Friday, March 24, 2017

OSP Information Team: Targeting Small Errors to Produce Better Big Data

Team members in the Office of Sponsored Programs are working hard and delving into what some might think of as tedious detail to ensure that users of their data can take its trustworthiness for granted.

Shenika Knox, Senior Data Analyst on OSP’s Information Team, knows a thing or two about data integrity.  She just spent months cleaning up customer tables from Oracle – thousands of records mis-classified and mis-coded customers dating back to Oracle’s adoption in 2001. 

In Sponsored Programs, these “customers” are their sponsors:  all of the entities who provide UVA with grants, such as foundations, government organizations, industries, etc.  Knox found that many customers had mistakenly been assigned to Sponsored Programs when they actually belonged to other departments. 

The upshot of having all of these extra customers in the system was that when the pre-award team set up new grants, they were faced with a massive, messy drop down list full of duplicates that took a long time to sort through and choose the correct sponsor.

“There were thousands of customers listed that belonged to other organizations, and that’s a problem, because it not only makes setting up PTAO’s difficult for us, but also, there are other University entities who are pulling this information about sponsors on research grants,” said Knox.

Knox, who has been a member of OSP for 9 years, took on the task of rectifying the situation.  With the help of teammate Nikita Mokhariwale, she set out to re-classify the records that didn’t belong, a process that involved a lot of detective work and close collaboration with UVA Enterprise Applications.

The cleanup that Knox led eliminates that time-consuming and frustrating part of the process for her colleagues, but the positive effects don’t stop there:  customer data can now be shared with confidence across the University.  ResearchNet, School of Medicine Clinical Research Improvement in Systems and Processes, and University Business Intelligence for research initiatives are just a few examples.  

Shenika Knox, Senior Data Analyst and data checking hero. 
Of her recent project to clean up thousands of mis-coded entries from Oracle, Knox said,
 “The whole time, I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel, but getting there was a challenge!
Vonda Durrer, Senior Director of Electronic Research Administration and lead on the ResearchUVA project, praised Knox and the Information Team for their work, noting that the more accurate customer tables also benefit other departments and units.

“From Student Financial Services and accounts receivable to the School of Medicine and the Office of the Vice President for Research, this is data lots of people want. We’re making sure the data they get is as accurate as possible,” Durrer said.

Next on the horizon for Knox and the Information Team is assisting with the new data visualization tool in ResearchUVA called JUICE.

“The work we do gives me insight into the business analytics that are behind the University’s effort to pull more research funds in. That’s something I’m proud to be a part of!”

Thursday, March 23, 2017

UBI User Community: Your feedback makes a good thing even better!

UVA is fortunate to have many dedicated employees who are willing to wear many hats . . . and the UBI team is fortunate to interact with many users who don’t mind wearing just one hat more. Two of those productive, multitasking individuals were recently recognized as featured users with in the UBI Community. Their experience with UBI is an inspiring one, showing how collaboration and willingness to share feedback makes everyone’s experience better. Thanks to Jessica Rafter for this piece.

Rhonda Ruff of Mountain Lake
Biological Station

It's clear that Linda Donohue of University Advancement and Rhonda Ruff of the Mountain Lake Biological Station see the work they do as something more than a function. They both want to take part, create, and make things better at the University. Their adoption of and contributions to UBI are what's making its implementation something special, something more than just a tool. By engaging with UBI and improving how we do things, they are making the University a more agile, innovative, and attuned place to work.

As an office manager at the Mountain Lake Biological Station, Rhonda Ruff performs a variety of financial reporting for the station and regularly interacts and informs faculty on those reports. Like many users, one of the first things she notes is how, thanks to system responsiveness, she can easily explore data.

However, Ruff has gone beyond just using the tool: she actively contributes to its improvement by posting to the UBI Community and providing the development team with the feedback needed to create reports and modules that deliver value to users. In fact, her question about YTD Budget Management is being worked on right now!

Ruff has shared valuable feedback on everything from future reporting requirements to how the team could better help users through more mapping of Discoverer to UBI.

Like Ruff, Linda Donohue has been a star UBI user for a while. You would never know that even she had initial apprehensions.

"I wasn't a believer at first, but now I am!" said Donohue, who has helped test UBI, engaged in the UBI Community, and continually supported her colleagues in the use of UBI.

Donohue has seen UBI changing the way she works; when she does bottom line payroll reporting, she has found it makes the process much easier.

Donohue has also served the integral role of tester, validating modules and making sure the development team gets requirements right.

The UBI team has been able to accomplish a lot just on the feedback of these two users. Imagine the possibilities if all UBI users were active with the Community, posting questions, helping colleagues, and sharing solutions they’ve found. We encourage all UBI users to check out the UBI Community
and to ask questions and share ideas.

Stay in the loop with UFirst – exciting things are coming!

Every day at UVA finds many of us dealing with change in some form or another.  There’s always change on hand or change on the horizon, and it can be hard to keep track of how these changes will affect you and your team. 

