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Campus News
     
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: October 20, 2003
Volume 39, Number 7

Project LINK begins finance implementation

Martinez LINKS to
new assignment

Vice Presidents Judy Jones and Julie Weaks and Project LINK Coordinator Fred Youberg recently announced that UNM Public Affairs Department Director Frank D. Martinez has assumed a two-year, special assignment as Project LINK director of communications.
“This is a role that requires a knowledge of UNM’s organizational structure and constituencies, as well as the ability to communicate effectively. Frank brings more than 25 years of experience with UNM to the assignment. His time with Public Affairs makes him especially well-suited to this position,” Jones said.
While Martinez is on special assignment, Susan Moczygemba McKinsey, director of UNM Marketing and Communications, will manage the Public Affairs Department.
Campus News inquiries should be directed to Managing Editor Laurie Mellas Ramirez and UNM News Minute and Web content inquiries to Senior Public Affairs Representative Steve Carr.
As Project LINK communications director Martinez will be a member of the Project LINK transition management team. “My initial goal is to create more awareness about Project LINK and its importance and implications for faculty and staff,” Martinez said. “This project is far-reaching and a lot bigger than most people realize. I’m looking forward to the new challenges associated with this assignment.”

A series of workshops is underway to train high-level administrators and financial personnel to introduce a new Chart of Accounts (COA) to their organizations, departments and offices as part of Project LINK’s (Linking Information Networks and Knowledge) finance implementation.

The COA rollout is an activity of the finance module’s general ledger component. Other finance module components include such areas as accounts payable, accounts receivable, approvals, purchasing, research accounting and fixed assets. “The COA rollout is an important step towards the implementation of this particular module,” says Project LINK Coordinator Fred Youberg.

Project LINK is a multi-year, institution-wide undertaking designed to update the university’s major administrative systems and services in a variety of ways expected to be beneficial to UNM faculty and staff.

“Exactly how beneficial is a question that will be answered completely over time,” Youberg says. “However, there are a few things that we can safely predict right now. LINK will allow us to move to a much more electronic workflow world. Use of paper forms will decrease; many documents will be electronically and automatically moved from office to office; electronic edits will prevent common mistakes like transposed digits in account numbers and current information about recent transactions will be available in near real time. Depending on your roles in the organization, LINK will allow you Web-based access to a variety of personal and business functions. It will provide integrated and Web-based administrative services for finance, student, financial aid, human resources and payroll functions at UNM.

“It is an evolving and developing project and we’re still defining and refining scope and budget issues,” he says. “Nevertheless, by any measure, this is a huge undertaking and the continued positive support from the university’s leadership at the highest levels underscores its importance.”

UNM has purchased software from the SCT Corp., a global information technology solutions company currently serving more than 1,300 education and 200 energy and utilities clients worldwide. “SCT Banner” is the name of its “enterprise suite” of software designed to integrate and automate the core administrative systems of educational institutions.

The finance module is scheduled to “go live” July 2004, while the student and financial aid modules will be phased in during 2005-06. Implementation schedules for Human Resources, Payroll and other Project LINK modules have not been finalized.

The COA rollout training is a key step toward meeting the finance implementation schedule in which the university will replace its current Financial Reporting System (FRS).

The COA, which includes establishing new organization codes, will streamline routing of electronic approvals and make security setup and future business reporting more efficient. For example, in addition to transactions being conducted in real time, the new COA is expected to eliminate much of the need for “shadow” tracking systems currently being used by campus departments. Decision making and transaction approvals will occur at the lowest appropriate levels, eliminating much of the need for multiple approval signatures and documents.

“The expectation is that, by the end of November, we will have an almost final draft of the new organization code structure for the university and a crosswalk of FRS accounts to the new accounting string,” says Finance Implementation Project Director Judy Cartmell.

“Overall, there is a lot of activity within the UNM Project LINK organization,” says Youberg. “Across campus and at our branch campuses, there are currently about 200 individuals working on Project LINK on a full-time, part-time or voluntary basis. Ultimately, we expect that Project LINK will impact everybody at UNM. It will be a change in culture, a change in how we do things.”

The LINK Coordinating Team provides oversight of Project LINK. In addition to Project LINK Coordinator Youberg, the team includes five project directors—Judy Cartmell, Finance; Liz Jenkins, Student; Ron Martinez, Financial Aid; Susan Carkeek, Human Resources/Payroll; and Karen Abraham, Advancement. Each of the five project managers reports directly to an Executive Sponsor on the UNM Executive Cabinet.

The team also includes leads from the three project-wide committees—Cindy Stuart, Institutional Issues; Helen Gonzales, Transition Management; and Bill Adkins, Technical Architecture. Additionally, Alecia Lavacot is the SCT project manager assigned to the project’s implementation and Dr. Laurie Schatzberg, assistant academic vice president for Management Information Systems, is representing the faculty.

For more information, visit the Project LINK website at http://link.unm.edu/ or call the Project LINK office at 277-2522.