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old fashioned paperboyEIS News

By Cathy Gonzalez, EIS Training/Computing Administration Manager

EIS Status Report

The Purchasing and Procurement (PPS) completed the first three training sessions of EIS eProcurement with the ePro Pilot group on March 3. Members of the Pilot Group began entering requisitions into ePro during the week of March 8. After the initial pilot period is completed, other departments will be phased into the program.  If a department is interested in being in the next group implementing ePro, please e-mail Sandy Shelton, sandy@unt.edu.

While ePro is being implemented, PPS will continue to accept paper requisitions.

PPS has established an ePro Help Desk (x2506) and an e-mail address specifically for ePro assistance (ePro@unt.edu).  In PPS, ePro Support Services includes Craig Thorp as the supervisor and Julie Lauderdale working the Help Desk. Tina Koenig, PPS Training Coordinator, is conducting the ePro training sessions.

Equipping Students with Real World Experience

While attending the Higher Education User Group – PeopleSoft (HEUG) conference in Atlanta, I attended some sessions in a track known as On Campus. Last year was the first time the HEUG conference offered this track. 

The purpose of the track is to bring together faculty who are interested in incorporating PeopleSoft into their course offerings as a way to enhance their institution’s IT programs.  Many higher education institutions recognize the value of integrating information technology but struggle with exactly how to integrate new, “real world” enterprise systems into their established business curricula.  Examples of such systems include human resource information systems (HRIS), financials, supply chain management (SCM), and other enterprise solutions. These systems, many of which are Web-based, represent the tools that graduates ultimately will work with in their chosen professions. Students who gain experience in working with these technologies while in college will likely possess marketable skills they can apply in their post-graduation careers.   

PeopleSoft's On Campus program is a comprehensive industry-academic partnership that helps colleges and universities integrate enterprise software into their course offerings. The program awards training and academic grants of PeopleSoft 8 enterprise management software.  PeopleSoft On Campus awarded Dakota State University (DSU) a $2.8 million grant to upgrade to PeopleSoft 8, making DSU the first institution to receive the new, Internet-based software. In the fall of 2001, DSU began implementing these Internet-enabled products, including PeopleSoft Human Capital Management, Financials, and Supply Chain Management.

PeopleSoft and Dakota State University

DUS worked closely with PeopleSoft to ensure a smooth transition to its new technology-enhanced curriculum. The first step was a commitment to ongoing faculty training on the new enterprise software. To date, DSU business information system (BIS) faculty have attended more than 60 weeks of PeopleSoft functional and technical training, providing them with a unique and outstanding faculty development resource.  To meet the challenge of continuous improvement and development, BIS faculty worked with industry-leading companies to build relevant classroom programs. The main focus was to create programs and courses with real-world technology applications, augmenting curricula with the functional and technical skill sets required in today's workplace.  These companies often extend internship offers to students.

Today, DSU offers multiple technology-based one- and three-hour courses in enterprise software. The courses cover Internet architecture, application design, installation and the fundamentals of enterprise systems and PeopleSoft. Additionally, Dakota State University is developing enterprise system software minor in Computer Information Systems.

Interestingly, Dakota State took its growing partnership with PeopleSoft a step further. A natural extension of the On Campus experience is the institution's Center for Remote Enterprise System Hosting (CRESH). Through CRESH, DSU offers other interested schools remote-hosted access to PeopleSoft's suite of applications. Institutions around the world are interested in utilizing enterprise systems in their courses, but not every school has the time or technical where-with-all to support complex systems infrastructures. At CRESH the technical infrastructure is in place, and they are developing business models and access and delivery options that schools may wish to.

"At Dakota State University, we learned first-hand that a successful, enterprise-software implementation—even for academic uses—involves a significant investment of time and resources," says President Jerald A. Tunheim.

"The implementation process—contracting, installation, training, testing, maintenance, and support—are very similar to the implementation cycles of a commercial project. But then we had to add curriculum development to the mix too! With the technical infrastructure completed, we now have a multi-year plan in place that focuses on faculty and curriculum development and the CRESH remote-access initiatives, all of which will allow us to exploit the capabilities of this new enterprise software, while offering an exciting new resource to other institutions around the country."

During the HEUG conference, I experienced great enthusiasm for PeopleSoft’s On Campus program and the camaraderie that results from alliances such as CRESH. The latest pure Internet enterprise software opens doors for remote access to applications and to new styles of teaching and learning. With the use of these technologies, industry and academia collaboration can enrich courses and provide a direct benefit to our students.