Core Systems jargon buster

Core Systems bring standardised systems and best practice processes for colleagues across the University, supporting Human Resources, Finance, and Research. This way of working brings with it a large amount of terminology. The Jargon Buster below provides a summary of some of the new language that you may find being frequently associated with Core Systems.

Is there a phrase or acronym that you think is missing from this list? If you have any questions on Core Systems terminology or any other aspect of the project, please contact the team at  



Absence category: Used to group absence types for reporting and analysis. For example, you can create an absence category called family leave and associate it with absence types, such as maternity, paternity, and childcare.

Assignment: The details of the job(s) you undertake within the new system

Attributes: These describe a characteristic of pieces of information. For example, a date of birth and name are ‘attributes’ of a person.


Benefits: Any of the University's non-salary components of employee benefits packages, such as health, savings, life insurance, recreation, goods, or services.

Business Intelligence (BI): This is the reporting functionality in the widest sense, a ‘set of techniques and tools for the acquisition and transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis'.


Candidate File: A form containing candidate information such as personal information, work experience, certifications, references.

Candidate Selection Workflow: Framework to move a candidate through the hiring process. This includes steps, statuses and actions a user must go through before hiring a candidate.

Career Section Workflow (CSW): The application process, including shortlisting, invitation to interview, and so forth.

Chart of Accounts (CoA): A list of all organisation accounts that define the classes of items for which money is spent or received

Cloud: The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer. Core Systems are largely a cloud-based software solution.

Core: Nickname for ‘Core Systems’ (see above), particularly for the main environment, PROD (Production; see ‘Environments’ below).

Core Systems Optimisation Team (CSOT): The team responsible for the ongoing stabilisation, enhancement and operation of the Core Systems applications.


Data Cleansing: The process of analysing data and identifying issues relating to the quality and cleanliness of that data (examples include missing data, inaccurate/incorrect data, inconsistent data, incorrectly formatted data, etc). The aim of the process is to clean data to ensure it is of good quality.

Data Integration: Whether related data sources or data items agree with each other. For example, the number of items on an invoice and the number of items in a purchase request, tasks on a research budget in Worktribe vs. Core, or the people in the HR system classified as receiving payment compared to the number of people being paid on the payroll.

Data Quality: Accuracy of data. For example, the spelling of a name, a house number, budget code, invoice total, marital status.

Direct Reports: Employees or casual workers that you are responsible for managing.

Document Management: An electronic store of documents that were produced in hard copy, e.g., a place to store PDFs of Right to Work (RTW) check.

Descriptive Flexfields (DFFs): Descriptive flexfields are customisable parts of the system. Similarly to changing a cell in an Excel spreadsheet, the content of a DFF can be altered.


Elements: An allowance (addition to pay), or deduction from pay (e.g., childcare vouchers).

Employee Self-Serve (ESS): ESS is the functionality accessed by the end user as part of the self-service practice offered by Core Systems. This mostly includes the following areas: Personal Information, Declarations & Qualifications, Absences, Pay, Benefits, Purchase Requisitioning, and Expenses.

Enhancements (ENH): Enhancements are a type of additional change to the system that are agreed upon between CSOT and departments at the University. These will involve planning, cost, and deployment to implement new functionality (on varying levels).

Environment: A computer system in which an instance of a computer program or software component is deployed and executed. Core Systems have multiple environments used for different purposes. Each Core Systems environment has its own colour scheme to help tell them apart between one another, as follows:

  • PROD (Production; blue environment) is the live version of the system;
  • PRE-PROD (Pre-Production; pink environment) is a close copy of PROD;
  • TEST (Testing; yellow environment) is used for testing of new releases, enhancements and fixes to known problems before they are deployed to PROD;
  • DEV (Development; green environment) is used to develop new ideas before they are tested;
  • TRAIN (Training; purple environment) is the training environment used to deliver classroom training with dummy accounts. 


Fusion (Oracle Fusion): Fusion is the name of the cloud-based application licensed by the University that we call 'Core Systems'. The configuration process is what makes its functionality unique and specific to the organisation that implemented it. That is how over time Fusion became Core Systems.


HCM Data Loader (HDL): A method of bulk-loading and maintaining HCM data in the system, usually input to an Excel spreadsheet and uploaded.

Human Capital Management (HCM): HR module, Oracle Fusion Software.

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA): There are various HESA codes, e.g., UK Research Councils, which are relevant when categorising areas of funding for research.


Individual Compensation: The compensation awarded to individual workers outside of the regular compensation cycle, such as a spot bonus or education reimbursement.

Infolets: Dashboard style tiles that summarise relevant information to aid in navigating through a process.


