eBITS Annual Review 2019-20

In 2019-20, eBITS moved beyond the 2018-19 efforts surrounding Workday go-live and stabilization to focus on continuous improvement across enterprise systems and services maintained and provided for the University. The overall goal for 2019-20 was to reduce the friction experienced by campus when using enterprise systems through systemized planning processes, technological innovation, and increased engagement with campus to provide service to and solicit feedback from business owners, campus partners, and end-users. The eBITS Team continued working towards this goal even after being asked to pivot in response to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, which included moving to 100% remote operations in mid-March 2020.

2019-20 Success Highlights

  • askUS Support contacts down 50%, with Operational Support requests down 40%
  • 217 major enhancements implemented
  • Business Offices ranked the quality, trustworthiness, service, respect, and flexibility of services received from eBITS with an average score of 9.5 out of 10

eBITS Core Strategies

The significant projects and enhancements completed in 2019-20 aligned with 5 core strategies eBITS is following, which include:

  1. Reduce administrative burdens in innovative ways
  2. Enhance information availability and use through richer, more available data
  3. Reduce technology-related risk and increase opportunities through enabling technologies
  4. Provide effective and easy-to-use interfaces that make interaction with UT easier and promote self-service
  5. Upgrade systems and data to support diversity and inclusion on campus

Significant Projects and Enhancements Delivered in 2019-20

Mass Transaction Submission System (MTSS)

The Mass Transaction Submission System (MTSS) provides the ability to perform mass Hires and Add Additional Jobs through an interface outside of Workday at any time of the year. This system offers an alternative to processing student Hires and Add Jobs manually within Workday by eliminating multi-system look-ups and manual data manipulations. Unveiled ahead of the Fall 2020 student hiring season, MTSS reduced the average processing time for student hires by 33%, with some Colleges, Schools, and Units (CSUs) seeing reductions of 60% or more.

Appropriate Use of Employee Names in UT Administrative Systems

As part of an ongoing effort to support diversity and inclusion on the UT campus, eBITS completed a campus-wide effort to ensure the use of employee names in campus systems, including Preferred vs. Legal, where appropriate, and improved gender-related language.  In addition, systems were reviewed for appropriate language and upgraded if needed.

Tuition Reduction Benefit

To improve the Tuition Reduction Benefit (TRB) for Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Assistant Instructors (AIs), eBITS enhanced the evaluation of tuition and awards from the Graduate School and the graduate program employing each student. This processing change gives a more accurate accounting of students' tuition covered by the Graduate School, effectively raising their coverage limit, reducing or eliminating the TRB Gap. This change eliminated confusion for the benefit recipients and the colleges awarding these benefits and eliminated the manual creation of thousands of supplemental awards to cover the TRB Gap. For fall 2019, 1,631 supplemental awards were processed for $11.7 million had to be created. For fall 2020, with the TRB updates in place, only one supplemental award for $279 required processing. This change represents an approximate 100% decrease in the manual creation of supplemental awards.

Allocation Details

The Allocation Details website improves upon compensation and costing information previously provided by the mainframe-based DEFINE AL1 and AL4 commands by displaying a more comprehensive range of information in a single web interface. Even in its first year of use, Allocation Details has already received multiple enhancements to increase the amount of information provided and improve user experience.

Financial Reports Enhancements

As part of an ongoing program to modernize financial systems, eBITS partnered with Accounting and Financial Management to deploy several enhancements to financial reporting to support offices that rely upon financial data. These enhancements included moving the GB2 detailed account balance report to a web interface to improve functionality and user experience. eBITS also released a new Financial Reports homepage to increase visibility and usability by implementing a uniform look and feel across reports.

Mass Processes for HR/Payroll Transactions

Along with MTSS, eBITS introduced other mass processes during 2019-20 to handle cyclical business processes through centralized, automated processing, which would otherwise have to be completed manually by personnel within each CSU. The goals of mass processes are to reduce the administrative burden on campus and reduce the risk inherent in tasks that require repetitive data entry.

Current Mass Process Offerings Include

askUS Support Team

The askUS Support team completed the consolidation of HR/Payroll and Financial systems support into a single team under the askUS banner to give campus a single point of contact for help with all business and administrative systems. askUS Support also responded to a shift in preference for contacting support via email over phone by shifting resources to ensure the Support Team could handle the higher email volume within established service levels.

