Coeus Project - Executive Scope Statement

Purpose of this Statement

The purpose of the Executive Scope Statement is to set the direction for the Coeus Project and the implementation of the Coeus software package.  This document puts into context the need for a campus pre-award system, who it will serve, its overall capabilities, and the formation and membership of the Project Working Groups.

In addition, it identifies the key functional and technical success factors for the Project as well as project methodology and projected timeframe.  A high level overview of expected benefits is provided as well. 

This document sets the framework for implementation and establishes the priorities for the project.  It provides guidance to the Project Team to organize the implementation priorities and move forward in the development of a project plan, and then proceed with efficiency in the implementation of the plan. 

Statement of the Problem

There are a dearth of higher education institutions that have enterprise-wide systems that support an integrated and electronic approach for developing and routing proposals, collecting pre-award and post-award financial data, reporting grants and financial data, and submitting and receiving information from granting agencies and organizations.  More specifically, there is a lack of an institution-wide use of electronic routing systems that transfer proposals through an approval process and into an integrated, enterprise pre-and post-award research system.  The need for such a system has grown significantly with the growth of research in higher education, the decline of funding for State institutions and new Federal mandates for electronic grant submission.  For many universities, research has become the growing core business.  Thus, senior administrators and faculty alike want more assistance for principal investigators to develop and submit proposals as well as more administrative efficiency in processing, collecting, submitting, and reporting pre- and post-award grants and financial data.  

Current State and Pending Issues

The Federal mandate to submit all federally sponsored proposals in electronic form has been issued.  The eRA initiative is currently being phased in with a full roll out date of  February 1, 2007 for proposal submissions.  The short time frame presented by the Federal mandate presents UMB with the challenge of being prepared to submit grants electronically through the Grants.gov interface while at the same time developing and implementing an integrated, enterprise pre- and post-award research system.   In recognition of the resource demands of the Grants.gov initiative, we have tailored our implementation approach to focus on creating a replacement MIS  which will enhance existing data collection and reporting capabilities, to support electronic submission of proposals as well as the piloting of a proposal preparation and routing system, and interact efficiently with other systems in use on campus  The replacement system will serve as the repository for information collected through the electronic proposal routing system, track proposals as they move through the review and approval process at ORD, and record information about awards as they are received, and interact with eUMB to share that award data.

The Federal interface to Grants.gov will not meet our need to effectively and efficiently   electronically create and route proposals, utilize electronic signatures,  and submit proposals to major sponsors.  Furthermore, it won’t provide the campus with a data repository for reporting and interfacing into and out of the eUMB HRMS and Financials system.

After a lengthy review of pre-award routing and management software systems the Research MIS working group recommended Coeus, which was developed at MIT.  Coeus, when fully implemented, will reduce redundant data entry into Federal and other systems, provide on-line tracking and status of proposal development and routing, be web accessible, and have the ability to receive and provide data feeds to other systems for pre and post award management.  The UMB Coeus System will be the replacement for the current ORD Management Information System (MIS). 

The level of administrative support to faculty in proposal preparation and routing varies dramatically from one unit on campus to another.  Therefore, the end user interface will need to be made as clear and user friendly as possible to help reduce the dependency on administrative support for preparation of budgets, and the administrative boiler plate demanded by sponsors.  A streamlined user interface that incorporates rules and workflow will enforce uniformity as well as the consistency and overall quality of proposal preparation.  It will also significantly reduce the time required to  rework and reroute proposals.  The Coeus product is currently under development to include an improved end user interface..  The Coeus Consortium has recognized that this is a high priority for all of the consortium schools and hopes that the development of this new interface (termed Coeus Lite), will be completed by early summer. Because a release date for a product still under development cannot be certain, UMB plans to train the campus on the use of Grants.gov in order to assure an electronic submittal process is in place for the NIH deadlines.