UFirst, the future-state model of HR services at UVA, will be one of the most sweeping changes UVA has experienced.   UFirst is focused on consistent, exceptional service to all customers, and will require many organizational changes in the delivery of that service.  In plain language, a change this big, with this many steps, might be a lot for many of us to keep up with!

Fortunately, there are many ways you can stay in touch with the latest news on the UFirst project:

  • Subscribe to the UFirst newsletter
  • Visit the UFirst website. It’s chock-full of information and is frequently updated.
  • Get to know your area UFirst representatives (in Finance, that’s UVAFinance HR Consultant Ashley Feero, Voice of the Customer Lynne Schwar, and Change Champion Brandi Van Ormer). These individuals are happy to answer your questions and direct you to more information!
  • Watch the UVAFinance Blog for UFirst news (all UFirst-related posts will be tagged with their own category and can be easily accessible via the menu bar on the right hand side of the blog).

And here’s some HR-related news you can use:  Mark May 9 on your calendar – that’s the date of the HR Information Fair.  You’ll be able to hear more about the talent selection process, what the implementation of Workday will mean for you, plus more information on HR services, position descriptions, and the organizational structure.

More details will follow on this event!

Do you have questions about UFirst?  Leave them in a comment below, use the anonymous online suggestion box, or contact the representatives listed above (we’re happy to help!).

From Melody's Desk

March 23, 2017

Dear Team,

It was great to spend the afternoon with the UVAFinance team at this past Friday’s First Annual Appreciative Inquiry Showcase – I enjoyed the conversation, the great food (and light-hearted competition with our Chili Cookoff ) and, most of all, the celebration of what we’ve accomplished so far, since our appreciative inquiry journey began.

Over the past year, you have participated in committees, projects, work teams, and you have done your own individual work to help move us in the direction we set out with our Mission and Vision.  I am so proud of all we have accomplished, and I hope you are, too. 

UVAFinance Mission & Vision (click to enlarge)
2016/17 Progress (click to enlarge)

I hope you got a chance to visit the posters that showcased the work done by the AI committees.  If you didn’t get a chance to take a look, or if you’d like to revisit them, go to the UVAFinance Flickr site.  They’re posted there, along with pictures from the event. 

As I mentioned on Friday, we have very ambitious goals for 2017 and forward.  Below, you can see the specifics that we have in mind for reviewing, upgrading, and improving core business practices and implementing technology to support our work.  Let me stress to you again that amid those priority areas of people, process, and technology, it’s the “people” part that is the most important.

Click images to enlarge

Without continued development of valued and high-performing teams, with members who focus on getting things done and finding solutions, we cannot be successful.  I hope you will think about how you can be a part of building a strong, engaged team that works collaboratively. 

Consider the following opportunities available to you:

We have an ambitious agenda set out for the coming year.  It will require every one of us to change our work habits and find ways to work smarter and better, which may be uncomfortable at times.  Even so, I am excited to join with you in delivering results that drive the work this great University does in education, research, and healthcare.

We are the foundation and we will enable the future.

I am proud of everything we have done and all the progress we are making to be the valued and trusted business partner that people turn to first.

PS:  I’ve recapped many of the main points from my talk on Friday here, but if you missed the event, you can view my recorded presentation here.

First Annual AI Showcase Chili Cookoff Winners

Drumroll, please!

Announcing the winners of the First Annual Appreciative Inquiry Showcase Chili Cookoff!

Best Red Chili – Chili #8, Red Meat Chili, prepared by Nicole Ferretti

Best Green Chili – Chili #4, White Chicken Chili, prepared by Jack Jensen

Best Vegetarian Chili – Chili # 3, Vegetarian Chili with Indian Spices, prepared by Alpana Guatam

Best Named Chili – Chili #7, Four Peppers Jalapeno Mouth, prepared by Carrie McGowan and Shannon Wampler

AND THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER CHILI, whose preparers will receive the UVAFinance Best Cook Trophy to display for the next year goes to…

Four Peppers Jalapeno Mouth prepared by
Carrie McGowan and Shannon Wampler

I hope Carrie and Shannon can come to a
shared custody arrangement for this handsome guy.

CONGRATULATIONS to all of our winners, and thanks again to everyone who participated!

Notes from the Mayor

A collection of upcoming dates, useful info, and general intelligence you need, straight from the desk of Carruthers Mayor Stacey Rittenhouse . . . just in case you deleted the email.

Save the Date for Spring Fling!  

We've chosen May 3 for this year's Spring Fling event (May 4 rain date).  Watch for more information soon.

Visitor Parking in the North Lot

Visitors are no longer required to obtain a parking pass to park in the visitor spaces in the north lot.  The signage has been changed to reflect this change.  Please inform your visitors that they will no longer need a pass to park in the north lot.   Remember that this lot is intended for internal visitors (i.e., UVA colleagues who work in other locations).  Employees who work in Carruthers should not park in these spaces; Parking and Transportation will monitor the spaces.

There is no time limit on the north lot visitor spaces, but visitor parking in the south lot still has a two-hour limit.  Please let Stacey know if you have questions (or comment below!).

