Penn Upgrades Oracle Apps

Ivy Leaguer looks to financial, e-procurement solutions for cost savings, process efficiencies

Redwood Shores, CA  January 8, 2003  The University of Pennsylvania has upgraded its Oracle enterprise software in a bid to achieve cost savings and increase productivity.

The Ivy League school, based in Philadelphia, has moved from Oracle 10.7 applications to make the provider's e-Business Suite the new foundation for Penn Marketplace, the university's Web-based purchasing, accounts payable and general-ledger system.

The switch has allowed the university to synchronize its financial databases and purchasing initiatives, allowing for increased efficiency and productivity running the marketplace, which provides Penn's 1,700 users with access to product availability and financial information, according to Oracle.

Using Oracle Financials and iProcurement, university officials estimate the system upgrade will enable Penn's purchasing services department to negotiate new cost savings related to e-procurement supplier recruitment of $4.3 million in the first year alone, with savings of $64.1 million on the institution's indirect spend over a six-year period.

Penn also anticipates that operational cost savings resulting from automation by the Oracle suite will continue to help ensure that administrative processes maximize the use of university resources.

"The automated procure-to-pay processes and streamlined requisition capabilities have enabled our staff to become more efficient, spending less time managing process and more time pursuing cost-effective contracts with suppliers," said Marion Campbell, project manager for finance and research information technology initiatives at the university.

Penn was among the first educational organizations to move to a distributed purchasing model to maximize vendor-negotiating power and increase cost-conscious spending practices. Oracle helped Penn to fully automate the university's procure-to-pay system so that when an order is initiated, supplier invoices and purchase orders are instantly paired and scheduled for payment. As a result of the integrated applications running on a single data model, Penn's administrators spend less time entering the same data across various system functions.