Trustees hear request for funds for Human Resources Information System

November 19, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning on Thursday (Nov. 19) heard a request for $18.5 million in additional funds for implementation of the new vendor-based Human Resources Information System project, called WorkLion.

Once fully implemented in July 2017, the multi-year initiative to replace Penn State’s existing human resources (HR) and payroll systems is projected to result in a seven-year HR cost savings of $259 million through July 2024, said Vice President for Human Resources Susan Basso, who is a co-sponsor of the project with Penn State Controller Joseph Doncsecz. Those savings would be the result of cost avoidance, redeployment of resources, productivity gains and cost savings.

The University will be transitioning to Workday, a cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solution that is also used by other peer higher education institutions. Project WorkLion initiatives include human capital management, payroll, benefits, time tracking, recruitment and talent management. Additionally, the funding request also supports implementation of the Learning Resource Network and service center technology.

“We are standardizing and automating business processes, harmonizing policies, redefining our service delivery model and preparing to establish shared services for repetitive transactional work,” Basso said. “All of which will create a more agile HR function that can, and will, help us avoid unnecessary HR spending and ultimately lead to strategic redeployment of resources, improved productivity and savings.”

The request for additional funds is the result of a robust planning phase that revealed additional University needs in the implementation of the project. These needs include the creation of a University-wide supervisory organizational structure; data validation and clean up within current systems; integration of approximately 92 other internal and external service systems; and significant compliance requirements and due diligence the University is federally required to undertake to ensure the security of information, specifically concerning the classified work that occurs in the Applied Research Lab. Additionally, the University has signed a longer-term fixed price contract in which Accenture — the consulting group that will help implement the system — is assuming a greater percentage of risk. New federal compliance requirements related to security of information also have increased costs.

The Board of Trustees approved a request of $18 million for the project last year based on the best implementation information that was available at the time. The request for additional funds will bring the total capital expense request for the project to $36.5 million.

The University’s current system was developed more than 25 years ago, and its operational limitations have impaired the ability of the Office of Human Resources, the Payroll Office and other key stakeholders to provide 24/7 web-based services to faculty, staff, colleges, departments and central administrative units. Current limitations also impair the ability to respond in a timely manner to federal mandates as well as policy and procedural changes.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 19, 2015