IRIS Insights - Issue No. 08 - Fall 2021

Welcome to a new semester at the University of Tennessee and to the latest IRIS Insights newsletter issue!

This eighth IRIS Insights issue is filled with exciting announcements about future initiatives as well as resources for the IRIS system that are available to you now.

With each IRIS Insights issue, our goal is to provide you with IRIS-related tools, answer frequently asked questions, update you about new functionality, and highlight any changes to existing processes. If you are interested in reviewing any of the past IRIS Insights issues, all issues are archived and available in the “IRIS Communications” folder on the IRIS Help website.

This newest IRIS Insights issue is also your friendly reminder to ensure that anyone new in your office who accesses the IRIS system is a member of the IRIS Users Listserv. Joining the IRIS Users Listserv is the best method for staying up-to-date about everything happening with the IRIS system now and in the future.

As an example of why it is important to join the IRIS Users Listserv, members received introductory emails throughout the past few months about the planning and preparation for the DASH (Dynamic Administrative Systems for Higher Ed) project at UT. This IRIS Insights issue helps to summarize recent updates sent in a new recurring feature aptly called – “DASH Digest”. This “Dash Digest” feature for IRIS Insights provides you with additional information about this project and what to expect in the months and years ahead.

If you ever have a question about the email communications you receive or a general question about the IRIS system, please reach out to the IRIS Helpdesk by email or by submitting an online Team Dynamix ticket. We are here to assist you with your use of the IRIS system and its related platforms.

Thank you for reading this IRIS Insights issue and for all you do to support the IRIS system!

- IRIS Administrative Support

After nearly two decades of use for the IRIS system, UT is planning to implement a new system that will modernize the existing finance, human resources and payroll technology we all use today. Once implemented in the summer of 2024, the new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) cloud-based platform will replace the IRIS system.

If you are wondering why UT is pursuing this project now, this explanation should help. SAP has announced a maintenance strategy to terminate support of the platform we all know as “IRIS”. Software providers are moving the industry to cloud-based solutions instead. (The SAP platform we use at UT is not a cloud-based solution.)

Given the central role the IRIS system plays in processing all of the University’s financial, human resources and payroll activities, UT officials began planning in 2019 for the transition to a new, cloud-based ERP system.

To help distinguish this new project from the existing IRIS system, UT Finance and Administration initiated a contest in April 2021 and asked that UT employees submit their best name ideas for the new ERP system. Nearly 300 name suggestions were submitted, and an opportunity to vote on the final 10 names was provided in May. The winning name that rose to the top in the voting and selection process was “DASH – Dynamic Administrative Systems for Higher Ed”.

The selected name, “DASH”, signifies the combination of multiple higher education business functions – finance, human resources and payroll – into a single source system with expansion capabilities. DASH also symbolizes the speed and agility that a new cloud-based system will bring to UT.

In addition to selecting a name for the new ERP system, the planning and preparation continues on the DASH project. The UT System issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the DASH ERP system on September 2, 2021. Potential vendors must submit their bids by September 27th, and UT will announce a new ERP vendor decision in early December. The RFP was developed using input from 77 work sessions involving UT employees from across the UT System in the finance, human resources and payroll areas. The sessions reviewed current and reimagined future work processes.

To help you stay in-the-know with the overall DASH project, a dedicated DASH website is available now, which includes the benefits of a new cloud-based ERP system, a timeline for the DASH implementation, and the principles used to guide the University’s decisions. A DASH website targeted specifically for UT employees will also be announced in the future.

We will continue to provide updates for you about all-things DASH through the IRIS Users Listserv and in future IRIS Insights issues using this new recurring “DASH Digest” feature. If you have any questions about this project, please send an email to DASH@tennessee.edu. With all of the exciting prospects for DASH on the horizon, it is certainly an exciting time to work at UT!

While we all continue to use the IRIS system for the next few years, it is important to take advantage of the online learning opportunities available now and the new releases coming soon.

The K@TE system is your go-to resource for learning opportunities and professional development, including the pre-packaged IRIS system courses linked for you below:

The pre-packaged courses listed above consist of individual videos that may be watched all at once or viewed individually as your time allows. Additionally, once you complete each course, the course remains on your “My Completed Courses” page in the K@TE system for any future review.

If this is your first time accessing the K@TE system since the release of its upgraded design, refer to this YouTube video for an introduction! The upgraded design makes it simpler to find new learning opportunities, including those available about the IRIS system. Now, you simply need to click on the “Quick Links” icon from the redesigned Home page to then access an “IRIS Courses” icon and a complete list of available options will be presented.  

Additionally, a new “IRIS Reporting” series for IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours is currently offered by the IRIS Administrative Support department. This multi-session series is presented on a monthly basis and hosted virtually through Zoom. All registrations are handled in the K@TE system and the sessions are being recorded.

