Stanford’s University Budget Office (UBO), in partnership with University IT (UIT), Financial Management Services (FMS), and university stakeholders, is undertaking a multi-year initiative to enhance the foundation of financial management. The project includes the launch of the new Cardinal Planning & Budgeting system and the design of new processes to support effective and efficient budget management.
The vision for the future
To kick off the project, UBO and its partners collaborated to identify a future-state solution for planning and budgeting at Stanford that supports the long-term success and mission of the institution. The team identified four priorities to guide the initiative:
- Streamline budget and planning practices to reduce manual processes, shadow systems, workarounds, and other external and burdensome steps.
- Seamlessly integrate with key systems, such as Oracle Financials and OBI, as well as tools like Microsoft Office to support flexible reporting, importing, and exporting of data.
- Create a user-friendly interface and experience that is clear, intuitive, and provides real-time visualizations.
- Support long-term planning capabilities so that users will have a tool to support strategic decision-making efforts.
Project overview: A multi-phase approach
- Fiscal Year 2023
- Discovery: UBO, alongside partners which included FMS, UIT, and five large budget units, established an understanding of high-level requirements and which tools might be the best fit to support the university’s complex needs.
- Proof of Concept and Vendor Selection: Upon determining the top finalist in a rigorous Request for Proposal (RFP) process, the team engaged in a “proof of concept” stage to test key functionality with user groups. In summer 2023, the project team successfully completed the proof of concept and selected Oracle’s Enterprise Performance Management suite (EPM). This new system will be referred to as Cardinal Planning & Budgeting (CPB).
- Fiscal Year 2024
- Phase 1A of Implementation: This phase will focus on implementing base reporting functionality and launching new, critical processes and features (e.g., continual forecasting). Transformation activities include collaborative process design, system requirements finalization, user engagement, and change management planning. This phase will complete in summer 2024, and the initial launch of Reporting, Continual Forecasting, and Endowment Planning will happen in September 2024.
- Fiscal Year 2025 will include Phase 1B of Implementation, completing the necessary functionality to launch the FY26 Budget Plan and FY26 Booked Budget in Cardinal Planning & Budgeting.
- Fiscal Year 2026 and beyond will include Phase 2 of Implementation, with planned functionality to include Budget Proposals and Long-Range Planning.
More about Phase 1A: What’s happening during FY24?
- Users continue using Tidemark for monthly actuals, year-end close, and for FY23 YE Variance activities.
- The FY25 Budget Plan and Booked Budget will be the final items built in Tidemark.
- The project team will engage budget officers to form working groups that will participate in designing and testing new functionality. Working groups during FY24 will focus on these financial processes:
- A new Continual Forecasting module that allows users to track their current-year budget versus actuals (which will be loaded daily) and update their forecast for the year directly in the system.
- Reporting and dashboarding functionality, including some ad-hoc capabilities and the ability to integrate with Excel and other MS Office applications.
- Endowment planning functionality, including the ability to immediately see updated payout calculations and to push payout forecasts into budget scenarios without requiring UBO intervention.
- Pooled PTA Mapping functionality that provides users mapping results immediately instead of having to wait for an overnight process.
How to prepare and get engaged
UBO is currently engaging with stakeholders and working groups who can provide input into the project phases; initial workgroups have been formed for the project phases and the participants have been notified. Generally, all budget staff are invited to:
- Examine local processes and data and take action now to prepare for the change, for example, cleaning up PTAs or position management data with your HR team.
- Consider which reports or dashboards they find most useful (whether in Tidemark or in other tools) and share them with the project team at @email.
- Access resources or attend information sessions once they are announced.
- Stay tuned as phase 1B requirement gathering begins in June 2024!
- Contact your budget officer for more information and how to get involved.
Starting in October, and continuing through the next two fiscal years, there will be user workgroups in which budget officers and other staff who are involved in budget activities will provide input and test system functionality. Led by implementation vendor Performance Architects and working with project team members, participants will help ensure that both the needs of their departments and the end-user experience are factored into the requirements and design of key features and functionality.
Initial workgroups have been formed for the project phases and the participants have been notified.
Participating in a workgroup includes the following components (design, build, test) and corresponding time commitments. Most workgroups typically involve a comfortably paced commitment of 15-17 hours spread across a timeframe of two to three months.
|Workgroup component||Time commitment|
|Kickoff meeting||One to two hours, Oct. 12|
|Design: Requirement/Design sessions||Two 2-hour sessions; come prepared with thoughts or examples, including workflow and authority|
|Build: Iterative build review sessions||Two 90-minute sessions|
|Test: User acceptance testing (UAT)||Two 2-hour sessions; test build, workflow, and authority|
|Test: Usability testing||One 2-hour session; ensuring user experience is considered|
|Test: End-to-end testing||One to two hours; invited to return for end-to-end testing before go-live|
Workgroup details and timeline: Early input and Phase 1A
Early Input (November 2023)
Participate in a group session to help design overall system navigation (90 minutes) and/or an individual online exercise to help evaluate the intuitiveness of the overall navigation design (30 minutes).
1. Pooled PTA Mapping (late October 2023 to early March 2024)
Ability to pool multiple PTAs to roll up to a summary level Pool PTA that supports managerial review. For example, pooling all faculty gift awards into one Pool PTA for budgeting and reporting purposes.
2. Transfers 1 (late November 2023 to early March 2024)
a) Replacement of the Transfer Administration System (TAS) that supports tracking funding commitments within and across budget units, and
b) Calculated intrafund appropriations, i.e., the provision of funding for a task when the task is owned by one organization but the award is owned by a different organization.
3. SoM Only: Clin Ops (January 2024 to mid-March 2024)
Led by SoM Dean's office; updating the Clin Ops reporting process.
4. Continual Forecasting (February 2024 to May 2024)
Ability to track and update current-year forecasts each month as actuals become available.
5. OBI Reporting Requirements (March 2024 to April 2024)
Enhancing integrations between the budgeting system and OBI, such as drilling to dashboards and transactional details. Requirement gathering only; testing will take place during Phase 1B when reports have been built out.
6. Endowment (Mid-April 2024 to mid-June 2024)
Planning for additions to/withdrawals from endowment principal with resulting endowment payout calculations for use in forecast and budget scenarios.
Workgroup details and timeline: Phase 1B
7. Workforce Planning (mid-June 2024 to mid-October 2024)
Ability to forecast, budget and track actual salaries by person and by PTA, or to do the same at higher-level detail such as expenditure type.
8. Revenue & Expenses (Budget Plan/Booked Budget) (mid-June 2024 to mid-October 2024)
Ability to efficiently build general revenue and non-salary forecasts and budgets using various seeding methods, calculations, and direct entry.
9. Transfers 2 (September 2024 to early December 2024)
a) Creation, budgeting, and tracking of funding allocations - commitments typically made by Dean/VP offices to support budgets of departments and programs, and
b) Forecasting, budgeting, and tracking fund transfers internal to a given organization, such as the transfer of restricted funds to support the Operating Budget.
10. SoM Only: SoM Budget Template (mid-October 2024 to mid-November 2024)
Led by SoM Dean's office; transitioning SoM Excel budget templates into Excel-based Smart View workbooks that are directly connected to EPM, enabling efficiencies and linked reporting capabilities.
11. Variance Reporting/Dashboards/Drill to OBI (mid-November 2024 to mid-January 2025)
Using Oracle Narrative Reporting functionality to write and review variance narratives at all levels of the university, with associated EPM and OBI dashboards and reports to help investigate variances.