CSU Relationship Managers

In response to Colleges, Schools, and Units (CSUs) changing support needs, in 2019-20, ECS introduced a new support role, CSU Relationship Manager, to customers of UT HR/Payroll and Financial systems. The CSU Relationship Manager's role is to function as a point of contact for challenges beyond a help desk call and advocate for their assigned CSUs within eBITS.

askUS Self-Paced Learning

In response to requests for more training scheduled at times convenient to more people, the Training team launched the askUS Self-Paced Learning series. The new self-paced courses are designed for users to complete at their own pace and convenience without the need to pre-register. Each course focuses on specific topics or areas of work and includes instructional materials and learning exercises. askUS Self-Paced Learning debuted in May 2020 with a self-paced version of Workday Fundamental and was followed in August by a course for Security Partners.

For more information on significant projects and enhancements completed by eBITS in 2019-20, see the roadmap updates released at the end of each roadmap period.

eBITS Roadmap

The eBITS Team worked with central business owners and campus partners to create a new process for planning initiatives, projects, and improvements to services on which the UT community depends. eBITS divides this ongoing work into six-month roadmaps, allowing for the focus necessary to take on more impactful projects and the flexibility to adapt as priorities change. At least 50% of eBITS resources are dedicated to making these significant improvements in each cycle.  The first Roadmap covered a period from October 2019 – April 2020, with the second running from April – October of 2020. The disruption caused by COVID-19 showed the benefit of the roadmap planning process by allowing eBITS the flexibility to take on the University's immediate needs while adjusting resources to accomplish the most pressing long-term projects. Learn more about the eBITS Roadmap and see updates on completed roadmaps and look ahead with the October 2020-March 2021 Roadmap.

Roadmap Feedback Surveys

To gain input from frontline users of HR/Payroll and Financial systems on projects under consideration for inclusion in roadmap planning, eBITS invited HR transaction initiators and financial document creators from offices across campus to take part in a roadmap feedback survey. We asked respondents to rate each item's impact on productivity and its importance to the respondent. Survey responses helped roadmap planners identify which projects are most important and would provide the most significant positive impact on the UT community members most likely to use these systems.

COVID-19 Response

In response to COVID-19, eBITS teams quickly worked to support CSUs across campus during the University's transition to social distancing and online instruction while also transitioning to being fully remote. This work included updates to existing HR/Payroll and Financial systems and processes or adding new features necessary to meet the current situation's needs. Campus-facing system changes and service updates implemented as part of the COVID-19 response are listed below.

Financial Systems

  • Student Support – We implemented several updates to financial systems supporting efforts by Student Accounts Receivable (SAR) to ease the financial burden on students as the University prepares for online instruction. 
  • Payroll Services – We made updates to check printing processes to allow Payroll Services to mail paychecks to employees who would otherwise have to come to campus to pick-up their checks.
  • Accounts Payable – We implemented changes to allow users to change the descriptions on final approved payment documents to note when expenses are related to a department's COVID-19 response.
  • Green Output Expansion – To help those working remotely who rely on Mainframe Printing and assist Document Solutions in maintaining social distancing, we expanded the number of documents in DEFINE that use Green Output as their printing option.

HR/Payroll Systems

  • EFML/EPSL – Implemented new Expanded Family and Medical Leave (EFML) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) time off codes, earnings, and guidance supporting Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) legislation. 
  • Premium Pay – Added Premium Pay – COVID (Hourly) and Premium Pay – COVID (Monthly)allowances as options under Comp Plan in Workday for workers who qualified.

askUS Support, Operational Support, and Training

  • Service Form Submission Process Changes – To support the UT community's efforts to implement social distancing and remote work, the askUS Support Desk and Operational Support changed their processes for submitting service request forms to eliminate the need for physical signatures.
  • Virtual Training – To meet the instructional needs of campus, the training team quickly converted their schedule of in-person Instructor Led-Training (ILT) to virtual training sessions via Zoom. From March-August 2020, the Training Team held 26 virtual ILT courses.




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