February 09, 2021 by ctcLink Communications
The first set of Deployment Group 4 (DG4-A) colleges went live on ctcLink PeopleSoft on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. Welcome to the ctcLink family, Centralia College, Edmonds College, Highline College, and Wenatchee Valley College!
Success in Unprecedented Circumstances
Even under ideal circumstances, the weeks leading up to — and the weekend of — a ctcLink Go-Live are historically the most stressful of any implementation. The DG4-A deployment group colleges, SBCTC support, and ctcLink Project implementation teams were presented an imposing challenge: conduct complex preparation and go-live activities while working fully remotely.
Throughout this week, college employees will log on to their new ctcLink PeopleSoft accounts, checking their data and basic settings in Human Capital Management (HCM), Finance (FIN) and Campus Solutions (CS).
Centralia, Edmonds, Highline, and Wenatchee Valley staff are taking advantage of a two-week, post go-live WebEx available for immediate response to questions, troubleshooting, and reporting issues. Students will see their new ctcLink interface after staff have some time to acclimate to the system and conduct the post-conversion clean-up (Feb. 16 for Edmonds and Highline; Feb. 22 for Centralia and Wenatchee Valley).
Lead-Up to Go-Live
Beginning Thursday night, Feb. 4, through Sunday, Feb. 7, the Legacy team, ctcLink Project technical and functional teams—SBCTC Application Services, Data Services and Infrastructure Services, the ctcLink Support organization, and Burgundy (Amazon Web Services service provider)—all worked together around-the-clock to convert the colleges’ data from the HP Legacy system to ctcLink PeopleSoft.
Technical PMs, Chandan Goel, Bhuvana Samraj, and Venkat Gangula and their teams worked round-the-clock for three days straight (with little to no rest) leading the multiple layers of conversion and validation, partnering with Sandy Main, the SBCTC Application Services team to bring everyone back online for business by Monday morning.
Checking and re-checking before Go-Live
On Sunday afternoon, Feb. 7, college subject matter experts (SMEs)—supported by the ctcLink Project team, as well as Dani Bundy and the ctcLink Customer Support team—conducted a go-live check to validate the system.
SMEs and pillar leads representing student services, financial aid, payroll, accounting, purchasing, human resources, and grants management (to name just a few) spent several hours validating the conversion and walking through the system to check for issues, not to mention the countless hours they have spent validating and testing the data in several cycles over the last many months.
Project managers—Carrie Powell, Centralia College; Beth Farley, Edmonds College; Patricia Daniels, Highline College; and Jason Hetterle, Wenatchee Valley College—helped guide their SMEs through the day’s validation activities. As issues were found during the validation period, they were either addressed by the ctcLink/SBCTC teams or noted as issues to be resolved in the days ahead.
The “Go or No-Go” decision process
During the Go/No-Go briefing late Sunday afternoon (during the Super Bowl), college and SBCTC PMs and leadership were presented a review of the full conversion weekend, including outcomes and issues.
Tara Keen, ctcLink Assistant Project Director and Solutions Architect; PeopleSoft pillar PMs and leads (John Henry Whatley, Campus Solutions; Sanjiv Bhagat, Human Capital Management; Christyanna Dawson, Finance; Charles Velasquez, Student Financials; and Stephanie Casino, Financial Aid), and technical lead, Chandan Goel, shared results of the validation session, any issues encountered, how they were corrected and those still outstanding.
“The security [access permissions] process was dramatically improved.” Keen said. “Local college security administrators and teams knocked it out of the park this time, making vast improvements to assigning good security roles.”
“The colleges showed a lot of improvement from the recent dry run to this weekend’s conversion,” Whatley said. “We saw a 99.96% accuracy rate from Centralia. That’s only 10 errors in 310,000 files. The other colleges were all at 99% accuracy, which in itself is amazing.”
It’s a Go!
Jan Yoshiwara, SBCTC Executive Director, congratulated the teams on their expertise, coordination and commitment to pull off an entirely-remote go-live. “This is the most positive ctcLink go-live meeting yet,” Yoshiwara said of her fifth such meeting.
