After 17 years of working with Parnassus, or the Oracle E-Business Suite, Ithaca College switched to Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud (HCM Cloud) for a more user-friendly approach to services available through the Office of Human Resources.
Hayley Harris, vice president for human and organizational development and planning, said the move to cloud-based software will help the college improve the accuracy of its workforce data, enhance its ability to make good business decisions and serve as a more user-friendly service for faculty, staff and students. It took the college 18 months to implement the new system for its release date of Jan. 2, Harris said.
“[Parnassus] really served the needs of the college for many years, but it had become outdated, and it just wasn’t keeping up with the needs of a 21st–century workforce,” Harris said.
Although there was a cost associated with implementing the new system, Harris said, the college will save money because it is not responsible for maintaining HCM Cloud. She said she could not share the exact cost of the system.
Kirra Franzese, associate vice president for engagement and talent management, said the college spoke to other colleges, including Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and Rutgers University in New Jersey, that had already implemented HCM Cloud. She said the college wanted to check in with other colleges to make sure the system could adapt to an institution focused on education. Franzese said most human resources systems are not compatible with the timeline that an education-focused institution works with.
Although the implementation process was complex, Harris said, the college only ran into a few problems. There was some difficulty transferring data from Parnassus to HCM Cloud that resulted in payment delays, she said.
“You’re dealing with huge amounts of data and really sensitive information having to do with people’s pay, their benefits and their sensitive personal information,” Harris said.
Senior Hannah Sarnie, student leadership consultant for the Office of Student Engagement, said she has been having trouble receiving her paychecks. Sarnie said she prefers the Parnassus system because she was familiar with it.
“My first thought was that it was unnecessary to change the whole platform because it only makes things more complicated for student employees who are already used to the way Parnassus works,” she said. “It was pretty simple and straightforward.”
The college offered training sessions for employees to learn how to use the new system.
Mary Holland-Bavis, associate director for student involvement for the Office of Student Engagement, said she thinks HCM Cloud is easy to use even without attending the training sessions that were offered.
“When you look at HR cloud, it looks modern,” Holland-Bavis said. “It looks nice and it does look like there’s a lot of new features that we can use.”
She said it is also easier for employees to submit for time off or use family leave with the new system. She said that last year when taking family leave, she had to send an email to an employee in the Office of Human Resources every week that she used leave. With the new system, that process can be done through HCM Cloud. Franzese said employees can also apply for their benefits through HCM Cloud rather than physically going into the Office of Human Resources.
Employees will be able to access more services from the Office of Human Resources with HCM Cloud than they could with Parnassus. Franzese said the college will be implementing new modules in the coming months, starting with the Oracle Recruiting Cloud in the first week of February.
She said that with the Oracle Recruiting Cloud, job postings and applications for those jobs will be on the same system that employees are hired through.
“Every single student employment job will be posted, students will apply and they’ll get that real life experience just like if you’re applying for a job someplace else,” Franzese said.