Once the remaining “IRIS Reporting” series for IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours concludes in November, we will publish all of the recordings as a pre-packaged curriculum format in the K@TE system. The first two recordings are available in the K@TE system now, and the session titles and links to the recordings are included below. We are appreciative to the participant who suggested this idea during a previous IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours session!

A new video highlighting the IRIS Web Portal and its many uses is also now available on the IRIS Customer Support YouTube channel. This video explains the tabs and pages available in the IRIS Web Portal and is an especially helpful resource for anyone who is new to UT.

This new IRIS Web Portal video joins the three other published videos about the IRIS system, all of which are linked below and available on the IRIS Customer Support YouTube channel:

Please reach out to the IRIS Helpdesk by email or by submitting an online Team Dynamix ticket if you have any questions about these available online learning opportunities, and stay tuned for future releases!

As we approach the one-year anniversary of launching Concur to serve as the University’s “UT Travel” platform this November, the UT Travel Team is excited to share recent improvements and upcoming changes to the platform.

What is New?
Accessing Concur via the IRIS Web Portal will be even easier after October 1, 2021 with the addition of a new “Travel” tab to the main navigation. (An example screen shot of this new “Travel” tab is included below.) Once available, visit the new tab to access the UT Travel platform, locate training materials and seek support. While this new access point offers great resources, you may still access the Concur platform directly at travel.tennessee.edu.

Additionally, identifying Concur “Cost Object Approvers” (COAs) just got easier with a recent update to the ZAPPS_RPT – Approver Responsibilities Report. Departmental approvers specified in the IRIS system are automatically pushed into Concur for all approval roles; however, in cases where multiple approvers are present, Concur selected the most recently added individual.

Now, not only can you clearly see who is identified as the Concur approver by the “COA” designation to the right of the approver’s NetID in ZAPPS_RPT, you can also set the COA flag by using the ZSEDEPTAUTH000 - Departmental Authorization Request transaction.

To meet the evolving travel needs of the University, the minimum amount required to submit an expense report in Concur has been removed. Previously, travelers were required to have a minimum of $10.00 included.

What Should I Know?
As individuals return to traveling for University business, our travel partners at World Travel have shared tips to assist travelers as COVID restrictions change. Review and share the recommendations available in the new Travel/Concur FAQ Knowledge Base under the “Returning to Travel” page.

The UT Travel Card Program offers travelers a way to reduce out-of-pocket spending because travel card charges automatically populate to the cardholder’s Concur profile. Please encourage your travelers to explore requesting a travel card for individual or group travel, but do plan ahead, as it takes between 10-14 business days to receive a card from the date that the two-step process is completed.

What is Coming Up?
Concur will drop support for the Internet Explorer (IE 11) Internet browser on January 1, 2022. You will not be prevented from using IE when accessing Concur, but successful use of the online platform is not guaranteed if this Internet browser is used. To help prevent any issues, please start using, and encourage travelers to use, a Concur-supported Internet browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari.

How Can I Learn More?
A comprehensive listing of all training and support offerings is also available in the new Travel/Concur FAQ Knowledge Base on the “How can I learn more about using Concur for UT travel?” topic. This page includes links to recorded sessions and a printable “UT Travel Learning Opportunities” document that provides a topic breakdown for the K@TE-based curricula and links to UT campus-focused recordings.

The UT Travel Team is launching a new training initiative to support new and returning Concur users with monthly sessions covering the basics of the “Request”, “Travel” and “Expense” modules. Additional special topic and open Q&A sessions will provide updates and support. The Accounts Payable Team is also putting the final touches on a new “UT Travel Policy” training series, which will launch this fall.

Stay tuned for additional campus communications on the various session details and when registration for these new learning opportunities is available in the K@TE system. If you have questions about any of the upcoming changes or need assistance using Concur, please do not hesitate to contact the UT Travel Team at Travel@tennessee.edu

The recurring “IRIS Resources” feature has appeared in each IRIS Insights issue since we sent the inaugural issue in 2018. Each “IRIS Resources” update provides you with helpful websites and documentation that we recommend accessing now or bookmarking for the future. 

Favorites Starter Kit: Did you know a “Favorites Starter Kit” is available for you to download and then upload for your use in the IRIS system? If you are new to UT or are not sure where to start with the many transactions and reports available in the IRIS system, the “Favorites Starter Kit” is a great time-saver and an extremely helpful resource. As an added bonus, the transactions and reports included in the “Favorites Starter Kit” were just updated in August.

DASH Website: As previously highlighted in this IRIS Insights issue, a dedicated DASH website is now available for you to access and bookmark for the future. This website includes information about the DASH implementation. A specific DASH website dedicated for UT employees will be announced in the future.

K@TE Frequently Asked Questions: The K@TE system underwent a complete redesign in July, and a new “Frequently Asked Questions” document is available to help answer your questions on a variety of topics. This new document is available for quick access within the K@TE system when you click on the “Help Resources” icon from the redesigned Home page. This document is also available on the Employee and Organizational Development website.

