About the Compass Upgrade

What is the Upgrade?

Emory’s PeopleSoft financials system (known within the community as “Compass”) was implemented in September, 2009. Just as we are required to periodically update our other major systems, Emory will be upgrading to the PeopleSoft Version 9.2 environment over the next 1-2 years.

We have completed the Fit/Gap evaluations, business case reviews (with user representatives and Emory Executives), and are now in the Design Phase. During this phase, we will map future state business processes, review proposed designs with user representatives, and complete our functional and technical design specifications for each module.

When is the Upgrade Taking Place?

Test Move:   A series of tests to ensure the system functions correctly, works with external systems, and supports business processes and policies accurately.

There are four planned Test Moves for a full 44 weeks of testing. The Test Moves build upon each other as we continue to refine the system.  TM1 and TM2 focus on core existing functionality, new features, customizations and determining if approved business cases can be supported by the system.  TM3 focuses on communications with external applications. During TM4, the Compass users get a chance to try out the system during interactive labs. Formal training is scheduled for August through mid-November.  Go-Live is November 14, 2016

Test Moves


Compass History

  • Compass is Emory’s PeopleSoft financial system, and serves both the University and Healthcare business units.
  • Compass was implemented in September, 2009 and has approximately 13,000 active users.


Why Upgrade Now?

The purpose of the Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) upgrade project is to:

  • Provide continuous operational improvements to the University and Healthcare communities
  • Optimize our investment in the system and take advantage of improved PeopleSoft functionality.
  • Pursue opportunities to reduce our cost of ownership through a reduction of customizations.
  • Try to provide more intuitive user interactions and expand functionality to better support business needs.
  • Evaluate opportunities for process improvements.

Project Phase Overview

Fit Gap & Design

  • Compare report analysis to determine which customizations must be reapplied
  • Develop future-state business process design
  • Develop Configuration Strategy
  • Develop Reporting, Interface, Conversion, and Enhancement Strategies
  • Design future-state organizational structure and detailed security roles

Design & Build

  • Configure for Future State Changes
  • Develop and unit test objects not supported by the standard PeopleSoft software
  • Configure future state security

Test/Test Moves

  • Develop global testing vision and strategy
  • Identify tools to support testing vision
  • Prepare and execute test scripts of future-state solution
  • Document and follow detailed defect resolution strategy


  • Training strategy and documents
  • Help desk and support strategy
  • Cut-over strategy
  • Contingency plan


  • Execute post Go-Live support and infrastructure
  • Execute help desk and support strategy
  • Implement cut-over strategy and transition for Emory sustainability
  • Continue user engagement, communications, and support

Project Workstreams

In order to manage a system-wide upgrade, the upgrade team has organized system functions and their users into groupings, or "workstreams” and corresponding “modules.

As Compass users, you will find overlap in these work streams and we understand that one project workstream could not possibly define or encompass the entirety of an individual's role.

For a deeper understanding of how your work will be affected by the Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) upgrade, please explore the work streams below by clicking any of the modules.

We will continue to provide additional details as the project progresses to keep you updated and informed.

