TRIRIGA Education User Group

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Introduction and Planning Group Sessions for 2024

  • 1.  Introduction and Planning Group Sessions for 2024

    User Group Leader
    Posted Thu December 14, 2023 11:22 AM

    This will be the beginning of my 35th year, working at Northwestern University. During the time that I have worked at Northwestern, I saw Client/Server replace Mainframe transactions and processing along with the rapid proliferation of desktop computing used for anything from access to University Library materials and web-searching to spreadsheet and database creation. In just a ten-year period, I witnessed the digital preservation and cataloging of Library collections to the use of EDI for order and procurement processing. With these developments came the essential need to implement enterprise applications to support every aspect of university business; An HCM to handle staff hiring, benefits and payroll. A student-facing platform to handle course registration, student payments and financial aid. A financial system to maintain vendor information, provide desktop capabilities to staff to order products and services, a full Accounts Payable suite, an Expense module, and a Grants module to maintain critical grants and research funding and payment information. The point is, the University was soaking up and deploying tools and applications at a blistering pace to keep current with the ever evolving and emerging technology.

    During the feverish rush to systematize as many facets of university business processing as possible, users did find that there were many tasks or processes that systems did not address, and to fill these voids, users began to invest in home-grown applications and standalone IT groups to further develop and support these shadow systems. Various bolt-on applications were identified and purchased. And of course, schools and units requested customizations to existing applications to keep and support long-established and likely outdated processes long practiced at the university. Now, as many institutions and organizations edge closer to moving their applications into the cloud, all are facing the challenge of having to transform or modify the way they do business to better utilize SaaS applications where there will be little or no ability to customize the newer applications to support outmoded or unmodified business processes.

    In keeping with this trend, Facilities Management found it necessary to adopt multiple applications to address their portfolio of business and services needs such as: Parts and Inventory Management for warehouses, Key Request Management, Capital Projects, Operations and Maintenance Management, Space or location Management and Reporting, Equipment and Asset Management and Leases.

    In an effort to streamline the application support for Facilities Management, Northwestern University selected IBM-TRIRIGA as its ERP and implemented the application on version 10.8, Platform Initially going live with the Space Management module in 2017, they then implemented Capital Projects with Integrations to the Financials in 2018 and Operations and Maintenance in 2020. The first upgrade to the product came in March 2022 moving to Application 10.8 and Platform 3.8. Desiring to establish a cadence to stay current, Northwestern upgraded to Application 11.2 and Platform 4.2 in March 2023.

    Currently, I lead the team that supports the application that facilitates many of the services and processes mentioned above in IBM-TRIRIGA. While I may be new to understanding TRIRIGA, it is here where I want to share our technology story that will hopefully resonate with peer institutions and organizations that also use TRIRIGA.

    I decided to offer my hand at leading the TRIRIGA Higher Education Users Group based on my experiences at Reliability Web conferences where I found very few organizations to network with and even fewer that I could relate to since their businesses and the ways in which they use TRIRGA are vastly different than how the application is used by higher-ed institutions. I do realize that peers may use different TRIRIGA modules and in many cases may have different configurations and customizations applied to those modules we do share. However, having a forum outside of relying on consulting partners and IBM customer service managers for discussion and feedback will hopefully provide better perspective and more meaningful information given applicable use and similar needs functionally and technically.

    My goal as a leader for this group is to work with peers to:

    •          Identify areas or topics of interest shared by the group.
    •          Share best practices and relevant experience among peers.
    •          Plan for meaningful presentations that can be facilitated by group members, vendors who provide applications and services applicable to TRIRGA users and by IBM who can share TRIRIGA related information such as roadmaps, changes in services, technical developments, known issues, etc.
    •          Plan a dedicated TRIRIGA Higher Education Users Group Conference

    For those of you who work in Higher Education and are not yet a member of the TRIRIGA Education User Group, I encourage you to join the group and begin sharing your ideas, concerns and interests for open discussions and presentations. With the help of Amy and Greg, I hope to be able to add value to a much-needed group. Please always feel free to message your ideas. We would like to get 2024 off to a great start and plan/schedule a group kickoff in January and begin scheduling meetings specifically for Higher Ed Users. Please send any feedback and topic ideas to help with the kickoff before the end of December. Thank you, and best to you all during the coming Holiday Season!


    Randy Henry