business center retreat to the McDonald-Dunn Forest.
Other Points of Interest:
By April Cummings, Accountant, AMBC and Kayla Campbell, Accountant, BEBC
How to Open PDF Documents in Adobe from Your Internet Browser
Are you frustrated that your pdfs always open as a separate tab or window in your internet browser? If so, there is a way to change your internet settings, so that pdfs always open in Adobe rather than your web browser. It is easy to make this change, just follow the steps below for either Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer.
In Mozilla Firefox:
In Internet Explorer:
How to add DoucSign-Optional Text Box
Another tech tip on DocuSign? Yes! Sometimes I need an optional text box in DoucSign. This could be additional text that the signer can input however, it is not required and will not require any text to be entered before the signer can complete the signing process.
When you applying the tags, select the text tag (see image to right)
Drag and drop the tag and resize as necessary.
When the text tag is selected, a formatting section will appear on the right hand side.
Unselect the required box.
This will change the color of the box to a clear color.
It still has a yellow box around it indicating the color assigned to that signer. If you have multiple optional text boxes for multiple signers, it could have an assortment of colors! Like a rainbow!
Tech Tip: Copy and Paste in EmpCenter
Looking for time saving tools? You have come to the right place! One of the features I tend to forget about is the copy and paste feature in EmpCenter. This feature has come in handy recently when I have to manually enter time in EmpCenter for hourly students that completed a manual timesheet (paper timesheet). This is helpful if they have very similar hours daily or even weekly.
Enter in the time for one day.
Select the drop down on that day. Select Copy. You can choose to copy the row, the day, or the week.
I selected copy the row.
Then go to the day you want to paste the times to. Select the drop down and select Paste Entry.
My one entry was then pasted into EmpCenter!
By April Cummings, Accountant, AMBC
At the business centers (BCs), we all know that student workers are important to our operations. But does working at a BC help them prepare for future jobs? And how well do we know our student workers? This month I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with a long time student worker at the AMBC, Jessica Phan, to find out more about her, get some insight into what it’s like to be a student worker, and ask what, if any, impact this job has had on her work skills.
Jessica is a senior this year and has been with the AMBC since she was a freshman. She is currently pursuing a major in Digital Communication Arts with a minor in Sociology and plans to get a master’s degree in Digital Marketing after graduation. She happened upon this position when she was looking for jobs at OSU that included work-study and three years later, she’s still with us.
When she first started the job, she had various projects thrown at her and skillfully tackled them all, in addition to learning the basics of the job. She likes to try to get people to laugh and her positive attitude and willingness to help always lightens up the office. As the student worker desk is the point of first contact for our office, our BC is also privileged to have such a cheerful greeter for our customers. While our BC has obviously benefited from having her here, she says that she has also benefited by gaining new friendships and making connections with folks who have been able to help her with her college education. The flexibility in her position to do homework in slack times has also been a big bonus and she’s been able to gain some valuable skills to take with her to her next job.
Jessica says that working here has helped her develop skills in organization, time management, customer service, and basic clerical skills. She has also been able to increase her computer skills in programs such as Excel. In addition, the opportunity to design brochures and banners for one of the all BC training events provided some good experience for her chosen degree program.
When she’s not hard at work at the AMBC or studying like crazy for her degree, Jessica likes to choreograph her own dance routines in freestyle, pop, and hip-hop dance styles. She also likes to run and watch dog videos, especially those with golden retrievers.
Her advice to new student workers? Don’t slack off! Keep on top of your workload, as it can quickly add up and get you in trouble if you let it slide in favor of doing homework.
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