Modern sculpture with red-orange foliage in background on Stanford Law School campus

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 featuring the development 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. (Page updated: May 31, 2024.)

The vision for the future

Stanford’s current budgeting system, Tidemark, no longer meets the institution’s needs. As a result, 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.
Diagram showing stages of CPB project labeled with fiscal years

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
    • Led by PA and UBO, implementation workgroups comprising staff from 20 schools/units across Stanford were formed in October 2023 to give direct input to the system design/build and test base functionality.
    • 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).
  • Future: Includes Phase 2 of implementation, with planned functionality to include Budget Proposals and Long-Range Planning.

Preparing for CPB Launch - Phased Rollout

CPB rollout plan Phase 1A showing timeline of CPB budget deliverables and readiness events, including training

Tidemark will sunset on Sept. 29, 2024, and CPB will launch in October 2024, with a phased rollout approach to accommodate the development of budgeting modules and to align with Stanford’s budget cycle.

Budget activities 

  • Budget staff continue using the Tidemark system for monthly actuals and for FY24 year-end close activities.
  • The FY25 Booked Budget will be the final item built in Tidemark.
  • FY24 Year-End Variance will be completed in the CPB system.

Readiness and training

To ensure all users feel ready to use the new system, timely comprehensive training and support aligned with annual budgeting activities will be provided by the CPB project team to staff before, during, and after launch, as detailed below. Budget officers and their delegates, designated as CPB Change Leaders, will also be communicating to their schools/units about additional CPB support and resources customized to their unit’s specific budgeting needs and processes.

Note: All trainings mentioned refer to live instructor-led sessions that will be recorded; support resources will include open labs, user guides for CPB’s in-application Guided Learning, and support requests.

Time Frame & Budget Activities CPB Rollout Activities - Phase 1A
June-August 2024
Booked budget for FY25: No change; last booked budget in Tidemark. (Teams will use Tidemark to run reports and close their FY24 books.)
  • June-August: Launch readiness sessions, starting with a CPB preview at the end of June, will provide an overview of the system to all finance staff involved in planning and budgeting (budget officers, finance directors/managers, finance analysts) and demos of key CPB capabilities. Some units may have special deep-dive sessions depending on specific implementation/needs with the tool.
  • Mid-July: Core functionality testing opportunities available for users interested in supporting system readiness to familiarize themselves with CPB before launch. Stay tuned; budget officers will inform their schools/units of testing sessions when they are available.

September 2024
Budget data migrated out of Tidemark after the Aug. 15 Booked Budget deadline.

Tidemark retires on Sept. 29!
  • Available in CPB: Analysis and reporting functionality; tools for staff to begin exploring new CPB features/functionality, including Smart View-Excel Integration.
  • In-app training: Guided Learning (CPB's on-screen step-by-step instructions) will help users navigate the new system as functionality is released.
  • Targeted training - Year-End Variance analysis: Training on the new CPB reporting features/functionality for conducting YE variance analyses.
  • Broad training - CPB Reporting process: Training to prepare those who run Tidemark reports to run similar reports in CPB and to provide new drill-to-OBI functionality for transactional-level detail.

October 2024
Endowment training for FY24.

Targeted training - Endowment Management: Training for those who rely on the endowment modules to forecast payout scenarios for their budgeting.

Readiness for FY26 budget cycle - Stay tuned for more details about Phase 1B.

  • December-January 2025: Pooled PTA Training for FY26 conducted in CPB. Budget Proposal for FY26: No change.
  • February 2025-April 2025: Budget Plan for FY26 conducted in CPB.
  • May-September 2025: Booked Budget for FY26 conducted in CPB.
  • September-October 2025: Year-End Variance for FY26 conducted in CPB.

Get ready for CPB

While the CPB project team and implementation workgroups continue to build out system functionality during Phase 1A, here are opportunities for you to prepare yourself and your department for CPB.

All budgeting staff are invited to:

  • Examine current 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 so they can bring this to the CPB project team or implementation workgroup.
  • Attend rollout events starting in June and access resources once they are announced; see details in rollout plan above.
    • Core functionality testing in July: The project team will reach out through budget officers to invite department budgeting staff to learn about the system build and participate in core functionality testing.
  • Stay tuned for further guidance from your school/unit’s budget officer during the transition from Tidemark to CPB.

In addition to the above, all CPB Change Leaders (budget officers and/or their delegates) are invited to attend:

  • Budget Officers Quarterly Meetings: The CPB project team members will provide regular updates on the Cardinal Planning & Budgeting project, including workgroup progress and the phased rollout, and host optional Q&As afterwards.
  • CPB Change Leader Community of Practice (CoP): Monthly informal forum for budget officers/delegates to learn from the CPB project team, ask questions, discuss change readiness resources, and exchange best practices about their unit-specific CPB rollout approaches.

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

CPB Phase 1A workgroups status
(Note: The above timeline shows current workgroup progress as of May 28, 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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