University of Utah Human Resources Team Streamlines Payroll Process

The University of Utah is about to begin its first full academic year with a new human resources/payroll solution that combines scanning terminals, the Internet and the school's intranet to streamline the employee timekeeping process.

The new system combines Kronos Inc.'s Timekeeper and PeopleSoft Inc.'s payroll system to serve the 13,000 university employees that fall under its umbrella, said Jennifer Martindale, manager of payroll for the University of Utah. "It allows us to decentralized time collection and gives the departments more control of the system," she said.

"In the past, everything was on paper, and the departments collected it and then put it on more paper," Martindale said. "Now, they can manipulate the data easier and more accurately and push the deadlines back."

The old system also required employees to estimate time they were going to work during a pay period and turn in time sheets before the end of that period, said Richard Livingston, director of financial and ancillary systems for University Hospital and the school's project manager for Kronos. "Now they put the time in after the time period has ended," he said. "The paper system needed the data with up to two days left [in the current pay period] for processing requirements."

The Kronos Timekeeper product collects employees' time using badge readers, the Internet and the school's intranet. About 25 percent of workers will use the badge readers, Livingston said, with the remaining three-quarters recording hours through the Web or intranet. Employees can also keep track of their vacation and sick days on the system.

The PeopleSoft payroll system operates through an Oracle Corp. database in a Sun Microsystems Inc. Solaris operating environment. There are 60 Timekeeper badging terminals and more than 280 on-campus sites where employees can update their payroll information. Employees apply their PeopleSoft user identification code and a password to access their individual time sheet information, Livingston said.

The system cost less than $500,000 to put in place. The Kronos component was fully implemented in April, and the PeopleSoft part was completely installed in May. Some departments were hesitant at first, but they have since embraced the automated upgrade, Livingston said. "Some liked the control, but some thought they were just being forced to do more work," he said. "But it was a very smooth implementation, and we're reaping all the benefits that we thought we would going into it."

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