A view of Memorial Church through the columns

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 (replacing the Tidemark budgeting system that sunsets by the end of September 2024) 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 such as 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.
    • Vendor Selection and Proof of Concept: Upon deciding on Oracle’s Enterprise Performance Management suite (EPM) as the top finalist in a rigorous Request for Proposal (RFP) process, the project team selected implementation partner Performance Architects (PA) to test key functionality in a “proof of concept” process, given their previous experience with implementing EPM for several other higher education institutions. In summer 2023, they completed the proof of concept and a contract was finalized for EPM as the vendor for the new system, which was named 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. Transformation activities include collaborative process design, system requirements finalization, user engagement, and change management planning. This phase will complete in summer 2024 with the initial launch of Endowment Planning and Reporting modules in September 2024, including Clinical Operations and Year-End Variance reporting.
    • Phase 1B of implementation begins summer 2024 and carries into FY25.
  • Fiscal Year 2025 will include Phase 1B of implementation, completing the necessary functionality to launch the FY26 Budget Plan and FY26 Booked Budget in CPB, including the new functionality of continual forecasting (which will go live by autumn 2025, in time for FY26).
  • Fiscal Year 2026 and beyond will include Phase 2 of implementation, with planned functionality to include Budget Proposals and Long-Range Planning.

What's happening now in FY24?

Budget Transformation Project Phase 1A, FY24 timeline

Budget activities 

  • Budget staff continue using Tidemark for monthly actuals and for FY24 year-end close activities.
  • The FY25 Booked Budget will be the final item built in Tidemark.
  • Tidemark sunsets Sept. 29, 2024.
  • FY24 year-end variance will be completed in Cardinal Planning & Budgeting.

Readiness and training

  •  1A Core Functionality Testing: The CPB project team will invite workgroups and reach out through budget officers to invite department budgeting staff  to participate in core functionality testing in July.
  • Training: User guides for Guided Learning (CPB's on-screen step-by-step instructions) are being created to help users navigate the new CPB system as functionality is released, and the CPB project team is working on live instructor-led training for budget officers and analysts, which will be used in upcoming launch readiness sessions.
  • Budget Officers Quarterly Meetings: CPB project team members will give regular updates on the Cardinal Planning & Budgeting project, provide workgroup progress updates, share what's coming, and host optional Q&As afterwards.
  • CPB Launch Readiness Kickoff, summer 2024: This information session will introduce the new CPB system to a wide audience of financial staff and managers who handle budgeting. The session will include system demos of some of the completed modules.
  • CPB Functionality Deep-Dive Sessions: TBD, to be scheduled after the launch readiness info session. One deep-dive session will focus on year-end variance.

CPB system build progress

Implementation workgroups representing 20 schools/units, formed by invitation from their local budget officers, have been diligently designing and testing the new system’s functionality. All workgroups will participate in three core phases (Design, Build, and Test) and focus on a specific financial process. Below is a summary of current workgroup progress; see more details in the workgroups section.

How to prepare and get engaged

While UBO engages with stakeholders and implementation workgroups to provide input into the CPB system design/build, 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 you find most useful (whether in Tidemark or in other tools), and which pain points you would like to improve (including shadow systems and workarounds), and share them with your school/unit’s budget officer.
  • Access resources or attend information sessions once they are announced.
  • Stay tuned for guidance from your school/unit’s budget officer during the transition from Tidemark to CPB.

Have questions or want to get involved? Contact the CPB project team at @email.

Starting in October 2023 and continuing through the next two fiscal years, CPB implementation workgroups will engage budget officers and other staff who are involved in budget activities to provide input and test system functionality. Led by implementation vendor Performance Architects and working with CPB project team members, workgroup participants will help ensure that both the needs of their schools/units and the end-user experience are factored into the requirements and design of key features and functionality.

Workgroups have been formed for the project phases and the participants have been notified. Note: Date ranges for workgroups may be adjusted; workgroup participants should refer to their CPB workgroups microsite (only authorized participants are granted access).

Workgroup Components

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: Core functionality testing One to two hours; invited to return for core functionality testing before go-live

Workgroup details and timeline: Early input and Phase 1A

Timeline of current progress in CPB workgroups during Phase 1A, FY24
(Note: The above timeline shows current workgroup progress as of April 5, 2024.)

Early Input (November 2023 to January 2024)
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 (November 2023 to April 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 June 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 (February to June 2024)
Led by SoM Dean's office; updating the Clin Ops reporting process.

4. CPB/OBI Reporting (April to June 2024)
Covers all aspects of CPB budget reporting, including review of short-listed Tidemark reports that will be available in CPB, reports used to research variances in the YE variance process, and drill-through functionality for transaction-level detail to OBI.

5. Endowment (June to August 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

Timeline of current progress in CPB workgroups during Phase 1B, FY24

6. Workforce Planning (August to November 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.

7. Revenue & Expenses (Budget Plan/Booked Budget) (June 2024 to November 2024)
Ability to efficiently build general revenue and non-salary forecasts and budgets using various seeding methods, calculations, and direct entry.

8. Transfers 2 (October 2024 to January 2025)
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.

9. SoM Only: SoM Budget Template (November to December 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.

10. Reporting 2 (YE Variance/Dashboards) (November 2024 to February 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.

11. Continual Forecasting (March 2025)
Ability to track and update current-year forecasts each month as actuals become available.

CPB Project Phase 1B, FY25 timeline

Budget activities

  • Tidemark system sunsets Sept. 29, 2024.
  • CPB system:
    • Do FY24 year-end variance in CPB.
    • Can run daily actuals, reporting and endowment planning in CPB by Oct. 1, 2024.
    • Prepare your first budget in CPB for FY26 Budget Plan and Booked Budget.

CPB system build progress

  • CPB workgroups in Phase 1B will focus on functionality for these existing workstreams: workforce planning, revenue and expenses, budget transfers, and reporting.
  • Continual forecasting functionality will go live in autumn 2025, in time for FY26.

CPB rollout events

  • Stay tuned for more launch readiness and training events, which will be offered to ensure you are comfortable using the new system.
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