Introducing the Business Enterprise
Consistent with Penn's rich tradition of innovation and excellence, a
University-wide project team has begun implementing the Business Enterprise
Network, or BEN. BEN is the next evolution of Penn's business and financial
management system, now known as FinMIS. Based on input from a broad range
of current users and leveraging technology to build upon FinMIS's core functionality,
BEN will make it easier to conduct your business at Penn, while facilitating
enhanced access to financial and grant information.
Distinguished by new features and functions, a graphical user interface,
and a new nomenclature, BEN will include:
- web-enabled purchasing, general ledger, and accounts payable systems;
- new electronic commerce and travel functions; as well as
- the recently released web-based reporting environment for grant-related,
financial, and salary information.
An improved end-user support service and comprehensive training initiatives
for BEN users will complement the new features. BEN is the next step in
creating a streamlined and efficient administrative and management infrastructure
for the University.
The migration to a web-enabled environment and BEN's graphical interface
means a financial system that is more intuitive and accessible, providing
faculty and staff with broader access to relevant information. Among the
BEN components already available are:
- The first release of BEN Reports, a secured, web-enabled reporting
system that includes summary and detail grant and financial information
in three categories:
- Sponsored Programs, for principal investigators, administrators,
and others. Protocol Status reports offer approval and status information
about research protocols to prepare grant proposals. (And coming soon is
Grant Reporting and Management (GRAM), initially developed by the Medical
School, which provides a comprehensive, integrated view of information
to facilitate the management of grants.)
- Financial Management, for administrators and others to compare
revenue and expenses at summary and detail levels and provide added support
- Salary Management, for administrators and others to track employee
expenses by fund and department, and manage position inventories.
- A Freeze Grant Account feature which permits accounts to be frozen
for specified financial activities, thereby providing more effective control
of grant activity and permitting more orderly closeout of grant accounts.
- A Revenue and Expense Inquiry feature, enhanced to include summarized
general ledger detail information as well as pending transactions that
have been reserved.
Easier to Use
The BEN Project Team is working on several functions that will make purchasing
and paying for supplies and travel services easier and more efficient:
- BEN Travels and BEN Buys are electronic travel booking and e-commerce
functions that facilitate purchasing travel services and supplies, with
eventual benefits, like negotiated savings with preferred vendors, among
- Coming soon within BEN Pays is a new Accounts Payable Imaging capability,
which enables the electronic approval of invoice payments, notification
of incomplete C-Form documentation, and cancellation requests for incorrect
invoices via the web.
These new or enhanced functions are some of the examples of how the BEN
tools and features build a financial management environment that is self-service
oriented and will more readily meet the needs of the diverse constituencies
among both operational users and those who need direct access to information
Comprehensive Training & Support
The Project Team continues to incorporate user input from a broad range
of users representing all the Schools and Centers. A message heard consistently
from users across the University has been the need for expanded communications,
training, and end-user support. The Project Team has responded with several
- One person from each School and Center has been invited to serve as
a BEN Representative, a liaison to the Project Team to offer feedback and
to disseminate information to the School or Center. Through the BEN Reps,
Schools and Centers have an opportunity to share "best practices"
and help one another better prepare for the introduction of the enhancements.
|Arts and Sciences
- Saul Katzman
- Ramin Sedehi
|Audit and Compliance
- Barry Dahlen
- Linda Kristekas
|Division of Finance
|Education, Grad School
|Fine Arts, Grad School
- Bonnie Gibson
- Mai Friedman
- A pro-active communications effort, including a dedicated web site,
will apprise the University community of new developments and updates.
- Training sessions are available and encouraged for staff and faculty
members on new tools, enhancements, procedures and processes as they
are rolled out. Refer to http://www.finance.upenn.edu/ftd/
for training schedules.
- A three-tiered support structure is being created to enable consistent
support to all end users.
The Project Team welcomes your feedback. For more information on BEN
and how your School or Center is planning for the transition, please speak
with your BEN Rep and look for more information about the new web site coming
--Kenneth Campbell, Comptroller
--Robin Beck, Deputy Vice President for Information
Systems and Computing
--Robert Michel, Director of Acquisition Services
Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 33, May 16, 2000
Awards | CONTENTS
| OF RECORD:
Use of University Name | Business
Enterprise Network | TALK
ABOUT TEACHING ARCHIVE | BETWEEN
ISSUES | MAY at PENN |