New Core FAQs

About New Core

What is the New Core programme?

It is an ambitious programme to transform the way in which HR, Payroll and Finance activities are carried out. Underpinning this, rather than driving it, will be the implementation of new software. This is being managed as a business change project rather than as an IT systems implementation project. We have taken experts from across the University to form the programme team and they have been seconded to work exclusively on this project. Activities of the programme are governed by the Programme Board which has representation from Academics and Professional Services. The Executive Sponsor of the project is the Director of Finance, Erica Conway.

Given all of its other priorities, why has the University commissioned this project, at this time?

A key element of the 2020 Strategic Framework is the University's ambition to be "a well-resourced, well-managed and ambitious university with people at its heart". Our current HR & Payroll and Financial systems limit our ability to update and change our processes. These systems are old! For example we bought our e-recruitment system in 2007 before the advent of smart phones and tablets. It is virtually impossible for applicants to show interest in working for us using modern devices. Our HR & Payroll system has been in use since 1995 and our Financial system has been in place since 1983. The University needs efficient and effective processes and our current systems with their limited functionality are barriers to achieving this. This is an investment in the University's administrative infrastructure that will provide modern, effective systems appropriate for a leading global University for the next decade.

What are the timescales of the programme?

The proposed launch date for all core modules of HR, Finance, and Payroll elements of the new system is February 2019. The following modules will be available to all staff from launch:

•Payroll

•Time and Labour

•Recruitment

•Compensation and Benefits

•HR

•General Ledger

•Accounts Payable & Receivable

•Cash Management

•Purchase Ordering

•Research & Projects Accounting

•Research Grant Management

•Expenses

•Tax

In addition to these phases, Business Intelligence, Document Management, Integration and Data Migration will be implemented across the duration of the whole programme.

Who is on the Programme Board?

•Erica Conway – Director of Finance and Executive Sponsor

•Mark Gee – CIO

•Matthew Knight – Interim Director of HR

•Stuart Richards – Director of HAS

•Charlotte Wellington – Programme Leader

•Kate Williams – Programme Manager

•James Arthur – Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Staffing)

•Phil Lumley – Deputy Head, MDS

•Jon Rowe – Director of Research and Knowledge Transfer, EPS

•Janice Thompson – Professor of Public Health Nutrition & Exercise

•Bronwen Lord – Director of Operations, LES

•Jon Darling – Head of Internal Audit

•Bryoney Johnson – Change and Communications Lead

•Geoff Carss (Peter Lambton as deputy) – Oracle

•Laura Forrest – Secretary

Who is on the New Core Leadership Team?

•Programme Leader: Charlotte Wellington

•Programme Manager: Kate Williams

•Finance Workstream Lead: Mike Dean

•HR Workstream Lead: Alison Jinks

•IT Workstream Lead: Adrian Hassell

•Change Workstream Lead:  Bryoney Johnson

Where is the New Core team based?

The New Core team are based on the first and second floor of Cedar House on the Edgbaston Campus (O6 Map Reference).

Change & Impact

What will the New Core project mean for me?

The project is looking to transform the way that Finance, HR and Payroll activities are carried out. The changes in process will require less manual intervention and will result in a dramatic reduction in the amount of paper that is pushed around the University. Some of the changes will affect large numbers of staff, including the way you:

•apply for jobs

•request annual leave

•claim expenses

•purchase goods

•monitor budgets

•access the Research Grants and Contracts process

Employees will be able to view their personal data in real-time including address details, payslip information and P60s.

Employees will be able to initiate actions, request annual leave, record absence, submit expenses, apply for University vacancies, submit requests for additional payments. For the first time, employees will be able to track progress of these actions and will be able to see who the item is currently with for action.

All staff will ultimately be affected by this project.  How much will be determined by the level of involvement they currently have in HR, Payroll, Finance and Research activities.

What will this mean for managers of employees and/ or budgets?

Employees with responsibility and/ or accountability for other employees will have additional functionality available to them.  All of their employee-related tasks will be available in one place and the system will issue alerts and reminders for action. These reminders will be escalated if tasks are overdue! The whole employee life-cycle, from recruitment to leaving, can be undertaken through one system, regardless of geographical location or the time of day. Relevant and timely management information will be available within the software, removing the need for BOXI reports.

Employees with financial responsibilities will be able to view, more quickly and easily, a range of appropriate financial management information. For example, from within a single system, it will be possible to view the balance on a specific account, drill-down to the transactional detail behind the balance, select an individual transaction and then access the invoice or other document at the bottom of the chain. This real-time financial information will enable quality decision-making.

How will New Core affect my day to day working?

