UA Budget and Planning (UABP) system

Demographic shifts, changes in funding models, and new competition from international universities have made the higher education marketplace challenging, dynamic, and uncertain.  The universities that will survive these tumultuous times will need to pay careful attention to key areas of their operations, including staffing, tuition, business process, and space.  Financial sustainability today demands an integrated and connected planning approach from all levels of leadership within our organization.  Past implementations of the Budget System (institutional focus) and Adaptive Planning (departmental focus) were not integrated and were limited in both scope and participation.  The newly adopted UA Budget and Planning system is a development platform that will allow the Office of Budget and Planning (OBP), along with campus partners, to design and implement a host of integrated and overlapping planning tools, reports, and processes, that include All Funds Planning, Commitment Tracking, Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) Reporting and Allocation, Budget Allocations and Transfers, Gross and Net Tuition Forecasting, Capital Planning, Grant and Contract Budgeting, and Departmental-Specific Program, Activity, and Project planning among others.  The adoption of this tool is intended to replace spreadsheets, databases, the Budget System, and Adaptive Planning for the majority of campus budget and planning activities and will do so through a phased implementation over the coming 3-5 years.  The main feature differentiator of the selected tool (Axiom) over competitors is the ability for the Office of Budget and Planning, and campus partners, to develop on a common platform for multiple planning needs.

Different phases of implementation will occur over the next 3-5 years, with the first two projects going live October 2019 (College RCM Metric Data submission) and February 2020 (Departmental All Funds Planning) respectively.

The initial contract for Adaptive Planning expired 9/2019 and the recent extension was for only three years to allow campus planners using the tool an opportunity to develop alternatives within the new UA Budget and Planning system. The speed with which campus is able to adopt the tool for their local planning needs will depend on how quickly the University can adopt a standardized and enhanced Chart of Accounts (see also Chart of Accounts question) and the eventual contribution and development model employed by the OBP and campus partners, but the intent is to offer a better alternative to campus than Adaptive Planning currently offers, making the transition natural, easy, and preferred.  OBP’s use of Adaptive Planning has already effectively ended and our support for the tool has officially transferred to the UITS WNC team for support going forward.

For units that continue using Adaptive Planning to construct their All Funds Plans, we will provide "cross-walk" or "mapping" tools/reports for Adaptive/KFS COA to UA Budget and Planning COA and there are limited use cases where Excel upload and copy and paste functionality will be available, but manual data entry may be required depending on the form as it will simply be a better user interface/experience for the questions being asked in the forms.  UA Budget and Planning will be the official repository for budget and plan data, narratives, workflow, and approval, so submissions will not be accepted through other tools and must be converted using available UA Budget and Planning system resources.

As noted above, the "Planning" and "Administrative" instances will no longer be offered or supported, but so long as campus has a need and continues to provide resources to support the "Health Sciences," "Auxiliary," "Grants," and "Academic" instances they will continued to be offered with support from UITS WNC.

Yes, OBP has formed a group of "Ambassadors" from each College/Division to provide feedback and testing as we proceed, as well as help train and communicate within their respective units.

College/division specific training, online videos, office hours, in-person, and zoom training, a fully operational test environment, and published training materials.  After the initial implementation of All Funds Planning, OBP may seek campus partners to go through "Master System User (MSU)" training so as to assist us with co-development planning initiatives.  This training would be at cost and in collaboration with Axiom/Kaufman Hall.

Like the Budget System and Adaptive Planning, OBP intends to utilize the Access Provisioning Tool to monitor and control access to the new UA Budget and Planning tool.

Yes, there will be significant changes that will include a new "Planning Fund" and "Budget Object Codes" as well as requirements to plan transfers and positions and the planning will be required at the departmental level rather than the college/division level, thus requiring expanded participation throughout campus.

Garth speaking here… I am of the opinion that most of the differences between what is proposed institutionally, as well as between different departments, varies less than is the general assumption.  I am also of the opinion that a more robust Chart of Accounts that allows for more consistent planning segments needed by Departments (Activity, Program, and Project), as well as those required institutionally (Org, Fund, GL Account aka “Object Code,” and Function), would allow for more integrated planning to occur between Departmental and Institutional perspectives. We would like to meet with as many units as possible in the coming months to discuss the management reports prepared in units and how they differ from what OBP is currently providing.  We will look for common themes and advance a standard that we can put within the UA Budget and Planning system as soon as possible.  Strong reporting that supports both departmental and institutional planning will be critical to the success of this implementation.  How else can we engage with you to ensure you are being provided mechanisms to plan the way you find value and that also meets institutional reporting requirements?  I suspect this will be iterative and will improve over time with the new tool and would improve drastically with an improved Chart of Accounts.

The granularity and planning dimensions being utilized with the new UA Budget and Planning system do not map directly to the planning dimensions of the AFMY submissions, outside of the RCM Metrics.  We can make past data available in reporting, but will be unable to load the data to the planning forms as there would be no appropriate crosswalk to do so.  Currently these data are available in UAccess Analytics, however.

UAccess Financials and Employee data is loaded into the university's Datawarehouse (EPM) in a subject area referred to as "Budget Balances Available."  Those data are being pulled in through a fully-integrated process into the new UA Budget and Planning system, so reporting and even transactional drill-through capabilities will exist within the tool and will not require Analytics reporting to supplement the process.

The new planning process within the new UA Budget and Planning system is designed to have position-level planning, which will allow for much more granularity on personal services. This will not be optional. In addition, Operational planning will be offered at a new “Budget Object Code” level that is more aggregated than Object Code and more granular than Summary Object Code.  Operational planning is also intended to be planned by Fund groupings called “Planning Fund” with drill through reporting to actuals.  We hope these breakouts will allow these requests to be met, but if there are other “levels” of planning needed we hope to work with you to determine the best way to accomplish this in the new tool.  Also see responses to the question related to Chart of Accounts and Departmental planning needs.

Although we are not accommodating data entry at the Account, Sub-Account, Object Code, or Project Code dimensions, we will in fact be offering tools to allow you to continue to budget at those levels.

The current Chart of Accounts on campus with Accounts, Sub-Accounts, Object Codes, Sub-Object Codes, and Project Codes has no standard around it and thus when used together creates hundreds of thousands of possible planning combinations that make it impossible for us to accommodate for in the new tool for all units on campus in all funds.  It would simply slow the system down too much, particularly since many of these fields have relationships to other fields.  Rather than accommodate a broken Chart structure, we are going to use the new tool as an opportunity to migrate campus toward a standard Chart of Accounts.  In year 1 we are only offering three planning dimensions on the main data entry forms, namely Fund (Planning Fund), Organization, and Budget Object (grouping of Object Codes).  In future planning cycles we hope to add new planning dimensions such as Project, Activity, Location, and Program.  In order to accommodate those new dimensions, we will need to create a standard mapping of KFS dimensions to them just as we have done with Fund, Organization, and Object (which is really the Natural Account).  We want to work with units who have static and stable Charts on a project this year to begin that mapping.  If you believe your unit fits that bill, thenwe would love to work with you so that next year we could offer one or more of these new dimensions. Practically what this means is if Sub-Account means “Program” for you, then we would give you that planning dimension in the data entry forms.  If that is a project you would be interested in participating in please contact Garth at perryg@email.arizona.edu.

Now, all that said, we will be offering a new tool, not unlike the RBC, that will allow you to take the budget you create in the new tool and convert it to a KFS chart string (Account, Sub-Account, etc.) and load it into KFS so you can report on it that way if you like.  That tool will be available after budget submissions are due at the end of March, so sometime between April and June.