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Cambridge Human Resource Information System (CHRIS) Project: Notice

On 21 October 2002, the Information Strategy Group authorized the establishment of a project group to investigate current personnel system (SECQUS) problems, identify high-level future requirements, and make recommendations regarding four options, which were:

  1. Do nothing;
  2. Re-engineer SECQUS;
  3. Replace SECQUS by a new HR system with data integration capabilities to other systems (including payroll);
  4. Replace SECQUS and existing payroll systems with an integrated HR/payroll system.

On 4 June 2003, the Information Strategy Group agreed that options 1 and 2 should be discarded but that further consideration be given to options 3 and 4 and that the relevant business process analyses and financial appraisals should be prepared. The Group also agreed that a Project Board should be appointed to take responsibility for the further planning of the project.

A Project Board was set up comprising Professor M. J. Daunton (in the Chair); Mr P. J. Deer, Director of the Personnel Division and Project Sponsor; Mr J. K. Milner, Director of the Management Information Services Division, Professor A. D. Cliff, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Personnel; Professor M. A. Stanley, Professor W. A. Brown, Mr A. M. Reid, Director of the Finance Division; Mr D. Harrison, Project Manager; Mr J. Kenworthy, Adviser; Mr D. Pile, Secretary.

On 22 October 2003, the Planning and Resources Committee approved a Concept Paper submitted by the Director of the Personnel Division following discussions with the Director of the Finance Division and the Director of the Management Information Services Division. The Concept Paper included the request for development funding to take forward the recommendations for a new integrated HR/Payroll system rather than for an HR system alone.

A comprehensive business process analysis was undertaken by external consultants. Thirteen workshops were conducted, supplemented by a number of interviews, to review current HR and payroll processes. The conclusions of the consultants were:

(i) Current Personnel and Payroll systems are incapable of supporting future University requirements and support current needs only at the expense of significant administrative effort.
(ii) The Resource Management strategy of the University is dependent upon regular and timely analyses of current and forecast expenditure commitments which existing Personnel systems are not equipped to provide.
(iii) The ability of the University to comply with its current and future legislative and administrative obligations in respect of Personnel matters is at significant risk.
(iv) Much of what is currently achieved is a result of the personal commitment and inventiveness of staff in implementing administrative fixes.

In July 2004, an 'Invitation to Tender' process was started and various leading software suppliers were asked to prepare a bid for the new system. In October 2004, all bids were received and the Project Board selected two vendors from a shortlist of four to proceed to the next stage - PeopleSoft and Midland HR & Payroll Solutions. The selection of the preferred vendor will be made by the end of May 2005.

The Project Board is committed to involving all interested parties in the selection of the vendor. As part of the selection process both vendors will be demonstrating their products over a number of sessions; some of which will be for specialized audiences, for example Payroll staff, and others will be of a more general nature providing an overview of the product structured to meet specific requirements of the University.

Details of the project governance, terms of reference of the Project Board, and the committee/management structures can be found on the CHRIS Project website at http://www.chris.admin.cam.ac.uk/.

The Project Manager, Mr Darcy Harrison (dh311@admin.cam.ac.uk), reports to the Project Board and to the Director of the Personnel Division.

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Cambridge University Reporter 16 February 2005
Copyright © 2005 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.