In December 2020, the intended launch of the NFS on 1 January 2021 was postponed due to unexpected problems. The NFS project team’s hard work continued unabated, and they came up with a new schedule. On 13 February 2021, we subsequently suffered an unpleasant setback with the network hack of NWO. Fortunately, the NFS project team really pulled its weight and, miraculously, managed to resume the project immediately. The system is now firmly in place, and employees from the finance departments are busy training and practising with the system to make sure they have fully mastered it. Everything is on schedule, and from 1 May 2021, U4ERP will go live.
What will change?
The impact of the new U4ERP will be greatest for colleagues who work in the departments Finances, Projects and Procurement. They will use the system each day for the administration of accounts payable, contract management and bookkeeping, for example. All other employees of the NWO Institutes and the NWO-I office will use U4ERP on a smaller scale. From 1 May onwards, or later, they will work with the U4ERP modules introduced below.
Eventually, the more than 1800 employees of NWO-I will register their hours worked. Several institutes are doing that already. However, registering hours is new for the other institutes and the NWO-I office. By registering hours, we will obtain more insight into how we use our time. That also applies to government bodies and parties outside of NWO-I. For many years now, granting bodies have required that we demonstrate how many hours are devoted to projects. Registering hours will be introduced in phases according to the scheme below.
- On 1 May 2021, the NWO Institutes AMOLF, ARCNL, ASTRON and SRON will start registering hours.
- DIFFER has registered hours for many years in a different system; they all switch to registering in U4ERP on 1 July 2021. The same concerns NIOZ. They will switch a little bit later, but before 2022.
- The employees of the NWO Institutes CWI and Nikhef have also already been registering their hours. On 1 January 2022 they will switch to the “Timekeeping module” in U4ERP.
- Finally, registering hours is also new for the NWO Institute NSCR and the NWO-I office. They will also start doing this on 1 January 2022.
Travel and declarations
With the arrival of U4ERP, all employees of the institutes and the NWO-I office will request (foreign) trips and submit expenses declarations via the module Travel and declarations in the new system.
The entire chain from quotation to payment will, in future, take place via the U4ERP module Procurement. This concerns the purchase or hiring in, for example, of goods, products or services under the correct conditions. This includes, for instance, large tenders in projects such as a new piece of equipment or the refurbishment of a building. But it equally applies to smaller purchases such as pens, a business gift or flowers for a colleague. Some employees will make these requisitions via U4ERP. This allows them, after a possible quotation trajectory, to place an order or service in the system. The requisition will subsequently be sent to the budget holder for approval, after which the employee with the role of “purchaser” within the institute or office can make the actual order. After the product or service has been supplied, the invoice will follow and this will also be sent to the purchaser for approval via U4ERP before the payment takes place. What exactly this entire procurement process will look like, and who within your organisation has which role will differ per location.
Going live in phases
The institutes and the NWO-I office will not all switch to the new system at once. From Friday, 30 April 2021, at 17:00 hours, the financial systems at all institutes will be “locked”. Then the conversion specialists will transfer all agreed data from the current systems to U4ERP. Then the institutes and NWO-I office will switch in two steps:
* As of 6 May it concerns AMOLF, ARCNL, Nikhef, DIFFER, the NWO-I office, General and BUW.
* And as of 10 May these institutes will follow: ASTRON, SRON, CWI, NSCR and NIOZ.
This division has been made to give the helpdesk more space to answer a possible abundance of questions.
Training, instructions and demos
There will be instructional videos, manuals and training, but also a helpdesk for people who begin using the new system from May onwards. This also includes so-called training on the job. After the first month, this includes registering your hours during a live group session. During this session, the trainer will take everybody through the system step by step. A different learning resource will be available for each learning style. More information will follow shortly.
If you have any questions, please contact your contact person from your own institute, from the NWO-I office or your line manager.