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ASU to launch single-platform financial-management system

Workday will consolidate purchasing, planning and budgeting processes


ASU President Michael Crow

ASU President Michael M. Crow gives the opening remarks at the ASU financial-management system project kickoff Tuesday in Old Main's Carson Ballroom on the Tempe campus. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

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June 08, 2016

Arizona State University has announced the launch of Workday, a new system that will consolidate purchasing, planning and budgeting processes into a single platform for ASU’s more than $2 billion knowledge enterprise.

The project (cfo.asu.edu/fms), replacing the Advantage system and several others, will start this summer and will be operational in 2018.

ASU President Michael M. Crow said the transition reflects the progress of an institution that, when he took office 14 years ago, handled revenue at a quarter of the current level, half of which came from the state.

“It comes at a moment in our history that couldn’t be better in the sense that we are a rapidly evolving institution,” Crow said during the launch event Tuesday. “What I want is a financial-management system that is reflective of who and what we are and who and how we operate.”

Crow emphasized that, as the state has reduced its financial support for the university over the years, ASU must adjust other aspects of its relationship with the state, pulling further away from the misperception of the university as a traditional state agency.

“We are a servant of the people operating as a public enterprise,” he said.

ASU has earned national acclaim for transforming how education is delivered — including technological advancements and studies across disciplines — as well as for upending decades of conventional wisdom and focusing on expanding access to education rather than elite acceptance rates. Now the university is revamping its financial infrastructure to mirror that adaptability.

The new system consolidates multiple financial platforms into one and takes advantage of cloud storage and mobile apps to modernize accounting across five metropolitan Phoenix campuses and centers that span from California to Washington, D.C.

“We have opportunities to be flexible and innovative and nimble, and that’s what Dr. Crow is really challenging us to do,” said Morgan Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. “That’s where our future is; that’s how we at Arizona State University, the New American University, are going to be successful.”

This project will be staffed and managed by Financial Services, the University Technology office, Purchasing, the Office of Planning and Budget, Knowledge Enterprise Development, and various other subject-matter experts across campus.

“I’m also hoping this financial-management system can allow you all to act with an increased level of teamwork,” said Crow. “This system should allow us to have ways in which we can interact, ways in which we can communicate, ways to have early alerts, ways to team on solutions, ways to surge to certain problems.”

The system was selected several months ago after an extensive evaluation process that sought the best solution for a range of financial-management needs. Though previous programs were functional, vendor support had dwindled and finding staff with skills for outdated systems was becoming harder.

For those who will be using the new system, there will be in-person training and online learning resources to ensure everyone is ready the moment the new system is live.

Processes currently managed in Advantage, SunRise and STAR will be updated by this transition.

The PeopleSoft Student and Human Resources systems will not be affected by the change, and neither will the University’s P-Card and MyASU Trip processes.

For a preview of the system and what it looks like, visit the www.workday.com.

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