Skip to Main Content


Max’s Minute: Understanding Problems to Improve Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud

Max Davis-JohnsonThis is the third in a series of articles discussing continuing improvements for Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud. View the previous entries at

One of our core principles used in improving Oracle Financials Cloud and Taleo Recruiting is the need to completely understand problems before we act.

To that end, OIT and our campus partners have visited with all colleges and key departments to capture their concerns and issues with the new systems. We also know there might be different opinions as to what is “best.” At the end of the day, we all want what is best for the University.

As we continue to make progress, that is what we are striving for – what is best for Boise State.

Oracle Financials Cloud Updates

Sponsored Projects has reconciled all of the PeopleSoft grants data in the Oracle Financials Cloud grants project module (PPM). We are now loading and verifying entries from July 1 onward, and we expect this to be complete within the next few weeks. Once all data is reconciled, we will then focus on PI training, processes, and reporting.

Financial Services has released campus transactional dashboards to address invoices, department deposits and journals. You can find answers while only knowing a little about the data (e.g., only the day it happened, the division it impacted, or the amount it was for). These dashboards will continue to be enhanced. We will next address budget transfers, then accounts receivable.

Budget vs. expense reporting will be available for all account types within the next week. Security, access, cross-validation rules, and other system controls will continue to be tweaked as we learn and understand more about OFC.

You can find job aids, documentation, tutorials, FAQs, and class schedules for all things OFC on the University Financial Services Training Portal, including new reports as they are released. Financial Services experts will even come to you – all you need to do is ask!

We have completed requirements for travel pre-authorization, and the Dean’s Council has approved the basic design concept. OIT is moving forward on development of this new app within myBoiseState.

Budget transfers (also identified as a pain point) will be addressed through a combination of process improvements and reporting.

Taleo Recruiting Updates

Human Resource Services has designed a streamlined hiring process for faculty, based on campus feedback along with best practices from other universities using Taleo Recruiting.. The Dean’s Council approved this process, and implementation will begin immediately.

Once the new streamlined faculty hiring process is in place, work will begin on improving the professional hiring process.

We are finalizing the new Budget/Position Action Request (BPAR) form and process next week, moving the BPAR process out of Taleo to focus the system on recruitment and onboarding (as it is intended to be used).

Financial Services, Sponsored Projects, Human Resource Services, OIT, and Oracle remain committed to doing everything we can to make these systems work better for you.

– Max Davis-Johnson

Questions and feedback are encouraged. Email

G Suite for Education

G Suite from Google

Google recently announced a rebrand of Google Apps. G Suite for Education is the new name for the familiar set of productivity and collaboration applications used by our Boise State campus community.

The applications themselves (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc.) retain their familiar names.

Per Google’s official blog:

“All around the world, businesses are filling up with busyness. Employees today are more plugged-in than ever before, but technology too often gets in the way of turning ideas into game changers. For businesses, sharing and communicating has gotten complicated and often happens in silos. The bigger the company, the bigger the challenge.

But what if technology lived up to its promise for us at work? What if it helped us cut through the noise so we could work together to focus on what matters?

We created Google Apps for Work ten years ago (back when it was Google Apps for Your Domain) to do just that — to help people everywhere work and innovate together, so businesses can move faster and go bigger.

And today, we’re introducing a new name that better reflects this mission: G Suite.

G Suite is a set of intelligent apps—Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, and more—designed to bring people together, with real-time collaboration built in from the start. And there’s a lot more on the way. Because we believe that when organizations break down silos, connect people and empower them to work together, we get the speed, agility and impact needed to compete in today’s market.”

Visit the G Suite Learning Center to learn more about G Suite applications at Boise State.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

national cyber security awareness month

Boise State joins the nation in celebrating National Cyber Security Awareness Month for October.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a nationwide effort to educate and engage public and private sector stakeholders, and the general public, on cybersecurity issues through a variety of communications and outreach activities.

The world is more interconnected today than ever before. We enjoy the benefits and convenience that cyberspace provides, including online shopping, mobile banking, and communicating with friends and family through social networks and email. However, we also face a range of threats – identity and intellectual property theft, network intrusions, and financial crimes – from these cyber networks.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is an opportunity to provide you with the tools to stay safe online.