Management Information Unit (MIU): Official University of Birmingham structure used for reporting across HR, Finance, and Student Data.

Manager Self-Serve (MSS): Functionality accessed by a line manager as part of a practice to serve oneself with regards to actions performed for or on behalf of their direct reports. This includes approving notifications from direct reports and performing tasks for or on their behalf (putting through absences, requesting acting-up, etc.).


New Core: Name of the project which was in place from 2014–2019 to deliver Core Systems. The project ended and has reformed as the Core Systems Optimisation Team (CSOT).


Oracle: Company, which created the Core Systems (Fusion) application and is continuously working on developing it and making new functionality available to its customers.

Oracle Business Intelligence Applications (OBIA): OBIA describes an area of the system designed to report and represent data recorded within the system, e.g., in financial reports.

Oracle Time and Labour: OTL is part of Oracle Cloud HCM (the HR side of the system) and describes the part of the system that helps users to record, manage, and administer HR processes (e.g., absences, holiday, etc.).


Payroll Definitions: These determine payment frequency and processing schedule, and through the payroll relationship, they link staff with the monthly payroll run.

Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS): An Oracle application that integrates with Core Systems and supports enterprise-wide planning, budgeting, and forecasting in the cloud.

Pre-Hire: The process launched for the collection of RTW documents and academic references.

Project Portfolio Management (PPM): The project module within Core Systems used to manage projects once they have been migrated from Worktribe (after an award has been granted; see section on Worktribe below).

Purchase Order (PO): Official purchasing document raised by staff in the Buying Team after a requisition has been approved. It is used to control the purchasing of products and services from suppliers.


Quarterly Release: Core Systems undergo a quarterly release cycle, where new functionality and fixes to known issues are deployed. This happens every quarter by the third Friday of the month. The deployment is tested for 2 weeks prior to ensure compatibility with existing configuration and to work out any bugs. There are 4 each year and they are named with the year and quarter of release, e.g., 22A, 22B, 22C and 22D.


Release: One or more changes to an IT service that are built, tested and deployed together. A single release may include changes to hardware, software, documentation, processes, and other components.

Responsive User Interface (UI): An approach to software design that makes software pages render well on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes.

Requisition: A word used in both recruitment and procurement.

  • ·  Recruitment Requisition: Contains all the details of a job within recruitment section of the system;
  • ·  Purchase Requisition: A request to purchase goods or services, which needs to go through approvals and a conversion process before it becomes a Purchase Order (PO).


Requisition Title: In HR, this is the job title for a job advertisement.

Right to Work (RTW): RTW is the term given to legal documents authorising an individual’s ability to work in the country, e.g., a visa, passport, national identity card, birth certificate, etc.


Service Request (SR): Incidents raised by CSOT with our MSP (Managed Service Provider; currently PwC) to further investigate issues in the system or incidents raised by PwC with Oracle to escalate investigation further.

Single Sign-On (SSO): The ability to access multiple applications with one set of log-in credentials.

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP): A set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organisation to help workers carry out complex routine operations.

Student Administration Refresh and Simplification (StARS): A major change programme to streamline systems and processes for the student experience (ongoing project, due 2024).

Super User: A list of users across the University in various departments who have been trained in depth to understand Core Systems functionality. These people should be the first point of contact in the event of any queries/issues with the system. This is a list of active Super Users: Service Desk (

System Integration: The process of linking together different software applications physically or functionally, to act as a coordinated whole. Example could include how Core Systems integrates with Kinetics, Banner and other University applications.

Superuser: A system user who has volunteered to learn more about how the system runs. They benefit from attending training sessions and receive CSOT communications and updates about the system. They act as helpful guides for other users in need of help and advice.

Service Level Agreement (SLA): The amount of time/priority agreed on for a specific task.


Taleo: Recruitment module being used in Core Systems.

Termination: A process that takes an employee or casual worker off the payroll, including resignation.

Total Compensation Statements: A snapshot statement, showing the benefits that you receive from the University.


User Acceptance Testing (UAT): Testing performed by the end user to verify the new functionality of Core Systems before deploying the change permanently.

User Productivity Kit (UPK): A programme developed by Oracle used to create Training and Learning Simulations.

User Group Permissions: Permissions that dictate the level of information given to users to view different functionality in the system, e.g., requisitions.



Web-Centre Content (WCC): A programme developed by Oracle used for document storage and management. 

Work Schedule: An individual’s working pattern, for example, full-time/part-time, as well as the contracted hours worked over the days of a week.

Worktribe: The Research Grant Management integration with Core Systems (accessible here:  Grants are developed in Worktribe and once they are awarded, the project information gets migrated over into the Core Systems application, which is where live projects are subsequently managed from.


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