By Miriam Barcellona Ingenito, Director of FISCal 

As we turn the page to a new chapter in FI$Cal history, we look back on all we accomplished last year. With the final deployment of functionality, the FI$Cal project is now complete. During 2022, we will continue to work closely with our partners at State Controller’s Office as they complete the work needed to fully retire their legacy system. We will also maintain close collaboration with all of our partners as we pivot our efforts to focus on our customers and further enhancing the FI$Cal system.

Reviewing how our customers benefited from our efforts last year, motivates us to work even harder this year to build on top of those accomplishments. Moving forward, we will continue to improve our world-class customer service, strengthen our robust security, fine-tune our data management strategy, and continue our aggressive journey to the cloud. Paving the way in these efforts will be new leaders on our executive team – a new Chief Deputy, Chief Information Officer, and Chief Information Security Officer.

In December, Jennifer Maguire was promoted to Chief Deputy Director of FI$Cal. Maguire brings a wealth of experience to her new role of providing strategic leadership to protect and sustain essential operational functions to carry out FI$Cal’s mission. Toquyen Collier joined FI$Cal at the start of 2022 as Chief Information Officer/Deputy Director of Information Technology. She brings 23 years of experience in information technology with the state of California to lead our information technology department into the future. Ken Ketsdever, our new Chief Information Security Officer is already hard at work supporting our dedicated team in the Enterprise Security Services Office and the important work they do along with aligning the department’s security initiatives and goals with California’s recently announced Cybersecurity Roadmap.

As in previous years, top-flight customer service will be at the forefront of FI$Cal’s strategy moving forward. We will build upon last year’s well-received launch of the FI$Cal Learning Center (FLC) by releasing the FI$Cal Manual and launching a new user-friendly Flipped Classroom. In addition, we will continue our expansion of Microsoft Power BI reports.

The FI$Cal Manual will be published this year! It will be the culmination of a monumental effort by the FI$Cal staff. The manual will be the “one source of truth” for FI$Cal end users to find accurate, up-to-date information about working in the system. End users have been asking for a comprehensive manual covering end-to-end business processes, module by module, in the FI$Cal system. The idea first came up in the 2019 Imagine FI$Cal workshop. At the most recent Imagine FI$Cal, we dedicated an entire session with our end users taking a deep dive into the development of the manual. This is a huge effort, and something to be on the lookout for this year.

Another exciting initiative emerging from the FLC is the Flipped Classroom. This is a new learning concept which we expect to be quite beneficial to our end users. The Flipped Classroom will allow users the ability to study at their own pace and users can retake the material at any time. This will be a modern, interactive set of curricula that includes videos, assessments, and other learning materials. Once a curriculum is completed, users will have the opportunity to register for a live question and answer session with a FI$Cal subject matter expert. We will be piloting the first curriculum in January with a Labor Distribution class.

We will continue to expand on our success with Microsoft Power BI. Reports for Disaster Cost Recovery Tracking, Accounts Receivable Aging, Purchase Order Encumbrance, Income and Expenses, and Purchasing Data were recently released or will be released early in 2022. We are also exploring Self-Service Analytics reports and of course, we will be working closely throughout the year with the Customer Impact Committee’s Business Intelligence working group.

As part of our ongoing effort to improve our customer experience, FI$Cal will be commissioning an independent survey of the 151 end user departments and the four control agencies to gain insights into their experience with the FI$Cal system and to identify opportunities for improvement.

As the system and the amount of data it contains continue to grow, we will prioritize improvements to our data management strategy to keep the system running smoothly while still making older data available to departments in a useful format for historical and reporting purposes.

Lastly, we will continue our journey to the cloud. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we partnered with Amazon Web Services to implement Amazon Connect, a 100 percent cloud-based call center solution, to continue to provide great customer support. Last year, FI$Cal staff collaborated with AWS to quickly revamp our Disaster Recovery (DR) solution. The critical DR infrastructure was put in place in less than two months on the AWS platform – an incredible success for FI$Cal. We have much more planned with the AWS as well as other initiatives so stay tuned to FI$CalTv and watch for the Focus newsletter for more exciting FI$Cal news.