Boise State believes strongly in this mission. As a partner in the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect. campaign, Boise State has shown its commitment to enhancing online safety for everyone.

Throughout National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we urge everyone to help create a safer and more secure cyber environment by taking the following steps to keep themselves, their identities, and their information safe online:

  • Set strong passwords, and don’t share them with anyone.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized and secure by
    installing updates.
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you post online, and use privacy settings.
  • Be cautious about what you receive or read online; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Boise State supports the Department of Homeland Security by proactively advancing cybersecurity awareness through outreach and information sharing. National Cyber Security Awareness Month is formally recognized by Congress, federal, state, and local governments, along with leaders from industry and academia.

This united effort is essential to creating a safer, more resilient cyberspace that remains a source of tremendous opportunity and growth for years to come.

Cybersecurity Department

The Office of Information Technology’s Cybersecurity Department is tasked with managing cyber risks, vulnerabilities and incidents in collaboration with OIT and campus IT resources, as well as facilitating campus community cybersecurity education and awareness.

Follow the department on Twitter @BoiseStateCyber, or visit the Cybersecurity website.

Max’s Minute: Making Progress with Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud

Max Davis-JohnsonThis is the second in a series of articles discussing continuing improvements for Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud. View the previous entry at

Transitioning to any new system is difficult.

After meeting with you and listening to many of your concerns, we’ve identified issues with Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud systems and processes, and are now working with our University partners and Oracle to make necessary improvements.

Difficulties with systems, processes, reporting, training, data, and security are normal (to some degree) with any large complex system implementation. However, our response to improve and resolve these problems must be precise, with a sense of urgency.

Our primary job is to ease the burden and aid the transition. This is our highest priority within OIT.

Taleo Recruiting

What progress have we made on the Taleo front?

We’re working with colleges to streamline the Faculty recruiting profile and process. Based on college feedback, we are designing mockups for what the process will be, and will start working on it as soon as we can get buy-in from the Deans.

While this is being built, HR Business Partners will assist colleges with the recruiting process so they can focus on the candidates rather than the system. Budget related activities, such as securing a PCN, will be done in a system outside of Taleo.

Having the budget approval integrated into the Taleo system was causing delays in the recruitment process. By making the process more efficient and using Taleo for its intended purpose of recruiting and onboarding, we’ll alleviate this particular pain point.

As we work through the new faculty recruitment profile, we will leverage what we learn to modify the business processes for hiring Professional Staff.

Oracle Financials Cloud

We have made significant progress on correcting the data in the grant projects module (PPM) and reporting in OFC.

The F&A over-allocation issue for grant data has been resolved. F&A now shows correct information for transactions posted through 6/30/2016. We are now reconciling all transactions between PeopleSoft and PPM. This reconciliation is approximately 70% complete, and we have a target date to complete the process by October 7.

Budgetary control will be turned on when the reconciliation is complete. Once the data is reconciled, we will focus on improving grant reporting and processes.

Also, we anticipate new transactional reporting and strategic budget vs. expense reporting available for all account types by October 7 at the latest. More reports will soon follow.

Finally, we are beginning requirement and design sessions for travel pre-authorization, budget transfer and departmental deposits, as these items have been identified as additional key pain points. These efforts require a combination of process improvements and application development.

Financial Services, Human Resource Services, OIT, Sponsored Projects, and Oracle remain committed to doing everything we can to make these systems work better for you.

– Max Davis-Johnson

Questions and feedback are encouraged. Email

Google Drive Adds Natural Language Search


Google recently updated Drive to provide easier searching of all your folders and files.

Natural Language Processing allows you to search as you talk. You can now type “show me department reports from last June” or “find enrollment spreadsheets from Dan” rather than having to configure specific search criteria.

Other recent Drive updates include the ability to split documents into columns in Google Docs, and access to a copy of non-Google files when opening, converting or editing those files after they’ve been converted to Google Docs, Sheets or Slides.

For details of all these new Google Drive features visit Google’s Drive Blog.


