IRIS Insights - Issue No. 07 - Winter 2021

Welcome to the first IRIS Insights newsletter issue of 2021!

We wanted to begin this IRIS Insights issue by first acknowledging the year we have all had. Like many of you, we are still learning how best to navigate our new normal at the University of Tennessee. As we continue to work through this process, our hope is that the information and resources we provide help at least make using the IRIS system as simple and straightforward for you as possible.

If you are a new UT employee or simply interested in reviewing any of the previous IRIS Insights issues, all past issues are archived and available on the new IRIS Help website. (The new IRIS Help website is one of the exciting 2021 initiatives highlighted in this newsletter!)

As you read through this newest IRIS Insights issue, please take advantage of the many resources included for you, and contact the IRIS Helpdesk if you have any questions about the updates or summaries provided.

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

- IRIS Administrative Support

To kick off this seventh IRIS Insights issue, we looked back at noteworthy accomplishments from the past year and compiled this list of highlights for our IRIS Administrative Support department.

Did you know that teams in the IRIS Administrative Support department provide the behind-the-scenes, technical support for other UT systems as well? If not, this visual introduction should help!

In addition to helping support the IRIS (SAPGui) system, the IRIS Web Portal, the Web SAPGui, and IRIS Mobile; the IRIS Administrative Support department also provides back-end support for the systems or services included in this graphic, all of which connect with IRIS in some way:

Throughout the last year, we all realized the importance of reliable and secure online platforms, many of which are included in the graphic above and are crucial to the University’s success. The metrics and achievements in the following list reveal a few of the projects associated with these UT systems.

IRIS Administrative Support

In the last year, the IRIS Administrative Support department researched and determined viable options for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software packages to modernize and replace the IRIS system in the coming years and took the initial steps to prepare for this new ERP project.

To continue developing a more secure infrastructure, all IRIS (SAPGui) end users upgraded to an enhanced encryption-compatible SAPGui desktop client version by the end of February 2020.

A few months later in June, all IRIS (SAPGui) users were routed through the IRIS Web Portal for single sign-on to the desktop application, in order to take advantage of two-factor authentication protocols. Both phases of this 2020 project helped ensure the IRIS system is as secure as possible and meets industry and University standards.

IRIS Customer Support Team

In 2020, the IRIS Customer Support Team logged more than 3,700 hours of Helpdesk support for IRIS, K@TE and related systems and sent more than 11,600 emails answering Helpdesk questions and requests related to these systems. The IRIS Customer Support Team also processed 6,400 work items for IRIS security authorization and user support in 2020.

Additionally, approximately 2,000 completions were recorded in the K@TE system for both live and previously recorded IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours sessions delivered virtually from March through December 2020.

With the introduction of the new UT Travel system, more than 700 UT employees registered or completed the new Concur training curricula available in the K@TE system as well.

IRIS Concur Team

The IRIS Concur Team and UT System Accounts Payable released the new UT Travel platform (Concur) in November 2020 with two new services for UT employees: “Request” and “Expense”. For more information about this project, please keep reading through this IRIS Insights issue!

IRIS Financial Team

The IRIS Financial Team enhanced existing interfaces, which connect the IRIS system to other financial systems for UT. Additional improvements were made to the cost transfer processes in the IRIS system and how vendor record updates are handled in the PaymentWorks portal.  

IRIS Human Resources Team

The IRIS HR Team deployed user experience enhancements for the Taleo Recruiting system and assisted in rolling out the Org Chart Manager system, which is now available to all UT campuses and institutes.

IRIS Payroll Team

The IRIS Payroll Team implemented new UT employee leave policy changes in the IRIS system and configured new attendance types for UT employees, as well as incorporated required tax-related changes.


The IRIS ABAP Team provided the necessary programming resources and helped to incorporate changes for a majority of the updates included in the list above.

Adding to the list above, the IRIS Customer Support Team worked throughout the past year to migrate the IRIS Help documentation and online learning content to the new SAP Enable Now platform you encounter today.

In January 2021, we released the new IRIS Help website to UT employees and announced the changes through several IRIS Users Listserv notices, all of which included links to FAQs and documentation explaining the change and what to expect with the new IRIS Help website.

The new IRIS Help website requires the standard NetID and two-factor authentication methods for UT, and this process allows for better protection of the learning content we develop and provides a more secure environment for our end users.

When you log in to the new IRIS Help website, you will notice a similar folder structure on the left-hand side of the screen that helps you navigate the different topic-based folders. The previous IRIS Help tutorial lessons are also now available in a video-based format.

If you missed any of the previous announcements or are interested in learning more about the new IRIS Help website, detailed information is available on the IRIS Administrative Support website and an introductory video is also published on the new IRIS YouTube channel.

We are excited about the opportunities provided with the new SAP Enable Now platform and look forward to announcing additional features in the future. If you have any questions about the new IRIS Help website, please contact the IRIS Helpdesk!

