Just eight days from now, on Tuesday, Dec. 26, the
implementation of SAP business software will begin its
"go-live" stage with limited functions for university
users. Those who do time entry for hourly employees and
employees who do certain human resources-related things
will be the first to use the new system.
Then just a few days later, on Monday, Jan. 1, the
full system goes live for all Johns Hopkins employees who
will be using the new software to do parts of their work,
everything from ordering supplies to balancing books to
requesting reimbursement for business-related travel
It's a big change, and it will impact upward of 11,000
employees, many of whom have spent the past three months
taking online and in-person classroom courses.
How will the impact be felt?
"Here at Hopkins we've used legacy systems for so long
that we've become comfortable with them," said Pamela
Paulk, the health system's vice president for human
resources. "I just want to warn people to anticipate some
discomfort, but, in the long run, this system will be
easier and better. It just won't feel that way at
Charlene Hayes, vice president for human resources for
the university, echoed the challenges ahead. "It is
important for all of us to remember that 2007 will bring a
lot of change. It won't be easy."
She, like Paulk, stresses that an integrated business
software system — one that ties together areas like
finance, human resources, purchasing and sponsored projects
— will have huge long-term benefits.
"The value we realize in our new world will make all
of our efforts worth it," Hayes said. "In the meantime, it
requires patience more than anything else."
During the critical go-live period, a lot of help and
resources will be available to users, including Quick Start
guides, job aids and a special feature of the new system
called Custom Help, which allows users to access
step-by-step instructions for any transaction they need to
do in the system.
But the backbone of the support system is a command
center at Mount Washington and the nearly 400 volunteers
and HopkinsOne staff who will provide on-site support for
users on all Hopkins properties. These so-called SWAT team
members have agreed to help out by answering what questions
they can, and by knowing how to direct employees to the
right resource when they can't. The SWAT team members will
wear blue vests with gold lettering on the back, and users
can locate someone with the expertise they need by campus
location on the "Support" tab of the HopkinsOne Web site
Roger Rosenblatt, the HopkinsOne deployment project
manager, said, "We want this help to be as 'high-touch' as
possible, so we've worked hard to create a support network
that can be efficient but also flexible and responsive.
That's our goal."