Many key decisions and strategies will need to be developed as part of the initial phase of the Coeus project.  Using Coeus as the foundation for a data repository for all pre-award proposal information is one of the key activities of Phase 1.  Some key decisions that will need to be undertaken as part of this phase include:

  • the campus’s approach to data conversion from legacy systems including data sources and data clean up
  • the campus’s approach to the tracking of effort and needed changes to current business practices, data requirements, and interfaces
  • the campus’s approach to enterprise-wide reporting

Background, Focus, Outcome and Teams

Background

The pre-award research information system is the next important project in a sequence of projects to build a state-of-the-art, integrated human resources, financials and pre- and post-award research system.  A Research MIS Functional Working Group has been meeting for the past many months to discuss and define system critical success factors, research processes, roles and responsibilities, as well as reviewing possible software systems.  A Steering Committee has been guiding and directing the process, which has resulted in a final review and the selection of Coeus. 

Focus

This system will be designed to serve and support faculty researchers, support staffs, administrators in the Schools and in the Office of Research Development, and senior administration at UMB.  Researchers and their support staffs and administrators serving legally mandated purposes in ORD and the Schools will have responsibility for defining consistent business processes and practices, as well as following defined data standards. 

Outcome

The full development of Coeus will meet the mandatory requirements identified by the RMIS working group’s Critical Success Factors for Key Functional and Technical Components.   Some of key outcomes include:

  • capability for researchers to develop and electronically route grant proposals through defined rules and processes
  • provide a means for updating and approving research proposals electronically
  • accommodate federal procedures for electronic submission of proposals
  • assure all data requirements for campus and external reporting are captured
  • facilitate data sharing, integrations, and electronic interfaces to and from eUMB HRMS and Financials and other enterprise wide systems (i.e. Effort Reporting)
  • provide users means to generate both standard and ad hoc reports
  • fully developed reporting strategy
  • fully developed training strategy
  • web-based system accessible through the campus Portal

Coeus Project Working Groups

The Executive Committee consists of the key strategic decision makers in regard to scope, timeline, and resources.  It provides guidance and support to the Project Team.

Executive Committee:

  • Marjorie Forster, Assistant Vice President for Research, ORD
  • Jim Hughes, (Co-Project Sponsor), V.P. for Research and Development, ORD
  • Bruce Jarrell, (Co-Project Sponsor), Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, SOM
  • James McNamee, (Co-Implementation Sponsor), Associate Dean and CIO, SOM
  • Peter Murray, (Co-Implementation Sponsor), Vice President and CIO, CITS
  • Sharon Bowser (staff), Assistant Dean, Information Services, SOM
  • Mike Smith (staff), Technical Lead, CITS[SB1]
  • Howard Gosnell (staff), Senior Application Analyst, CITS
  • Jim Rose (staff), Director of Finance, ORD
  • Ben DiMolfetta, Coeus Consultant

The Steering Committee consists of campus constituents who are responsible for representing units’ requirements and for information sharing/communications.   This committee will assist the executive committee in making key decisions as needed. 

Steering Committee: 

  • Sharon Bowser, Assistant Dean, Information Services, SOM
  • William Cooper, Associate Dean, Admin & Finance, CFO, SOP
  • Barbara Covington, Associate Dean, SON
  • Marjorie Forster, Assistant Vice President for Research, ORD
  • John Geiman, Asst VP for Budget and Finance, Off of Budget and Finance
  • Gregory Handlir, Sr. Associate Dean for Resource Management, SOM
  • Jim Hughes, Chair, V.P. for Research and Development, ORD
  • Bruce Jarrell, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, SOM
  • James McNamee, Associate Dean and CIO, SOM
  • Peter Murray, Vice President and CIO, CITS
  • Victor Peguero, Director, Research Admin., SON
  • John Sauk, Associate Dean/Chair, Diag. Science and Pathology, SOD
  • Barbara Smith, Professor, Office of Research, SON
  • Mike Smith, Exec. Director of Administrative Apps, CITS
  • Marc Wasserman, Director, Financial Affairs
  • Illene Zuckerman, Associate Professor, Pharm Hlth Srv Rsch, SOP
  • Bruce DeForge, Associate Professor, Research and Development, SSW
  • Andreas Ortmeyer, Administrator, SOL
  • Lynn Kingsley, Director, Cost Analysis