Grant Rodeheaver, SBCTC Deputy Executive Director for Information Technology and ctcLink Project Sponsor, expressed gratitude to the ctcLink Project, ctcLink Customer Support, Legacy, Infrastructure, Data Services and Application Development teams for a successful job prepping the colleges to go live in the ctcLink system and supporting colleges all the way to the finish line. “All the hard work has really paid off,” he said.
Christy Campbell, SBCTC Chief Technology Officer-ctcLink Program, thanked the ctcLink team, Centralia, Edmonds, Highline, and Wenatchee Valley Colleges — especially their project managers and teams — for the months and months of hard work they’ve all put in to preparing for this moment. “We’ve shown great improvement since DG3,” she said, “putting us all in a better position for go-live.”
Campbell acknowledged the extraordinary leadership of the DG4-A PMs (Carrie Powell, Centralia College; Beth Farley, Edmonds College; Patricia Daniels, Highline College; and Jason Hetterle, Wenatchee Valley College), the hard work and resiliency of their ctcLink teams, the steadfast guidance of their executive sponsors (Bob Mohrbacher, Centralia; Eva Smith, Edmonds; Tim Wrye, Highline; and Reagan Bellamy, Wenatchee Valley) and the ongoing leadership and support of campus leaders (Dr. Bob Mohrbacher, Centralia College president (who also serves as the college’s executive sponsor); Dr. Amit Singh, Edmonds College president; Dr. John Mosby, Highline College president; and Dr. Jim Richardson, Wenatchee Valley College president).
College Roll Call to Go-Live
Following the review and input from SBCTC/ctcLink and college leadership, the official “Go” was determined for DG4-A.
Dr. Mohrbacher offered the analogy of buying a new house. “Now the moving truck is pulling away,” he said, “And tomorrow we are going to have a lot of boxes to unpack.” He said Centralia was enthusiastic to get started.
“One of the unanticipated outcomes is that we are now working across pillars and departments in ways we never have before. That has been a change in our culture,” Powell said. “We are grateful for the above-and-beyond support from the Project, including a few all-nighters. We are very much ready to go!”
“I know we have some work to do,” said Dr. Singh, who has been through other major implementations in his career. “But we are ready!” He acknowledged the ctcLink Support and Project teams, as well as the support of their DG4 cohort colleagues.
Farley described a much calmer and smoother day than during the dry run now that they are more familiar with identifying issues and solving issues. “We are feeling pretty good about things. We have cleaned up a lot and, thanks to the project team, are feeling confident and not overly worried,” she said. “It’s a joint effort and we are breaking down silos.”
Dr. Mosby mentioned a $10 million Banner implementation in a previous district; problematic mostly due to lack of communication and lack of transparency. “My observation is that this project hasn’t been like that,” he said. “It will give our staff and faculty the tools to be more inclusive and provide opportunity.”
Wrye, who also chairs the ctcLink Steering Committee, said everyone was feeling good about where they are, especially when compared to the dry run validation. Extending Mohrbacher’s moving truck analogy, he said, “The truck is finally here, but now we have a lot of work to do for the housewarming party when students show up.”
Daniels said the validation was much smoother today and staff had less trepidation. “Our internal meeting was positive,” she said. “We know there will be a few things to do for data entry and clean-up, but we are ready for it.”
Wenatchee Valley College
Dr. Richardson described how he walked the campus earlier that day, visiting college staff validating data and that they seemed genuinely excited. “Silos have been broken down as people have been working together in new ways,” he said. “I started in my role back in 2005 and was on the committee battling with HP. We’ve come a long way. We’re definitely a go!”
He expressed gratitude to Jason Hetterle for building and leading a great team, as well as to SBCTC for its amazing response.
Hetterle said they found a few minor things, but “We’re ready to roll!”
Seattle Colleges step to the plate
Beginning Thursday night, Feb. 18, through Sunday, Feb. 21, the SBCTC teams will work together around-the-clock to convert DG4-B data from the HP Legacy system to ctcLink PeopleSoft.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, North Seattle College, Seattle Central College, and South Seattle College will be live in ctcLink PeopleSoft on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.
ctcLink will be offline for all ctcLink colleges during DG4-B conversion weekend
ctcLink will be off-line for all colleges currently live in ctcLink from Friday, Feb. 19, at 3 p.m. until Monday, Feb. 22, at 8 a.m. to allow the newest colleges’ data to be converted into ctcLink.