Effort Reporting System - Project title

By Jim Mcdonald,2014-07-01 16:16
33 views 0
Effort Reporting System - Project title

    Application for the 2008 Larry L. Sautter Award

    for Innovation in Information Technology

    University of California

University of California Effort Reporting System

Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, UCOP

    Project Web Site:



Jon Good

    Director, Information Security

    University of California Office of the President th St. 415 20

    Oakland, CA 94612

    Phone: 510-987-0518



The UC Effort Reporting System (ERS) was developed as the result of a UC

    campus collaboration to replace a 25-year old paper-based system used for

    federally-required effort certification with a modern web-based system solution

    that streamlines the effort reporting process and reduces overall risk to the


Distinguishing the Effort Reporting System from other contemporary systems

    solutions is the truly collaborative nature taken at every turn. Based on business

    risks identified by the University Controllers, five of the campuses and the Office

    of the President assumed leadership in managing and funding this project on a

    collaborative basis over a multi-year timeframe--from identification of business

    risks, establishing governance, setting scope, identifying and solving multiple

    business problems, articulating policies and requirements, identifying the

    technology strategy, developing the system and associated training, production

    planning and rollout, and ongoing enhancement of the solution.


The Effort Reporting System is the product of a strong and long-term

    collaboration involving numerous participants. Acknowledgement must include

    current and past participants in the “ERS community”, the various groups set up to oversee and guide the development of the system (see “Project Description”,


    Management Group

    Current Participants Past Participants

    Adam Cohen (Berkeley) James Hyatt (Berkeley)

    John Ellis (Berkeley) Karen Rust (Davis)

    Mike Allred (Davis) Joyce Freedman (San Francisco, Sue Abeles (Los Angeles) Berkeley)


    Management Group

    Current Participants Past Participants Matt Hull (Riverside) Ken Orgill (San Francisco) Bobbi McCracken (Riverside) Kristine Hafner (UCOP) Bruce Morgan (Riverside) Karl Heins (UCOP) Don Larson (San Diego) John Plotts (UCOP) Eric Vermillion (San Francisco)

    Jim Corkill (Santa Barbara)

    Jorge Ohy (UCOP)

    Pixie Ogren (UCOP)

    Jane Meyer (UCOP)

    Steve Hunter (UCOP)

    Jon Good (UCOP)

    Requirements Group

    Current Participants Past Participants Adam Cohen (Berkeley) Rose Katsus (Berkeley) Maryland Hastie (Berkeley) Greg Carr (Berkeley) Debra Henn (Davis) John Ellis (Berkeley) Buck Marcussen (Davis) Cathy Jen (Berkeley) James Ringo (Davis) Cynthia Kane (Berkeley) Evelyn Balabis (Los Angeles) Amy Kimball (Berkeley) Connie Brown (Los Angeles) Linda Durst (Davis) Guy Stocks (Los Angeles) Maribel Ganal (Davis) Gloria Su (Los Angeles) Larry Johnson (Davis) Tyler Clark (Santa Barbara) Lianna Anderson (Los Angeles) Monica Dunne (Santa Barbara) Rochelle Caballero (Los Angeles) Connie Feely (Santa Barbara) Maurice Taylor (Los Angeles) Ashley Clipson (San Diego) Rick Valdivia (Los Angeles) Mark Cooper (San Diego) Sandra Brierly (San Diego) Bronwen Halacy (San Diego) Dan Gilbreath (San Diego) Wendy Hom (San Francisco) Mike Anthony (San Francisco) Linda Lenox (San Francisco) Jennifer Bicket-Davis (San Francisco) Steve Hunter (UCOP) Zoanne Nelson (San Francisco) Jane Meyer (UCOP) Anne Robinson (San Francisco) Pixie Ogren (UCOP) Erica Webber (San Francisco) Jorge Ohy (UCOP)

    Jon Good (UCOP)

