Alternative Software RFP-ITQ

As you are aware, NEOnet has been working closely with MC•OECN staff on a “requirements-based”, competitive process to finding a state-of-the-art systems alternative to USAS/USPS.  As clearly stated in our Request for Partnership-Intent to Qualify (RFP-ITQ) that we issued on 06/09/2015, we are seeking not only a software systems provider, but a true vendor partner who is committed to investing in the State’s effort to help promote and implement the selected software in progressive waves of Ohio school districts.  If you want the full details of the RFP-ITQ, you can find it on the MC•OECN website at http://www.mcoecn.org/erp/ .

In response to our RFP-ITQ, five compliant vendor responses were received and evaluated by a committee of representatives from 13 ITCs.  Using pre-defined qualitative and cost criteria during our “Phase 1” evaluation, the ITC committee pared down the number of viable responses to 3 vendors (in no particular order):

  • SunGard (eFinancePlus)

  • Weidenhammer (alio)

  • McGladrey (Microsoft Dynamics AX)

We are now beginning our “Phase 2” evaluation and that is why I am contacting you via this email letter. 

During the Phase 2 evaluation process, we will be conducting a day-long software demonstration for each vendor where the vendor will be required to show how their “out-of-box” software can perform critical business processes that we provide to them ahead of time.  We call these critical business processes “Use Case scenarios” and they contain step-by-step instructions describing each step that the vendor must show (e.g. Demonstrate how to reverse a previously posted journal voucher).  Each vendor will be required to perform the same set of Use Case scenarios so that we can objectively evaluate their software products using the same set of requirements criteria.

We will be conducting these software demonstrations during the first week in November, specifically from 9:00-3:00 on Wednesday, November 4 through Friday, November 6.  While the software demonstrations will be conducted in a facility in Columbus, NEOnet will be hosting a live feed video of the software presentation and associated software screen projection at their offices.  We are asking for selected representative volunteers to participate from interested school districts.

Our primary requirements are that participating district representatives must be very familiar with current fiscal and HR/payroll business processes, be software “conversant”, AND be able to attend all 3 days of demonstrations.  Responsibilities will include viewing the presentations, formulating questions, and ranking the potential effectiveness of the 3 vendor systems.

Please send us your nominees for participation if your school district is potentially interested in eventually replacing USAS/USPS.  Space at our facility is somewhat limited, so we may have to select a representative mix of nominees from interested school districts.  Submit you nominee names to gdovin[at]neonet[dot]org by September 25.

Again, additional information is available at http://www.mcoecn.org/erp/ or feel free to contact me directly at 330.926.3902 with any comments or questions.

Sincerely;

Matthew Gdovin

Executive Director, NEOnet

 

USAS and USPS Rewrite News

For the past several years, the State Software Development Team (SSDT) has been diligently plugging away at the tremendously important and un-imaginably huge USAS and USPS rewrite projects.  To put the system’s importance and size into perspective, it currently processes on an annual basis 2.23 million paychecks and 17.45 billion dollars in expenses.  It is also used to collect 1.8 million dollars in fees and maintains data for 3,580 buildings and more than 85,500 teachers and administrators. 

SSDT is very confident that the rewrites will be rolled out this fiscal year.  At the OEDSA conference 9/16, Dave Smith, Director of Programming Services at SSDT stated “I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the state software redesigns will be production ready in the spring of 2016”.  By the end of calendar year 2015 SSDT plans to release a preview release for districts to evaluate and provide feedback on.  If all goes well with the preview release, actual production releases will begin in the Spring of 2016.  To read Dave’s blog follow this link -Dave Smith's Blog

Dave prefers the term redesign over re-write because the new systems are completely modernized and will bear very little resemblance to the current software.  The goals of the redesign have been to first reproduce the existing functionality and then to improve performance and furnish cloud capability.  Dave highlighted some of the new features we can expect when the software is rolled out. 

