Tulane kicks off transformation to the cloud with WaveWorks!

In March 2024, Tulane entered a new phase in WaveWorks!, the project name for an initiative to implement a cloud-based IT platform, OracleCloud. 

The project will replace Tulane’s current systems for finance, budget and planning, and human resources, used by all schools and departments across the university. OracleCloud will bring these systems together for enhanced functionality, efficiency and ease of use by all who work at Tulane. This transformation will take place over the next two years, with the aim to go live in early 2026.  

And it isn’t just an IT project — it’s a major business transformation project for the university. The new system’s benefits will reach across faculty, managers, staff and student workers — anyone who manages a budget, submits expenses, recruits faculty or staff, hires and pays vendors, receives pay slips and benefits, leads a team, participates in a performance assessment and more.

The new system will offer dashboard reporting views in real time, reduce manual processes, surface data and analytics, and help staff track their professional development journeys, along with other benefits.

Provost Robin Forman, co-executive sponsor for the project and senior vice president for academic affairs, spoke to the project’s value at a kickoff event on Thursday, March 7.

“This is part of a university-wide investment in the future of the university,” he said. “We are engaging in an exercise collectively of enhancing Tulane’s status as one of the nation’s great research universities.”

On top of improvements for staff in finance, budgeting and planning, and HR, he said the new system will also enable researchers to spend more time on innovation and discovery rather than administrative work. Today, researchers must record and report the hours they spend on research and track how much money and commitments remain in their grants — this is usually a manual, somewhat cumbersome process that’s difficult to get exactly right. This new system will help to automate some of those processes, offer real-time status reports, and ease final reporting — helping to ensure no valuable resources are left on the table.  

Chief Operating Officer (COO) Patrick Norton, co-executive sponsor for the project and senior vice president, also spoke at the event. He said the project represents how we get to the “next level of our operating model” to keep pace with the university’s growth over the past decade.

“We’re not the same university that we were a decade ago. The quality of what we do is much higher, the expectations are much higher, and the ambition is much higher,” he said. 

Judy Vitrano, who previously served as associate vice president of budget and planning and chief of staff to the COO, has been appointed general manager for the WaveWorks! project. She spoke to the group declaring that “we are aligned for success. It’s the right time, with the right product, the right system integrator and the right [Tulane] team for this transformation project.”

The university went through a more-than-yearlong, intensive selection process before landing on OracleCloud. It’s a top-rated cloud platform that aligns closely with Tulane’s mission and strategic goals. The vendor also designated Tulane as a Center of Excellence client, which offers the university access to the partner’s executive leadership and the ability to request new functionality in future OracleCloud releases.

Tulane is also partnering with a systems integration firm, Drivestream. The firm has helped 200+ organizations transition to the cloud and will support Tulane across all phases of the project, including preparation, development, testing, launch and post-launch.

The WaveWorks! project team at Tulane will also support all users embracing this new system, offering roadshows and town halls, regular updates from senior leaders, and departmental and team briefings.

Eighty+ colleagues with over 900 years of Tulane experience are already participating in workstreams, and there will be more opportunities for faculty and staff to contribute ideas and feedback through design and testing. There will also be a significant investment in tailored training to ensure all who will interact with OracleCloud are comfortable with the tool.

And the WaveWorks! team is eager for even more user input. Visit the WaveWorks! website for more ways to get involved.