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University of Edinburgh staff paid late due to Oracle ERP troubles

Project beginning in 2019 has left employees and suppliers waiting on payments

Scotland's University of Edinburgh has paid staff and suppliers late owing to the troubled implementation of a new Oracle-based HR and finance system.

Professors and postgraduate researchers at the 400-year-old institution told local media their wage pack had been delayed by two to three weeks.

The Edinburgh Evening News also reported that suppliers have stopped providing services to the university because invoices had not been paid. At least one dated back to 2018.

The university implemented a new centralized HR, payroll, and finance system it called "People and money" in June. The news outlet reported concerns of staff and graduate students struggling to pay their bills and rent because of the delay.

In June 2019, Oracle announced the university was moving to Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle HCM Cloud, both applications based on the Oracle Cloud-based Fusion platform. Later that summer, integration partner Inoapps said it had won the deal to support the project. In January 2021, it was reported that the first stage of the project had gone live with finance and HR modules to follow.

A University of Edinburgh spokesperson refused to deny the new system was based on Oracle Fusion and that Inoapps supported the project.

In a statement, the spokesperson said: "The University recently implemented a new finance system, which required us to interrupt financial processing for a period over the summer to allow us to test the system and transfer huge volumes of data. We apologise to any of our suppliers, students or staff who are experiencing a delay in payment.

"We have increased the number of people in our finance team who are working tirelessly to process the increased volume of outstanding invoices. The University prides itself in fostering good relationships with suppliers, and we are doing our best to ensure all payments are processed as quickly as possible.

"We are also acutely aware of the impact that this is having on some of our staff and students, and have apologised for the disruption. We will continue to communicate with our community to ensure they are aware of the work that is being undertaken to address their issues, and how we are prioritising payments."

The spokesperson added that a technical error, unrelated to the university's systems, caused a delay in stipend payments for some PhD students last week.

According to a Freedom of Information request, Edinburgh University was using Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) 12.1.3 for HR, payroll and self-service as of December 2014. The most recent upgrade of this system had taken place in November 2013.

ERP trouble seems to stalk Edinburgh. The city council was forced to abandon a Unit4 project – a decision which led to a supplier court battle – and opted instead to extend the life of its Oracle EBS system.

Earlier this year, universities across Scotland clubbed together to soften up the market in preparation for an enterprise software procurement estimated to be worth £42m.

Oracle refused to comment and Ioapps has not responded to a request to comment. ®

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