Planon and a myriad of UVM’s other software programs (e.g., Peoplesoft, Kronos) must be able to “talk to one another” for data and information to be pulled into or pushed out of Planon in a useful and accurate way. Integration is a fancy way of saying this, and the magic of getting software to work well together relies on behind-the-scenes efforts by the Enterprise Technology Services department, spearheaded by the talented duo of Christian Behr and Justin Banker on UVM’s Enterprise Application Services team .
The Core Team and Planon have wrapped up the Integration Design steps this past month. All Integration Design documents have been signed off, including: Purchasing (i.e., how Planon and Peoplesoft talk back & forth about what we buy, how much we buy, our vendors, and when they are paid); Kronos/HR Payroll (i.e. how Planon and Kronos talk to each other to accurately record hourly employees’ time & attendance and to accurately capture “effort” billed against work orders. This integration also pulls in all the data about employees and students who may be users of the Planon system; and Fuel Card (i.e., how Planon will talk to the Voyager Fleet Commander credit card system so we can track fuel purchases for UVM-owned vehicles (“assets”) in the same place where vehicle operations & maintenance records are kept.
Our next big step before a real testing version of the software is available is uploading real and existing data from FAMIS. This data upload includes all floor plan drawings, property and space data, asset information, etc. (Hence, the reason that Campus Planning has been pushing departments to complete their annual space inventory in a timely fashion).
Thinking ahead to training in the fall, we are considering various methods to effectively get users on board. People have suggested a written manual, a set of “mini-manuals,” and short video tutorials linked to a website or ETS’s IT Knowledgebase. Training might include an initial series of MS Teams meetings where participants can login to Planon themselves and follow along, or perhaps regularly scheduled “drop-in help” hour each week. We know many users would like to have a “sandbox” environment to learn the new software (without risk of breaking it!) There seems to be consensus that in-person trainings inside a computer lab would not be well attended.
Lastly, looking way ahead to Phases 2 and 3 implementation of Planon, the Core team has held initial conversations with stakeholders involved in EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) functionality, Sustainability Tracking functions, and the eventual replacement of the ResLife Fixit app with Planon.
Monthly Q&A Open Forums are scheduled for June, July and August.
~The IWMS Core Implementation Team