NC State and UNC at Chapel Hill have agreed to upgrade and operate financial and human resources systems in a collaboration that will increase efficiency and save money while improving the level of service to faculty and staff.
“This collaboration builds on our strong history of partnership, cooperation and trust,” said Marc Hoit, vice chancellor for information technology at NC State. “In the long run, both universities are going to benefit strongly and bring down costs.”
NC State has used Oracle’s PeopleSoft for finance and HR for a decade and is upgrading to the latest version, while UNC is just starting to use those PeopleSoft components. The partnership aims to tap the most effective and efficient methods of sharing hardware, software, resources, business operations and vendor contracts. Both campuses are investing equal resources – equipment and staffing – to launch the joint project, which is scheduled to be up and running in 2013.
The idea grew from a previous collaboration by Hoit and Larry Conrad when they served in technology posts at separate Florida universities. Now they hold the same title – vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer – at NC State and UNC, respectively. They discussed working together on a joint PeopleSoft project last year as the economic downturn hit and the opportunity for collaboration became even more compelling.
Conrad estimated undertaking the same work without NC State’s involvement would have required hiring an additional 60 to 70 employees. The joint effort will require about 30 to 40 new hires.
“By working together, we can leverage the knowledge and skills of employees on both campuses in a way that’s more efficient and significantly reduces the personnel expenses required to get the job done,” he said.
Hoit cited advantages in business continuity if either campus experienced a technology emergency.
“Since we will share development, common systems and distribution across both campuses we can have a significant improvement in our disaster recovery ability at no additional cost,” he said.
The joint work also will increase the technology purchasing power of both universities.
Joining Conrad and Hoit in leading the partnership are the top financial and human resources administrators on both campuses who will guide teams dedicated to developing common business processes and using the same tools and third-party applications.
Four task committees are exploring the collaboration possibilities for the technical infrastructure, the chart of accounts and the overall human resources and financial systems. One example of the collaboration being considered is early implementation of PeopleSoft’s eProcurement module, which includes a commodity tracking system that may help support efforts to negotiate better prices. UNC plans to begin this work next month. NC State already uses eProcurement, and that experience will help the UNC team implement the project.