New Core will impact all staff across the University. How New Core will impact your day to day working will depend on your role in the organisation and your daily involvement with HR, Payroll, Finance and Research and the associated administrative tasks. The New Core programme has put in place an extensive change programme to support staff through the transition to new ways of working. This includes wellbeing and support, training and preparing staff for change.

Will New Core lead to a reduction of staff numbers?

The purpose of the New Core programme is to improve our HR, Payroll and Finance systems, and to modernise business processes and ways of working for all University staff. This will mean new ways of working for some colleagues, and any changes to processes will be shared with staff well in advance of system launch via programme communications and training.

New Core is not being launched with the intention that there will be staff reductions; however, it will affect some roles more than others; for example for staff in the central HR and Finance departments. However, the University 2026 strategy is ambitious in terms of staff growth, and so whilst there may be some repurposing of roles we do not anticipate any significant staff reductions. The New Core programme will endeavour to keep you fully informed throughout the transition so that the University can support individual members of staff through any organisational change that may become necessary.

What are the benefits to the University?

There are many benefits of the New Core programme but the main ones are:

•Simplified and efficient business processes that use fewer steps with less manual intervention

•Reduced administration allowing Academic staff more time to focus on delivering excellence in research and teaching

•A ‘single version of the truth’ that provides the foundation for more focussed management information and allows better informed decisions and judgements

•The data will be available via mobile devices and will ensure that staff are always connected wherever they are in the world

•The University will be able to respond quickly to changes and opportunities and it will be easier to plan for the future

•The entire grant life-cycle from pre-award to publication will be supported

Is the aim to go paperless?

Yes, but there will still be the option to upload documents into the system and to download documents as needed.

Cutover

What is Cutover?

Cutover is the process of planning, managing and executing the tasks that will allow the University to ‘cutover’ from current to new systems ahead of New Core launch. Cutover is essential in order to ensure continuity for core HR, Finance, and Research services across the University as the complex transition from old to new functionality and ways of working is completed.

How is Cutover being planned for?

The New Core team is working closely with colleagues across HR, Finance, Payroll and IT to plan detailed cutover preparation to cleanse and migrate data from legacy systems with minimal service and staff disruption. With more than 150 legacy systems across campus that are part of New Core, this is a complex collaborative effort.

Is it not possible to run current and new systems at the same time?

No. In order to ensure that the data migrated into New Core is accurate, and that it successfully interacts with the systems it will be integrated with, it will be necessary to have a period of time where transactions are not processed via current systems. This will help to ensure that clean data is loaded into the system and that no transactions are lost during the cutover period.

What does this mean for me?

In order to ensure that the data is successfully moved from current systems into Oracle Fusion, there will be a period when some of the current systems are not available. This is an inevitable part of implementing a major new system, and we are working to minimise the time and level of disruption. It is, however, vital that we get this right and we are asking for your support in achieving this. 

When is the Cutover period?

You will need to plan some of your regular HR, Finance, and Research activities differently leading up to, and during, December 2018 and January 2019. Examples include how you plan and deliver staff recruitment, dates by which you need to inform Payroll of any changes to contracts, submitting expenses claims, and recording research applications. 

All the system deadlines of which you need to be aware are listed here.

What support is available?

Further detailed operational information will be circulated shortly by local HR and Finance Business Partners, who will be available to provide further support and guidance in the lead up to go-live.

If you would like to talk through processes in more detail please contact:

HR Business Partners

Finance Business Partners

Will Eploy be replaced as part of New Core?

Yes, New Core will replace the current Eploy system and processes. Please continue to add and process work in the same way as you currently do via Eploy leading up to cutover; however please note that any non-student casuals added to the system who will not be paid until after New Core go-live will not be migrated into the new system, as a record will not have been created for them. Following go-live, the processes/assignments that are currently under Eploy will sit as part of HAS alongside Worklink.  Further details on Eploy cutover dates will shortly be available here.

Software, Security, Access & Roles

What software has the University chosen?

The University has chosen Oracle Fusion Applications for Finance, HR & Payroll, Taleo for Recruitment and Worktribe for Research.

The University undertook an extensive 13 month procurement process to select the chosen supplier, this ensured that the preferred supplier offered value for money, was capable of delivering the requirements and was subjected to necessary due diligence.

How secure is data stored in the cloud and can we guarantee the security of documents uploaded to the system?

Oracle Cloud is already used as standard practice across a wide range of sectors and extensive due diligence on the product has been carried out by the University’s Legal Services team. The University will retain ownership of data at all times, and New Core team members have visited the data centre in Slough where, along with Amsterdam, the new system data will be stored. They were very impressed with the high levels of physical and technical security at the site, which has hosted the University's implementation of Servicenow since 2010 (used for IT faults and requests, equipment booking, and the HR Portal).
The University’s Audit Committee have also been heavily involved in ensuring additional assurance on system security. On their recommendation, an external audit on data security of the new system was carried out by PwC, which approved the system for use.

