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Penn eForms: Streamlining Requests for Access to Administrative Systems

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March 15, 2011, Volume 57, No. 25

Information Systems and Computing recently released Penn eForms, a new application for submitting, routing, approving, tracking, and reporting on requests for access to administrative systems used by staff and faculty across the University. Penn eForms replaces a time-consuming manual process involving multiple handoffs of paper forms with a streamlined, web-based process that improves productivity and supports Penn’s sustainability goals. The release of eForms follows a successful pilot with representatives from the School of Medicine, the Dental School, Wharton, the Division of Finance, and the Offices of the Registrar, Payroll, Human Resources, and Research Services. ISC will be working with offices across the University to transition all administrative systems (BEN Financials, Payroll, research applications, etc.) to eForms over time.

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eForms for Data Warehouse and BEN Reports Available Now
eForms are available now for the Data Warehouse and BEN Reports, the two systems that were involved in the pilot. If you supervise individuals who have, or may need, access to Data Warehouse collections or BEN Reports, please direct them to Penn eForms and use it yourself to request, update, or approve access. Links to individual eForms and usage documentation can be found on the Penn eForms home page at www.upenn.edu/computing/da/eformsThe page will be updated as new systems adopt eForms. The Penn eForms home page is also accessible from the U@Penn “Business” tab, under “Forms” in the right-hand column.

Key Benefits and Features of eForms
Penn eForms provides capabilities that reduce complexity, improve security, and enable faster and more accurate execution of access requests, benefiting end users, supervisors, data stewards, and security administrators. While the overall process/approval flow for obtaining access is similar to the manual process flow, administrative effort is streamlined from initial request through the approval chain, ending with provisioning by security administrators. Current status and history for each request are available to satisfy reporting and auditing requirements.

Key features include the following:

• Each eForm consists of several sections (Requester Information, Supervisor Action, Form Routing, etc.). As a form progresses along its routing path, various fields become editable or complete.

• Authentication with a PennKey and password enables certain information to be inserted into a form automatically, and also functions as an invisible signature for each person who acts on the form (requester, approver, etc.).

• An authorized person who is familiar with access requests may initiate a request on behalf of the actual user to save time or to terminate the user’s access.

• Certain required information, such as org numbers, is validated immediately for improved accuracy.

• Supervisors are selected from a pick list; then the eForm is automatically routed to the next person in the approval chain according to the rules for the form.

• Up-to-date status, tracking, and “action required” information is provided throughout the process: E-mail notifications and reminders are generated automatically at each step, and the status of in-process and completed requests can be viewed on the web.

More Information
Please address any questions or feedback about Penn eForms to Jim Johnson, director of ISC Data Administration, at johnsonj@isc.upenn.edu

Robin Beck, Vice President,
Information Systems and Computing

 

Almanac - March 15, 2011, Volume 57, No. 25