In response to industry trends and to fill a training gap in our current working environment brought on by the pandemic, we are working to develop online alternatives for our IRIS classes.

As a member of the IRIS Users Listserv, you received an email announcement in early February, highlighting the new online version of our “IRIS Overview” class. Previously offered in an in-person setting in the Knoxville area only, this class is now available for all UT employees to take online from wherever you are located! 

The new online IRIS Overview class consists of four individual videos that may be watched all at once or viewed individually as your time allows. The four videos are packaged as a curriculum for you in the K@TE system and, once requested, will remain on your “Completed Transcript” if you ever need a refresher. If you complete the entire curriculum by watching all four videos, you will receive one hour of training credit.  

We are working to create additional online offerings of our IRIS classes and will announce the new classes as they are available. Please stay tuned for these exciting updates!  

In the meantime, we continue to offer monthly “IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours” sessions virtually through Zoom. The IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours sessions are hosted by the same team members who manage the IRIS Helpdesk email address, and these sessions provide an opportunity for you to receive real-time assistance with any of your questions related to the IRIS system. 

Even if you do not have a specific question when you first join the Zoom session, you may think of a topic when listening to other UT employees ask their questions or learn something new from another participant.

We plan to pursue future IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours sessions related to specific topics or functionality in the IRIS system; however, we also enjoy the opportunity to offer these informal Zoom sessions. The IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours sessions are scheduled through June 2021 and registration is handled in the K@TE system.

Last, if you missed any of the previously hosted, topic-specific IRIS Helpdesk Office Hours Zoom sessions from 2020, the session recordings are now available for your review in the K@TE system. To find the recorded sessions, add “Recorded Zoom Session” in the “Search” field at the top right-hand side of the screen, as shown in the screen shot below.  

We hope you find these learning opportunities helpful in your continued use of the IRIS system! 

The recurring “IRIS Resources” feature in each IRIS Insights issue provides an opportunity to showcase the tools available to you and any UT websites or documents we recommend saving for future reference.

Since this is the first IRIS Insights issue for the new year, it seemed fitting to reiterate a few of the most important and commonly used “IRIS Resources”, all of which will help you stay up-to-date and informed of any upcoming changes.  

IRIS Administrative Support Website: While many of you probably know about and use the IRIS Administrative Support website already, it is an important website to again feature in this section. This website provides relevant “News and Announcements”; a dedicated “Getting Started” section; general “Help” information for the IRIS system; and links to other IRIS platforms, including the IRIS Web Portal, the IRIS Web SAPGui, and the new IRIS Help website. If you have not done so already, we highly recommend bookmarking this website.

IRIS Users Listserv: If you received this IRIS Insights issue by email, you are already a member of the IRIS Users Listserv; however, you may work with someone who is new to UT and has not joined our mailing list yet. The IRIS Users Listserv is important if you work with the IRIS system, as we send email announcements outlining upcoming changes to existing functionality; new reports, transactions or processes available in the IRIS system; and any upcoming, scheduled maintenance.

IRIS Maintenance Schedule: The annual “IRIS Maintenance Schedule” is another helpful document to check periodically throughout the year. As each scheduled maintenance period approaches, we send an email reminder to the IRIS Users Listserv, alerting members of any outages for the IRIS system or the IRIS Web Portal. The “IRIS Maintenance Schedule” document is always included under the “Quick Links” section of the primary IRIS Administrative Support website, too.

Archived IRIS Insights Issues: As previously mentioned, this is the seventh IRIS Insights issue, and all past issues are archived and available on the new IRIS Help website. While a few of the features included are not as relevant now, several other highlights are still helpful. (For example, an “Accessing IRIS Remotely” feature is included in the sixth issue and “Best Practices for New IRIS Users” in the fifth issue.) As an added bonus, all associated links included in these past issues are updated to reflect the new IRIS Help website pathways, and the recurring features like “IRIS Resources” and “Ask the IRIS Helpdesk” still apply today.

When drafting each IRIS Insights issue, it is always interesting to review the recent questions submitted to the IRIS Helpdesk email address, as trends often appear related to the time of year or any University-wide projects taking place.

The “Ask the IRIS Helpdesk” feature is truly inspired by the many questions we receive through the IRIS Helpdesk email address each day. As previously highlighted, the IRIS Customer Support Team sent more than 11,600 email responses in 2020 alone through the various Helpdesk email accounts we manage! If you are ever unsure of how best to move forward with an action or where to even start, ask the IRIS Helpdesk.

Question: How do I check the “Department Head” information for my funds centers in the IRIS system? Once I find this information, how is it updated?   

Answer: If this Department Head information requires updating in the IRIS system, it is easy to miss one of the most important steps to complete this process.   