Steve Cutchin Named Director of Research Computing

Photo of Steve CutchinSteve Cutchin, associate professor of computer science, has been named the new director of the Research Computing department at Boise State University, following the retirement of previous director Brian McDevitt.

Research Computing assists researchers and faculty with centralized high-performance computing, visualization and programming support. In addition, the department works to centralize and improve support for the university’s cyberinfrastructure computing assets.

Cyberinfrastructure includes research environments that support computing and information processing services distributed over the Internet beyond the scope of a single institution. These include advanced data acquisition, data storage, data management, data integration, data mining and data visualization.

“It is an exciting time to be at Boise State University. There’s significant growth throughout the university and opportunities to develop new research are developing in a variety of areas,” Cutchin said. “I am looking forward to growing the university’s computational research infrastructure and developing programs that enable our faculty and researchers to impact the national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem.”

Read more about Cutchin’s role in Research Computing on The Update website.

Inbox by Gmail Now Available

Inbox by Gmail logo

Inbox by Gmail is now available at Boise State! Inbox is an alternative way to access your emails that lets you bundle emails together, set reminders for emails, and more.

Inbox is a completely different way to organize your mailbox. It treats emails as to-dos, assuming you’ll do more with them than just read them. Instead of having options such as “mark as read” and “archive,” you’ll see things like:

  • Bundles – group similar emails together (Labels you’ve created in Gmail will appear as bundles in Inbox.)
  • Reminders – create tasks and to-do lists within email
  • Snooze – set emails or reminders to appear in your inbox again at a later date
  • Pin – pin important emails to the inbox to find them easily
  • Done – mark finished emails as Done and they’ll be archived
  • Sweep – archive all unpinned emails from a certain bundle or time period

Inbox and Gmail have many of the same features and stay in sync automatically. (So whatever you do in one carries over to the other.) Best of all, you can switch between Inbox and Gmail at any time.

To access Inbox, visit

Training sessions for Inbox will be offered in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can find information about Inbox, including step-by-step instructions and tips and tricks, at the Google Apps Learning Center.

If you like Inbox and plan to use it regularly, you can add the link to your myBoiseState Resources menu for easier access. Instructions on how to customize your Resources can be found by visiting the Office of Information Technology website.

If you have questions or would like more information about Inbox, please contact the OIT Help Desk at, or call 208-426-4357.

Improving Taleo and Oracle Financials Cloud

Max Davis-JohnsonBoise State University recently introduced two significant enterprise system upgrades. Taleo Talent Acquisition was rolled out in June of this year, while Oracle Financials Cloud (OFC) went live in July.

The goals of these projects were varied, and included automating and modernizing our systems and processes, improving the quality and accuracy of information, and allowing resources to refocus on our core missions.

Both projects were tremendous undertakings, with Financial Services, Human Resource Services, and the Office of Information Technology leading the efforts. However, all colleges and departments had opportunities to participate in the project processes.

While the transition to any new system is difficult, we are experiencing several challenges that must be addressed. This is the highest priority for Finance, HRS, OIT, Sponsored Projects, and our vendor partner Oracle to resolve as quickly as possible.

HRS and OIT are working together with colleges and departments using Taleo to better understand pain points introduced by the new system.  Our objective is to listen to the campus to understand the issues, identify changes to streamline processes and intake where possible, and create a lean recruitment process that works for the entire campus.

Finance, Sponsored Projects and OIT have also been meeting with colleges and departments, listening to concerns and identifying issues surrounding the transition to our new Oracle Financials Cloud system. Along with Oracle, we are working diligently to resolve known issues, including problems with reporting and grants data.

We’re making progress; new reports will be available to the campus in the next few weeks, and we’ve identified the cause of the grants data issues and are determining the best solution to correct the information. As soon as reporting and grants data issues are resolved, we’ll start focusing on additional campus improvements for the OFC system.

The Office of Information Technology, our University partners and Oracle are committed to doing everything we can to make these systems work better for you.

– Max Davis-Johnson

Questions and feedback are encouraged. Email

Support for Upcoming macOS Sierra Release

mac o s sierra

Apple will release the newest version of its desktop/laptop operating system, macOS Sierra, on Tuesday, September 20.

