Mosaic status update

By Sheldon Smart, January 20, 2014

It has been a month and a half since McMaster launched its new finance and research post-awards system. This update will summarize the transition's progress.

Status

Mosaic, McMaster's project to replace multiple, legacy, information systems, is the largest and most profound administrative change the University has made in decades. The Mosaic team would like to extend a deep thank you for the effort you have put in so far. There are new terms, new processes and new software to learn, all of which are hard work and take time.

Before we discuss the challenges, let's take a moment to acknowledge the successes. People are processing work through the system: bills are getting paid, expenses are getting reimbursed and so on. That said, both faculty members and the administrative staff who support them have experienced some frustrations.

Before we launched, the team asked for your patience in these early months. This is the moment when both the project team and end users most need your understanding and support as we work through the transition together. Notably, the administrative staff and managers who perform financial tasks are in the throes of both learning the new system and bumping into some initial software issues, which in some cases has been slowing down their work.

As anticipated, the real-life operation of the system revealed a number of issues that didn't surface in the extensive pre-launch testing and simulations. The project team is actively working to resolve the system concerns that have surfaced, as well as continuing its training and orientation activities to help users understand the new processes. The Mosaic team appreciates the community's efforts identifying issues; these reports help us improve the system.

Together we are working through these initial challenges and appreciate the cooperation and patience being demonstrated by staff and faculty as we adjust the system.

Significant Challenges

Workflow

The addition of electronic workflow is a very important piece of functionality for McMaster; however, implementing it has been challenging. Some users have been concerned about why approval requests are routing in particular ways. There are several causes of these issues which range from outdated information in the University's pre-existing relationship data to local practices that differed from the University's standard approach. The project team is working on these issues and you can expect both back-end refinements and data clean-up over the next few months, as well as additional education materials about workflow to resolve this challenge. If you encounter what you consider to be an incorrect workflow, please file a support request using the online Mosaic Support Hotline form.

Delays Responding to Support Requests

The Mosaic Support Hotline has received more support requests than anticipated and the project team has not been able to respond as quickly as we would like. We apologize for this and are working to find ways to effectively address the backlogs and respond to calls and emails in a timelier manner. The team has established a tiered support process. When possible, hotline staff resolve issues immediately, but in most cases issues must be referred to designated "super users" or other subject matter experts. It may take several days for that second level of support to respond, longer in the case of workflow issues.

This is Mosaic's first launch. The team will use the lessons learned from this experience to revise our support plan and support resourcing to enable us to be more responsive for launches of future modules.

Additional Issues

A list of known system issues, both software and process related, is available on the project website. This list will be updated weekly.

Looking forward

While the project still has many issues, both large and small, to resolve, it is important to keep a sense of perspective. The number of issues arising is typical for a deployment of a system of this size and complexity. Even while we are on the steepest part of the learning curve, many users at McMaster are successfully using the system.

As things settle down over the next few months, users will begin to see the benefits of this integrated system. Those benefits will grow as we bring on additional modules in the coming year. At the end of the day Mosaic is dedicated to giving the University the administrative tools it needs to fulfil its teaching and research mission. Again thank you for helping us in this time of transition.

Contacts
Mosaic Support Hotline form

Information regarding Mosaic support is available in the "Support" tab at http://mosaic.mcmaster.ca

Website: www.mcmaster.ca/mosaic

Support email: mosaichelp@mcmaster.ca

General email: mosaic@mcmaster.ca