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Some 100-plus days have passed since ConnectCarolina went live on October 1.

Frances Dykstra, Assistant Vice Chancellor for ITS Enterprise Applications, led the tremendous University-wide effort to develop finance and human resources/payroll modules to enable the campus to benefit from using an integrated management system. UNC-Chapel Hill had been working toward the launch since 2009, when Carolina adopted its first ConnectCarolina component, Student Administration, consisting of admissions, student records, financial aid, student financials and academic advising.

We sat down with Dykstra to see how things are going and what she wants to accomplish with ConnectCarolina in 2015.

The ConnectCarolina project “has been so successful at engaging leaders and workers throughout the community to participate in the project and really dig in and understand how the system needed to be configured and to test it,” said Frances Dykstra, Assistant Vice Chancellor for ITS Enterprise Applications.

Hundreds of people worked on the project, employing all of their knowledge and skills. They worked overnight and sometimes even slept at ITS Manning during the course of the implementation, she noted.

Career highlight

“That collaboration and dedication across the University was quite impressive to me,” Dykstra said. “This is absolutely the best change management effort I have ever seen in my career.”

What’s next for ConnectCarolina?

Within the next 12 months, she said, “I would like the campus and central administrative offices to feel as though they’re able to use the new applications proficiently and feel they are getting better data than they ever got in the past.”

Another big goal, Dykstra said, is to figure out how to make ConnectCarolina more efficient so it is less costly to support and it “provides the kind of efficiencies this University needs to have so [that] fewer funds go to administrative functions and more funds go to the educational mission of the institution.”

Then next step is to determine how to use and extend the functionality “to provide new services or enhance the services or streamline business processes that we already have in place,” she said.

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