University-wide SIMBA project is on time and on budget

July 18, 2019

MEDIA, Pa. -- The project to launch Penn State’s new System for Integrated Management, Budgeting and Accounting (SIMBA) is tracking on time and on budget in anticipation of a July 2020 launch, according to SIMBA project sponsors Mary Lou Ortiz, University budget officer, and Joseph Doncsecz, associate vice president for finance and corporate controller. Both presented an update today (July 18) to the Board of Trustees Committee on Finance, Business and Capital Planning at Penn State Brandywine. 

Ortiz and Doncsecz provided the committee a review of project goals, timeline overview, budget update, notable accomplishments and milestones achieved, and a look at change management activities related to SIMBA implementation. 

SIMBA will replace Penn State’s financial and other integrated systems, including the legacy Integrated Business Information System, or IBIS, a process that will involve the Pay & Effort functionality and the implementation of a new instance of Concur, Penn State’s employee reimbursement system. SIMBA is being built on a best-of-breed business suite platform.

The project is currently in the “Realize” phase, which includes configuring the SAP software system with University-approved requirements, building out the production system and launching the SIMBA test plan and test cycles. 

Ortiz and Doncsecz reported that, among the project’s notable accomplishments thus far, an initial stakeholder analysis and system configuration blueprint have been completed, the Chart of Accounts has been designed, and the first SAP development and quality assurance landscapes have been awarded Authority to Operate – the latter being a Penn State Office of Information Security certification that validates the project is conforming to security standards.  

According to the project sponsors, organizational change management efforts also are underway to prepare end users for the new system implementation next year. A training plan is in development, with “SIMBA 101” online training being offered this fall, which will introduce users to core SAP financial concepts before more in-depth training in the spring. 

Ortiz and Doncsecz are engaging Penn State leaders in a “Listening Tour.” A change readiness assessment baseline pulse survey of end-users also has been completed, and results are being shared with project sponsors and the governance structure. 

A major organizational change management initiative, the “Journey to SIMBA,” launched in May, with newsletter communications and website resources being deployed, and monthly SIMBA Sessions taking place to engage end-users and provide up-to-date project information.

To learn more about SIMBA and subscribe to project updates, visit

Last Updated July 18, 2019