November 26, 2012
ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Central Washington University is taking a giant step forward in information technology with the launch of multiple initiatives collectively called iCAT (improving CWU Applications and Technology). The project devotes a group of consultants solely to the automation of key business systems, software enhancements that will assist the end user, and the development of a university "portal."
"By modernizing our day-to-day business processes and information, the university will ultimately increase efficiency," said CWU President James L. Gaudino, who said the project will be completed by about two-dozen consultants from CedarCrestone, a consulting, technical, and managed services firm, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, specializes in implementing Oracle systems for higher education. "We want to bring our workplace technology up to speed as quickly as we can without diverting employees from their regular work."
CedarCrestone staff will be situated on the second floor of the Brooks Library and in Bouillon Hall. Project manager Gene Shoda said iCAT will automate paper forms now used for travel, charge-credit, purchasing, timecards, and faculty workloads. Another part of the project will tackle the university's fiscal systems. Shoda said that CWU users will play an essential role in project design and development—before the technical work gets fully underway. CedarCrestone staff have already begun to analyze paper processes and to meet with CWU employees about process requirements.
"The goal is to standardize and streamline processes and procedures and, in the end, make user tasks easier and more efficient," said Shoda. "We’ll look at process requirements, best practices, and the technology available to simplify and automate work processes.
The overhaul will include the development of a university "portal," a single desktop window that allows individuals to access all campus systems and that individuals can customize for their own work or school needs.
"We already own the portal through our PeopleSoft license, we simply haven't had the time or resources to install it," said Gaudino. "The portal will be a kind of personalized gateway to information people need every day, from class schedules and financial aid accounts, to vacation balances and payroll information."
iCAT is part of a significant new user-driven approach to "enterprise systems," technology that affects information flow across campus. A new university Enterprise Team, that reports to Cabinet, will help the university ensure that systems recommended for purchase are compatible with the current and future technology needs as well as existing technology. The Enterprise Team, chaired by Director of Organizational Effectiveness Ed Day, includes a diverse group of academic and non-academic people, with an emphasis on those who understand CWU academic, student, and technology "systems."
The iCAT project is slated for completion by July 2014.
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