CMS Project General FAQs

What does distributed mean?

It is a method where authorized employees within divisions and/or departments have access to view and/or enter information directly into CMS.

What is being implemented from CMS?

CMS is implementing the following applications: Human Resources, Finance, and Campus Solutions. For additional information regarding modules being implemented, refer to the specific application.

What happens after ‘go-live’?

Ongoing training sessions will be offered to employees who do not receive CMS training prior to go-live and for the employees who would like a refresher course.

What does the CMS logo mean?

Designed by Web/Portal Team designer Larry Wong, the CMS logo represents supporting different people from different backgrounds coming together.

What is CMS?

CMS or “Common Management System” is a CSU system-wide initiative that seeks to replace legacy administrative software on each of the 23 CSU campuses. More information on the CSU System-wide CMS project can be seen at the CMS internal Web site at:

What is Oracle/PeopleSoft?

Oracle/PeopleSoft is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Software Vendor which provides a large suite of integrated software applications that manages data and communications for human resources, finance, and student systems.

Who is responsible for overseeing the CMS project at our campus?

Amir Dabirian, CITO, is the CMS Project Executive Sponsor and Robert Palmer, VP of Student Affairs, is the chair of the CMS Steering Committee on our campus. Effective March 2006, Chris Manriquez was appointed the CMS Project Director.

What are the goals of CMS?

By 2008, all CSU campuses will:

  • Perform administrative functions with a common set of administrative best practices.
  • Support administrative functions with a shared common integrated application software.
  • Support the administrative software in shared service centers.

How will this project affect me?

Because the software applications are designed to integrate almost every HR, Financial, and Student operation, few will be “untouched” by CMS. One of the great benefits of CMS is the “self-service” capabilities simplifying nearly all personnel, payroll, and benefit-related administrative tasks, saving time and effort for everyone in the University community. As an individual employee, CMS will give you simple, quick access to the information that directly affects you.

What does CMS offer that we don’t already have in our systems?

CMS is a leader in the development of state-of-the-art Human Resources, Financial and Student administrative systems. With their latest web-based version, our faculty, staff and other key stakeholders will have ready access to systems and processes through an efficient browser-based interface. The installation of CMS will enable the campus to serve all our internal and external customers better. It will also provide us with accurate, timely information ensuring sound business recommendations and decisions.

How does the CMS project team communicate with the rest of the community?

Project updates and information on progress will be published on this website and through various campus meetings and presentations. If information cannot be found on the website, or if immediate clarification is required, please email

What benefits can we expect from CMS?

While the upcoming fit-gap analysis for Finance and Campus Solutions will provide extensive information about benefits of the CMS project to our campus, there are a number of benefits that already have become evident. For details, please refer to the FAQ’s from the specific application (HR, Finance, Campus Solutions).

Where can I find the latest Chancellor’s Office Campus Deployment Timeline information?

The Chancellor's Office campus deployment timelines are available at the following link:

What is CSUF doing to avoid cost overruns and delays?

We are doing many things to avoid cost overruns and delays including:

  • Explicitly defining the scope of our efforts and then diligently trying to ensure that we do not expand the scope of our deliverables unless the CMS Steering Committee feels that some critical deliverable must be added, i.e. avoid "scope creep" at all costs.
  • Determining the user requirements and obtaining agreement/sign-off on the requirements before the design and implementation work.
  • Contracting with experienced and respected consulting partners to assist us through this process.
  • Using an implementation strategy that involves minimal consultants and an investment of long-term employees so that knowledge does not leave when the consultants leave. This will allow CSUF to be self-sufficient in the shortest time possible and for the lowest cost possible.
  • Monitoring the progress of the project continuously to ensure that the project is on schedule.
  • Extensively reviewing “lessons learned” from other campus implementations to make additional cost savings / avoidance.

What is a "vanilla" implementation? Why should this be a goal?

A “vanilla” implementation is one which minimizes changes made to the delivered software. This approach reduces expense, both in the initial implementation and in future upgrades. The term “vanilla” causes some concern among many individuals, faculty as well as administrative users. What is sometimes overlooked is the “table driven” design of the CMS system that supports hundreds of design considerations without a single software modification. These tables allow the Chancellor’s Office and CSUF to “customize” the CMS systems to many of our needs, without violating the ‘'vanilla” guideline.

How many universities are using Oracle/PeopleSoft?

The initial higher education product was developed in conjunction with seven colleges and universities. The Campus Solutions (Student Administration) module has been licensed by over 300 higher education institutions with more being added all the time.

Will the new CMS system have the same functions as the current system?

Yes, the new system not only will allow CSUF to support the current critical business processes and functions, but will fully integrate Finance, Student and Human Resources systems. The new web-based technology will allow students, faculty, and staff to have easier access and more timely information.

What do industry leaders think of the CMS project?

The California State University System was presented by ComputerWorld trade publication with the Medal of Achievement in San Francisco City Hall April 4, 2004 in recognition of its ongoing CMS computer systems upgrade. CSU representatives submitted a case study on the Common Management System which officially became part of the Computerworld Honors Collection April 4th when the collection was formally presented to the Global Archives. “The ComputerWorld Honors Medal of Achievement is presented annually to men and women around the world who have made outstanding progress for society through the visionary use of information technology,” said Patrick J. McGovern, Chairman of the Computerworld Honors Chairmen's Committee and founder of International Data Group. To learn more about the award, click here Opens in new window and read the CSU news release on the topic.

What are the implications of Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft?

A variety of sources have commented and/or speculated about what will happen to PeopleSoft customers.
Here is a letter ( to customers from Oracle's presidents Charles Phillips and Safra Catz. Oracles's home page ( welcomes PeopleSoft customers.