SIMBA Faculty Overview

SIMBA is the last of three ERPs to be implemented at Penn State.  LionPATH for student services and WorkLion for Human Capital Management have been in production for several years.  SIMBA, which stands for System for Integrated Management + Budgeting + Accounting, will replace IBIS as the University’s financial system as of July 1, 2020, with end users first using the system on July 6, 2020.  SIMBA uses SAP S/4HANA as its operating system.  IBIS has been the University’s financial system for almost 30 years, so transitioning to a new modern ERP system is long overdue.

SIMBA will also be launching a new Chart of Accounts (COA) for the University.  This means that the account numbers and object codes you used in IBIS are all changing.  The new COA is more modern and flexible than IBIS, but we realize it will take some time to get used to using cost objects instead of account or budget number and General Ledger (GL) accounts instead of object codes.

Faculty will interface with SIMBA in various ways, depending on their role.  There will be some faculty who do not interface with SIMBA in any way.  However, many will interface in multiple ways, especially those who are Principal Investigators on sponsored awards.  Below are the most common ways that faculty will interface with SIMBA.

Travel

ERS, the Employee Reimbursement System, is being upgraded and is now called SAP Concur.  Travel reservations and settlement of travel, including PCards, will not significantly change in the new system. 

Travel reservations may still be done through Travel OnLion or through Anthony Travel.  More detail is available at https://travel.psu.edu/

Faculty will be able to log into the system by going to https://sapconcur.psu.edu/ and selecting Log In to SAP Concur.

Purchasing Card

Faculty who have been issued PCards for goods & services purchases will now have the PCard reconciled and settled in SAP Concur, just as is done for Travel PCards.  Rather than doing PCard Support forms, faculty can log-in to SAP Concur to prepare a report for these charges, or have a delegate prepare the report for them.  Receipts will be imaged and scanned, as is done for travel reports.   Updates to the PCard – changing name, address, card limits – will be done in SAP Concur as well.

Faculty will be able to log into the system by going to https://sapconcur.psu.edu/ and selecting Log In to SAP Concur.

Purchasing

eBuy is being replaced by Shop OnLion.  Current catalogs are being migrated to Shop OnLion and will be available in the Lion Marketplace.  All faculty will have access to Shop OnLion as shoppers.

Before creating the first shopping cart, a shopper must establish their default delivery address and should set up team shopping (purchasing substitutes) if they wish to use that functionality.  Team shopping is highly recommended, as it allows support staff to assist in completing and receiving orders for you.

As in eBuy, individuals may be pre-authorized to make catalog purchases up to a certain dollar amount.  However, with the impact of Covid-19, departments are reducing the number of pre-authorized users.   If you are not preauthorized, you can still do catalog orders, but they will flow through a workflow for approval before being sent to the supplier for fulfillment.  Please reach out to the Financial Officer for your area to find out if you are preauthorized.

Shop OnLion can be accessed by going to simba.psu.edu, signing into the system and then selecting the Shop OnLion “tile”.  SIMBA uses the University’s two factor authentication system for log-in verification.

You can learn more by viewing simulations available at: https://www.simba.psu.edu/support/simulationsguides-2/simulationsguidesshoponlionsettings/

myFunds Portal

If you have been allocated funding for start-up, earned Research Incentive Funds (RIF) or have other designated funding available for your use, such as gifts and endowments, you will be able to look at these accounts through the myFunds Portal.  If you are a PI or Co-PI, you will be able to view your grant or sponsored program information through myFunds Portal as well.

myFunds Portal was designed to provide the same reporting as MyResearch portal but has a different look and feel because it is a different tool.  As noted, SIMBA is also implementing a new Chart of Accounts, which means the account numbers you used in the past have all changed.  Your departmental support staff can provide you with the new account numbers – or cost objects – used in SIMBA.

If you go to the myFunds Portal and do not get a report, or do not see an account you expect to see, please work with your Financial Officer.  SIMBA will only display accounts (cost objects) on which you are specifically designated in the Chart of Accounts master data.

Accessing the myFunds Portal can be done by logging into simba.psu.edu and selecting the myFunds Portal “tile”.  In addition, there will be a link from the MyResearch Portal to the myFunds Portal.

Grants and Contracts   

Grants Management or GM is a separate module in SIMBA, designed by SAP specifically for the management of grants, contracts and other awards.  All grants in SIMBA will be managed through a sponsored program.  A grant/contract may have one or more sponsored programs.  Co-PIs can be given access to just the sponsored program which applies to their portion of the grant.  Cost share wil be designated as a sponsored program linked to the specific grant.

It is highly recommended that PIs and Co-PIs take the Grants Overview web-based course available through the SIMBA website   https://www.simba.psu.edu/training/courses/

Those who are Principal Investigators or Co-PIs on sponsored awards will interface with SIMBA in two ways:

myFunds Portal – PIs will be able to see their grants in total, including cost sharing in this tool. Co-PIs will be able to view sponsored programs for which they are listed as the Co-PI, but not the entire grant.   As noted above, there will be a link from the MyResearch Portal to the myFunds Portal.

Labor Distribution and Effort Certification – One of the major responsibilities of a PI is to provide oversight of all costs charged to their grant/contract, especially labor.  SIMBA will implement a new labor distribution system, which will allow a PI to view those charged to a grant or sponsored program under that grant, as well as approving the initial distribution and changes made during the grant life cycle.   PIs will also perform the annual effort certification in this system, with electronic approval of the effort statement.

It is recommended that PIs and others who may be approving labor distributions or effort certifications take the Approvals: Labor Distribution web-based training, available  https://www.simba.psu.edu/training/courses/ 

SIMBA is a new system so faculty can expect to face a learning curve, as will all Penn State employees using the system.  The SIMBA Project team will continue to be in place for a year after go-live, before transitioning to a new sustainment organization in July 2021.  The SIMBA Project team will address issues and concerns with the system, as well as documenting future requests for enhancement.

Please reach out to your department or business area (college, campus) Finance Office with any questions or concerns – keeping in mind that they are also learning this new system.   We expect bumps and issues as we begin using the system, and we ask for your patience as we work through issues.