    Technical Advisory Group


    Adam Cohen (Berkeley, UCOP) Mojgan Amini (San Diego) Renata Ellis (Berkeley) Rick Espinosa (San Diego) Kelly Haberer (Berkeley) Lyle Kafader (San Diego)


    Technical Advisory Group


    Jeff Kreutzen (Berkeley) Beatrice Cardona (San Francisco) Jeff Makaiwi (Berkeley) Lumir Kovarcik (San Francisco) Kate Riley (Berkeley) Ed Martinek (San Francisco) Don Rutherford (Berkeley) Karen Bliman (Berkeley) Gary Thackeray (Berkeley) Judith Freed (Los Angeles) Sungsoo Yang (Berkeley) Mabel Lai (Los Angeles) Larry Johnson (Davis) Steve Hunter (UCOP) Jonathan Keller (Davis) Jon Good (UCOP) Dan Lemus (Davis)

    UCOP Project Team

    Adam Cohen (application development manager; now at Berkeley) Steve Hunter (technical lead)

    Pixie Ogren (business analyst)

    Jane Meyer (current application manager)

    Jon Good (project director)


In 2001, University Controllers identified effort reporting as a potentially

    significant compliance and financial risk to the University. Failure to properly

    record and certify effort on federally-funded research projects could result in

    disallowances of current expenses or even loss of future research funding

    opportunities. To repay the federal government for any disallowances, the

    University would have to draw on its own funds which, as an unbudgeted

    expense, would mean cuts or curtailment in other areas of the University. A then

    20-year old paper-based information system was the means by which effort

    reporting certification was captured, with many of the inherent disadvantages of

    an old paper-based system.

A Request For Proposal was issued in early 2002 seeking vendor proposals for

    software and customization services to implement an effort reporting solution

    appropriate for UC. Reacting to the high expense to address the general

    requirements ($3-5 million, excluding local implementation costs), and with no

    certainty for cost control, UC Controllers and Budget and Planning Officers

    determined the cost and associated risks of failure with the proposed commercial

    solutions was too great to pursue.

Subsequent to this decision, interested Controllers and Budget and Planning

    Officers from Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco


campuses, and UCOP, began discussion of how to proceed towards a

    replacement effort reporting solution. This was the start of the ERS Management Group. It was first agreed to develop a much more detailed requirements definition before making another buy or build decision. The Management Group’s

    vision for effort reporting included a single certification solution that all UC campuses would employ for the simple reason that to federal auditors UC is one institution (i.e., the University of California is a single audit entity for the federal A-133 audit) and a disallowance at one campus could lead to examinations and potential disallowances at other campuses. This “one UC” objective motivated

    the Management Group later on to carefully examine policy and propose revisions as necessary to insure uniformity of effort reporting across UC. (The resulting white paper, Proposed Policies Related to UC Effort Reporting,

    reflected the Management Group objective of reinforcing policy direction through revisions to existing policies.)

    The Management Group soon formally organized and, for collaboration purposes, incorporated representation from not only budget and finance, but administrative affairs, research, information technology, and audit in recognition of the roles and perspectives each has with respect to effort reporting and the need for collaboration to achieve successful implementation of a new system. In appointing the ERS Requirements Group to develop the detailed requirements, the Management Group obtained campus academic department participation, along with extramural finance, to insure that the perspective of those dealing with effort reporting at a detailed level were informing the requirements.

    UCOP was asked to provide day-to-day project management and staffing for the requirements phase as a way of achieving the greatest level of neutrality and objectivity and avoiding any perception of one campus trying to gain advantage for local methods and practices at the exclusion of other sponsor campuses.

    The Management Group demanded a comprehensive assessment of the state of effort reporting nationally and at peer institutions that had recently implemented new solutions both for informing the requirements definition process and for gauging project scope and both cultural and technical issues associated with implementing new solutions.