Construction Update

The back bathrooms are still undergoing construction.  We expect this to be complete and the bathrooms open again within the first week of April.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Changes to the Fiscal Administrator's Meeting

If you attended the Fiscal Administrator's meeting in February, you probably noticed some changes-- one of the most notable was that instead of rows of chairs, the room was set up in round tables. This and other changes are deliberate, as we strive for ways to make the meeting more useful (and enjoyable, even!) for attendees.

The change in room setup allows attendees to interact more easily with colleagues and makes it easier for speakers to facilitate discussion when necessary for a meeting topic (such as our February discussion about change).  The ability for this group to engage in healthy discussion will be increasingly important, as we plan to continue offering more meeting topics that allow for discussion and input, such as training or communication focus groups, UBI demos, and change management.

Coffee will continue to be provided at this meeting and we plan to schedule some time during the meetings for networking and catching up with colleagues you don't see frequently.

We hope you like the new arrangement.  Please feel free to share your feedback on how we can make this meeting more engaging for you!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Don't miss your chance to be a Chili Champ!

This just in:  Due to threat of winter weather on March 14, the AI Showcase/Cookoff/Potluck has been rescheduled to Friday, March 17; same time, same place!

The 1st Annual Appreciative Inquiry Showcase and Chili Cookoff / Potluck Event is Tuesday, March 14 . . . and it is going to be epic!

The competition is heating up in the Chili Cookoff, with nine chilis competing for the prize so far:  green chili, red chili, white chicken chili, no meat chili, triple meat chili, and Tri-Farm chili, just to name a few.  

If you make a good pot of chili, sign up now and give these nine a run for their money!  The deadline to enter your signature chili in the competition is Friday, March 10.  

We also need people to sign up to bring side dishes and desserts for the potluck (everyone's a winner with the potluck, because we all get to feast!). 

Sign up for the chili cookoff and to bring side dishes here.  You can also see what everyone else is bringing at this link!

See you March 14 for great food, great posters from our committees, and lots of fun with colleagues.

Over 400 Attend First Annual Travel and Expense Expo

The First Annual Travel and Expense Expo took place on Tuesday, February 21, and it was a great success.  The Travel and Expense Team in Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services is happy to have brought UVA travelers and travel planners together with our contract vendors in the area, and to have given them a first look at the new, online expense management system rolling out this spring.

Here's a look at the event, by the numbers: 

  • Over 400 attendees, from academic units, administrative units, and the medical center
  • 29 travel-related vendors
  • 30 door prizes given away 
  • 2 Demo sessions of Chrome River, the expense management software
  • 100 + people attending each demo session
  • 4 hours of travel related fun at Newcomb Hall
  • 90% of attendees surveyed would recommend the event to a colleague

Door prizes ranged from free hotel stays and gift certificates to a Kindle Fire free airline tickets.  

Our winners were Linda Leake, Nina Pierce, Jenna Wines, Heidi Kzuch, Sarah Morgan, Julie Burns, Kerra Thurston, Wanda Weaver, Zvezdana Kish, Travis Key, Tina Rose W. Powell, Jacqueline Jarrell, Judith Talbot, Jane Clark, Carolyn Politis, Prof Macko, Steve Flower, Lindsay Grubbs, Joyce Holleran, Mark Jeter, Patrice Hayden, Minette Stroud, Mildred Dean, Winston Barham, Kelly Hogg, Louise O Rourke, Andrew Bell, Sherry Fitzgerald, Susan Chisholm, and Amanda Fortune.

Congratulations to our winners, and thank you again to our vendors, especially our Gold Sponsors: Bank of America, Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, Christopherson Business Travel, Chrome River, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. 

Whether you made it to the Expo or not, the Travel and Expense Team is happy to help you with your travel and expense questions.  Visit us here. 

See you at next year's Expo!    See more pictures from the event here.

Save the Date: UVA Forward 2017 Planned for May 25!

UVA Forward, a professional development conference, is back again this year!  Mark your calendar for May 25, 2017, once again at Darden Business School.

Building on the success of last year's conference, the UVA Forward planning committee is working hard to bring you engaging sessions and meaningful conversations facilitated by University leaders and faculty.

Put a hold on May 25 - you won't want to miss UVA Forward!
This year's theme is Building a Better University Experience.  Speakers will engage you in thinking about ideas that are shaping the employee experience, the student/faculty experience, and the patient experience at UVA.  Attendees representing schools, central administrative units, University Physicians Group and the Medical Center will have an opportunity to network with colleagues and learn concepts and strategies that can help their work contribute to building a better University experience.

Stay tuned for more information about speakers and registration -- the UVAFinance blog and will be updated frequently!

UBI Community Update for UVAFinance

The UBI team is coming to UVAFinance on March 21 from 12 pm - 1 pm for a Lunch and Learn Session.  Bring your lunch and join us in Carr 1 & 2 for a discussion of recent updates, new modules, and upcoming releases.  You'll have a chance to ask questions regarding any current reports and any obstacles encountered in UBI, and you can make suggestions on future releases.

This is a great opportunity for both seasoned UBI users and those who are beginners.  Mark your calendar and make plans to take part!