SIMBA launches, heralding improved operations for Penn State

July 06, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — SIMBA — the System for Integrated Management, Budgeting, and Accounting — is now up and running, with Penn State employees gaining access to the University’s implementation of SAP S/4HANA financial software on July 6.

The launch is the culmination of two years of work from the SIMBA team, which comprises more than 100 individuals, including subject matter experts and financial leaders chosen from across Penn State and industry consultants selected by implementation partner, LSI consulting. After countless hours of planning, designing, implementing, testing and training, the team launched SIMBA on July 1, meeting the original project deadline.

“Despite working through the challenges of migrating to new technology, the team also withstood the new issue of working remotely,” said co-sponsor, Joe Doncsecz, associate vice president of Finance, and corporate controller. “I couldn’t be prouder of the SIMBA team. We could not have done it without their time, talent and perseverance.”

Additionally, co-sponsor Mary Lou Ortiz, University budget officer, said that SIMBA will increase Penn State’s ability to improve processes and budget forecasting, among other business operations.

“SIMBA not only gives us the flexibility to improve our processes, but it also integrates many functions using a new modern interface," said Ortiz.

While SIMBA is meant to be a replacement for IBIS, part of its benefit is consolidating, combining or eliminating older, outdated functions or procedures. Additionally, with the launch of SIMBA, Penn State will implement a new instance of SAP Concur, which incorporates the new SIMBA Chart of Accounts and expanded purchasing-card processing. The reinstallation of the application will allow Penn State to use some of SAP Concur’s newer technologies that provide efficient processing and more accurate posting to the SIMBA general ledger.

SIMBA is the third and final project of the University’s initiative to replace older legacy systems. The first two projects were LionPATH, a student information system launched in 2015, and WorkLion, a human resources and payroll system in 2017.

“With SIMBA being the final project of our massive effort to update our legacy systems, we’re able to provide Penn State employees and students with the most convenient, useful, and modern technologies,” said Michael Busges, senior enterprise project director.

One of the final key components of SIMBA’s implementation included training more than 5,000 employees across the commonwealth. They were trained in a virtual environment rather than in-person, due to COVID-19. To assist employees in the transition to using SIMBA, an extensive support model has been created that includes identifying Super Users, employees who provide assistance as their colleagues learn to navigate the new system.

For more information on SIMBA, visit

Last Updated July 06, 2020