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Case Study

Boise State University is live on Oracle Cloud HCM

Student enters an ivy-covered building on campus
Case Study

Boise State University is live on Oracle Cloud HCM


Boise State University (Boise State) is a public research university in Boise, Idaho. Founded in 1932 by the Episcopal Church, it became an independent junior college in 1934 and has been awarding baccalaureate and master's degrees since 1965. Now, Boise State offers more than 100 graduate programs, including MBAs, MAs, MPAs, Masters and PhDs.

Boise State has invested in its future, including spending over $300 million since 2003 on academic, residential, administration and athletics facilities across campus. In pop-culture, many recognize Boise State for its iconic Blue Turf and successful football program.

The business challenge

Boise State had been a long time PeopleSoft customer, but customizations and on premise infrastructure had created a burden the University could no longer sustain. In 2015, Boise State became one of the first higher education institutions to invest in both Oracle ERP/HCM Cloud – and they started their journey with ERP Cloud, becoming the first higher education institution to go live on Cloud Financials. Meanwhile, in HCM, PeopleSoft, spreadsheets and manual processes still supported HR transactions and payroll processing.

These tools were not only labor intensive but led to poor data quality, and a limited ability for HR staff to add true value to what was becoming a more talent intensive mission for HR as they supported a vibrant, fast growing institution. After a pause where the University added a new Chief Business Officer, a new Provost and a new President, it was ultimately time for Boise State to turn to the modernization of HCM to resolve the labor-intensive manual processes through innovation, process redesign and modern cloud technology enablement. Of note Boise State entered this HCM phase eyes wide open – they had experienced many growing pains and lessons learned as the university pivoted to the Cloud; including the importance of change management, thoughtful design, continuous improvement in sustainability… and how to best engage with a true strategic consulting partner for the next phase – Baker Tilly Digital and Oracle HCM Cloud.

Strategy and solution

Boise State chose Oracle HCM Cloud as the solution for Core HR, payroll, benefits, absence and time and labor to enhance their HR processes. The University collaborated with Baker Tilly Digital to implement the Oracle Cloud software and design using a principled approach. By using the implementation as a catalyst for change, an opportunity arose to evaluate and potentially shed legacy practices that no longer made sense, allowing Boise State to tailor a unique approach that aligns to their needs.

Baker Tilly Digital utilized its “Harmonize” phase to set the foundation for a big bang approach (all modules live at the same time). Through the up-front analysis and evaluation, with thoughtful and intentional questioning, by driving towards common model design, and incorporating the leading practices upon which the software was built to ensure end-to-end efficiencies across the Oracle Cloud Suite of products (including the existing ERP foundational data structure).

With Baker Tilly Digital’s assistance, Boise State was able to fully automate 98% of their HR processes. The result of this automation allows the University to track transaction status, improves auditing capabilities and ultimately provides more accurate, accessible and timely data. This embedded access results in a reduction of over half of the University’s need for custom reports. Their HR system and financial system are now both on Oracle Cloud, allowing University to seamlessly tap into reliable and consistent data across Campus, Finance, and HR.

The manager and employee self-service functionality in Oracle HCM Cloud allows end users to both directly initiate transactions for themselves and their direct reports, as well as access data effortlessly within the user interface. These ease of this access by end users has further reduced the day to day transaction volume on the University’s HR staff. In turn, by leveraging the system rather than manual or external forms and processes, the University’s HR resources are now deployed to support the Campus community in far more strategic, mission focused ways.

I credit the close collaboration and commitment to success shown by the combined team of Boise State and Baker Tilly for getting us across the finish line – we are now live on Oracle HCM and ERP Cloud. While projects usually use the term ‘go live!’ on day one, we have started saying ‘Go begin!’ This is the beginning of a journey on one platform – we feel prepared to functionally operationalize, govern, sustain and drive continuous improvement across our growing University. It doesn't get any better than being on the current release and having continuous improvement.
Max Davis-Johnson, Boise State University CIO

Why Baker Tilly

Boise State selected Baker Tilly as a proven, highly strategic, reputable and transformational partner within Higher Education who would help them not just implement software, but who would assist in the refinement their HR processes and put into place key operational applications with a focus on end-to-end process improvement and change management. Baker Tilly’s effective and efficient implementation methodology and unmatched efforts of setting customers up for success, leading up to and after go live, were also key factors. From the start, Baker Tilly became an extension of the Boise State team and was counted on for advice and experience in understanding the interdependencies of the Oracle Cloud, from their existing Oracle Cloud ERP to the new HR processes, powered by Oracle HCM Cloud.

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