How have your studies and jobs at Hamilton equipped you for your job?
Graduating from Hamilton taught me that you can push through hard things, call on those critical reasoning skills, and use effective communication to transcend any work environment. My ability to communicate complicated concepts has simply become the bread and butter for my career. When I was in the Financial Aid Office, I successfully moved the office from Ellucian [a financial aid software program] to a standalone platform that the College still uses today. Working in Financial Aid touches all corners of the College, offering opportunities to build relationships. This provides a level of credibility. It has been meaningful working for my alma mater, trying to make this place better than I found it. Fifteen years at Hamilton have tremendously facilitated my current job.
Why is such a drastic change needed, and what does the timeline of the project look like?
The College’s core technology infrastructure, Ellucian, is outdated and over 30 years old. It is vulnerable and requires modernization. Following a comprehensive selection process, Workday, a more modern interface, will be implemented. Fortune 500 companies and colleges nationwide are using it. Offices on campus that currently run on Ellucian must transition their business process to Workday.
The project will run in three phases. Phase one is focused on finance, human resources, procurement, and payroll. It is expected to go live by summer 2024. Phase two involves a 12-month period of stabilization and optimization. In Spring 2025, phase three will begin, focused on student interface, which will last two years. By 2027, we plan to announce the project’s completion.
What are your job responsibilities?
My role is to coordinate with Hamilton’s implementation partner, Cognizant. I’m the quarterback for the project. We want to build a platform that takes into consideration end-user needs. In workstream meetings, I meet with people on the functional side and coordinate with our consultants. Doing the day-to-day work involves arranging the moving parts to solve problems.
What does the project look like today, and how does this transition compare to other liberal arts colleges?
We are in the architecture and configuration phase with over 100 hours of workplace meetings. The most significant advance will be the user-friendly app that students can download to submit timesheets and get automatic notifications. Employees who might not be at their desk can pull out their phones to submit time sheets or documentation. Further, the procurement office has never been equipped with software to manage Hamilton’s purchasing. Workday will change their day-to-day. This project will hopefully continue to set Hamilton on a path to success.
Our peer schools have recently transitioned, notably Amherst, Williams, and Union. However, few schools have transitioned from Ellucian to Workday, preferring smaller jumps in infrastructure improvement. While the current system works, it’s time to have an enterprise tool that meets everyone’s needs.