The Project Team consists of employees from CITS, SOM, ORD and other Schools, as well as any needed consultant resource(s). The Project team will report to the executive committee and be responsible for the management of the project’s timeline, resources, and scope.  The project team will make daily decisions and present implementation updates to the executive committee and the steering committee on a regular basis.  It will present significant events, issues, policy questions, implementation options, and other important project activities to the executive committee for final decision making.

Project Team:

  • Sharon Bowser, Assistant Dean, Information Services, SOM
  • Marjorie Forster, Assistant Vice President for Research, ORD
  • Kanchana Tirasuth, Business Analyst, ORD
  • Howard Gosnell, Sr. Applications Manager, CITS
  • Sue Hobbs, Director, Research Administration, SOM
  • Vicky Hunter, Exec Dir, Database Services, CITS
  • Jim Leoni, Exec. Director Infrastructure Services, CITS
  • Mike Smith, Exec. Director of Administrative Apps, CITS
  • Merlin Tchouante, Information Systems Engineer, CITS
  • Eunissa Yancy, IT Senior Specialist, CITS
  • Song Yu, Senior Database Administrator, Information Services, SOM
  • Ben DiMolfetta, Coeus Consultation
  • Mike Marieniello, Coeus Consultation
  • Maggi Smith, Trainer
  • Cheryl Williams Smith, Restricted Funds/Financial Affairs

Subject Matter Experts and Power Users will be engaged to assist in developing common business practices, functionally testing the software configuration, and in communications and training.

Subject Matter Experts:

  • Bruce DeForge, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, SSW Research & Dev.
  • Georgie Gerzanich, Director, Research Program Development, SOM
  • Joe Giffels, Asst. VP for Academic Affairs, OAA Res. Compliance
  • Sue Hobbs, Director, Research Administration and Compliance, SOM
  • Colin Hunter, Info. Mgmt. Specialist, ORD Information Systems
  • Jim Jaeger, Director, Environmental Health & Safety
  • Lynne Kingsley, Director of Cost Accounting, UMB
  • Bob Mitchell, Director of Research Services, Med Grant Management, SOM
  • Helen Mourat, Grants and Contracts Administrator, Oncology Program, SOM
  • Jim Rose, Manager, Restricted Funds, ORD Financial Management
  • Janet Simons, Manager, Grants and Contracts, ORD
  • TBD Restricted Funds/Financial Affairs

Power Users:

  • Vanessa Foreman, Admin. Director, Center for Vascular and Inflammatory  Diseases
  • Neal Gallico, Research Coordinator, Psych Financial Mgmt, School of Medicine
  • George Harmon, Director of Finance, Dental School, SOD Biomedical Sciences
  • Cherri Helms, Sponsored Project Coordinator, School of Pharmacy, SOP Deans Admin.
  • Regina McMahon, Accountant, School of Social Work, SSW Welfare & Child Support
  • TBA (Res. Director) – SSW
  • TBD Restricted Funds/Financial Affairs

Critical Success Factors of the Project Team

  • Active executive sponsorship with a "published scope” for the project
  • Defined project governance structure
  • Adequate resources to achieve the project vision and goals
  • High-level prioritization of desired functionality
  • Empowered, cohesive, and motivated project team focused on success and strong project management principles
  • Clearly defined data standards[SB2] 
  • Clearly defined strategies to meet campus reporting, testing, security, training, interface, conversion, and business process needs
  • Clear and frequent communications (to internal customers, University departments, etc.)
  •  End user and business process owner involvement (software configuration, business process decisions, testing, training)

Methodology and Timeframe

Methodology

The rapid system implementation method will be used for this project.  As such, the rapid method does not allow for extensive customizations of business processes during the implementation.  In this approach, concurrent activities are undertaken to define processes and at the same time, to build prototypes of the software.  By splitting the project into concurrent, yet coordinated activities with short-term milestones, continuous progress can be made with business processes and with the development of the software.

