Improvements to Time Tracking, COVID notifications, and more discussed at IT Leadership Team meeting

October 29, 2020

The Leadership Team met on October 28 to discuss the following projects and updates:

Time Tracking Update

Ron Lipkins announced that the Workday Time Tracking and Absence project, which was initiated to replace an outdated (MyTime) Kronos system, will launch in June 2021. The introduction of Workday Time Tracking and Absence will impact 13k employees, and will offer greater efficiency, effectiveness, and opportunities to continuously improve service delivery.

Project Lead Christine Viele walked IT Leaders through the project team, which includes: executive sponsors, Janet Lindner and Donna Cable within HR, a gating advisory board, project advisory groups, a steering committee, and associated workstreams to carry out the changes. In addition to delivering a unified, modern time-tracking system, all time clocks on campus will be replaced. 

Change management for the project is provided by Beth McKinley, who reviewed the community impacts and improvements, such as the ability to:

  • easily request time off and project time off balances
  • perform certain timekeeping functions from a mobile device
  • change job status and dynamically review salary and benefits
  • delegate timesheet approvals
  • approve time off requests
  • view scheduled time off across the team, to ensure proper coverage
  • access real-time reports of actual labor costs
  • reduce data security risk by consolidating information into one system
  • eliminate the transfer of data between systems to reduce errors
  • reduce paper consumption

Those who provide support to the community, including DSPs, Help Desk staff, the ESC, and STC will be offered training in Spring 2021, to support the June 2021 launch. Then, during Summer and Fall 2021, change management will be offering support, including “white glove concierge” support to faculty and other priority users.

COVID Notification Process

To facilitate the reopening of Yale during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was important to establish feedback mechanisms that could oversee the provision of training, monitor or manage your own compliance, and address non-compliance. The first part of this included reports which were sent to managers as well as Health and Safety Leaders. Reports, however, didn’t address the need to provide individuals with direct feedback and reminders, allowing individuals to self-correct. Jeff Campbell and a team of colleagues, including Dana Lipnickas (project manager), Dan Hofstatter (DataMart), and Anton Glenbovitch (Talend), was established to support the university’s need for reporting and notifications. The program has been highly successful, and between October 1-21 alone, over 29k daily health check messages have been sent, 2k test cycle reminders have been delivered, and almost 2k lockout warnings have been issued.

Once it was decided that these notifications were needed, there was little time to establish new processes or utilize new tools to facilitate daily health checks, lockout warnings, and other reminders. Due to FCC requirements and the time delay involved with standing up new SMS services, it became clear that brining in new technology vendors wouldn’t be possible under the time constraints.  Fortunately, IT was able to leverage Everbridge (Yale Alerts) as the notification technology. This messaging platform was already in place and saved many weeks, allowing the team to focus on the data and business rules in order to provide notifications prior to the return of students to campus. 

Safe and successful reopening of the campus required the full participation of the community with the daily health check and testing requirements. To that end, follow-through notifications were developed with the intention of:

  • encouraging voluntary compliance through data and communication (reports to managers/HSLs) who then follow-up with individuals
  • directing communication to an individual’s personal devices via SMS and email (reminders about daily health checks, warnings about lockout, or testing off cycle)
  • reinforcing the idea that non-compliance can have consequences (such as lockout)

By September 4, the structure was established, and by September 20 students were already creating MEMEs in reference to these new checks-and-balances.

Darrell Cook shared how several members of his team, and others across the IT groups, have created and are supporting several COVID initiatives, including a new getTestingCenter web service (used by COVIDSwiper and Yale Hub) as well as efforts around restricting badge access. The getTestingCenter service performs a series of logic/steps to identify a person’s affiliation, residency status, etc. to help identify and determine the persons appropriate testing location. Deployed on July 23, the getTestingCenter service continues to adapt and has been utilized well over 190k times over the last 3 months. The service was also deployed onto a high availability cluster in early October to ensure 24x7 access. The Badge Access Restriction process is utilized in cases where individuals are non-compliant with routine testing or are in quarantine. If individuals who are required to do routine testing are not compliant after a number of days (and/or during their quarantine period), they lose access to campus buildings. As the program has evolved, the schedule has increased to twice daily notifications to give individuals more frequent opportunities to be in compliance. The same underlying database views are used and leveraged across the notification process and badge access restriction work to ensure the same population of individuals are being included or excluded.

Streamlining Admissions

John Ferraiuolo gave an overview of how IT is supporting the standardizing and automating of admissions data. Through the use of Axiom Elite, a series of integrations will be built and deployed for departments on an ongoing basis over the next 18 months. The project is focused on:

  • improving the admissions and test score data retrieval and load into Banner
  • improving and automating test score data file load into admissions systems
  • building a self-supporting community for admissions colleagues and sharing collective knowledge
  • deprecating outdated custom banner administrative pages, integrations, processes, and procedures

In support of this project, a Steering Committee chaired by rotating admissions staff was formed to raise and answer questions, make recommendations, and guide admissions colleagues. 

When this project concludes, as many as 20 existing queries in Slate will be streamlined to produce a standardized data file prior to arriving in Banner. The entire admissions notification process, including early action/decision, financial aid award letters, and more is being reconceived through this project to provide applicants with a better user experience within a single platform.

Meaningful Performance Management

Feedback submitted by IT staff during the latest round of the Workplace Survey (November and December 2019) has led to the identification of nine initiatives, including one focused on ensuring that C&Ts and M&Ps receive meaningful performance evaluations.

An action team, led by Sandra Germenis, was formed to improve the way that staff receive performance reviews, understand performance goals, obtain regular feedback on performance, and get praised for high quality performance. Sandra and her action team aspire for 90% of staff to report that these activities are happening regularly and effectively.

As a first step, the team has released guidance about the ITS performance management timeline and process on the Performance Management pageon the About IT website. To support staff and managers with implementing this guidance, the following activities are planned: 

  • Review ITS performance management expectations at IT Employee Orientation
  • Deliver a Café IT talk on performance management on December 2, 2020
  • Include reminders and updates in IT Update 
  • Offer training by Blanche Temple, on a seasonal basis

ITS staff and managers should expect to give and receive feedback on performance throughout the year (not just on an annual basis), and feedback should be oriented toward how goals were achieved through the lens of IT Competencies. This feedback will be the most constructive and actionable. Visit the Performance Management page for a complete overview of the process and support in place.

Ask-me-anything session with John Barden

Are there plans underway for the IT Holiday Party?
Stay tuned–more information will be available shortly. This year’s party will be held virtually, to ensure that everyone remains safe.

There has been discussion around extending the holiday break—how would this impact contractors?
No decisions have been made, but I will share more information when I can.

The next Leadership Team meeting will be held on November 18.

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