Home‎ > ‎OCS Newsletters‎ > ‎

CGIAR One Corporate System (OCS) Newsletter June 2017 vol 4

posted Jun 21, 2017, 5:59 AM by Caroline Nzui

Editorial: Business World On Spring 2016 Upgrade

Congratulations to WorldFish, World Agroforestry Centre, AfricaRice, ICARDA and the System Management Office who have now upgraded to Business World On Spring 2016 (milestone 6). Half the OCS members have now completed the upgrade and they will be closely followed by the 5 remaining Centres. By upgrading, users are now benefiting from the latest, easy to use, web interface that provides access to almost all the functionality provided by Business World.

In the latest version there are a wide range of new features made available through capability packs that Centres can choose to implement to improve productivity, from enhanced travel expenses and absence modules to the new budget books, requisitions and appraisals.

The future development of Unit4’s Business World ERP will make use of Artificial Intelligence and predictive technologies which Unit4 showcased at the Ambassadors Connect conference at the beginning of May. The first example of this technology in use will be when Unit4’s Digital Assistant, Wanda, starts to chat with us with the release of Business World Spring 2017 edition. Read More here. As a member of Unit4’s customer Advisory Council, CGIAR was invited to the conference and met with the CEO and other senior leaders of Unit4 to recommend the improvements and new features we would like to see in the product going forward.

One Corporate SystemCGIAR and Unit4 Business World moving towards a food-secure future (VIDEO)

Unit4’s Enterprise Resource and Planning (ERP) solution, Business World, is helping CGIAR to manage the Centres’ finance, human resource (HR) and logistics operations. It can also be used to manage the research process from inception of a concept, through the planning and development of a proposal to monitoring and reporting on grants and research projects.

Here, Ian Moore (Head, OCS Operations Support Unit) explains how Unit4 Business World (UBW) could assist CGIAR in realizing its vision. (VIDEO)


CIP to grow potatoes on Mars

By Ton Dobbe (Unit4), Carlos Varela (CIP) and Joel Ranck (CIP)
Carlos Varela (Chief Information Officer) and Joel Ranck (Head of Communications) from the International Potato Center (CIP) had the pleasure of being interviewed by Unit4 about their vision for making a potato the first living organism on Mars, and the role that OCS is playing in realizing that dream.
The project #PotatoesOnMars, which is being executed in partnership with NASA, has become big news and raised the profile of CIP and its cause worldwide with a media reach of more than 2 billion. The project is led by a team of world-class scientists who aim to grow potatoes under Martian conditions in a bid to save millions of lives on earth.

So how exactly does OCS come in? The system, through UNIT4’s Elastic Foundation, will be able to capture every single relevant detail and aspect of the business at a level of granularity unmatched in the industry.

“This capability allows us to link any transaction to a purpose, that is, a scientific activity and the project it belongs to. This way scientists, project managers and business managers across the organization can be 100% accountable for anything they do or spend and have real-time insight into burn-rates to take instant action to make improvements,” explained Carlos Varela.

Read the full interview here: Just imagine: growing potatoes on Mars....

Continued Enhancement at WorldFish

By Patric Lim
WorldFish Head Office conducted a Finance Leadership Workshop on 9-12 August 2016 with a focus on financial management and capacity building for managers. The OCS team was invited to brief the staff on system functionality and processes including: Travel, Fixed Assets, Exchange Rate Enquiry, Procurement, Invoice, Sales Order, Journals, and Project Lifecycle Management. 

Participants pose for a group photo

During these sessions, the participants were given an opportunity to discuss system process enhancements with the OCS experts. One of the major requests was to simplify the existing system workflows which required multiple layers of approval before transactions could proceed to the next stage. Also raised was the issue of seemingly over-engineered and redundant reports that were too complicated and confusing for the users. The Director of Finance and Operations, Jamie Craig, (who is also the current Chair of the WorldFish OCS Governance Board) has agreed to set both these areas as the improvement priorities for the OCS team in 2017.

OCS and Finance team members share a meal

Additionally, a revised Project Lifecycle Management (PLM) process was introduced during the fourth quarter of 2016. Before implementation, users tended to skip several mandatory system processes before an agreement was signed by the donor. This has raised issues on data accuracy in OCS and had a negative effect on decision-making processes. To resolve this, the OCS team, together with the Research Support Hub, have introduced a simplified process which now incorporates the missing steps. Using the OCS “forms” functionality, more comprehensive information can be presented to the correct approvers from the beginning of the lifecycle. In addition, by automating record creation, the effort required by users to complete each stage of the cycle has been reduced.

In November 2016, WorldFish Business Experts gathered together to test OCS Milestone 6 – Web. Overall response was positive, though several show stoppers were identified. The team is already working on these and the plan is to go live with Milestone 6 in the first quarter of 2017.

Business intelligence at IRRI

By Marco Vanderberg

There is a growing demand for business analytics and data visualizations from OCS. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) began evaluating third party data visualization tools, and selected Qlik Sense during the first half of 2016. The tool allows rapid development and deployment of dashboards and graphic reports from OCS. It provides the organization’s management with an overall view of financial, human resources and grants portfolios, and enables deeper analyses of data from its ERP system. 

Some of the reports and dashboards that have been developed are grant execution, CRP and Window 1+2 budget and expenditure, expense by location, ending grants vs pipeline and funding opportunity dashboard, among others.
Below are some visualization screenshots.

Expenditure Dashboard

Grant Execution Dashboard

Funding opportunity dashboard

CRP budget and expenditure

Qlik Sense BI is not only used in OCS as a complementary system, but also serves existing systems such as the Helpdesk. IRRI’s implementation of Qlik Sense is extensible and can accommodate other data sources. The Management Information Systems Unit is collaborating with other IRRI users and developers outside the Information, Knowledge and Systems office to promote the use of Qlik Sense BI in research and other research support areas in the institute. For more information on Qlik Sense BI and its implementation at IRRI, you can contact Marco van den Berg at m.vandenberg@irri.org.

ICARDA implements request for system change in OCS

By Ahmad Al-Mously

Just like the other Centres, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) OCS technical team receive different requests for support which include report development, access granting, and change in parameters of processes. Although the Centre had implemented a helpdesk system, which is working fine and already contains thousands of support tickets, there was need to make sure that certain support requests go through the proper channels of approvals in order to:
1- Obtain the approvals of the supervisor(s) of the requestor (usually key business users).

2- Obtain the approvals of other stakeholders in the system (such as ITU head, or Director of Corporate Services).

3- Follow a proper system development lifecycle where a business user presents requirements that are reviewed, implemented and confirmed by the requestor.

4- Make sure that all members of the OCS technical team are aware of the change.

5- Generate reports of requests by category.

6- Centralize all requests with approvals for audit purposes.

The OCS technical team achieved all the above by creating a Request for System Change in UBW using forms and applying a workflow. The form has a collection of required fields in order to categorize the request, explain the need, and add comments by different workflow approvers.

The technical team implemented this in June 2016, and the form has successfully captured about 70 requests so far. 

The graphs below show the distribution of requests by area and by module. The majority of requests were related to financial reporting.

Distribution of requests by module and area