We are moving right along with this implementation! We kicked off the project with the districts in September and quickly transitioned into system setup. After several sessions with the districts we are now complete with Finance setup and nearing completion of HR/Payroll Setup. We have also successfully imported accounts, account components, employees, vendors and vendor addresses into Online 5. Mike Waldorff, the Project Manager for Yuba COE, has done a great job multi-tasking coordinating with all the districts and extracting their legacy data so the data conversions stay on track. Way to go Mike!
Next will be moving into Core Training for HR/Payroll which should be finished by end of December. Many thanks to all entire Yuba COE team for keeping everything moving along!
Sonoma County’s second largest district has now joined the Escape team. Hooray!
The main Petaluma district and their three additional charters all converted to Escape this past spring, during a fast paced, 6-month conversion to all of the Escape activities. The Petaluma district and charters have a combined ADA of about 7481 with about 87 district office and site users and approximately 1100 employees.
We started the conversion process in late January with HR, moved to Payroll in March and then finished at the end of June with the Finance activities. Usually there were about 3-5 core district office users involved in the training at any one time, depending on the activity.
I was so pleased to see how positive and willing the users were to learn another system and manually convert a major part of their data. The Petaluma folks used the manual data conversion to review their current processes and verify the new setup matched what they actually wanted to gain from the conversion to Escape.
Throughout the actual trainings I kept hearing the comment “It really does that?” They were amazed at the intuitiveness of the system and how any one module worked so similar to the other modules. The availability of Escape reports that immediately met their needs was another big plus for them.
This post was written by Tina Rodriguez, Business System Support Analyst, Sonoma County Office of Education. Escape Technology appreciates and encourages our customers writing guest blogs. Thanks Tina!
Two months ago, I posted a blog about the Team Work at Monterey COE, telling everyone about how we were preparing to go LIVE in July.
Well, July is here and 30 organizations at MCOE are LIVE!!!
Last week, we completed the processing stage of the 7/31 payroll for Phase 2 of the implementation, and the stats are impressive:
- 3,180 employees
- $11,303,258.48 gross pay
Not only that, but we will double the number of employees and gross pay when we get to September and all employees are being paid.
Dr. Nancy Kotowski, Monterey County Superintendent of Schools,
discusses the project with the team at MCOE
This has been extraordinary project with lots of excitement and some challenges. Thanks to all of the team members at Monterey County Office of Education and their district counterparts and thanks to Team Escape for pulling together all the resources necessary to make this a successful implementation.
Jose Mejia, Rosa Castro, Yadira Perez, and Frank Paredes
of San Ysidro School District.
The San Ysidro School District is very excited about our recent acquisition of Escape Online 5 HR system, our HR staff has been working diligently for the last 6 months in preparing for our go live date of July 2013.
Migrating from legacy HR software to the new Escape Online 5 has been a very smooth transition with the help of Escape staff. Our HR staff has really taken ownership of the new Escape Online 5 and they have been working very close with Escape staff during professional development or via email, to make sure they get all the ends and outs of the product.
This post was written by Frank Paredes, Director of Information Management Services, San Ysidro School District. Escape Technology appreciates and encourages our customers writing guest blogs. Thanks Frank!
I have really enjoyed working with the Plumas COE team. Last week they went LIVE on Escape Online. The entire experience was rewarding.
I think the building the office is located in says it all. Built in 1905, the bronze plaque memorializes it as “A Monument to Education.” It is beautiful, really showing the personality of their town…very friendly and down to earth with lots of great, hard-working people.
Speaking of hard-working people, here is what the Deputy Superintendent had to say about the project:
We successfully ran our first batch of Accounts Payable checks today, as well as processed our first batch of Purchase Orders. The 13/14 budgets from Bi-Tech have been successfully imported into Escape.
A big THANK YOU to Kathy, the team from Escape, and most of all, the staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure a successful implementation. We couldn’t have done it without you!
~ Yvonne Bates, the Deputy Superintendent of Business Services,
Plumas County Office of Education
Check out some of the Plumas team with their first Escape Online AP checks.
(From left to right: with Carla Hamilton, Yvonne Bales, Casey Harding and Shawn Montgomery)
Thanks to everyone for such a great project!
It wasn’t very long ago that our CEO Bob Towery created this post describing how we were starting the year strong, with the announcement of our 15th COE customer.
Well, sorry Bob, but you are already out of date! I’m happy to announce that Yuba COE is now making it a “sweet 16” COE’s in the Escape Family. The process to get to this point involved a large RFP as well as demos from numerous companies. Yuba will be implementing on our XCOE Cloud hosted system, which vastly reduces their costs for hardware, software and labor.
All of us here at Escape thank the Yuba COE/districts team for their evaluation and faith in us. We are looking forward to beginning the implementation and completing it professionally with them.
P.S. We sure love the tagline on your logo!
“Carole, Carole who?” you ask. As many of you know for the past 18 months I’ve been working with the Monterey County Office of Education on their implementation of Escape Online 5 and as a result the Monterey peninsula has become my home away from home!
Phase 1 of the implementation comprised 6 organizations, including the county office, and went live in July 2012. Since then I’ve been working with the COE on Phase 2 which consists of 19 districts and is scheduled to go live in July 2013.
Since this is such a large project I recently enlisted the help of a few other Escape employees, Gayle Lucas and Terri Hammond. While I’ve been meeting with districts one on one for pay compares, Terri has been handling all of the finance training and meeting with districts individually to assist with their budget development. In fact here she is working with Tim Ryan, Superintendent from Mission Union SD and Joyce Reese, Financial Analyst from the County office.