The ERS Management Group appointed campus representatives from

    Extramural Finance and research-intensive campus academic units to what became known as the ERS Requirements Committee to articulate the

    requirements for a new effort reporting system solution. During the course of the requirements definition process, the Management Group made decisions on solution scope as well as policy matters that might affect solution development and deployment. The Management Group set the following new system goals for the Requirements Committee to address:

    ? Online and fully distributed access

    ? Web-based interface


    ? Ability to interface with other existing enterprise systems to gather required information

    (e.g. Payroll, committed cost sharing)

    ? On line editing and edit checks

    ? Maintaining or importing campus security and access controls

    ? Distributing reports and capturing certifications electronically

    ? Providing ad hoc and management reporting capabilities

    ? Maintaining historical information and audit trail

    ? Web-based training/compliance component

At the conclusion of the requirements definition phase in late 2003, the

    requirements reflected a scope limited to effort certification. Eliminated from the requirements that guided the previous RFP were cost sharing tracking

    (campuses had differing cost tracking requirements and were already planning or in the process of developing local solutions) and the NIH salary cap (determined to be best addressed in the Payroll System).

    Citing urgency to deploy a solution, and potentially high cost factors associated with pursuing third-party solutions, the Management Group asked UCOP, again

    for neutrality reasons, to provide an estimate of cost and a schedule for a UC-developed solution based on the newly articulated requirements. UCOP provided an estimate of 2 years and $2 million (excluding campus implementation). At less time and cost than the previous third-party bids, the ERS Management Group

    arranged for funding the development of ERS by UCOP and development work

    began in the summer of 2004. Funding for development was provided by the five sponsoring campuses and UCOP in equal shares.

The development phase involved continuation of both the Management Group

    and Requirements Committee, with the former continuing to address project

    scope and policy matters, and the latter refining the requirements as needed

    during the development phase. A third consultative group was formed, the

    Technical Advisory Group, to inform on campus technologies and review

    technical designs proposed by the development team.

Taking the then-prevalent model of local systems deployment, the development

    team proposed a design informed by the following goals:

    ? Platform and product neutrality

    ? Standards-based

    ? Integration with existing campus infrastructure

    ? Authentication

    ? Authorization

    ? Portal

    ? Email

    ? Maximum portability and configurability

The Technical Advisory Group was instrumental in providing the appropriate

    feedback and guidance on the design approach as well as on the design of the


    data base structure and feeder system interfaces, keeping in mind the goals stated above.

    As the project proceeded, the Technical Advisory Group increasingly encouraged taking into account differences in campus requirements for presentation and usability requirements by encouraging configurability wherever possible. This approach has led to a single ERS software instance, with no local programming modifications to ERS being implemented to date. For example, the ERS makes use of “skins” to allow campuses to customize appearance to local requirements, without having to modify ERS software.

    Principal development work was completed on schedule in the first part of 2006. The development cost was approximately 60% of the original estimate, owing to the ERS Management Group’s strict control over final scope and the added contribution of campus development resources at different junctures in the project.

    Los Angeles implemented ERS in the summer of 2006, while Davis and San Francisco rolled out ERS in the spring of 2007. San Diego rolled out ERS in the summer of 2007. Berkeley rolled out ERS in the Fall of 2007.

    The sponsoring campuses made a decision that it was in the best interests of the University to extend the system to other non-sponsoring campuses without trying to recoup their development costs. As a result, the Santa Barbara, Riverside and Santa Cruz campuses plan on implementing ERS in FY 2008-2009.

    In 2006, at the initiative of the San Diego campus, the first annual ERS User Group meeting took place where campus users could come together to share real (and anticipated) experiences with ERS to further compliance goals.

    As campuses implemented ERS, individual campus experiences have led to the proposal and implementation of enhancements addressing functionality and usability.

    With the original sponsor campuses having implemented ERS, the Management Group and Requirements Group will reduce their respective

    meeting/teleconference schedules, but along with the Technical Advisory Group, will continue in their respective roles for the foreseeable future.