The rapid implementation methodology will first include this statement of scope, which defines a high-level statement of work and project management structure.  This scope statement is followed-up with the development of a project plan.  The project plan will define the key milestones, dates, and the activities for the different parts of the implementation, e.g., configuration, workflow, conversions, interfaces, security, reporting, testing, and training.  The project plan will also include activities for preparing and implementing the technical environment.

The business requirements and workflow analysis gathered during the software selection process will be used along with the knowledge of the subject matter experts to assist the Project Team in further defining and refining business needs and workflow analysis.  These specifications will serve as the roadmap for the configuration of the application and the implementation of future business processes.  In this concurrent implementation model, configuration and prototyping activities will be undertaken at the same time.  Coeus will be compared to the mandatory requirements as identified by the Research MIS Functional Working Group and the Steering Committee, and the delivered functionality will be mapped to the desired pre-award business processes. 

At the same time, the Coeus table structure will be reviewed; the UMB-specific data sources and requirements will be determined; a review will be undertaken for integration/interface requirements (HRMS/Financials/Other), and pre-award processes and Coeus data and software functionality will be mapped to eUMB Financials and HRMS.  Also, the functional specifications for modifications, integration/interfaces, conversions, and reporting will be prepared.

Technical work will be performed to incorporate and finalize functional specifications, modifications, and integration/interfaces.  Functional roles, business rules and routing will be designed and technical work will be preformed. 

Following the initial configuration, a “pilot” is undertaken to identify issues or gaps in the system.  As part of this process, the implementation team, with help from subject matter experts, prepares test scenarios and scripts which reflect current and/or new business processes.  Tests of the modifications to configuration and interfaces are also undertaken. 

Upon the completion of the iterative process of “pilot” testing and refinements, the super-user and user training is conducted.  As training is occurring, final testing is also being completed.  The production environment will be prepared, and table configuration and interfaces schedules and processing will be finalized.

Timetable

Given that this system has been identified as a high priority for UMB and that there is a Federal mandate requiring proposals to be submitted in electronic form, the timetable must recognize that the campus will be undergoing significant concurrent activities.  Training campus end users and administrative offices in the use of Grants.gov; understanding workflow and route controls for electronic routing; developing specifications for a core data repository necessary to replace in its entirety the current MIS; Coeus baseline installation; and development of interfaces out of and into Coeus are requirements that must be addressed prior to full roll out of the complete Coeus solution.   Phase 1 would include the implementation of the Coeus Lite and Premium software (which includes any required interface to another system, e.g., eUMB), electronic workflow (routing and approving) functionality, and the capability to submit proposals in electronic form to Federal agencies.  Phase I would include limited “pilot” testing of the proposal preparation, routing, approval and electronic submission in one or more departments/schools.  This phase of the project is targeted to conclude October, 2006.  As the Project Plan is developed and we have had the opportunity to configure the Coeus software and develop our interface and configuration strategies this date will be revisited.

Phase 2 would include building and testing of remaining interfaces; configuration of remaining work flow and route control; establishment of security roles; training and full system testing.   Full production roll-out of workflow functionality, essential data conversions, and implementation of the reporting strategy will be concluded in this phase of the project.   Depending upon decisions regarding conversion and reporting strategies for the campus, Phase 2 may either be extended or broken down into an additional phase to address the timeline needed to support the ultimate conversion and reporting strategies.  Though it is our goal to have Coeus Lite fully implemented in time for the February 1, 2007 award submissions this will depend upon the success the campus has experienced in Phase 1 and the timeline needed to fully implement the system to system interfaces, route controls and workflow, and training the campus on the use of Coeus Lite.

