The rollout of the new SAP financial system to the departments, labs and centers will begin on August 1, Senior Vice President William R. Dickson has announced.
"In response to requests from the MIT community, we have developed an alternate approach to our earlier plans for the delivery of SAP," Mr. Dickson said in his May 28 announcement. "This approach delivers a great deal of value to departments and allows us to deliver some SAP functionality much faster than the original plan. With this new plan, we will quickly restore the lookup capabilities that were removed from EREQ last September and give the users in departments, labs and centers an opportunity to become accustomed to SAP in a more comfortable way. It also will make training easier for everyone."
Known as Rollout98, the release of the software will occur in two phases. During the initial phase starting August 1, authorized users in departments, labs and centers will be able to obtain purchase order, invoice and payment information from SAP. SAP will be available for some of the reporting activities currently done in $SumMIT and the CAO application.
Most information now received on monthly paper accounting statements will be available on-line in SAP. The electronic SAP accounting statement will include up-to-date purchasing information. Purchase order commitments will be posted when purchase orders are created, and will be liquidated when the invoices are posted. Direct costs for requisitions will be committed immediately and will be automatically liquidated by purchase orders.
In addition to the electronic accounting statement, a variety of other on-line reports will be available in SAP. Reports can be viewed on-line, printed or downloaded to the user's local workstation at any time.
A Web-based front end to SAP will be available in early June (see story below). It will provide an alternate means of getting purchase order, invoice and payment information, as well as the SAP purchase order numbers corresponding to EREQ and paper requisitions.
During Rollout98, the Institute will continue to report out of SAP--the system of record--with a backfeed to existing central "legacy" systems. However, this means that when a new account is created in one system, it will have to be replicated in the other systems. Once all departments are using SAP and supporting financial systems have been updated, this replication will be eliminated. The $SumMIT system will continue to be available until the end of Rollout98.
When the second phase of Rollout98 begins on Jan. 1, 1998, additional features of SAP will be made available. Authorized users will then be able to create requisitions and journal vouchers directly in SAP. These documents will be automatically routed to the appropriate approvers within the department, and then on to the Purchasing Office and CAO respectively. Departments will have an option of testing transactions against budget for funds availability. Authorized users will also be able to manually set aside funds for anticipated future expenditures.
The Sloan School will act as a pilot site for this additional SAP functionality.
Training for the first phase of Rollout98 will begin on August 1 and will continue through the fall. The training will take place at the Professional Learning Center (Building W89). The first phase of training consists of two half-day sessions, which may be taken the same day. "SAP Basic Skills" will be offered in the mornings and "Display and Reporting in SAP" in the afternoons. The basic skills course will be available in a self-directed, computer-based format or in a standard instructor-led class.
"By beginning with basic skills, terminology, display and reporting, we will give the community an opportunity to become comfortable with the SAP environment," said Jane White, Management Reporting trainer. "The subsequent purchasing and accounting training will build on these skills. We believe this strategy will be effective in helping staff gain confidence in using SAP."
Training on the additional SAP features to be released in the second phase of Rollout98 will begin in January 1998.
Technical and business support will be available for users of the SAP software and the Web-based front end. There will be on-line documentation at the Institute's SAP Web site and phone assistance for technical questions through the I/S help line. Purchasing (x3-7241) and Accounts Payable (x3-0965) will continue to answer purchasing and accounting business questions.
SAP ROLLOUT TO DATE
SAP became the Institute's system of record on Sept. 3, 1996. At that time, central financial offices began to use the software. For example, the Purchasing Department used SAP to create purchase orders and blanket orders. The Controller's Accounting Office entered vendor's invoices, and issued checks and travel advances in SAP. A series of new general and operating accounts were created, and the Office of Sponsored Programs created new research accounts.
Staff who would like further information about Rollout98 should contact Robert Murray, Management Reporting leader for communications, at x8-7318.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 4, 1997.