All four of the current University of Wisconsin System IT projects are on schedule and on budget, according to a project update by the Legislature’s IT committee leaders.
Members of the UW System IT project appeared before the Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology Wednesday to give the update. Two of the administrative projects — at UW-La Crosse and UW-Stout — had been completed since the last update in October.
UW System spokesperson David Giroux said the project is neither a single computer project nor a single contract, but rather an attempt to upgrade and replace hundreds of separate computer systems that go with payrolls, benefits and human resources at all UW System institutions.
The new payroll system replaced a 35-year-old system that posed risks due to its outdated technology. The upgrade is expected to serve institutions and employees for decades to come.
“I can tell you what it’s not: it’s not simple. … It’s a massive effort,” Giroux said.
At the hearing, Tom Anderes, senior vice president for Administration and Fiscal Affairs for the UW System, updated legislators on the four main projects the UW System is currently undertaking.
One is an administrative project at UW-Eau Claire that is similar to the ones completed at UW-La Crosse and UW-Stout. It would allow students to access financial aid, advising and admissions information more easily and should be completed fall 2010.
The second project is an identity access management program for all UW institutions. The program would provide the system with an efficient and secure way to maintain identities and access campus resources for hundreds of thousands of identity records. Anderes said it should be completed this summer.
A system to replace the current annual budget system, including the payroll system used by all UW institutions is the third project the IT team is working on. Phase one of the project, including planning and replacement of the cycle connected to the human resources system, should be completed in June 2011.
The replacement of the HR system, including benefits and payroll processes, is the fourth project and should be completed in June 2012.
The HR system project, previously stirred by controversy after the company contracted to put it in place, came under review due to accounting and financial misstatements over a period of several years.
HRS project member Al Crist said with the new system, employees would have more self-service. Faculty at UW System institutions would have more access to information and would be able to manage their fringe benefits.
UW institutions currently rely on around 700 individual computer programs running independently of the master database, according to a statement from the UW System. The presence of these unconnected systems means a higher likelihood that personal information can be stolen. They do not provide a high level of reliability or accuracy, as employees often have to enter the same information numerous times.