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UCPath project’s evolution discussed at UC Regents meeting

Date: 07-24-2015

UCPath, the system-wide initiative to implement a single payroll, benefits, human resources and academic personnel solution for all University of California employees, was the subject of a briefing Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at the UC Board of Regents meeting

Presenters Nathan Brostrom, UC Chief Financial Officer, and Mark Cianca, UC Deputy CIO and UCPath Program Director, explained how the project has evolved from a software implementation project to a systemwide business transformation initiative.

The original approach focused on installing the software that would support HR and payroll. Because of the differences in the way each campus and medical center performs these functions, it was quickly evident that UC locations would need to collaborate to define standard ways to do this work in order to see value from the technology. 

“The great lesson early in the lifespan of UCPath was around really focusing on a standard set of business practices and then driving to a software deployment as the finishing step,” said Cianca. More than 100 systemwide business processes were defined and approved as part of the expanded project scope.

In addition to standardized processes and new technology, UCPath will deliver a shared services center to support routine employee benefits and payroll transactions. The UCPath Center, in Riverside, CA, is already supporting UC Santa Cruz and UCLA with transactions in the legacy Payroll and Personnel System.

UC Controller and UCOP UCPath executive sponsor Peggy Arrivas outlined for regents the progress the project has made toward its first deployment. With processes and shared services in place and a significant amount of the technology built, UCPath is set to launch at the UC Office of the President later this year.

A new system-wide timeline shows how UCPath is projected to be rolled out to all UC locations by late 2017. “I think we’ve righted the ship and I’m very confident with where we are now, and where we are going forward, “ Brostrom said.

The project complexity and evolution has resulted in multiple timeline extensions and two budget increases within the past four years. The projected implementation budget of $375 million prompted many warnings about other complex projects that have not come to fruition. Regent Russell Gould stated, “This is something where we’ve changed gears dramatically in terms of how we’re approaching this project… We’re hoping the lessons learned lead us to a positive outcome.  This is a significant project, and one that was essential to do.”

Chairman Monica Lozano added, “I think we’re going to come out of this with a much better, enhanced business system to be able to gather and deliver [systemwide business] information… This transformational work is ongoing.”

 UCPath program leadership will return to the Board of Regents in early 2016 with another briefing that will include an update on the status of the UCOP deployment; and progress on the Pilot and later deployments.