Concur Frequently Asked Questions: Similar to the update above, a “Frequently Asked Questions” resource about the UT Travel platform, Concur, is also available for you online. This list is updated on a regular basis and is a recommended starting point if you have any questions related to traveling for UT business purposes.

As another recurring feature for IRIS Insights, the “Ask the IRIS Helpdesk” questions and answers are inspired by the emails and online tickets sent to the IRIS Helpdesk each day.

If you ever have a question about the IRIS system or one of its related platforms, please reach out to the IRIS Helpdesk by email or by submitting an online Team Dynamix ticket.

Question: I need to generate different human resources and financial reports in the IRIS system, but I am not sure where to start. What assistance is available around this topic? 

Answer: If you are struggling with how to get started with reporting in the IRIS system, there are a multitude of resources available for you. First, an entire “Reporting” folder is available on the IRIS Help website, and this folder is organized by the various reporting topic areas. This folder also includes IRIS Help documentation about general report settings and recommendations.

In addition to all of the detailed IRIS Help documentation available about reporting, the two IRIS Help documents linked below include summarized lists of the most commonly used reports and when to use each one:  

The dedicated IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours sessions previously highlighted in this IRIS Insights issue also provide you with instructor-led overviews of various reporting features in the IRIS system, and all of the sessions are being recorded for future publication in the K@TE system.

Question: Whenever the process begins for my UT campus or institute, how do I find information about the Outside Interest Disclosure (OID) form submission and approval process? Also, what has changed for this process since the last time I submitted an OID form?

Answer: Each UT campus and institute announces the availability of the annual Outside Interest Disclosure (OID) form submission process, which means you must always wait to receive campus-specific instructions about this process and when it is available for your UT campus or institute.

To help answer questions when this process begins for your UT campus or institute, a general OID form website is available that includes instructions for UT employees submitting OID forms and supervisors or other designated approvers who must approve the OID forms. A few new features for the OID forms and processes are also highlighted below:

  • Copy Feature: If an OID form is rejected, UT employees will now have the ability to copy the previously rejected OID form. This functionality is only available if the OID form is rejected and only applies to OID forms that are submitted on or after August 1, 2021. If this new feature is used, the previous OID form’s answers are pre-populated, and the UT employee will just add or change any applicable answers before resubmitting the OID form.

  • Attachments: Attachments for OID forms may now be made on every page of the OID form – not just the first or last pages.

  • Foreign Travel: An additional update to the OID forms provides UT employees with a more restricted list of countries when asking for disclosures of any international travel completed. This question also explains that vacations and family visits are excluded.

As previously mentioned, additional information about the OID form process is forthcoming for the different UT campuses and institutes, and these announcements determine when you may submit your new OID form for this year.

An IRIS report is also available to assist UT departments in tracking OID form submissions, and the transaction is ZPR_OID_REPORT - Outside Interests Disclosure Report.

To help you keep track of important upcoming dates and changes, please take note of the two general reminders included below:

Reminder: The annual “2021 IRIS Maintenance Schedule” is published on the IRIS Administrative Support website and includes scheduled maintenance periods for the entire year. We send an email to IRIS Users Listserv members prior to all maintenance weekends with specific details.

Reminder: If you ever need to double-check an upcoming payroll date or time entry deadline for the IRIS system, monthly “Payroll Deadline” calendars are published and always available for the entire year on the IRIS Administrative Support website.

Financial

Now that we have transitioned to a new fiscal year at UT, you may still need to update your default fiscal year in the IRIS system to reflect the new fiscal year of 2022.

Please work through the instructions below to update this information:

  1. Access transaction SU3 – Maintain Own Data after logging in to the IRIS system

  2. Select the “Parameters” tab on the “Maintain User Profile” screen

  3. Scroll down the list to find “GJR – Fiscal Year” and any other value that includes a previous fiscal year (The list is in alphabetical order)

  4. Enter 2022 as the new “Parameter Value” by typing over the previous value

  5. Click “Save” at the top of the screen

Human Resources

An IRIS Users Listserv email notification sent earlier this year explained that for the fourth consecutive year, the external UT auditors issued a finding regarding the University’s failure to terminate UT employees in a timely manner. Failing to do this provides terminated UT employees with access to our critical information systems, and buildings, and can also result in overpayments.

To ensure vigilance in this critical area, monthly reports are now generated from the IRIS system that identify any late terminations. These reports are shared with Human Resources Officers and Chief Business Officers to follow-up with the UT departments in their areas and to ensure that improvements are being made.

We appreciate your efforts in this area to ensure that we do not have a repeat audit finding next year.

IRIS Administrative Support

600 Henley Street, Suite 412

Knoxville, TN 37996

iris.tennessee.edu

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