    While the delivered ERS brought effort reporting at UC into the modern systems age and important technical objectives were met, the signature of this endeavor has been the strong collaboration among the campuses, the departments, and the different business functions in support of UC effort reporting. This resulted in a systems solution to a business problem that was delivered on time, under budget, and to the benefit of the entire University.



To maintain platform and product neutrality, ERS is coded in Java. To allow its

    use with any JDBC-compliant DBMS, ERS uses Hibernate as an abstraction

    layer between the application code and the underlying data store. The online

    module of ERS is a web application, using Struts and Tiles to achieve separation

    between business and presentation logic. The model component of ERS uses a

    data access object (DAO) design to manage persistent objects. ERS developers

    maintain the model and DAO classes with the help of an Eclipse plug-in,

    Hibernate Synchronizer, which automatically generates class files from the

    Hibernate mapping files.

Tested mid-tier software compatibility is as follows:

    ? Application Servers

    o Tomcat

    o WebSphere

    o SunOne

    o Resin

    ? Database Management Servers

    o Sybase

    o Oracle

    o Microsoft SQL Server

    o DB2/UDB

The ERS team has adopted a Test-Driven Development model, and currently

    have approximately 550 test cases implemented. Many of these test cases use

    HSQLDB as an in-memory database populated with scripted fixture data to allow

    for repeatable painless integration tests against a known dataset. The ERS team

    runs the full test suite after major upgrades and before every release.

ERS also uses Jasper as its reporting engine to produce predefined compliance



    2001 UC Controllers identify need for a new effort reporting


    Early 2002 RFP Process Started

    March 2003 RFP Process Abandoned due to high cost

    June 2003 Campus-based initiative begins with Requirements Phase

    March 2004 Requirements Phase completed; funding commitment for

    development phase obtained

    June 2004 Development phase begins


    February 2006 Principal development completed

    July 2006 Maintenance phase begins

    August 2006 Los Angeles rolls out ERS (includes Merced and UCOP)

    March 2007 Davis rolls out ERS

    April 2007 San Francisco rolls out ERS

    August 2007 San Diego rolls out ERS

    November 2007 Berkeley rolls out ERS

    FY 2008-2009 Santa Barbara, Riverside, and Santa Cruz to roll out ERS


Actually very easy to use." and "Overall a very good job and not nearly as painful as I


    Karen Bales, Assistant Professor

    Department of Psychology


    My overall feeling is that it is convenient and easy to use.

    Xi Chen, Assistant Professor

    Department of Chemistry


I had to add some grants that I had cost shared effort on and I found it to be pretty easy to

     identify those grants…

    Karen McDonald, Professor and Associate


    College of Engineering


Just wanted to let you know that I was really surprised by how positive each of the PIs responded in

    learning how to do their certifications last quarter. One of the PIs turned to me in the middle of certifying

    his group of people and said, "Is that all there is to this?"

A couple of the others liked having the ability to drill down to each DOPE to refresh their memory on a

    specific employee. One such PI swore that one of the researchers spent more time on one project compared

    to another. He asked me if I'd research it, I said, "why don't we do it right here." Once we drilled down to

    see the actual months and amounts on the DOPE, he said, "Oh, that's right he was paid from that grant in

    January." That made a big impact with him. I even told him it's a way to review his employees........not just

    a certification.

    Gary Doran


    Institute for Pure and Applied Physical


    San Diego


    UC San Francisco

    ERS Post-Implementation Feedback Survey Results

     Administrative Academic Survey Population 409 2,808 Survey Responses 149 155 Response Rate 36% 6%

    n/a Positive Experience 92%

    Working With PIs

    n/a Negative Experience 8%

    Working With PIs

    n/a Positive Experience With 59% The First Certification


    n/a Negative Experience 41% With The First

    Certification Cycle

    Source: UCSF Program Management Office; ASAC Update presentation 10/4/2007


Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email