Meanwhile Gayle has also been meeting with the districts to review workflow and user setup.
From the top left: Tim Ryan, Superintendent from Mission Union SD and Joyce Reese, Financial Analyst from the County office, Terri Hammond, System Trainer for Escape; Cindy Hicks and Janet Massey from King City; Rosie from Alisal; and the training room at Monterey COE.
Monterey Peninsula USD joined the project a little late, but has jumped in completely. I have been very impressed by them. When I was working with HR last month, I heard LOTS of excitement about Escape Online. They especially liked the ability to attach files to the Employee record, and how Escape Online handles education, evaluations, subjects and seniority records.
From the COE, Phillip Davis and Reyna Arreola have started the Site Training that will continue through June.
Now that’s team work!
There is still much to do before July but everything is coming together and looking good for going live in July.
We are getting close to going live in Plumas COE! Even though it’s not yet July, the Plumas team is already live in employees, vendors and accounts.
With an ADA of 2,400+, Plumas COE is located in Quincy in the beautiful Mount Lassen area of Northern California. Plumas began their data transfer in December, and they have been blazing trails ever since.
We are finishing up development of their custom items and they are completing pay compares and any remaining testing. Kudos to Yvonne Bales and Laurie Pendray for keeping all tasks moving on the county office side of the project. In June we will be holding the final trainings and will be ready for the July go live.
We don’t publicize it much, but Escape Technology has a large user group, run by our customers. It meets quarterly, using a satellite video system. We often attend at Placer COE since their office is close to ours. I attended the last one at Ventura COE’s office in Camarillo. But listening to something James Anderberg of Placer COE made me contact him afterward.
We realized it had been five full years since Placer COE and their districts went live on our system. The Placer COE project was the first county-wide implementation for brand new Escape Online 5 Finance/HR/Payroll/COE system. As you would expect, there were plenty of wrong turns and potholes in the beginning! In the end, it was the great project plan and ongoing management quarterbacked by James that kept everyone going.
On this anniversary, I asked James to share a few thoughts for our blog:
It has been five years since the Placer County Office of Education and its district partners first completed its county-wide payroll utilizing Escape’s Online 5 software. While anniversaries of this nature are not widely recognized, this monumental milestone certainly has not passed me by. I am still in awe of the initiative of all those involved that were able to manage change in a way that made this complex transition possible. This multi-phased implementation could not have happened without the leadership of our Journey to Escape Task Force team, who facilitated the move of approximately 900 users in 22 organizations through all three of Escape’s modules in 18 months.
What continues to be an important element in systemic change is the need to think about collective impact. We were able to find emergent solutions toward a multiple of outcomes through ongoing meetings, trainings, mentoring, and of course, trial and error. These processes enabled all participants to actively engage in the methods the Task Force used for data migration, software setup, and user training. Through a shared vision for the possibilities of what Escape could ultimately do for our organizations, we were able to identify problems and find solutions through a joint approach that involved key stakeholders across the county. We found that this helped everyone to have a forum to share their successes as well as their frustrations. We learned together in concert with our ESCAPE partners who provided incredible support.
We have been open to sharing our process with other organizations throughout the state to provide lessons learned and best practices. If you would like to hear more about our approaches to project management, change management, and ongoing process improvement, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
James Anderberg, Executive Director, Administrative Services
Placer County Office of Education, Auburn, CA
From all of us here at Escape, a warm Thank You to James, the rest of the great folks at Placer COE, and all the users across their districts. You gave us an awesome start, and Escape and our entire customer base is going strong.
Aside from providing technical support to customers and Escape Customer Care, I sometimes find myself on various special projects that come my way. I am in the final phases of a project that I’ve been working on for Modoc County Office of Education and wanted to share some of the cool things we’ve accomplished. This is actually my second project in which we have integrated Escape Online5 with docStar; the first project was with Tehama County Department of Education. On both projects, I have worked closely with Jeff White at Coastal Business Systems, and both times it has been a pleasure working with him.
Here’s how it works: each time the County staff creates a payment batch within the Escape Online5 system, the data for that batch is automatically transferred to the County’s docStar system where it is then parsed and matched to files that the County has scanned into the docStar system. This alleviates the manual work of hand entering data into docStar, allowing resources to be allocated to other tasks. The data that is getting input into docStar is more accurate since we have removed the chance of human error/mistyped keys.
Jeff tells me that people like the fact that when they have an audit, they can retrieve everything they need by a funding source code. Auditors also have access to files remotely instead of having to be onsite.
I recently reached out to Jonna Turek, Business Systems Support Specialist at Tehama County Department of Education, to find out what benefits they have experienced since integrating Escape Online5 and docStar systems. Jonna tells me that everything she hears from her districts is that “everyone loves it!” and they would never want to go back to the old days of manually scanning and indexing documents. One district CBO just recently mentioned to her that they have saved so much time in the indexing process by having the key words from AP payments imported to docStar from Escape on a nightly basis.
“The indexing has become merely a matter of scanning the backup documentation into docStar, entering the check number and all the other relevant reference numbers are attached to the Payment document automatically. Data entry is one field, the check number, for each payment, as opposed to multiple fields. So, we benefit in time saved, timeliness of the indexing and, with fewer manually entered fields, fewer errors. It’s win-win all the way.”
It’s always good to hear how our hard work has paid off and is making things easier for others. If you have any questions, let me know. I’m sure Jeff wouldn’t mind discussing a future project with you either.