Will there be IT logins for staff who don't currently have them?

All University employees will get access and will be expected to manage their own records. By exception where this is impossible, managers/HR can help, dependent on the type of input required. For example, a manager could book holiday on an employee's behalf, HR could change an address. However, these will be true exceptions. The intention is to empower employees through thorough training, including Basic IT Skills.

What is the access request process?

Access for employees and line managers is auto-provisioned. Requesting additional roles will be handled via an IT Service Desk request, with data owners acting as approvers.

Can I delegate my role?

The only role that can be delegated in the system is ‘Line Manager’. This provides the option to “delegate” the line manager function to cover short term absence of the Line Manager. If done, this should be to someone of equivalent or higher responsibility to avoid inappropriate access to information. However, for short periods of absence it is likely that any approvals required can await the line manager return, and this function will not be utilised.

Please note that to delegate effectively, there are two elements to the process: delegating the role and delegating Line Manager approvals. The role of Line Manager can be delegated separately to the approvals functionality, however, if you delegate approvals without delegating the role, then the delegate will receive approvals but will have no information on which to base decisions. Please note it is not possible to delegate the approvals functionality to more than one person, or to delegate approval of expenses. Further information on the process for requesting short-term Line Manager delegation will be provided as part of New Core training.

Existing Systems

Which systems will be decommissioned?

• Alta HR
• WCN
• SharePoint Immigration Application
• Coda
• Proactis
• Eploy
• Research Accounting System
• MyTeams
• Catfad
• Cardia
• BRAd
• CIRMS
• Pensions Payroll
• Research Data Mart
• TDMS

Will this new system link in with existing systems?

Yes. Integrated systems include Canvas, Servicenow, Gladstone, D1IM, PURE and Worktribe.

Do old systems that Fusion is replacing stop in February?

Yes, although some of them will be retained in a read-only state to ensure that we are fully compliant with GDPR.

HR - Leave

What kind of view does an employee have of absence taken?

There is an Accruals Balance screen which shows absence taken and how much is remaining.

If you want to request leave but you don't have enough left to take, will the system prevent you from requesting it?

Yes, a message will pop up to flag this and prevent you from requesting more than your leave entitlement. This will factor in approved leave that hasn't yet been taken.

If you've booked annual leave but change your mind what happens?

You can cancel or amend it.

Can absence be recorded retrospectively?

Yes - for all leave, not just for sickness.

At the moment, staff can carry over some days leave from the previous year, provided they use it within a certain time. Is this catered for in the new system?

Yes. Five days are automatically carried over. These have to be taken within 3 months.

Does the system recognise Bank Holidays and Closed Days?

Yes. The system automatically recognises Bank Holidays and Closed Days as part of absence tracking and requests.

The annual leave allocation varies depending on an employee's contract - will this be pre-populated in the system?

Yes, annual leave allocation will be tied in to an employee's working patterns and the accrued balance will be pre-populated in the system. However, there will be a one-off exercise on day 1 for employees to login and check that information such as annual leave allowance and personal details are correct.

HR - Payroll

Will New Core replace current paper payslips?

Yes. The new system will provide staff with access to their payslips via their personal dashboard.

Would a financial house, such as a bank, accept payslips that have been printed from a computer as approved documents for mortgage applications etc?

It will be possible to download and print payslips as PDFs which will be fully University of Birmingham branded as they are now, and contain all relevant fields that are on current printed payslips. Printed versions of these payslips will be accepted by banks or other areas requiring them for proof of ID.

What happens after you leave - how do you obtain payslips for previous months?

It is recommended that you save copies of payslips you think you will require. It's straightforward to do and means you have them whenever you need them.

HR - Recruitment

Will the system show where any 'bottlenecks' are in the recruitment process?

Taleo (the recruitment module of the new system) will show the full history of what transactions have been carried out in respect of a vacancy. It will also show the current status of the vacancy.

Is the idea that everyone on the shortlisting panel will go in and look at applications in the system?

Yes - individuals on the shortlisting panel can be added as 'collaborators'. Each collaborator can choose which candidates to shortlist and feed this through to the hiring manager to collate and change the status in the system.

Will hiring managers be sending interview invitations out via the system themselves now instead of HR? And will this apply to all roles?

Yes, the aim of the system is to make the same process applicable to all roles and to give hiring managers more ownership over recruitment in their own areas. In practice this shouldn't create much more work, as hiring managers are already involved in scheduling interviews by filling out a spreadsheet. The new system should save time in other ways.