  • If you have specific questions, please contact:
  • Accounts Payable
    • The Compass (PeopleSoft) Accounts Payable (AP) module provides the functionality to make payments to suppliers on time using established payment terms when a purchase order does not exist in Emory Express.
  • Accounts Receivable & Billing (Non-Grants)
    • The Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) Accounts Receivable Module is used to enter and track all receivables, process payments received on open invoices, and manage payment disputes and deductions. The Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) Billing module processes billing information to create invoices. The Billing application allows you to standardize, automate and optimize billing activities so that all invoices receive proper review, validation and accounting treatment.
  • Asset Management
    • The Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) Asset Management (AM) is the core product of the Asset Lifecycle suite. Asset Management integration with other modules allows integration of detailed data needed to process fixed assets, leased assets, group assets, and non-capital assets.
  • Budgets & Commitment Control (KK)
    • The Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) Commitment Control module enables you to create and maintain budgets, check actual transactions (such as actual expenditures and revenues) against budgets, check future financial obligations (encumbrances) against budgets, and check recognized revenue against revenue budgets.
  • Emory Express
    • Emory uses a third-party product, SciQuest, as its procure-to-pay system for the University. Emory Express handles the Requisition Entry, Document Approvals, PO Creation and Dispatching, Receiving, Invoicing and Matching.  
  • Journal Entry/General Ledger
    • The Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) General Ledger (GL) is the central repository for financial data created by the economic activities of the University and Healthcare business units. 
  • Grant Management
    • The Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) Grants module is designed to support the key business processes associated with the administration of sponsored research activities. It is the primary module for managing proposal (i.e. pre-award) and award (i.e. post-award) data and processes. 
  • Reporting
    • Reporting is a cross-functional work stream that touches each of the modules and systems affected by the upgrade. The reporting team will work to create and update financial reports and public queries used by the University and Healthcare user communities.
  • Security & Workflow
    • Security in Compass is based on the types of access available in the PeopleSoft Financials system.
      Certain forms of access (i.e.,  expense reports) are considered basic and are available to any active employee.
    • Workflow in Compass is used to automate business processes in which items are passed from one user to another for action.
  • Smartkey/SpeedType
    • Emory used a 3rd party product, SmartKey, in the original implementation to expedite data entry.   SmartKey functionality will be replaced by a delivered PeopleSoft product called SpeedType or SpeedChart. These Entry Code Keys ensure the accuracy of ChartField Combination when entering transactions in some, but not all, modules.  Since these Entry Code Keys are not used in all transactions, they are not intended to be used for report summarizations.
  • Technology
    • The technology workstream is responsible for the overall environment strategy and maintenance, upgrade of data and objects from 9.0 to 9.2, attachments and archiving, retrofitting customizations and developing detail design documents identified as requirements for technical development.
  • Transition Support
    • The Transition Support team is focused on the people side of the upgrade by helping people transition from current state to future state.
  • Travel & Expense
    • The Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) Travel and Expenses Management solution helps streamline and automate travel spend based on Emory’s policies. The Expense module allows the ability to set travel policy controls for compliance via simplified configuration, as well as, eliminate paper based approvals by using the delivered automated electronic approval process.
  • Treasury
    • The Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) Cash Management (CM) module enables you to monitor and forecast cash requirements, perform automated bank reconciliations, analyze bank fees, distribute payments efficiently and securely through Financial Gateway, and automatically generate accounting entries. The Treasury Management module incorporates the Deal Management Module which provides easy access to liquidity management, improved debt servicing, and reduced interest expense, while improving staff productivity.
  • WorkCenters
    • The Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2). WorkCenters consolidate and centralize access to relevant data, allowing departments and administrators to focus on daily tasks and strategic initiatives. WorkCenters arrange access to data in meaningful categories (work, reports, queries); significantly reducing navigation time.

We will continue to provide additional details as the project progresses to keep you updated and informed.

Please reach us via email to express concerns, ask questions, or to connect with the Transition Support team

Project Guiding Principles

The purpose of this Compass (PeopleSoft Financials 9.2) upgrade project is to continue improving services to the University and Healthcare communities and maintain our investment in the PeopleSoft Financials suite.  Seven key principles will be used to guide the overall Compass Upgrade project.  These collectively help support our most valuable assets: our people.  The objective is to create a climate that encourages open and two-way communications that will enable us to effectively bridge our business needs with the needs of our user community.

  1. Promote shared ownership, collaboration, and communication
  2. Fully evaluate functionality and impacts
  3. Represent the enterprise (University & Healthcare)
  4. Be transparent
  5. Understand the business need and consequences in every decision
  6. Consider impact to constituents and related budgets
  7. Encourage improved functionality, safeguarding valued existing solutions

Emory's Financial Journey

As part of Emory’s continued finance journey and the overall vision of University CFO Carol Kissal, we are establishing a new Enterprise Finance Organization model.

This new model will align our strategic, operational, and managerial infrastructure to support continued financial success and growth at Emory, while maintaining Emory University’s Values and Priorities.

The overall vision is a finance 'organization' that has fewer boundaries, fosters alliances among schools and business units and supports unit finance leaders to work collaboratively and effectively.

The Compass Upgrade journey embraces this vision.

Emory University's Values and Priorities

What Do I Need to Do Right Now?

  1. Subscribe to the Compass Users ListServ. Click here for instructions how how to subscribe.
  2. Continue to check the website and read emails for the most-up-to-date project information, campus gatherings, town halls and webinars to learn more about how the change will impact you. 
  3. Join our Yammer Group for real-time updates and collaboration in a social setting.

Please reach us via email to express concerns, ask questions, or to connect with the Transition Support team.