The rapid implementation approach and the management of concurrent project activities will expedite the implementation and be integral to meeting the Phase 1 go live date.  Thus, in the development of the project plan, the goal should be to schedule concurrently as many project activities as possible.  This approach precludes the option of large scale data conversion or a fully developed reporting strategy in the initial Phase of the project and therefore recognizes that many of the current procedures used by the campus and ORD to warehouse, interface, and report on pre-award information will continue until Phase 2 has been completed.

To sustain UMB’s great enthusiasm and current momentum, it will be critical to deliver functionality to faculty, research and administrative staff as quickly as possible in Phase 1.   However, until the project plan is fully developed, the extent and full duration of Phase 2 activities, resources and timeframe will not be known.  The project plan will provide a roadmap of activities and tasks that will need to be coordinated and completed with available resources.  It will determine the level of functionality and integration for Phase 1 of the project.  The Phase 1 project plan should be completed as soon as possible after the review and approval of this Executive Scope Statement.   

Coeus System Benefits

Other institutions have implemented integrated enterprise-wide financials and pre- and post-award systems. Few, if any, include online proposal preparation, electronic routing and approving.  While many research institutions are currently investigating and working toward this solution, UMB will be one of the first to implement this.

Coeus will assist faculty researchers who desire an easier administrative process of submitting proposals.  This system will offer intuitive online proposal preparation, tracking of proposals as they move through the routing pathway, and a faster overall approval process.  Easier preparation means researchers can devote more time to writing the science and less time filling in forms.  Easier preparation of proposals and a faster approval process is appealing to senior administration as well, since the volume of proposals is only expected to increase.  This would potentially mean more and higher quality proposals being generated and submitted to funding agencies.  In addition, this system will provide better reporting capabilities, better data for decision-making and for undertaking grant-related cost studies and analyses. 

This system is important since research funding has become more critical to the budgets of public research institutions, and UMB is no exception.  Research activity has become the core business of the university.  Without better, and more efficient and effective processes for preparing, approving and submitting grant proposals, research universities like UMB are to some extent at risk.  This system will mitigate that risk and strengthen support for research and reduce administrative inefficiencies. 

A critically important benefit of this new system is that it  will help ensure compliance with federal regulations, which is becoming more of an issue each year.  It will also serve to equalize the variations of administrative support available to faculty throughout the campus.  A cohesive approach to proposal submission and pre-award data integrity will serve the campus’s research mission.

COEUS:   New Preaward Research System On Its Way

UMB is pleased to announce that efforts are now underway to implement a new institution-wide pre-award management system.  Developed by MIT and named for the Greek mythological titan of intelligence, Coeus is one of the first “cradle-to-grave” pre-award management tools in the nation. The software makes it possible to prepare proposals, route them internally by electronic means to obtain proper approvals, and submit them to sponsors electronically.

For UMB, Coeus is the answer to impending Federal requirements to submit all proposals electronically by October, 2007.  Campus investigators and research administrators can look forward to greater ease in preparation of proposals allowing more time to write the science and less time filling out forms and hand-carrying documents through the various levels of approval.  Likewise, Coeus is expected to improve uniformity, consistency and overall quality of proposal preparation.  

The system will offer intuitive online proposal preparation, tracking of proposals as they move through the routing pathway, and a faster overall approval process.  Researchers will construct full proposals on their computer.  Budget preparation is supported by Coeus’s ability to store and apply all approved Employee Fringe Benefit and F&A  (Indirect Costs) rates, inflation factors, and conversions from effort to person hours.

UMB will be among the first universities nationwide, among them MIT, JHU and Princeton, using Coeus for proposal development.  The Offices of Research and Development at more than 30 institutions currently use the system for proposal tracking.

In the coming months, UMB will release more information regarding the planned phases of the Coeus roll-out, so stay tuned!

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