At what stage in the recruitment process will unsuccessful candidates be notified?

Hiring managers will be able to select to notify unsuccessful candidates at any stage of the process, once a candidate has been assessed and once appropriate evaluations have been done on any candidate applying via redeployment.

What about referencing? Does that stay with HR?

Yes, HR will request references for both Academic roles (pre-hire) and Professional Services roles (at Onboarding)

Will offer letters sit on the system if we need to refer to them once an employee has been hired?

Offer letters will sit in an employee's personnel file and can be requested through HR.

Are honorary appointments going to be managed in this recruitment system?

No - the system can handle honorary appointments but would require some manual intervention. Also, honorary appointments are processed in different ways across the University, so the decision has been taken to put the details straight into the HR system rather than first going through Taleo.

Finance - Expenses

Is the expenses side of the system set up so that a PA can do expenses on behalf of a Director?

The recommendation is that all colleagues should be responsible for the generation of their expense reports (claims). This will reduce the level of double intervention and facilitate a speedy approval and reimbursement of those claims via a weekly payment run.

How will students enter expenses?

All students, including postgraduate students, will continue to claim expenses via the manual non-staff expenses process.

How do visiting speakers/external examiners enter expenses?

In future they will be paid as one-off suppliers or through the non-staff expenses process, similar to now.

What if an employee submits their expenses under the wrong code?

The approver will need to return the claim back to the employee with a message to let them know that the wrong code has been used, for them to resubmit the claim.

Does the receipt that accompanies a claim still need to be itemised?

Yes, the policy is still the same. The receipt will need to be attached to the claim in the system and it will need to be an itemised receipt (rather than just a credit card receipt). Scans or photographs of receipts will be accepted.

Finance - Procurement


Do the element 2 and 3 codes still need to be used?

No, these are changing. The main change is that the element 3 code is being split into two parts 1) Activity and 2) Source of Funds. This will enhance our reporting capability. An exercise has been done to map existing codes to their equivalents. This will continue to be updated up until go-live and will be shared across the University.

Who will receipt goods and services?

It is for individual Schools/Colleges to decide who will receipt invoices, but the recommendation is that the requisitioner would receipt the goods or services and Accounts Payable will then process the payment.
Goods and Services should be receipted at the point that the goods or services are received and not done retrospectively when the invoice comes in. At the point of Goods Receipting you are able to split the costs of goods or services against different charge accounts.

How will suppliers know where to send their invoice to?

New POs will provide this information. For any existing POs where invoices are still expected after go-live, the requisitioner will need to communicate separately to the supplier to send future invoices to Accounts Payable. Any that come through as per the current process will need to be forwarded onto Accounts Payable.

Worktribe

When will Worktribe be implemented?

It will be implemented in February 2019 but the costing and pricing tool is available now.

What will happen to the Pink Form?

Worktribe will replace the Pink Form completely. There will be a cutover period for projects started on the Pink Form in January. Every new submission from February will be done in Worktribe.

Will JES be updated to link in with Worktribe?

There are no current plans but it is something that UoB and other universities who use Worktribe are lobbying for. Using Worktribe ensures that there is a complete record of the project in one place, including full budget details. This makes it easier to transfer the information into JES once the project has been awarded.

Is the facility to look up salary information (in order to calculate costings) available to everyone?

No, it will be available to researchers and Research Support Services. The system generates a notification to the person whose salary has been looked at and this activity can be monitored carefully. Salary information can be requested currently via Research Finance, so this function is not new.

Is the Contracts tab in Worktribe going to replace the current contract request form (Word document)?

Yes, from February 2019, all contracts will be requested through Worktribe. The contract requested doesn't have to relate to a specific project, although it can be tied to a project retrospectively.

Training, Support, Get Involved

How can I get involved in New Core?

Academic and Professional Services staff can get involved in New Core in a number of ways:

  • Change Champions
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • Super Users
  • Town Hall Meetings
  • Training.

For more information please visit the How can I get involved? section of the New Core website or contact newcore@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

What support will be available for staff who don't regularly use a computer?

There is a dedicated New Core training team who will provide a comprehensive package of training opportunities for colleagues across the University. The team are working closely with POD and Library Services to ensure that Change Impact and Basic IT Skills training will also be available to colleagues on request.

Further information on this and further training opportunities will be available shortly via the intranet and departmental communications.

How many Super Users will there be and what is the time commitment expected of a Super User?

Ratios of Super Users to staff are still being agreed. It is anticipated that 5% of a Super User's time would be allocated to assisting colleagues. Lists of Super Users will be available on Canvas, so staff can identify their nearest resource.