STRATUS

Towson University is modernizing, standardizing, and simplifying business processes by replacing PeopleSoft Financials with a new and modern business platform, and implementing a new budget planning system. These new business applications will be called STRATUS.

Why TU is modernizing business and financial systems 

STRATUS will provide TU with a modern business and financial experience through improved agility, streamlined processing, engaging analytics dashboards, and collaboration options. This is the first step and one piece of a long-term modernization effort. The STRATUS foundation will result in long-term financial and operational benefits for TU.

STRATUS, our cloud-based business application system, will:     

  • standardize, streamline, modernize, and integrate business processes  
  • enhance self-service functionality, and eliminate duplicate systems currently used to support manual processes  
  • provide much-needed and easy-to-create reporting capabilities, including dashboards, reports, and visual analytics 
  • improve budgeting, planning, and decision-making by offering simplified data interpretation

“ The STRATUS project advances our institutional goal of creating holistic shared systems that simplify and standardize academic and business functions while focusing on delivering superior service to our end-users. ”

Ben Lowenthal, Vice President & CFO, Administration & Finance, Towson University 

Project progress 

By pivoting to a July 2022 go-live, our STRATUS timeline now has capacity to add features, conduct comprehensive user testing and provide ample training. The go-live aligns with a new fiscal year, reducing complexity across the board. Read more about our progress and meet a core project team member in the current STRATUS project newsletter 

Timeline

STRATUS is expected to go-live in July 2022. This date change allows for additional time to add features, ensure comprehensive user testing and provide ample training. Additionally, aligning go-live with a new fiscal year reduces complexity across the board.

  • July - September 2021: Conference Room Pilot (CRP) 1
  • October - December 2021: CRP 2
  • February - April 2022: System Testing 
  • May 2022: User Testing and Validation
  • May - July 2022: Training
  • July 2022: Go-live 

How the decision was made

TU’s existing, on-premise PeopleSoft Financial systems need to be upgraded. They are more than a decade old and out of support. The complexity, cost, and lack of return on investment for the necessary upgrades prompted TU to reassess those current systems. We identified the need to replace them with a modern set of applications. 

TU used an external third-party consultant to investigate products and held internal discussions with key stakeholders from across the university. After conducting more than two years of extensive research and soliciting cross-campus input, a collective decision was made to move to the modern cloud system, Oracle Financials Cloud and Budget Planning Cloud. 

You may have heard the project referred to as "Oracle Financials Cloud." While Oracle is the vendor, the branded service is called STRATUS.   

What to expect

Information that you use will be more efficient, more interactive and easier to understand, enabling the university to make more strategic, data-based decisions.

This project includes a redesign of the university’s Chart of Accounts, implementation of new financial and budget planning systems, and foundational work on a Human Capital Management (HCM) system. Work on HCM is initially limited to functions that support the workflow and automation of the financial and budget planning systems. Once those items are completed, future efforts will turn toward completing HCM and integrating it into the STRATUS business application system. 

STRATUS will provide TU employees with:  

  • real-time access to financial data   
  • faster approvals using automated workflows 
  • more informed decision-making  
  • modernized chart of accounts 
  • self-service for university leadership, employees, and vendors
  • streamlined month- and year-end close
  • contemporary look and feel with improved digital accessibility  

Training opportunities and service-specific details will be available as the project progresses. Future information will be communicated on this webpage, in direct emails, and in TU Today posts.  

Project leadership/guidance

The project team consists of more than 60 individuals comprised of functional and technical subject matter experts (SMEs), several stakeholder groups, and campus-wide representation from TU leadership. Our experienced systems integrator is Navigator Management Partners.

Frequently asked questions

Besides offering streamlined and modernized business systems, TU employees can expect:  

  • Improved efficiency and fewer manual processes  
  • Convenience through notifications and mobile access  
  • Simplicity with reduced add-ons and workarounds  
  • Real-time information on budget availability  
  • Fewer external spreadsheets  
  • Quarterly updates providing new functionality  

The STRATUS project will have a campus-wide impact. It will be greatest for those employees using PeopleSoft to perform financial functions, such as budgeting, reporting, and procurement because those processes will be changing. Additionally, anyone traveling for university business will have a new system to submit expenses. 

The new system will not change your job responsibilities. How you accomplish them will be improved, thanks to the new STRATUS tools for processing items like travel, budgeting, procurement, and reporting. 

Yes, once STRATUS is fully functional, project work will turn towards phasing out PeopleSoft Financials. The exact timing and information will be provided as the project progresses. Eventually, PeopleSoft Financials will no longer be used. 

A benefit of STRATUS is automated workflows. To support these workflow capabilities in the new system, we need to configure basic components of Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud, such as organizational and approval structures. Work being done now will serve as a foundation for our future implementation of HCM Cloud. Most components such as benefits, compensation, talent management and payroll will remain in PeopleSoft HCM. 

As part of the STRATUS project, the Chart of Accounts is being redesigned to be a modern, flexible system for tracking financial transactions. This integrated system will support the institution’s ever-growing reporting needs and empower the university to make better financial decisions.

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