New features in macOS Sierra features include Siri integration, improved handoff capabilities between Apple devices, and an easier method of managing disk space.

The Office of Information Technology asks you to delay upgrading University-owned computers to the new macOS until we complete testing to ensure all standard University software is compatible with the operating system.

We’ll let you know when the testing is complete.

For more information about macOS Sierra, visit Apple’s website.

If you have questions, contact the Help Desk at, or call 208-426-4357.

Max’s Minute: What’s New for Fall 2016

Max Davis-Johnson

Max Davis-Johnson talks about what the Office of Information Technology has been up to over the past few months, and our areas of emphasis for the Fall 2016 semester:

Max loves feedback…feel free to contact him directly at


Hi, this is Max Davis-Johnson, Boise State University, Office of Information Technology.

Today I want to highlight a few of the things that we’ve accomplished recently, and then I want to talk a little bit about some of the things we will emphasize going forward here at the beginning of Fall semester 2016.

So, one of the things we’re going to certainly emphasize here moving forward is our move to the Cloud.

And we’ve started some things with our financial system and our talent acquisition system, Taleo, but there’s a lot we still need to do to make those more usable, more solution-driven to what the institution needs.

So, that will be a major point of emphasis here, especially at the beginning of the Fall semester.

We’re going to looking to expand our analytic capability, and whether that’s financial information, more student-oriented information, that also will be a point of emphasis for us moving forward.

One of the new things we’ve done this year is we’ve opened up a new Zone here in Keiser Hall, in the residence hall center.

The idea is that we’re right in the middle of activity with students.

We have 2,000 customers in the area here, and this way we can support them directly.

myBoiseState is another area where we’ve made some significant enhancements.

We’ve rolled out a new iteration with a lot better plumbing behind it.

So we now have the ability to start adding things, adding services, adding individualized content based on on who you are, and as we move forward the University will be adapting a lot of this functionality.

We’ve been able to combine services with several of the colleges.

We are now providing support — all the technical support — for the College of Business, the College of Health Sciences, School of Public Service.

We have now expanded our support of classrooms to include departmental-owned classrooms.

This will give us the ability to get a consistent level of technology into more classrooms.

It will give us the ability to be more pro-active in our support of classrooms, and at the end of the day it will give faculty a common experience across all our classrooms.

And more importantly it will give students a common technology that can be leveraged in all our classrooms going forward.

Customer service will be another area of emphasis for us.

We always emphasize customer service.

It’s part of our culture.

We work to provide online tools, whether that’s changing your password, online content.

But at the same time we can’t forget the human element of customer service, so we want to be as responsive as we can to you, we want to listen to you, and more importantly as we understand your needs we want to work directly with you to craft solutions to meet your needs.

So, one of the other things that we’re putting in place right now is the new REEF Polling system.

Basically, this is a polling system designed for classroom use, and this will be available in every classroom.

What’s really neat about this is, instead of buying — having to go to the Bookstore to buy an individual clicking device or polling device, there’s actually software that you can load on your smartphone that would allow you to be part of this without buying a hardware device.

So I think it will give us a lot more flexibility as an institution and a lot more ability within a classroom to have people partake in the polling system.

One of the other things we’ve done too, we’re evolving to a software-based classroom or lecture capture system.

Before we were hardware-based, which somewhat limited our ability to get it in as many classrooms as possible.

Since we are now evolving to a software-based system, we now have that capability or can have that capability in the majority of our 130 classrooms that are centrally supported.

Accessibility is extremely important to us. I’m talking about web accessibility, technology accessibility.

It’s not only important to OIT, but it’s important to the campus.

And, we’re going to be looking at initiatives to help sustain our accessibility, to help remediate things that need remediated.

And again, not only making customer service part of our culture, but web accessibility a very important part of our culture.

That’s not just in OIT, but all across the University.

There’s a lot going on across the University, in OIT, we’re always looking for feedback, we’re always looking for help with, “Are we working on the right things?”

Do you have some new ideas that can make a difference from how we leverage or use technology?

We want to hear from you.

Thank you for listening, and until next time…