President's Report Masthead
March 31, 2014

Business Affairs leads SUNY effort on Financial Business Intelligence

One year ago, Binghamton University representatives met with SUNY System Administration and laid out an aggressive course to achieve a goal that had long eluded system and SUNY campuses: a financial database designed to fit the needs of account managers, department personnel, deans and senior administration for both campuses and System Administration. On July 1, 2013, with staff from Binghamton University Administration leading the way for the entire SUNY system, an integrated, comprehensive, fiscal Business Intelligence (BI) reporting tool was implemented to meet that goal. Other SUNY campuses involved in this shared service initiative include Buffalo State, Albany, Plattsburgh, Buffalo, Oneonta and Potsdam, as well as SUNY System Administration. 

Since the July implementation, Scott Hatch, Binghamton University general accounting manager, has continued to work with other users to improve and expand the functionality of BI, designing and implementing additional state and DIFR BI dashboards for all SUNY campuses to use, pushing for greater detail to be included in the warehouse such as P-card holder names and discovering SUNY-wide problems with the system’s recording of undistributed payroll, which has since been corrected. Hatch also leads a campus BI User Group that meets to further identify and resolve BI user needs. On Feb. 27, Hatch provided BI training to all SUNY campuses at the quarterly SUNY Accounting, Budget and Bursar meeting in Albany. The training, which was very well received, resulted in additional requests from SUNY campuses for further training and reports. 

Although there will be many more phases to this continuing endeavor, the concept of shared service and campus/System collaboration is alive and well with the BI initiative as noted in the following message sent on behalf of then Vice Chancellor and CFO Brian G. Hutzley to campus presidents and business officers. 

“Earlier this year, with the incredible leadership of a campus-based team, SUNY embarked on a sweeping project to integrate administrative and academic data by launching the SUNY Business Intelligence Initiative (SBII). SBII is designed to be a comprehensive tool, making important fiscal information available from a variety of perspectives, addressing a multitude of scenarios. It is our goal to make SBII a premier desktop tool for managing campus operations. The magnitude of SBII requires us to use a multi-phased approach for development, implementation and utilization. 

Binghamton University spearheaded this initiative and, with their generous support, Phase 1 has become a reality. As of July 1, 2013, campuses have access to multi-fund and multi-year financial data, including allocations, expenditures and a summary of revenue. This information encompasses financial transactions summarized for managerial analysis, analytical review, as well as for day-to-day operations. 

The pilot began in January 2013 with a very aggressive timeline and was successful largely because of the dedication of the pilot campuses: Binghamton University, Buffalo State, UAlbany, Plattsburgh, University at Buffalo, Oneonta and Potsdam, as well as SUNY System Administration. 

This endeavor was accomplished as a joint System Administration/campus project. The Steering Team leading the project included:

James Van Voorst (Binghamton)
Brian Hutzley, CFO (System Administration)
Michael LeVine (Buffalo State)
John Homburger (Plattsburgh)
Kim Bessette (Albany)
Todd Foreman (Oneonta)
Jeff McGrath (System Administration)
Dave Powalyk (System Administration)
Joe Gardiner (System Administration)
Charlene Deno (Potsdam) - serving as project manager

The excitement continues as work begins on the next phase, which includes governance protocol, executive summaries, managerial reports, dashboard development, tools for transactional analysis, enhanced data warehousing, detailed revenue data, detailed budget data and security functionality. Phase 2 will again rely on the same level of collaboration and the team approach as demonstrated by SUBOA, ABB and System Administration throughout Phase 1. 

Special recognition goes to the project team members for their continued focus and dedication to SBII. Team members include: Robert Baumet (Buffalo State), John Cordi (Binghamton), Charlene Deno (Potsdam), Clark Foster (Plattsburgh), Joe Gardiner (System Administration), Scott Hatch (Binghamton), Debra Hayes (System Administration), John Leirey (System Administration), Julie Roseboom (Oneonta) and Diane Wyand (Plattsburgh).

A true team effort! Thank you all for your hard work.”