To check this information for your UT department, open the ZFM_FUNDS_CENTER - Funds Center Listing report and add the applicable Department Head’s personnel number in the “Dept. Head Pers. No.” field, as shown in the screen shot below. Once you execute the report, all applicable and impacted funds centers associated with that Department Head will appear.

If this information is incorrect and needs to be updated, a “Funds Center Change Request Form” must be completed and sent to the Controller’s Office for correcting in the IRIS system.

Question: I need assistance updating my own personal information with the University. How do I change my information?

Answer: Depending on the information that requires updating, there are certain changes UT employees can make in the IRIS Web Portal. However, there is also information that must be changed through your UT campus Human Resources Office or the UT Payroll Office.

For example, if you move and need to update your “Permanent Residence” information with UT, this is a change you can make in the IRIS Web Portal by clicking on the “Employee Self-Service” tab and then choosing the “Personal Profile” link. (Whenever you make a change like this, you need to make sure that the information is entered correctly.) The “Personal Profile” page in the IRIS Web Portal is restricted with the information you can actually edit and the information that you must update with UT directly.  

As an additional example, any direct deposit or payroll information must be updated with the UT Payroll Office. If you change to a new bank and need to update this information with UT, the UT Payroll Office website includes the necessary steps to do so.

To help you tackle a few important upcoming dates and changes, please take note of the general announcements and reminders included below:

Announcement: The next monthly maintenance weekend will begin on Friday, March 12th, according to the “2021 IRIS Maintenance Schedule”. We will send an email to the IRIS Users Listserv members prior to this maintenance weekend with specific instructions and details.

Announcement: SAP has made the decision to remove the Fiori mobile application from the iOS and Android app stores. If you currently use the Fiori app to enter time worked, submit leave requests, approve time and leave, etc., we recommend moving away from the Fiori app as soon as conveniently possible. This IRIS Help document provides step-by-step instructions for creating a browser shortcut on your mobile device to easily access the IRIS Mobile platform, rather than the Fiori app.

Reminder: If you would like to opt out of receiving paper W-2 forms for the next year, you are now able to do so in the IRIS Web Portal. When logged in to the IRIS Web Portal, click on the “Employee Self-Service” tab at the top of the page and then choose the “W-2 Opt Out of Paper” link under the “Most Frequently Used” heading to opt out of receiving paper W-2 forms.

In November 2020, the University went live with the new UT Travel platform, Concur. Since that time, Concur training has been provided at every UT campus and institute, and more than 1,200 expense reports have been successfully processed in the new system.

On January 31, 2021, the University also retired the legacy TRIP – Travel Manager transaction in the IRIS system. The TRIP transaction is now available in a “Read Only” status in the IRIS system, and travel transactions must now be entered in Concur.

To continue assisting travelers and travel entry professionals in the transition to this new UT Travel platform, comprehensive training organized by role is available in the K@TE system. The Concur training is presented in a variety of formats, including previously recorded introductory and topic-specific Zoom sessions, as well as comprehensive online curricula that cover all aspects of Concur. (The Concur curricula in the K@TE system include both PDF documents and video tutorials about using Concur.)

The below list includes direct access to all of the Concur training available to you in the K@TE system and an additional Concur resources, all of which are updated as new sessions and recordings become available:

If you have any questions about using Concur, please reach out to the Concur Support Team by email at


The University’s vendor portal, PaymentWorks, went live in early 2020 and allows UT departments to handle vendor record creations and updates directly with the applicable vendors. The PaymentWorks portal is accessible through the IRIS Web Portal and under the “IRIS” tab at the top of the screen.

Since this portal launched in 2020, the IRIS Financial Team has continued to work on additional enhancements. The PaymentWorks portal is now fully integrated with the IRIS system, which means required updates are automatically loaded between the PaymentWorks portal and the IRIS system. This second phase in the project replaces the previous manual entry process for UT System Accounts Payable. 

The Accounts Payable website includes additional instructions for using this portal and information related to training opportunities in the K@TE system. Please contact Accounts Payable at for any questions.


Human Resources

For the past three years, the System Compensation Team has worked toward a comprehensive “Job Family Compensation Project” update, which was announced in 2020 and implemented in January 2021.

The updated job families – which are classifications grouped by similar types of work and required training, skills, knowledge and expertise – are outlined on the new “Job Families” page of the UT System Human Resources Compensation Project website.

A dedicated Compensation Project website is available, which includes information on the updated job families, FAQs, a “Leader Toolkit” and additional information about the project and its history. A course is also available in the K@TE system that will take you through an overview of the project.

This project impacts dates in the IRIS system. The effective date for applicable changes related to this project’s implementation was January 4, 2021. This is an important date to remember when running reports or reviewing UT employee-related changes in the IRIS system. Please refer to the Compensation Project website for additional information.

IRIS Administrative Support

600 Henley Street, Suite 412

Knoxville, TN 37996