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Help for Those Befuddled by BUworks

Resources for using new computer system


Users may have more questions now that the BUworks software upgrade is rolling out. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

BU administrators knew that after several decades, the University’s administrative software needed an upgrade. They also knew that such a massive and complex change was likely to befuddle employees at the outset. So they’ve readied a raft of resources to help.

On June 29, BUworks, the upgrade project, refocused its homepage on support. BUworks support information is also available on the IS&T website. There are three primary resources for getting help:

Online Help. This tool has instructions, simulations, and other aids to help employees use the new software, supplied by SAP, the company BU selected.

“Power Users. These are employees in the various colleges and University departments—more than 350 strong—who were trained early in the new system and serve as liaisons between their coworkers and BUworks. They can solve problems or refer those needing help to people who can. The support page contains a link to a spreadsheet with each college’s and department’s power users and readiness leaders, managers who have been working with their schools and departments to prepare them for the new system.

The IT Help Center. The center provides technological support for the BU community by phone (353-HELP), email (ithelp@bu.edu), or at its two locations, in Mugar Memorial Library and at 533 Commonwealth Ave., in Kenmore Square. An online help request form, specific to BUworks, is available from its website, the BUworks pages of the IS&T website, and the BUworks Central portal

Additionally, President Robert A. Brown wrote in an email to the BU community last week, “Walk-in workshops will be held to provide hands-on assistance to users.” While noting that “the long-term benefits to the University, as a result of this effort, will be numerous,” Brown added, “we should all expect challenges,” sentiments echoed in another community email from BUworks leaders on the eve of launching BUworks Central, the self-service portal for employees to access BUworks services.

“The next few weeks will be challenging,” the leaders wrote. “The goal is in sight; and your hard work and dedication will move the University forward and help us achieve operational excellence.”

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.


8 Comments on Help for Those Befuddled by BUworks

  • Anonymous on 07.06.2011 at 7:09 am


    “..a massive and complex change..”- this is an understatement. I’d like to point out that regardless of the online help and tutorials, this change seems to be especially difficult for the great many people who work for BU that don’t speak English as their first language, and don’t have experience using computers and spreadsheets.

    Also, some supervisors apparently expect employees to spend their lunch breaks, unpaid non-work hours, and weekends learning the system. I don’t know if this is even legal or not, but since BU is forcing this change, it doesn’t seem right and needs to be addressed- possibly in a formal BU-wide memo.

  • Anonymous on 07.06.2011 at 9:23 am

    Insulting Tile to the Article

    To portray a person not yet trained on a new technology as addled or mentally infirm, is insulting and belittling. The headline writer failed as both a person and a professional. The article is fine. The headline is a disgrace.

  • Anonymous on 07.06.2011 at 10:33 am

    What is insulting about this title?

    I don’t understand how someone would think that this title is suggesting anyone is “addled” or “mentally infirm”.

    I’m befuddled that someone would make such a ridiculous assumption.

    Also, it’s 2011, if you don’t have experience working with computers, maybe it’s time to get some.

  • Anonymous on 07.06.2011 at 11:31 am

    Marching Boldly Into the Past

    Let me preface my comment by saying that I don’t want to go through life as a cynic. I genuinely like working at BU and want to do what I can to make this a great university. It therefore pains me to submit the following assessment.

    I spent some time yesterday exploring the new BUWorks system and was truly astonished by the array of opaque catchphrases and acronyms splashed across page after page of the BUWorks site. I had to cycle through the site three or four times just to find the link to my paystub. At times it seemed that I was actually in the BUWorks site; other times, I seemed to have found my way to some nether region of the main BU website. Most troubling of all my discoveries was the fact that the SAP platform underlying BUWorks is designed to work on versions of Firefox that are at least two generations out of date.

    It is hard not to look upon almost every administrative change made at the university over the past several years without concluding that we are being encouraged to think and act like computers. Every function of the university, from fundraising to the measurement of academic achievement, is being translated into “units” and “metrics” and so on. I won’t even try to argue the merits of such an ethos. But whatever we may think of this transformation, surely we can all agree that BUWorks– now the accounting system for the entire university– is a central pillar on which this new philosophy rests. Is it not therefore essential that this monument to efficiency and “numeracy” be elegant, functional and (perhaps above all) up to date?

  • Anonymous on 07.06.2011 at 1:00 pm

    Power Users and Change

    Thank God for our Power User, and kudos to all of us for being patient with one another while getting accustomed to the many changes. Change is difficult; and the more drastic the change, even more diffculties are expected. ‘Patience’ is the key.

  • Anonymous on 07.06.2011 at 2:10 pm

    I have to agree with “Marching Boldly…”, at least to a degree. While I haven’t found the new system to be particularly difficult, it seems to me that the incompatibility with current web browsers is a serious flaw that should have been addressed before its release, and I suspect that this is a main cause of the frustrations of new users. And yes, thank you, “Marching”- we are indeed “being encouraged to think and act like computers”, which of course comes from the top down and is a consequence of prioritizing engineering, management and the dollar.

  • Anonymous on 07.06.2011 at 4:26 pm

    re: Insulting Title

    Befuddled implies mental infirmity and addled – at the very least confused AFTER you should already know something. Befuddled is not the same as confused! Look it up. – As for not having experience working with computers. I have over 25 years in repairing, programming, installing computers and modems of all different sizes. I have a 4G android phone and have owned IBM PCs since 1982. – I logged onto ESS today and I didn’t find ANYTHING confusing about the new SAP/ERP based BUWorks software.

  • Anonymous on 07.07.2011 at 10:24 am

    25 years

    Mr./Ms. 25 years experience: the point being made is that everyone doesn’t have your masterly knowledge of technology. You have a 4G android phone? All bow to your supremacy.

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