The redesign will not only look completely different, it will contain many new features.  First and foremost will be that the system will be a modern user friendly one.  No more navigating menus with keystrokes and manipulating green screens with F1-F12 keys.  Point and click on drop down menus functionality will be the new norm.  The system will be personalized to the needs of each individual district in that only the components or modules desired will need to be installed saving time and space.  For example if you only wish to use USAS and not USPS you would only install USAS.  All data elements will now be exportable in a variety ways including excel.  The option to have simultaneous reporting periods running at the same time will be available to avoid processing slow-downs in payroll and accounts payable at month ends.  The system will also have active directory access capability and because of its modern design be much easier to integrate third party software with.

Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project. 

 

USPS-R Public Milestone 6

The next public milestone release of USPS-R is now available. This milestone contains a significant number of improvements and new features. Much of the user interface has been rewritten and is considerably more dynamic in nature. You can find information about this milestone release on the SSDT's Wiki at: https://wiki.ssdt-ohio.org/x/B4HOAQ

Any ITC personnel, or other interested parties, are welcome to download the software kit and assist in evaluating this milestone release.  One additional technical change applies to this milestone. This is the first SSDT milestone that now requires java 8. You must download and install the java 8 runtime environment prior to executing USPS-R milestone 6. This information is also detailed on the milestone 6 wiki page.

 

Kiosk Link

The Kiosk is up and running but, you may need to update your bookmarks or hyperlinks to access it.  Please make sure that you are now using https://kiosk.mcoecn.org  as your new address to access the Kiosk.  The NEOnet webpage Kiosk links have been updated by the Fiscal Team and are working properly.  Feel free to contact us if you need assistance.

 

5 Year Forecast Submissions

Reporting period P for 5 Year Forecast submission is expected to open up October 1st and run through October 31st.   

Any district that does not have a forecast submitted and processed before November 1 will be considered to have missed the statutory deadline. 

As you know, each forecast consists of two parts – the financials (QF) and the notes/assumptions (QN) and your EMIS forecast submission must contain both.  The submission method has evolved from submission via EMISFF in Reflections to submission via EMISFFE on the web.  EMISFFE is much easier to use but still has a limitation when it comes to the Notes/Assumptions submission.  Because the program converts the files into flat files most of the formatting is lost and the notes end up looking like one continuous paragraph.  The notes do however appear directly below the 5 Year Forecast on ODE’s website when the district is queried for. 

If you would rather see a pdf image of your notes on ODE’s website there is another submission option for notes.  In previous years Sonja Hunter received forecast notes however, she no longer works for ODE and files should now be e-mailed to shonta.cade[at]education.ohio[dot]gov.  ODE announced this change May 26th of this year.  The notes should be converted to a PDF document and must have the following naming convention: District_Name-IRN where all parts of the district’s name are separated with an underscore, followed by a dash, then the six-digit IRN.   For example, Newton Falls Exempted Village School District would be named Newton_Falls-045567 and Newton Local would be Newton-048637.

Please note that when the notes are submitted in pdf format to ODE, they will not appear directly below the Financial Forecast when the district is queried for.  Instead, a link is posted that the user needs to copy and then follow to get to the pdf version. 

Community schools should not submit forecasts through EMIS.  Instead, the five-year forecast must be reviewed and approved by the school’s governing authority then submitted to the Office of Community Schools in Excel format by the October 31st deadline.  Community school five-year forecast submissions and/or questions should be directed to Mary.Cotton[at]education.ohio[dot]gov.

NEOnet will continue to submit forecasts for you if you wish.  Please email the fiscal team your forecast and notes at fiscal[at]neonet[dot]org as soon as your forecast is ready for submission. 

 

Reminders

October 2nd, USPS Roundtable @ 9:00

October 16th, USAS Roundtable @ 9:00

October 20th, Fiscal Open Lab – All Day by Appointment

October 21st, Treasurers Operating Committee Meeting @12:00

October 23rd, 5 County OASBO Meeting @ 12:00

 

 

September
2015
Fiscal Update