Other Schools Face Same Problems

For some Harvard users, it is hard to imagine how the new financial information system could possibly be worse.

But they have not talked to Cleveland State University (CSU) officials.

In 1996, when Harvard was launching Project ADAPT, CSU began a similar effort to replace its patchwork of aging information systems. While Harvard chose Oracle to provide the base software package, CSU selected Oracle's competitor, PeopleSoft.


Since the 1998-1999 academic year when CSU implemented its new systems, things have gone from bad to worse.

"We simply have an unmanageable system," William F. Patient, chair of the CSU trustees, told Cleveland's daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer, late last year.

The project's costs have ballooned from initial projections of $4.2 million to a current estimate of $15.8 million.

That includes $4.6 million earmarked in February to hire independent, non-PeopleSoft consultants to fix its problems. And in November, CSU appointed a special task force called "Just Fix It" to, well, just fix it. CSU has also retained lawyers and is considering suing PeopleSoft for damages.

Steve Swasey, PeopleSoft's director of corporate public relations, has told The Plain Dealer that his company was trying to "stand by its customer," but that CSU had unrealistic expectations of project costs and implementation time.

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