By Christa Chen, HR IT Projects Supervisor, Office of Information Technology, UC Irvine. In a tale of shared services done right, UC Hastings College of the Law is the latest to adopt UC Irvine’s Time Reporting System (TRS).
The project took root at a meeting in February 2015, organized by UC CIO Tom Andriola, to bring together UC shared services owners so they could discuss the challenges of shared services and decipher the secrets for success.
At the meeting, UC Hastings’ then-CIO Jake Hornsby heard about TRS from UCI Assistant CIO Kian Colestock and immediately thought UC Hastings should consider it rather than buying or building its own. Certainly TRS is an affordable option compared to vendor solutions, in part because it already is configured to work within the UC environment.
Controller Deborah Tran said what really sold UC Hastings on TRS were intangible benefits – things like helping employees more accurately account for their time, getting UC Hastings ready for UCPath (a new payroll system) adoption, and being able to train supervisors on work rules.
TRS is a web-based time reporting system that collects employee work hours, gets the supervisor’s approval, and uploads work time electronically to the University’s Payroll Personnel System (PPS) or to UCPath. My team at UCI, Human Resources IT, managed the conversion, hosts the service for UC Hastings from the AWS cloud platform, and provides ongoing IT support in a software as a service model. Colestock was the project champion, from drawing up the MOU with Hastings to providing the leadership and resources to push the project through to completion.
Currently, six locations use TRS: UCI, UCLA, UCD, UCM, UCOP, and now UC Hastings. At first, we would just give the code to the campus. But we learned that it was hard to help them if there were problems and they had made changes locally. Now we are stressing a standardized code base.
Prior to the successful TRS launch in February 2017, UC Hastings was still using paper timesheets, Tran said. “I have a philosophy of continuous business improvement, and that was one workflow that had to be brought into the 21st century!” She explained that the law school’s students and faculty are extremely mobile. “With TRS, they don’t have to turn in something based on our office hours of 9:00 to 5:00.”
After an initial gap analysis, the project entailed three parts: moving to TRS, moving to a biweekly schedule, and moving to leave management in PPS. We hired a project manager dedicated to the project, and UC Hastings helped cover the costs. A commitment to collaboration really defined the project, and actually three locations participated: UCI, UC Hastings, and UCOP. The team at UCOP really went the extra mile to help build the integration between TRS and UC Hastings’ PPS instance, convert Hastings’ monthly employees to biweekly payroll, and transition their leave management to PPS.
Andriola, an advocate of the location-led shared services model, said, “My congratulations to the whole team. It is a great example of collaboration between sites for mutual benefit, as well as a more effective way of leveraging IT investments at the University.”
Colestock added, “The project blossomed from an informal conversation into a cross UC collaboration that benefits both locations in achieving their local goals while adding new capability to the collective.”
At UCI, we are proud to have worked with UC colleagues to achieve something that helps UC Hastings as an organization and has value for individuals too. Tran said, “I think the most positive feedback we’ve seen is from our student employee population. It’s so easy for them to enter their time and submit it. There’s a very clear work flow. Students now have more time to focus on studying the law!”
For more information, visit the about TRS at UC Hastings website.