Finding the right people to enhance vendor software

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

UNT Facilities Support and Services budget officer learns about UNT System IT services, who improve a third-party management application saving her considerable time in reconciling journals.

Joyce Courtney describes herself as the type of person you’ll either love or hate.

“It’s because I ask too many questions,” Joyce explains. She’s always wanting to know the how, why, and what does it do. So about a year ago, not long after she joined UNT Facilities Support and Services, Joyce asked her coworkers in Work Control about how the third-party maintenance software application assigned journal IDs. Specifically, if a journal ID starting with WO was for a work order, then why was the same WO journal ID assigned to sales orders and vehicle rentals? No one had an answer.

Joyce was already familiar with this problem from when she worked for UNT System Facilities Planning and Construction as their senior budget officer and financial analyst. Responsible for reconciling accounts, she often encountered charges from UNT Facilities beginning with the WO acronym, only she couldn’t find a matching work order. After many frustrating searches through her records, Joyce would call UNT Facilities Work Control to get help in identifying these work orders.

Joyce Courtney quote“Work Control would go searching for a work order, and they couldn’t find it. I don’t know what this mystery charge is and then they would finally say, ‘Oh! Maybe it’s a sales order,’ or, ‘Oh! You know what? It’s an auto rental.’ Because that’s all Facilities Support Services and it gets pulled from TMA,” Joyce explained. TMA is the third-party software, Total Maintenance Authority, used to generate journal IDs and track charges for Facilities sales and services.

Joyce continued, “It would take everyone hunting, and you were off on the wrong track, and it was very frustrating for everyone involved. I’m like, why can’t we make journal IDs with different acronyms in front?” So that’s exactly what Joyce asked Anne Williams, Director of Accounting for UNT, who directed her to contact UNT System IT to solve her problem.

“Once Anne Williams put me in touch with UNT System IT, it was smooth sailing!” Joyce exclaimed.

The UNT System IT Finance Development (FINSDEV) team assessed Joyce’s requests and found three things that they could improve in the TMA application. Working with TMA developers, the FINSDEV team changed the process where journal files were being manually uploaded to the Enterprise Information System (EIS) servers to an automated routine within a new file structure.

Each transaction type from TMA was now assigned a unique identifier, which required FINSDEV to create new and unique journal templates. Finally, FINSDEV tied the unique journal IDs to the sales orders and automotive rentals generated in TMA. Now everything would validate against EIS as required by the State of Texas.

“I’m so happy that everyone collaborated successfully to help Joyce. It was definitely an example of unity within UNT,” said Anne Williams of these enhancements.